by Laura Quinn, MBA ’14
Before coming to UNC Kenan-Flagler, I viewed my family business as a natural extension of my family. It was something always present – from dinner table discussions to summers working in the office to the workers I had known my entire life. But I had never taken a step back to reflect on the business in a deeper sense – thinking about its strategy, longevity, and future.
During my two years at UNC Kenan-Flagler, the Family Enterprise Center taught me not only the importance of such reflection but more importantly they provided me the tools and the guidance to thoughtfully do so.
I learned what questions to ask, and how to listen. I learned about estate planning and taxation strategy. I went through in depth case studies of other family businesses, problem shooting and coming up with fact-based suggestions. I dove deeper into the complexities of family business – how these companies are more than businesses and how understanding emotional ties and relationships are important in analysis.
And I learned all of these skills surrounded by other students facing similar struggles and questions. For the first time, I not only reflected on my role in my family and the business, but I did so with students who pushed me to think deeper and reflect more thoughtfully.
Overall, when I entered my first Family Business meeting two years ago, I had no idea how transformative the experience would be. While I know this learning process will continue to take place over my lifetime, I rejoice in knowing the knowledge I have gained, and the FEC resources and alumni I can call on for the rest of my life.