The mission of the Family Business Club (FBC) is to bring together students with family business backgrounds to facilitate discussions and conversations about their experiences working with family businesses. Our current programs include small group forums and workshops which create enriching experiences for current students. We believe that our most powerful personal and professional resources are each other. Our programs emphasize intimate discussions, lasting relationships, and stewardship.
We currently have about 100 members across the two classes at HBS. We hope that members get a chance to network and connect with people of similar backgrounds, and have the opportunity to learn from distinguished professors and guests at our action oriented workshops and speaker series. Students also get to interact with classmates who have past experience with their own family businesses through student led panels. Since HBS does not currently have a class dedicated specifically to family businesses, the club is a great avenue for students to form bonds within the community.
It is estimated that over 70% of the world's businesses are family owned. 30% of the S&P 500 is family-controlled enterprises. Issues that arise in family business systems are often complex and emotional. When handled poorly, the complex dynamics of a family business ecosystem can be crippling. However, when effectively supported by a highly functional family, family businesses outperform their counterparts by a multiple of three. We believe that students who have worked with or for family businesses bring in a unique perspective of how such businesses operate and allow other students to think from the perspective of owners. We value
Several professors at HBS are world leaders in consulting for family businesses and have run their own family businesses prior to HBS. They are also a great resource for students at HBS.
While most members intend to return to their family businesses in some capacity in the future (board member, operating position, etc.), students often go out and work in consulting, finance, or for an operating company that is similar to their family’s business before returning to home base. The general management curriculum at HBS exposes students to a variety of functional roles and industries, and this breadth of knowledge is useful in whatever career path students choose to pursue.
Some students also consider starting their own business post-MBA. This is a touchy subject which students often struggle with. Members also often battle with issues like succession planning, wealth regeneration, nepotism, etc. The FBC allows students to interact and understand each other’s opinions about these issues.
The FBC organizes a variety of events throughout the year. Our annual workshop is half case based and half open-dialogue, and it is led by HBS professors and representatives from renowned family business experts. While many sessions focus on topics like succession and entering the family business, we also offer introductory sessions that are helpful to anyone likely to encounter a family business system in their career.
Our social events not only help integrate the club and facilitate EC/RC interaction but also bring together family business clubs from other top MBA programs. The club is also in the process of building an alumni database to provide members with access to connections in family businesses.
Finally, the FBC provides an excellent opportunity for students to connect and share experiences. The network at HBS, and especially within the Family Business Club, is strong and will provide great support to those with family business backgrounds throughout their careers.