Family Enterprise

Minor in Family Enterprise - 4 units

The School of Business Administration offers a Family Enterprise minor for undergraduate students with any major. This program prepares students to work with family-owned enterprises (their own and others), and professional firms that work with these family-owned enterprises. The focus of the program is to complement the students’ academic major and develop skills in two interrelated areas. First, students develop an understanding of family systems and the role that they play in that system. Students then learn to understand how the family system interrelates and can enhance the enterprise system. Skills developed in this minor include self-assessment, character development, analytical thinking, ongoing interaction with professionals, and career development.

Any student enrolled in the minor will have the opportunity to work with family-owned enterprises. The benefits of involvement include increased self-confidence and marketability. Families of students are invited to become involved with the Family Enterprise Center through speakers, course events, and family retreats.

More information can be found online at

Required Courses
FENT 235Personal, Professional and Leadership Development1
FENT 455Family Enterprise: Capstone1
Elective Courses
Select two of the following:2
Managerial Issues in Family Enterprise
Family Enterprise Ownership: Emphasis on Legal, Estate and Asset Protection Issues
Family Enterprise Internship
Total Units4

Students must intern with a family-owned enterprise (besides their own), or with a firm that consults specifically to family-owned enterprises.

FENT 190. Special Topics in Family Enterprise. 1 Unit.

FENT 235. Personal, Professional and Leadership Development. 1 Unit.

This course not only introduces the basic concepts of family enterprise, but also helps students apply what they have learned to a family’s enterprise. A major component of this course is students assessing their skills, interests, and career options in family enterprises. Not only will students create a personal development plan, but they will also take part in a weekly one-hour peer discussion group facilitated by an expert in family systems.

FENT 285. Independent Study. 0.5 or 1 Units.

FENT 290. Special Topics in Family Enterprise. 1 Unit.

FENT 350. Managerial Issues in Family Enterprise. 1 Unit.

This course addresses how the family involvement creates strategic challenges and opportunities. It will feature case studies, experiential exercises, guest speakers, and focuses on leadership, culture, staffing, strategy, and sustainability issues unique to Family Enterprise. Prerequisite: FENT 235 or Director approval.

FENT 355. Family Enterprise Ownership: Emphasis on Legal, Estate and Asset Protection Issues. 1 Unit.

This course will enable students to evaluate issues that might have particular relevance in their family enterprise. The course examines ownership and governance aspects of a family enterprise. Specific topic areas include governance, power, leadership, management, competition liability, growth, and estate planning. Prerequisite: FENT 235 or instructor approval.

FENT 360. Case Studies in Family Business. 1 Unit.

Focusing on a family business context, and utilizing seminal theoretical frameworks in order to 'make sense' of complex and diverse real-life situations, the class is organized around the case study method. Working individually and in teams, participants gain strong analysis, recommendation and presentation abilities. Students who excel in this class are poised to compete at the University of Vermont's annual Global Family Case Competition.

FENT 385. Independent Study. 0.5 or 1 Units.

FENT 390. Special Topics in Family Enterprise. 1 Unit.

FENT 395. Teaching Apprenticeship. 0.5 Units.

Pass/Fail only.

FENT 397. Family Enterprise Internship. 0.5 or 1 Units.

The family enterprise internship gives students an opportunity to gain experience in a family-owned enterprise (or a firm that works with family-owned enterprises) other than their own. Students are placed with a family enterprise to study, observe, and become involved in the actual operations. They will experience the traits unique to family enterprise, such as family dynamics, conflict resolution, and succession. Through journals, reports, and presentations, students will apply what they have learned to the real world. The students will be required to complete a comprehensive Career Portfolio outlining their vision of success; plan to obtain the necessary skills, credentials, and experiences; and other related items for employment at graduation. Prerequisite: FENT 235 or instructor approval.

FENT 455. Family Enterprise: Capstone. 1 Unit.

This course is a culmination of all the family enterprise course topics and skills. It integrates the student’s experience and learning in both family and business systems. Students will gain a broader and integrated understanding of the family, business, and ownership systems. In addition, students apply the information learned through their coursework to family enterprise. By the end of the course, students have created a portfolio outlining the skills, credentials, and experiences that demonstrate their worth in the market. An emphasis on process consulting will be part of this course. Prerequisites: FENT 235, FENT 355 and FENT 397, or instructor approval.

FENT 485. Independent Study. 0.5 or 1 Units.

FENT 490. Special Topics in Family Enterprise. 1 Unit.