Miami’s universities focusing business schools on entrepreneurs
Written by Katya Maruri on January 16, 2018
In anticipation of preparing their students to become well-rounded entrepreneurs, local universities have taken the initiative to streamline their programs and classes within their business schools to help nurture and develop small business operators.
“By virtue of being in Miami we are a small business community,” said Patricia Abril, vice dean of the Miami Business School, formerly known as the University of Miami School of Business Administration. “As a result, our programs at the very core are geared toward innovation and the get-to-it-ness that entrepreneurs need to be successful.”
Currently, she said, “around 40% of the university’s business school graduate students pursuing an MBA come from small business and family business backgrounds.”
As a result of this growing trend, she said, the university has created a student entrepreneurship consulting program for its undergraduate students enrolled in its entrepreneurship programs.
“The student entrepreneurship consulting program, which is the capstone experience for the school’s undergraduate entrepreneurship majors,” she said, “lets students gain real-world experience by working on consulting projects for real clients, which include CEOs, small businesses, non-profits and high-growth companies.”
One of the main benefits of this capstone experience, she said, is that “students get to apply what they learn in class, while seeing what it’s like firsthand to run a company or small business through the eyes of an entrepreneur.”
As a result of the university’s entrepreneurship programs and capstone experience, she said, many students have gone on to graduate and start small businesses of their own.
One student in particular who graduated from the business school’s undergraduate program, she said, has gone on to create The Salty Donut, an artisanal donut shop and coffee bar focused on chef-made, small-batch craft doughnuts made with high-quality ingredients.
At the end of the day, she said, “seeing our students succeed by providing them with the skills that they need to become successful entrepreneurs is what it’s all about.”
Another local business school that has streamlined its programs to nurture and develop small business operators is St. Thomas University’s Gus Machado School of Business.
“We recently received a Strada grant to establish Bobcat Analytics,” said Somnath Bhattacharya, the dean of the business school. “Through this program, students will be able to parse data from local businesses and companies that either don’t have the time or the knowledge to sift through all the information themselves.”
In addition, he said, the university hosts a business competition whereby students can partner with local entrepreneurs as a way to receive mentorship and gain hands-on entrepreneurial experience.
Looking forward, Mr. Bhattacharya said, “in two weeks we plan to break ground on the Gus Machado School of Business’s new business school complex, which will have state-of-the-art classrooms and a center of entrepreneurship.”
Once the center is up and running, he said, “We hope to work with the Small Business Administration to provide workshops for local businesses and companies.”
Other programs that local business schools have developed to nurture small business operators include Florida SBDC at Florida International University, which aims to bring local companies a team of experienced business experts who offer confidential, no-cost consulting to entrepreneurs and business owners looking to grow, and Barry University’s Institute for Community Economic Development, which focuses on supporting and developing small businesses, non-profit organizations and community-based business-to-businesses by providing need-based information, need assessments and skill development programs.
Details: https://www.barry.edu/biced/ and https://business.fiu.edu/centers/sbdc/.