Over the past 30 years, a more turbulent economic environment has caused most major corporations to reorganize and lay-off employees at all organizational levels. This has increasingly made long-term employment at one firm more and more a thing of the past. A growing response to this uncertainty is the consideration and launch of a new firm or family business. The Saint Joseph’s University major/minor in Family Business and Entrepreneurship prepares a student with the skill sets to hedge against employment uncertainty and have greater control over his or her career and financial future. The student will leave the program with the tools to act strategically in managing a family firm, launching a new venture (commercial or social), or better prepared to move up the ranks of the corporate world through corporate venturing or as an intrapreneur.
The integrated FBE curriculum is designed to lead the student through the entrepreneurial process within a family business context. Each required course builds on previous ones cumulating in a comprehensive capstone course that provides students with the opportunity to develop a detailed business plan for launching a new venture (commercial or social) or for taking a family business to a new level. The core curriculum is supplemented by electives that allow students to add value to their studies based upon their individual interests and needs.
Students learn about family business and entrepreneurial issues on three levels – firm level, industry level, and societal level. Examples of issues for each level are presented below:
• Family conflict and issues
• Succession planning
• Clan culture
• Managing organizational change
• Start up teams
• Financial control and forecasting
• Capital structure decisions
• Resource allocation
• Strategic positioning for competitive advantage
• Societal trend and challenges that lead to opportunities
• Social contribution of business
• Business’s role in social sustainability
• Economic contribution of business
Students graduating with a major or minor in Family Business and Entrepreneurship have several avenues open to them. First, students motivated to start their own ventures will be prepared to do so. Second, if students come from family business backgrounds, the skills acquired during their studies will prepare them to make a significant contribution to the family business. Thirdly, the skills acquired (e.g. creativity, opportunity recognition, strategic decision-making, resource management, critical analysis, strategic planning, and financial forecasting) in completing the program are all attractive and relevant in a traditional corporate environment contributing to our graduates’ success if pursuing a position in the corporate world.
Students completing a major and minor leave with the following:
- Students leave with an understanding of how all aspects of business fit together.
- Students leave with tools to recognize and capitalize on opportunities
- Students leave with the ability to think strategically and to understand the environment in which they operate
- Students leave with the skills to work and enhance the family business firm through their generation and for future ones.
- Students leave with an understanding of their role and responsibility to the social world and with the tools to add social value.