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Whitman students compete in annual Global Family Enterprise Case Competition

A team of students from the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University recently competed in the second Annual Global Family Enterprise Case Competition (FECC) held January 8-12, 2014 at the University of Vermont. The FECC matched 19 teams of undergraduate and graduate students from family business programs in Canada, Chile, Colombia, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States. More than 70 judges representing 27 countries also participated.

The Whitman team, made up of students Hillary Dzialowski, Oscar Hugoson, and Sakina Kader (all EEE ’14 students) did increasingly well throughout the competition, including winning the final round robin competition. They eventually fell one point short of making it to the finals, placing behind eventual competition silver medalists (and hosts) from the University of Vermont. Dzialowski received an award as ‘best presenter’ within Syracuse’s round robin group.

“It’s a well-known fact that family businesses are predominant in our economy. Many of Whitman’s students come from family businesses and will work in family businesses. Helping to better prepare them for the unique dynamics of family business means better preparing them for success in the future. Knowing how to navigate both the business and the more personal family side of decisions will have a lasting impact on these students’ futures,” says Alexander McKelvie, associate professor of entrepreneurship and the Whitman team’s faculty coach.

Whitman’s family business program, situated within the School’s Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises (EEE) department, has seen significant growth recently. The program now offers two courses in family business management, a student-run club has developed, there is a paid internship program, and alumni have contributed generously to support new learning experiences and opportunities for students.

“Whitman and EEE remain committed to helping students strive in different walks of life. Our success at the case competition in Vermont, facing some of the best family business programs in the world, further illustrates the quality of our programming and our students. Keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive in the family business across generations is going to be one of the core challenges for businesses over the next decade as many baby boomers retire and look for their kin to take over. Whitman is well positioned for preparing students for that challenge,” adds McKelvie.

Consistently ranked as one of the top entrepreneurship programs in the nation, Whitman’s EEE department helps students discover their innate entrepreneurial potential, giving them a set of tools and perspectives to capitalize on that potential and help launch their careers.

Syracuse University is one of the few schools in the nation with a formal academic department devoted to entrepreneurship, and the major components are housed within Whitman. In collaboration with the Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship, the EEE department combines a highly unique set of entrepreneurship courses with a number of extracurricular activities and experiential opportunities to give students the total entrepreneurship experience. For more information, visit