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Free Enterprise & Entrepreneurship Minor Program

In the spring 2017 semester, the McNair Center for Free Enterprise & Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas launches its first minor, the Free Enterprise & Entrepreneurship program. Students can take the first two courses, Foundations of Financial and Managerial Accounting (ACCT 1301) and Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management (MGMT 4330).

Two female students looking at a book as they walk on campus at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas

Courses & Curriculum for All

In addition to those classes, four other required courses, scheduled to be offered in later semesters, will make up the minor:

  • Free Enterprise and Conscious Capitalism (ECON 3371)
  • Individual & Organizational Success (MGMT 4289 & UNIV 4189)
  • Strategy for Sustainable Business (MGMT 4365)
  • Practicum in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Competition (MGMT 4369)

The curriculum was set in October 2016 after being developed by Dr. Martin Lindenberg, director of the McNair Center. Lindenberg wanted to bring the Free Enterprise & Entrepreneurship program to the University of St. Thomas because, he said, the basic principles of entrepreneurship are applicable to all areas of life and can help anyone be more successful in a career. For instance, an academic study showed that people with any entrepreneurial experience earn 30% greater lifetime earnings than those with no background.

 “The individual characteristics that define entrepreneurs – which is being a self-starter, creative, innovative, taking the initiative, being adaptable, being a problem-solver – those are all highly learnable if you go about doing it the right way,” Lindenberg said. “Those kinds of capabilities, attitudes, skills and behaviors will make people successful in whatever they do. So, anyone who would be interested in taking one of the courses in the minor will benefit without having to take the whole thing.”

Creating the Free Enterprise & Entrepreneurship Program

To create the Free Enterprise & Entrepreneurship Program with classes tailored to correspond with all fields of study, Lindenberg met with faculty members, deans and chairpersons from all academic departments and received input about what they believe will help their students be successful in the program. As a result, the Free Enterprise & Entrepreneurship program classes give students an in-depth view of the business aspects of their major. Lindenberg said this experience is an advantage for everyone regardless of their intended career path.

“No matter what a student’s ultimate pursuit or how many times they change careers, this course will give them a toolkit that they can carry through life and will allow them to be more successful in whatever they do,” Lindenberg said. “It's not just about lifetime earnings. It might be the number of people's lives they've touched as a teacher or in a nonprofit they've started or in the effectiveness of their leadership. All those skills are additive to whatever they do and will make them more successful and more adaptable.”

By Katie Underwood

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