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.
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.
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 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.
- 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.
- 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
- (Students with a BA or BS in an unrelated area, but with sufficient prerequisite coursework and professional experience, will be considered).
- 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
- Undergraduate Prerequisite Coursework (all prerequisites must be completed by the end of the first year of the Program):
- 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)
Those candidates with significant work experience with less than the minimum GPA will be considered.
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 first year. In that case, MBA students will enroll in the needed course(s) once accepted to the program. These students will be considered “provisional admits” (this status will be removed once a student has completed the prerequisites).
International Students: See Graduate Academic Catalog section, Criteria for International Admission.
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 600||Sustainability Accounting||3|
|MBA 601||Managerial Economics||3|
|MBA 602||Managerial Finance||3|
|MBA 603||Leadership, Ethics, and Organizational Behavior||3|
|MBA 604||Business Law for the Outdoor Industry||3|
|MBA 605||Project Management||3|
|MBA 606||Marketing and Brand Strategy in the Outdoor Industry||3|
|MBA 607||Strategic MGT Business Models for the Outdoor Industry||3|
|MBA 611||Topics in Outdoor Industry||0|
|MBA 691||Capstone Project||3|
|Select a concentration||9|
|MBA 609||Sustainable Outdoor Product Development and Material Sourcing||3|
|MBA 610||Supply Chain and Logistics in the Outdoor Industry||3|
|MBA 615||Sustainable Finance||3|
|MBA 608||Resort and Hospitality Management||3|
|MBA 613||Natural Resource Regulation and Economics||3|
|MBA 614||Sales and Customer Experience||3|
Brooke Moran, Ph.D.
Professor of Recreation & Outdoor Education for MEM Graduate Program, Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
Jennifer DeBoer, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
Jessica Laramie, J.D.
Director of Energy Management Program, Senior Lecturer in Business Administration, Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
Kevin A. Nelson, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of the School of Business, Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
Salif P. Mahamane, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology; Graduate Faculty for MEM, Graduate Faculty and Outdoor Industry MBA
Career preparation starts your first year at Western and is the primary focus of every degree.
Visit Career Services in Library 120 or online to discover your interests, define your goals, and land the career of your dreams.
The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.
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.
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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