St. Andrews University – Fusing Passion and Business: An Innovative MBA in Equine Entrepreneurship

Picture by Rooney Coffman

Imagine turning your passion for horses into a thriving business. For equine enthusiasts dreaming of a career in the equestrian industry, St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, NC, illuminates the path to success with its innovative online MBA specializing in Equine Entrepreneurship. Tailored for go-getters ready to jump into the business arena, this program blends your love for horses with critical business strategies, making your equestrian business a reality.

The horse industry is a specialized field that demands equestrian expertise and sharp business acumen. Recognizing this unique interplay, St. Andrews University has crafted a curriculum that brings students specialized equine knowledge in business planning, marketing, law and ethics, management, and financial management, all through a convenient online format. And with the possibility of completing the program in just 12 months, it’s an express ride to leadership in the equine industry.

“Flexibility is the cornerstone of our program,” Dr. Wayne Freeman, MBA program director, tells The Plaid Horse. “It’s your guide through the entrepreneurial maze in the equine world. One of the standout features of our program is its flexibility. The online format allows you to pursue your MBA from anywhere worldwide, fitting the coursework into your busy schedule.” 

The Curriculum

This specialized MBA program is comprised of 12 courses, totaling 36 credits. These courses cover essential business topics explicitly tailored to the equine industry. Students will delve into equine law and ethics, learning about the legal and ethical considerations unique to the horse business. The entrepreneurship course will equip you with the skills to identify opportunities, develop business plans, and navigate the challenges of launching and managing an equine enterprise. Financial management is vital to any business, and our program ensures you gain a solid foundation in this area. 

Additionally, a two-course practicum experience awaits you, providing hands-on learning opportunities and the chance to tackle real-world equine business challenges.

The practicum experience is a program highlight, allowing students to consult with a local equine business to solve a specific business problem. This practical component ensures that you apply your newfound knowledge meaningfully while building connections within the industry. The beauty of the practicum is that it can be tailored to your specific interests, enabling you to explore areas that align with your long-term goals.

At St. Andrews, the equine MBA isn’t just a program—it’s a gateway to a universe where your business skills will flourish alongside your love for horses. It’s where Peggy McElveen, director of the equestrian program, champions a legacy of equine excellence. With accolades like the IHSA’s Pioneer and Lifetime Achievement Awards, McElveen guides students through self-discovery and professional development.

“Our ethos is simple: tailor the education to the student’s vision,” says McElveen. “Whether it’s riding, training, or business management, we’re here to help students discover their potential.” This individual-focused approach is mirrored in the MBA’s structure, where courses are designed to align with your career aspirations, whether owning a training facility, managing a barn, or directing a therapeutic horsemanship program.

Picture by Giana Terranova

A Strong Online Platform

What makes St. Andrews’ MBA specialization truly remarkable is its online platform—education without barriers. No matter where you are, as long as you have Internet access, you can be part of St. Andrews’ esteemed community. “Education should be as boundless as the sky,” said Dr. Freeman, an advocate for accessible education. “Our online MBA in Equine Entrepreneurship breaks down geographical barriers, bringing our expertise to your doorstep.”

Despite the digital format, the sense of community is palpable. “We’re a family here,” says Emilee Standridge, an alumna of St. Andrews with degrees in equine business management and an MBA. “The faculty’s commitment extends beyond the classroom. They’re mentors, cheerleaders, and often lifelong friends. The bonds formed here are unbreakable. They’re the kind of connections that champion your strengths and fortify your aspirations.”

Venturing into the equine business landscape requires more than just theoretical knowledge—it demands practical wisdom and experience. That’s precisely what the Equine Entrepreneurship MBA at St. Andrews prepares you to obtain. The practicum experience, a cornerstone of the curriculum, catapults you from the classroom into the field, solving real business problems for real equine enterprises.

“It’s about getting your boots dirty in the business world,” says Carla Wennberg, St. Andrews Western Coach and Faculty member. “Our students graduate not just with a degree but with a portfolio of practical solutions they can provide to the businesses they aspire to lead.”

St. Andrews University is familiar with setting benchmarks in equine studies. With over half a century of legacy in integrating equestrian excellence with academic rigor, the university understands the evolving nature of the equine industry. This MBA program is a testament to their commitment to innovation, ensuring that the next generation of equine entrepreneurs is equipped with the latest tools and insights to lead the industry.

Katie Schaaf, a distinguished figure in the equestrian world and the latest addition to the St. Andrews MBA equine faculty, carries a wealth of knowledge and a fervent zeal for the equine sector that will significantly benefit this new program. “It’s thrilling to join the team at St. Andrews for this innovative MBA curriculum in Equine Entrepreneurship,” she says. 

Schaaf’s academic success is on par with her riding achievements. Having graduated from Harvard Law, Schaaf served as IHSA team captain and coach at Tufts University and has many years of experience as a trainer and a coach. She has received the Interscholastic Equestrian Association Coach Sportsmanship Award and Lifetime Achievement Award and is the incoming president of the IEA.

“St. Andrews produces top equine professionals and is known for its first-rate equine facilities and mentorship from outstanding coaches,” she says. “Being part of the team at St. Andrews is an honor.” 

Schaaf looks forward to “working with St. Andrews MBA students and helping to create this groundbreaking new program.” Her integration into the St. Andrews community is a significant asset to the MBA program, ensuring students receive an unparalleled educational experience enriched by her professional acumen.

Amanda DeWitt, poised to graduate from the St. Andrews online bachelor’s in equine business management program, is among the first students to enroll in the new graduate program in equine entrepreneurship. Her decision to continue her educational journey was deeply influenced by her positive experiences at St. Andrews University. 

“As an online student with St. Andrews University, my experience has been wonderful because of the support of not only the instructors but also the staff that works behind the scenes,” she says. 

This support was pivotal in her enthusiasm for the new MBA program. “When I received an email with a survey about my interest in a program like this one I was excited at the idea of being able to participate because I love my experience with St. Andrews,” says DeWitt. She sees the equine entrepreneurship program as a natural step forward, given the university’s unwavering support that made her feel welcomed and capable of success. 

“This program will allow me to further my education in an area I am interested in with the continued support of a great team of people, who even from a distance have made me feel welcome and like I can be successful.”

How to Get Started

Your journey to equine entrepreneurial success begins with a single step. Whether you’re an aspiring barn manager, a coach, or dreaming of launching your unique equine startup, the online MBA specializing in Equine Entrepreneurship at St. Andrews is your pathway to success. With industry connections and a faculty of seasoned professionals, you’re not just enrolling in a program—you’re joining a legacy of excellence.

St. Andrews University invites you to be part of an exciting future. With the expertise of award-winning educators, the flexibility of online learning, and a community that’s as passionate about horses as you are, equine entrepreneurs’ future has never looked brighter. “We’re ready to welcome you to St. Andrews,” says McElveen. “It’s time to turn your equine passion into a thriving career.” 

Applications are being accepted now for Spring 2024. 

To learn more about the equine entrepreneurship program and explore how it can propel your career in the horse business, visit https://sau.online/masters/ or contact Toni Forrest at 910-550-3558 or toni@sau.online.

The St. Andrews dedicated team is here to support you throughout the application process and address any questions.