On the evening of February 13 the School’s Family Business Club kicked-off the semester’s programming with an event focused on celebrating its growth and achievements in the past year.
Professor Michael Preston welcomed the participants, which included over sixty club members, with an overview of the School’s family business courses and offered a peek to upcoming additions to the curriculum that have been in the works in the past year. “The courses we offer in the area of family business are expanding and will include a global course in emerging markets,” announced Professor Preston. “Next spring, for example, we are taking students to learn what is happening in the area of family business and learn first-hand about select local family businesses in Singapore.”
Professor Preston also announced that the School has added an Executive in Residence this semester as family business owner Jack Mitchell of Mitchells Richards joins the program. A hallmark of the Executive in Residence program is one-on-one counseling sessions in which the executives advise students on their prospective career choices.
David Bork, a family business consultant and author of The Little Red Book of Family Business was the featured keynote speaker. He discussed the critical importance of boundaries to the success of a family business. “Perhaps the most common problem in family business relationships occurs when there is a conflict between two family members, and one or both then involve a third family member,” said Bork. “The family must understand boundaries and have the necessary structures in the family and the business to reflect this understanding.”
The family business club’s membership has grown significantly with students representing an impressive variety of family businesses from around the world. “Industries include those in retail, construction, technology, manufacturing, agriculture, food, and health care among others,” said Professor Preston. “It is an incredibly rich network that adds much value to the academic experience at the School.”
Chayenne Wiskerke ’13, the Family Business Club co-president agrees. “The Family Business Club provides a balanced environment between Columbia’s academics and a student’s personal family business career,” she said. “We are thrilled to see so many new faces and enthusiasm during the annual kick-off meeting of The Family Business Club. It demonstrates that the family business community is becoming a valuable asset to the Columbia MBA program.”
Join the Family Business Club
The Family Business Club is open to all Columbia Business School students with an interest in family business. Students whose families own a family enterprise, who plan to work as a non-family executive within a family business, or who plan to advise family-run companies benefit from the club’s interactive activities, support, peer networking, and speaker events.
Steve Gilman '15
“To organize a robust community, sometimes you have to put walls around it,” says Steve Gilman ‘15 about his company, Block Party Suites.