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MBA in Family Business Management

Family business management in India has it’s own unique set of challenges, succession planning being one of top ones. The other being in the area of human resources. Employees working in family business will constantly have the temptation to leave and join a mainstream corporate environment where the work culture and incentives are a little more ‘professional’. Read this story to see what we mean –> Family owned business management vs professional companies.

The concept of technology entrepreneurship might be new in India, but our country has always had a huge number of family businesses that have been running for generations. Many of them in traditional industries that have grown big enough to compete with the corporates. That accentuates the new to bring in professional processes and practices in what has typically been a founder-driven environment.

This post is for all those MBA candidates coming from business family backgrounds and planning to join their family business in India after completion of their MBA program. An MBA in family business management from a top business school would help such students pick up the required skills for taking their businesses to the next level. However there aren’t too many business schools that specially cater to the needs of such students. We cover a few such programs that offer family business management courses.

The best bschools for an MBA in Family business management

Rather than being full-fledged MBA in Family business management, many of the options listed below offer courses focussed on managing family business or electives that give the regular MBA a different flavour. As you aren’t using these degrees or courses to impress corporate, how they are perceived by other companies is less relevant than the knowledge you are hoping to get.

Indian School of Business

ISB has come up with MFAB, a management programme for family business. This is a part-time fifteen month program. This program is customized to meet the needs of those involved in their own family business management in India. This course would also cover the general management areas including accounting, basic finance, operations, and marketing.

If family businesses need to survive across generations, the newer entrants into the business need to be capable enough to be able to take it forward. As Dr Kavil Ramachandran of ISB Hyderabad in an interview about MFAB with PaGalGuy mentions ‘unless the leaders are competent enough to keep up with the changing business environment of the world, are qualified and have the right mix of capabilities, the business destiny will be affected. The family’s capabilities become a major driving force’.

A specialized course like this promises to help them acquire the required skills to handle the various aspects of their business in a successful and efficient manner.

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

At Kenan-Flagler, the MBA Family Enterprise Center enables students to acquire leadership skills for their family businesses. Students can choose to opt for the MBA Family Enterprise Focus along with their MBA coursework. Various topics including expansion of business, strategy, bringing in professionalism into the family business, relationships, succession, governance, wealth management and many more are covered.

Harvard Business School

At Harvard, among the electives offered, there’s a course in management of family business. This course enables students to understand the dynamics of such businesses, giving it a professional outlook, managing shareholder relationships, handling disputes or conflicts and various strategies to successfully run the family business.

Kellogg School of Management

In Kellogg Executive MBA program, among the electives, students can take up ‘Family Enterprises: Success and Continuity’. This course would educate those involved in family business on various topics including succession and family dynamics to continuity planning and strategic performance.


At INSEAD, there’s an elective on ‘Family Business Management’ suited to meet the needs of those from business families. ‘The Wendel Centre For Family Enterprise’ provides a perfect platform for exchange of ideas, knowledge and experiences. In addition to class discussions and lectures, various other means are employed including case studies, simulations and guest lectures. The interaction with peers coming from various business family backgrounds helps students gain new insights and varied perspectives.

University of Notre Dame-Mendoza College of Business

At Mendoza, the elective courses include Family Enterprise Strategy. This course would cover the challenges and opportunities faced by those in business-owning families in addition to topics like generational succession, governance, family dynamics and strategic planning. Students would be required to work on a final project wherein they would have to prepare a continuity plan for a family business.

Pros and cons of pursuing a family business management course

Those in business families enrolling for an MBA course may have several advantages over their peers. Firstly, it’s a huge relief that they don’t face the pressure of job-hunting and can devote their entire time and energy focusing in the required areas and enjoy the available resources whereas for most MBA students, job-hunting can be quite a stressful phase as they may have to go for several rounds of interviews with various employers.

The flipside is that because there’s no pressure or a sense of urgency, there’s a tendency that the students may be less serious about their pursuits and look at this opportunity at an international location more like a vacation and may not push themselves to the limits.

We’ve worked with many applicants who have joined their family business in India. Here’s the story of one such applicant who got a full tuition scholarship at a top bschool in USA. If you are planning to head to any of the best bschools offering family business management courses, drop us a note: info at mbacrystalball dot com

Family Business applicants: Tips for MBA essays and recommendations
MBA after CA with textile manufacturing experience in family business
Company-sponsored MBA: Pros and cons
Applying to MBA Programs as a Sponsored Candidate

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

6 thoughts on “MBA in Family Business Management”

  1. @Rishabh: We’ve listed some programs in the blog post. If you go to the websites of these progams, you’ll get plenty of information including MBA syllabus, program structure, tuition fees, placement statistics, average MBA salaries and much more.

  2. Hi,

    I was going through the ISB website and came across a test called BAT, which is required for admission into its MFAB program. Can anyone please provide me more info about the module and level of questions asked and answers expected there? Is it in any way similar to GMAT?

  3. I finished my mechanical engineering and doing family business – jewellery which is not related to what I studied. But its been 2 years I was in family business. I have got MBA full-time admission at UNIVERSITY OF TASMANIA – it right decision to do got abroad now….plz advice ?? Help????


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