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Global Immersion: Traditional Family Business in Europe

Spring 2012 MBA Course

B9920-006: Global Immersion: Traditional Family Business in Europe

T - A Term, 09:00AM to 12:15PM
Location: URI 307

Instructor: Michael Preston


The majority of businesses in the world including the United States are family owned.  This global immersion course will examine the practices and traditions that have allowed family businesses both small & large to become the mainstay of the principal economies in Europe.  In the classes at Columbia prior to the trip, we will discuss the unique issues that family businesses face (succession, governance, communications and dispute resolution, non-family management, finance and estate planning, etc.) as well as review the industrial and economic landscape of selected European countries.  The class will travel to the beautiful and cultured city of Vienna. The students will meet with a variety of family owned businesses of different sizes from many sectors and industries such as hi tech manufacturing, retail, banking and agriculture.  The students will learn directly from face to face discussions with experienced family business leaders and family members.  They will learn about the traditions and practices that have allowed these businesses to prosper and enabled them to take advantage of the many strengths that family ownership and involvement can bring to a business.    We will also study any difficulties and shortcomings.  Students will select key family business issues and through direct interviews as well as research, they will prepare a term project paper examining the critical success factors that have allowed the businesses to grow and succeed from generation to generation.

Global Immersion Program classes bridge classroom lessons and business practices in another country. These three credit classes meet for half a term in New York prior to a one week visit to the country of focus where students will meet with business executives and government officials while working on team projects. Upon return from the travel portion of the class, students will have at least one wrap up meeting at Columbia Business School.  The 2011-2012 Global Immersion Program fee for all classes is $1800 and provides students with double occupancy lodging, ground transportation and some meals. It does not cover roundtrip international airfare. Attendance both in New York and in-country and regular participation are a crucial part of the learning experience and as such attendance is mandatory. Students who miss the first class meeting may be removed from the course, and will not have their program fee refunded to them.  No program fee refunds will be given after the add/drop period has closed.