Course Spotlight – Family Business NBA 6720
Students who are interested in taking entrepreneurship classes with the Smith Family Business Institute have a number of options. We spoke with faculty Erin Kelly, Margarita Tsoutsoura, and Daniel Van Der Vliet to hear their perspectives on recommended courses to take:
- For students interested in trying out entrepreneurship – what courses would you recommend?
There are several courses related to family business that also cover many entrepreneurial topics as well. Margarita Tsoutsoura teaches NBA 6720: Managing Family and Privately Held Firms. Most companies around the world are controlled by their founding families, including more than half of all public corporations in Europe, and more than two thirds of those in Asia. Even in the United States where ownership dispersion is at its highest, founding families exercise a significant degree of control over more than half of all public corporations. This course explores the challenges and opportunities created by family leadership and ownership.
There is a series of Managements Skills Programs (MSPs) that are offered each spring that explore franchising as a business ownership pursuit. On March 1, look for “Franchising a Pathway into Business Ownership,” followed by “How to Franchise Your Family Business and Invest in Franchises” on April 13, and lastly on May 3, “How to grow into a Multi-Unit, Multi Brand Franchise Owner.”
In the first half of the fall semester, NBA 5820: Leaders in Family Enterprise: In Practice and Theory is offered. This 1.0 credit course focuses on multi-generational family businesses with cases told in the first person by the business leaders themselves. What students will find is a great deal of entrepreneurial spirit in these individuals who lead successful family businesses that have survived at least three generations.
- What are the best “must-take” entrepreneurship courses offered at Cornell?
- For these courses – why were they developed and who is the target audience?
It is easy to say the target audience is for those that have grown up in a family business. For these students, there will be comfort in associating with others from family enterprise, regardless of the industry or size of the business. For students not from a family business, given that as many as 90% of all businesses globally are family owned or controlled, these course offer a tool set to prepare you for working with or for a family business. We see many students from ILR and Engineering in our courses for this reason alone.
- Are there any special projects associated with these courses?
In NBA 6720, a final case study which builds on much of the learning for the semester culminates the course.
- What is the best part of taking these courses?
The family business courses are somewhat unique because the stories and examples shared are often incredibly personal. If you are from a family business, you will be among your peers in class and have the opportunity to meet and learn from some true industry leaders, such as Peter Coors of Coors Brewing, Alan Rosen of Junior’s Cheesecake, and Stefanie Kyles of Vassalaros Coffee, just to name a few.