ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM BUILDS ONGOING RELATIONSHIP WITH LOCAL BUSINESS COMMUNITY
Gary Lim, managing director of the Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises (EEE) program, knows that some of the best educational experiences occur outside the classroom. So when he joined the School of Management in 1998, he began reaching out to the local business community in an effort that benefits both businesses and students.
As part of that initiative, Lim organizes an annual entrepreneurship forum, gathering members of the local business community for a day of sharing ideas and networking. Last fall’s forum drew 80 participants. “The forum is part of the outreach portion of the EEE curriculum,” Lim says. “It is a day we put on for local businesses that we hope will lead to an ongoing exchange.”
courtesy of ACP
Lim was motivated to organize the forum after meeting local entrepreneurs when he moved to Syracuse from the San Francisco area two years ago. “I talked to people about the struggles they faced starting a business in this area, and they seemed to think they were the only ones experiencing those problems,” he says. “I used those start-up issues as topics for the forum.”
The second annual forum, Creating Growth in Privately Held Companies, featured a keynote address by Phil Gross, founder and co-CEO of AtYourBusiness.com, a start-up in Rockville, Maryland. A series of panel discussions focused on such issues as venture capital and running a family-owned business.
Lim also invites local business professionals to campus to share their knowledge with EEE students. “Students have given a lot of positive feedback about the guest lecturers,” Lim says. “They always think the opportunity to get real-world input is valuable.”
While the forum is not specifically designed for students, several—like marketing major Ben Grubbs ’01—help organize the event and attend the sessions. “Hearing from people who are out there working to get their own ideas going gave me information I might never get from a class,” he says.
Grubbs has already put his education and the professional advice he gained at the forum into practice. He has devised, financed, produced, and marketed a television pilot based in the Bay Area. He is also a partner with a new magazine, Young Performer Journal.
Strengthening the connection with the business community is just one way Lim encourages entrepreneurial interest among management students. He also established Entrepreneur’s Corner, a series of web pages dedicated to the EEE program, and advises the student organization Future Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs. Sponsored by the School of Management, the organization welcomes all University students and has about 40 members this year. “Entrepreneurship is something that students from many different disciplines are interested in today,” Lim says.
PROFESSOR WORKS WITH CHINESE OFFICIALS TO IMPROVE PUBLIC SERVICE AND REFORM GOVERNMENT
The People’s Republic of China has undergone a slow but steady transformation in recent years, opening its economy to foreign investors and its collective mind to government reform. Professor William Sullivan, director of executive education programs in the Maxwell School, has long worked with Chinese government officials to promote public administration. His efforts were recognized with the 1999 Friendship Award, given annually by China’s State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs to 30 of the 80,000 foreigners working in China to further develop its economy and infrastructure.
The Chinese understand quite well that they can’t have economic success unless they have a well-run, efficient governmental structure,” says Sullivan, who has been part of Maxwell’s ongoing partnership with the China National School of Public Administration since it began in April 1993. “They want to get the best and brightest interested in public service as a career. A lot of people there are focusing on the economic side of things—this is an effort to say, ‘You can’t have everyone involved in business. We need people to help run government, and if they’re competent people, they’ll also help promote economic growth.’”
Maxwell was the China National School’s first international partner, focusing at first solely on public administration training and civil service reform. “We shared with them the kind of reform going on in the United States and spent a lot of time helping them develop training curricula, showing them how to train adult learners,” Sullivan says. “Now, because we’ve developed closer ties over time, our relationship has greatly expanded to include helping the Chinese think about how they should train and develop leaders, senior officials within government.”
This is a radical change for a system that focuses more on party loyalty than individual ability when placing government officials, he says.
Of particular interest is a trial agreement with the Communist Party to exempt 10 percent of the highest government positions from party review and approval. “They’re establishing a competitive process in which people are evaluated based on their competency and ability to manage,” Sullivan says.
He has also aided SU College of Law professors William Banks and Richard Goldsmith in their project to develop administrative procedures that will eventually govern the roles and responsibilities of bureaucrats and public agencies in China.
During the past year, the State Education Commission of China Cermitted seven Chinese institutions to create educational programs in public administration. Maxwell Assistant Dean Astrid Merget has been working with Tsinghua University in Beijing—one of China’s most prominent universities—to create a graduate program in public administration and establish a school of public affairs. “A few years from now China will have programs across the country training people in public service,” Sullivan says. “They’ll be good at managing organizations and people. It will be very different, and it’s all part of this rapid reform.”