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Outdoor Industry MBA

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Degree Type

Master of Business Administration

Department

School of Business, School of Graduate Studies

Careers in the outdoor industry promote health and wellness, protect public lands, ensure inclusive spaces and connect people to nature. Whether you want to move up the ladder in a large company or start your own small business, you’ll find your niche in Western’s Outdoor Industry MBA program.

Program Overview

Turn your personal passion into a rewarding profession.

Western’s Outdoor Industry MBA program is designed to accommodate your busy schedule while accelerating your career. We offer evening online courses, immersion experiences and a final capstone project with an organization of your choice. Through this dynamic blend of courses and hands-on experience, you’ll gain the industry-specific knowledge you’ll need to advance your career, enter into the industry or establish your own business.

The two-year program includes an MBA Core as well as specialized tracks for either the product or service side of the industry. The MBA Core includes traditional MBA courses with content focusing on the outdoor industry. The Product Concentration has specialized courses in Sustainable Outdoor Product Development and Material Sourcing; Supply Chain and Logistics in the Outdoor Industry; and Sustainable Finance. The Service Concentration has specialized courses in Resort and Hospitality Management, Natural Resource Regulation and Economics, and Sales and Customer Experience.

Learn and play outdoors

Outdoor Industry MBA students take full advantage of the natural resources surrounding campus to gain hands-on experience and build connections with industry leaders.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

The Outdoor Industry Masters in Business Administration is designed to provide the tools and skills required for candidates to advance their careers in the Outdoor Industry. The program includes core business academic content necessary for making informed decisions to further our students’ careers. The coursework engages students with material related to the Outdoor Industry to include issues of sustainability, hospitality management, natural resource law and economics and competitive dynamics of the outdoor industry.

A successful master’s candidate must complete 36 credit hours (39 credit hours if needing to complete the Bridge Course, a pre-requisite for all students provisionally admitted with this requirement) as a part of a two-year cohort based program. The MBA program will prepare students for careers in the outdoor industry with coursework focusing on content specific to this industry. Students can select from one of two emphasis tracks: Products or Services. Completion of the MBA requires a Capstone Project.

The Outdoor Industry Masters in Business Administration is a hybrid program with course delivery online and 3 short-term residency requirements:

  • One week — prior to start of first year (MBA 603 Leadership, Ethics, and Organizational Behavior)
  • One week — spring of first year (MBA 611 Topics in Outdoor Industry)
  • One week — prior to start of second year  (MBA 607 Strategic MGT Business Models for the Outdoor Industry)

All successful candidates’ second year includes coursework and a practicum experience where candidates complete a corporate-based project. Upon admission to the program, an advisor will be assigned to the candidate to guide them in the process. 

Program Goals

  • To enhance student understanding of the outdoor industry.
  • To prepare students for increased responsibility within their chosen career path.
  • To give students the ability to put theory into practice as they work with colleagues and customers within the travel, tourism, and outdoor industry fields.
  • To provide students with opportunities to find partnerships, friendships, and colleagues who will continue to work together for the betterment of the field well after their degree is completed.

Student Outcomes

  • Communication – MBA students will master oral and written communication that will allow them to effectively communicate ideas
  • Application – MBA students will be able to put theory into practice as they create marketing messages, financial plans, lead organizations, work with customers, and keep their businesses sustainable.
  • Critical Thinking – MBA students will be able to sift through large amounts of information to find the most important aspects to make decisions that will create profits while maintaining sustainable business practices.

Requirements for full Admission to the MBA

All admission requirements to the MBA Program will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis with respect to work experience, including managerial experience and leadership roles.

  • BA or BS degree in Business or related program from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Candidate with a BA or BS in an unrelated area can be provisionally accepted, needing to earn a B- in the Bridge Course (MBA 690), in the Pre-Fall term, prior to classes starting 
  • Any candidate, with a degree in a related area, can be provisionally accepted, needing to earn a B- in the Bridge Course (MBA 690), in the Pre-Fall term, prior to classes starting: 
    • Intro to Financial Accounting (lower or upper division)
    • Statistics (lower or upper division)
    • Microeconomics (lower or upper division)
    • Macroeconomics (lower or upper division)
    • Business Finance (upper division)
    • Principles of Marketing (lower or upper division)
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is desirable. Official transcript required.1
  • Greater than three years of outdoor industry work experience2
1

Those candidates with significant work experience with less than the minimum GPA will be considered.

2

Candidates with less than three years of outdoor industry experience will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Provisional Admission: If an applicant applies without all of the requirements listed above, they will be reviewed for provisional acceptance. Students who enter the program with prerequisite deficiencies can make up those deficiencies during the Pre-Fall term, prior to their first year. In that case, MBA students will enroll in the needed course (MBA 690) once accepted to the program. These students will be considered “provisional admits” (this status will be removed once a student has completed the prerequisite). 

International Students: See Graduate Academic Catalog section, Criteria for International Admission.

Program Requirements

Candidates must decide in their first semester which track they wish to pursue. A minimum of 36 credits are required for the degree including the 27 credit core plus nine credits from either the Product or Service concentration.

MBA Core
MBA 600Sustainability Accounting3
MBA 601Managerial Economics3
MBA 602Managerial Finance3
MBA 603Leadership, Ethics, and Organizational Behavior3
MBA 604Business Law for the Outdoor Industry3
MBA 605Project Management3
MBA 606Marketing and Brand Strategy in the Outdoor Industry3
MBA 607Strategic MGT Business Models for the Outdoor Industry3
MBA 611Topics in Outdoor Industry0
MBA 691Capstone Project3
Concentration
Select a concentration9
Total Credits36

Concentrations

Product Concentration

MBA 609Sustainable Outdoor Product Development and Material Sourcing3
MBA 610Supply Chain and Logistics in the Outdoor Industry3
MBA 615Sustainable Finance3
Total Credits9

Service Concentration

MBA 608Resort and Hospitality Management3
MBA 613Natural Resource Regulation and Economics3
MBA 614Sales and Customer Experience3
Total Credits9

Faculty & Staff

Careers

Take the first steps toward your dream career.

Career preparation is the primary focus of every academic program at Western. Our professors and Office of Career Services will help you identify your strengths, hone your skills, define your goals, and prepare for a fulfilling role in hundreds of professional fields after graduation.

Ready to apply or learn more about Western today?

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Find Your Career

The data is automatically collected by Lightcast, a firm that sources job market data. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.

Outdoor Industry MBA Network

Connecting people and organizations worldwide.

Outdoor Industry MBA (OIMBA) students have completed over 9,200 hours of projects serving organizations across Colorado, the American West, and as far as France. Together, faculty, students and outdoor professionals come together at Western to tackle the most pressing issues facing our industry such as inclusivity, health and wellness, public lands protection, livable wages, and sustainability.

Learn More

Discover peers and mentors

The OIMBA program holds events throughout the year to connect, learn and discuss important topics with others in the industry.

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Additional Resources

Fellowship Opportunities in MBA

Outdoor Industry MBA Fellowship Opportunities If you have been accepted to the MBA Program and are interested in any of the fellowship opportunities listed below, please email the Program Director, Dr …

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Prerequisites & Admissions Criteria

Learn more about Outdoor Industry MBA prerequisites and admissions criteria.

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Tuition & Fees

Credits Required Tuition/credit Campus Fees/credit* Total Tuition & Fees Year 1 Fall Preterm 3 $1,110 $50.40 $3,481.20 Fall 6 $1,110 $50.40 $6,962.40 Spring 9 $1,110 $50.40 $10,443.60 Year 1 Total …

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Outdoor Industry MBA (OIMBA) Network

The OIMBA Network documents people, organizations, and projects involved with our program. Each year, OIMBA students complete a 200+ hour project, connecting people and organizations worldwide.

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Graduate Writing Workshop

Writing Workshop tutors offer assistance at any point in the writing process: brainstorming, outlining, polishing a final draft, or preparing a piece to submit for publication.

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Department Information

School of Business

Associate Dean

Kevin A. Nelson, Ph.D.

Associate Dean of the School of Business, Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA

Executive Assistant

Christina Sorensen

Executive Assistant

OIMBA Program Director

D. Scott Borden, Ph.D.

Director, Outdoor Industry MBA

Contact Information

970.943.2231

Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Borick Business Building 223
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231

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