California State University, Northridge (CSUN) has hosted an active Small Business Institute (SBI) for over 30 years, through which hundreds of clients have received benefit from student-led consulting services. Currently directed by marketing professor and Graduate Programs Director, Deborah Cours, the CSUN SBI has grown from a course project in the marketing capstone course to be a hallmark of the hands-on, experiential learning valued in the mission of the CSUN College of Business and Economics.
In 1998, the SBI program was expanded to the CSUN MBA program. Today, graduate students can satisfy the culminating experience requirement for the MBA and MS Accountancy programs through small business consulting projects in lieu of a thesis or comprehensive exam. MBA students can also take the MBA Small Business Consulting elective course.
In 2002, Wells Fargo endowed the college's Center for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, currently directed by Franck Vigneron, which houses the SBI. The curriculum was expanded. The undergraduate course, Small Business Consulting, became a college-wide elective (BUS 491). Additionally, we created an experiential version of the traditional case-based strategy capstone course to offer more students more opportunities for hands-on learning and to benefit our local business community. Currently taught by CSUN alumna and successful entrepreneur, Joy Griffin, undergraduates "get the bug" and eagerly sign up for the capstone course after experiencing such valuable service learning opportunities in the Small Business Consulting elective. Read More