Global Family Enterprise Program Students


Students in the Global Family Enterprise Program represent a diverse range of backgrounds and interests. During their time at Columbia Business School, they have the opportunity to broaden their experience, deepen their knowledge, and develop their skills through courses, networking events, and academic conferences. Are you a prospective student? Contact us! We would love to meet with you.

In addition, students benefit from active associations like the Family Business Club, a student-run organization at Columbia Business School aimed at educating and supporting members who come from, or are interested in working with family enterprises. The club has over 250 members who represent diverse businesses (e.g., industry, real estate, private wealth management, family offices, etc.) hailing from all over the world (e.g., Asia, North America, South America, the Middle East, and Europe). The club also hosts student events throughout the year, including the popular "Family Business Matters" series.

We actively support our students in identifying career opportunities and providing mentoring through Global Family Enterprise Mentorship Program.

Why Family Enterprise Education?

Most MBAs will own, manage, and/or advise family enterprises during their professional careers. Professor and Managing Director Patricia Angus notes that all MBA students can benefit from learning about family enterprise. In "A Bridge Too Far," Professor Angus writes about the importance of educating our future leaders in family enterprise theory and practice. She was also quoted on this topic in the Financial Times article "Business schools ‘teach what you can’t learn from your parents'." 

Prospective Student FAQs

What differentiates the Columbia Business School Global Family Enterprise Program?

The Columbia Global Family Enterprise Program offers an unparalleled curriculum, world-class research, and access to an active student and alumni community, providing more robust offerings than any other peer graduate school of business.

We offer 5 dedicated MBA classes and 2 for EMBAs. From operating businesses to wealth management and family offices, our courses are comprehensive and integrated across the curriculum. We cover succession planning, strategy, ownership, governance, wealth management, and more.

Our faculty have been recognized for contributions in research on family firms at the highest levels. In addition, we host global scholars, advisors and family principals through our Family Enterprise Insights series and co-host “New Ideas in Family Firms,” an innovative academic-practitioner conference.

Our student-led Family Business Club welcomes MBAs and EMBAs with an interest in family enterprise for professional, educational, networking and social events throughout the year. The club is an important aspect of the student experience and provides a link to our global alumni network of family enterprise principals, advisors and scholars.

Distinguished alumni frequently join students to provide insights through guest lectures in class, the BBH Family Business Leadership Speaker Series, and year-round events including our Annual Conference. Students are invited to join the Family Enterprise Alumni Circle upon graduation.

I’m not from a family business. Can I still take your classes?

Yes! All MBA and EMBA students can benefit from learning about family enterprises. About two-thirds of all businesses worldwide are family firms, one-third of the Fortune 500 companies are family controlled, and by some estimates, over half of U.S. public companies are family controlled. Given that family business is the dominant form of business worldwide, most MBAs will own, manage, and/or advise family businesses during their professional careers. Our classes will give you an edge in your career.

What resources are available for CBS alumni through the Global Family Enterprise Program?

The Family Enterprise Alumni Circle is a dedicated networking and learning group for CBS alumni who own, manage and/or advise family firms. We host events throughout the year with special access to global scholars, international leaders and our highly engaged Advisory Board of notable principals and executives in family enterprise and wealth management. 

Circle members have access to global scholars and practitioners through our “Family Enterprise Insights” Series on relevant topics including estate planning, ethics in family business, running a family meeting, governance and more. Throughout the year, members receive compelling articles, podcast recommendations, and exclusive invites to join in-person and online webinars with Q & A access to professors and professionals. Alumni Circle members can audit Global Family Enterprise Program courses year-round.

How will the Global Family Enterprise Program help me post-graduation? 

Our alumni are greatly impacted by the knowledge, new perspectives, and relationships they developed from the Global Family Enterprise Program. Hear from two alumni:

“The classes I took gave me a deep understanding of the complex issues around family enterprise, enabling me to work more effectively with family business clients. As an alum, attending the special events keeps me informed on relevant issues that are top of mind for family businesses.” —Emily Dubinsky ’16, Founder & CEO, Emily Emmett, Inc.

“I learned the importance of having the right kind of processes and systems that can support our entrepreneurial dynamism. Because that's how we got to where we are.” —Jay Varkey ’14, Group Executive Director, GEMS Education

What is the Global Immersion: Stakeholdership, Sustainability, and Innovation course?

Columbia is unique among graduate schools to offer a class that focuses on family enterprise in the classroom and on the ground in another part of the world.  After a series of classroom sessions in NYC, students travel to Sweden and Denmark, countries that are not only major players in the region but also vibrant economies, innovative business environments, and consistent (positive) outliers on global "happiness" ratings. Learn more about the course.

Does the family business program offer any summer courses for J-term students?

Yes! We offer courses year-round to accommodate the schedules of our MBA and EMBA students.

Are internships with family enterprises typically available?

We work with alumni and business leaders, as well as the Career Management Center to identify and place students in internships at family owned businesses and family offices.