Mission Statement: The Enterprise and Business Program at Middlebury College provides students with an understanding of how the liberal arts relates to the real world. We seek to eliminate the artificial barrier between academic and professional practices. In fact, we enable and empower students to better understand how a liberal arts education is truly the foundation of all business careers.
We offer interdisciplinary courses in enterprise, business, social entrepreneurship, management, and finance—all taught by successful executives and academicians who have real-world experience and a desire to convey their knowledge to students.
A Unique Approach to “Meeting the Moment”: Business & the Liberal Arts
Enterprises of all types highly value individuals who can combine liberal arts skills, leadership skills, and business acumen to carry out their organizational goals. Given the complex world we live in and the hyper competitive global landscape, businesses today crave those who possess liberal arts skill set and business acumen. For example, a television producer needs to keep control of budgets for a show; a nonprofit executive needs to efficiently deliver supplies to refugees and manage people and cover costs; an executive director of an art museum desiring to increase foot traffic in her museum and to finance new exhibits, and a school principal needs to meet budgets and contain expenditures. Learn more.
About our Program, Course Offerings, and Tracks
Our program and courses are designed for students interested in working toward leadership roles in for-profit, nonprofit, government, and for-benefit enterprises. Our program leverages Middlebury’s existing academic departments and highly regarded faculty. Moreover, it uniquely complements Middlebury’s amazing liberal arts offerings (e.g, “Literature & the Economy”, “Literature & Class Struggle,” “Race, Capitalism, and Decolonization”; “Neuroeconomics”, “History of Medicine”, “Data Science Across Disciplines”, “Religion & Capitalism”, “Machine Learning”, “Politics and Money,” “International Political Economy”, “Roman Law”, “Philosophy & Law”, “Philosophy of Technology”, “Digital Sociology”, “Anthropology of Global Corporations”—just to name a few) by showing students how the skills learned in the liberal arts translate to skills used in business and enterprise. We currently offer 7 informal program tracks (e.g., Finance, Organization Studies, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Nonprofit & Civic Management, ESG Oriented Firms, Public Management & Public Policy, and Leadership Studies) for students to focus more closely on their areas of interest.
1) Finance—This track is for those students who are interested in the art and science of valuing investment securities, small and large-scale projects, companies, programs, and initiatives. This track will prepare students for the following areas of finance: asset management, financial markets, investment banking, commercial banking, and industrial organizations. Moreover, students will be exposed to the fundamentals of venture capital, private equity, structured products, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate board designs. For sure, this track encourages students to think critically about the role of finance in society and the ethical implications of financial decisions.
2) Organization Studies—This track is for those students who are interested in performance and process improvement inside a wide variety of organizations, including corporations, professional services firms, governmental and nonprofits. Students who complete this track will be prepared to contribute to performance and process improvement initiatives inside many types of organizations, measure and interpret an organization’s performance, assess an organization’s threats and opportunities, and recommend stratagem for improvement.
3) Entrepreneurship & Innovation—This track is for those students who are looking to develop and refine their quantitative skills, analytical tools, critical perspectives, and embody experiences that prepare them for careers as solo entrepreneurs, family-business entrepreneurs, or corporate entrepreneurs. Students in this track will learn various theory in tandem with practice. This track provides students the opportunity to explore the theories, models, and strategies learned in the classroom by creating real business plans, working on other field projects, and gaining access and insight from leaders in the entrepreneurial business community.
4) Leadership Studies—This track is for those students who are interested in refining their understanding of group dynamics and effectively leading and managing teams. Students will study the important topics of authority, power, and influence and leverage skills navigating and managing conflicts in organizational contexts and beyond. This track aims to study the sources of legitimacy that leaders allege to possess and followers grant in all relationships and contexts.
5) Nonprofit & Civic Management—This track is for those who are interested in addressing some of the most pressing and “wicked” challenges (e.g., crime, violence, inequality, immigration, education, mass incarceration, inadequate healthcare, etc) facing our communities today. Those interested work to provide essential services, advocate for social change, and build stronger communities. They recognize that nonprofits are critical to society building and fundamentally to democracy. In addition to learning how to lead and operate a nonprofit organization, students learn how to evaluate social impact (both qualitatively and quantitatively).
6) Environmental, Social, and Governance Oriented Firms--This track is for those who desire a deeper understanding of the complex relationships between industrial organizations, the natural environment, and society writ large.
7) Public Management & Public Policy—This track is for those interested in serving as a manager in the public sector. The public manager today not only needs to be an effective leader but also is one who is committed to the efficient delivery of public services and amenities to citizens and communities. The public manager is also one who recognizes the importance of understanding policy processes and who could carry out public policy analysis which is not only qualitative but quantitative in nature. Public management professionals work at all levels of government, from local to federal, and in a wide range of areas, including agriculture, food stability and security, environment, education, cybersecurity, law enforcement, military, healthcare, transportation, and public safety.
Our faculty are practitioners with “centrally relevant experiences” and holders of advanced graduate degrees (doctorates and masters) from top universities in the US. Concomitantly, they are holders of professional/industry designations (CFA and CPA) who have been highly successful in their chosen field and who want to give back by mentoring and teaching students. They come from a variety of different backgrounds. They include a heart surgeon who pivoted to management consulting and led its Asian division (McKinsey & Company); a financial analyst and banker (Ralph Lauren Corporation, Texas Commerce Bank/Chemical Bank, BancOne Securities, FleetBoston, Fitch Rating Agency, MBIA, Royal Bank of Scotland, and BNP Paribas) who also had the opportunity to serve as a Chief Investment Officer (State of Rhode Island) and Head of Finance, Treasury, and Investments of a university (University of Connecticut); a portfolio manager and equity analyst (Dupont Capital & BlackRock); a venture capitalist (Norwest Venture Partners); and an accomplished CPA holder (PWC) who is passionate about accounting and financial literacy.
Opportunities for Students
In addition to a rich and dynamic classroom environment, we support and encourage students in their exploration of the field on campus and beyond. We work closely with other departments on campus to host accomplished alumni and friends for events and to connect our students with rewarding internships and other experiences. See more.
We are committed to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.
Consistent with the College’s mission, we strive to educate leaders for various organizations (e.g., for-profit, not-for-profit, and public sector) and beyond. The current milieu demands us to engage with the challenges (especially issues of discrimination, bias, and equity) as we pursue and support the education of purpose-driven and inclusive organizational leaders.
We aspire to create and sustain a welcoming community where diverse perspectives are heard and valued.