New small business management major to help students thrive in competitive market

College of Business launches small business management majorMany people want to be their own boss. With business ownership comes flexibility and personal satisfaction in creating something new.

But no matter how good an idea or level of enthusiasm you have, a strong foundation is needed when building and running a successful business.

To ensure students are prepared for whatever venture they choose, University of Michigan-Dearborn’s College of Business created the small business management major. The program, which starts this fall, combines knowledge areas needed to thrive in a competitive market—everything from human resource management to accounting to personal selling.

The approach of including all aspects of a business under one umbrella is unique—the Small Business Management program is the only one of its kind offered in the region, said Karen Strandholm, Strategy and Management Studies department chairwoman.

“This curriculum is specifically designed for the small business environment, where workers must be flexible. In a large corporation you can be specialized in your education, but that’s not really an option when starting or running a small business,” she said. “We’ve also seen that larger employers are interested in graduates with this education because they’ll have a solid foundation in how business works, from entrepreneurial thinking to financial reporting.”

When the Educational Advisory Board contracted by COB looked at market demand, findings noted that regional employers’ demand for bachelor-level small business management professionals increased 57 percent between July 2014 and December 2015. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also forecasts continued growth in the field.

In addition to report evidence, Strandholm said students and community members have shared that they want a program tailored to small business.

“People have come to this country and made a living for years by establishing a business. Many of our students have parents or grandparents who’ve done this and may pass it down to them,” said Strandholm, whose grandparents had a small business of their own in Michigan’s upper peninsula. “They want to understand and be prepared to run a small business.”

While some want to become prepared to run and improve a business, others—who might not have any familial business ties—are attracted to creating something of their own.

“There is something appealing about determining what is right for you and having the freedom to make that decision,” Strandholm said. “It’s also an education that you can use at any point in your career—starting out, deciding mid-career that you want to go out on your own, or after retirement. Knowing how to run a business is a valuable skillset to have.”

For more information, visit the Small Business Management major website.

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