Family Business


for life

A good education never ends.

The Center for Family Enterprise provides educational opportunities at every point along your professional path, whether you’re a teenager starting college, learning how to be a manager, or if you’ve advised or owned a family business for decades. We’re here all along the way to help you prepare and succeed.

Supporting lifelong learners and a healthy economy is part of Oregon State University’s land grant mission. Our center is proud to be connected to that mission and to serving family businesses throughout Oregon and beyond.

Undergraduate Education

The family business option within our business administration major can give you crucial skills and specialized knowledge, whether you work in your family’s company, for another’s family business, or if you’re planning to build a career in financial services.

Likewise, our family business minor for non-business majors helps students in other fields learn about what family businesses need to thrive.

This unique curriculum helps educate the next generation of family business leaders and strengthens the hands-on experience they gained through working in a family business. The programs can help them build their own legacy by starting a business after college.

The option and minor are available in-person, online and through hybrid courses.

Continuing Professional Education

Advising Family Businesses

This six-course series offers advisors a solid foundation upon which to build their family business expertise. Practical tips are combined with theoretical perspectives to meet the needs of advisors of all types who are interested in providing better service and advice to family business clients. From assessment processes to succession planning, all of the fundamental topics pertinent to advising family businesses are covered in this series.

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A man consulting with a woman

The advising families series includes:

Advisor Essentials

In this course, professional advisors will learn common conflicts and difficulties that arise in family businesses. The advisor will understand concepts, tools, and techniques to help integrate solutions into the unique personal needs and dynamics to serve family-owned businesses.

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Essential Assessment Process

In this course, we detail the types of data that should be gathered about the family, the individual, and the business simultaneously and the purpose for the information. The advisor will learn the primary objectives of a formal assessment and learn the value of the family sharing their thoughts, feelings, and perceptions.

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Establishing Policies and Structures

In this course, you will learn to consider your client to be the family business system, rather than one stakeholder. A more broad-based view will allow for more elegant solutions to issues that arise. Learn to focus effort on helping stakeholder groups raise and resolve their interests and concerns.

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In order to aid the business, this course will help the advisor understand the complex landscape of the systems from the business and family perspective. The family systems perspective will be outlined to help advisors understand and work within the dynamic structures of the family and the business and the challenging areas that frequently overlap.

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Succession Planning

This course discusses how planning should begin while the potential successors are children; they should be taught about family values, work ethic, money, work-life balance, and other important issues. These early conversations set the stage for potential successors to develop into capable leaders.

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Supporting Families in Conflict

This course will show the goals, questions, desired outcomes, risks, and potential problems of the consulting process. The consultant will learn the nature of conflict, the techniques in dealing with conflict, and the advantages of embracing conflict as the family business works through their challenges in development.

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Additional Resources