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Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Economics of Business Success Seminar

Another successful FEE summer seminar

A two week stretch of three seminars began on Monday, June 15th at Chapman University in Orange, California. The first of these seminars, Economics of Business Success, was for our Young Professionals audience, which consists of college-aged students in the process of preparing for/beginning their careers. Coming from as close as southern California and as far away as Ukraine, these students were exposed to core economic concepts as they apply to business, as well as the importance of entrepreneurship to society as a whole.

An all-star faculty from various academic and professional backgrounds provided many intriguing lectures and discussions. T.K. Coleman laid the groundwork for the seminar with an overview of economic thinking. Coleman is a philosopher, entrepreneur, and currently works as the Education Director for Praxis. Throughout his lectures, he explained rational choice theory as it applies to business, spontaneous order as it applies to following one’s dreams, and the societal importance of entrepreneurs.

Thinking like an entrepreneur is never easy, and we often fall victim to various forms of biases, which hinder our growth as an individual, businessperson, and can even slow entire societies. Brian Brenberg eloquently touched on several of these biases as well as provided techniques to improve one’s decision making. Brenberg earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and currently teaches business and economics courses at Kings College in New York. In his other lectures, Brenberg discussed how one’s vision plays a major role in the development of a business and the importance of good institutions to facilitate societal growth.

One set of institutions that are key to economic growth and social evolution are those that facilitate trade. Dr. Antony Davies explained concepts of comparative and absolute advantage and demonstrated how trade is mutually beneficial by conducting an exercise with the students. Dr. Davies is an associate professor of economics at Duquesne University.

He has been involved in many entrepreneurial ventures, working as the CFO of Parabon Computation and co-founding and serving as the president of Paragon Software. He later introduced students to Public Choice theory by laying out the incentive structure and behavior of voters, politicians, and bureaucrats. In his final lecture, Davies discussed specific and practical guidelines to take when pursuing an entrepreneurial project.

Economics of Business Success concluded with a Q&A panel between T.K. Coleman and Brian Brenberg. The two provided valuable insight on behaving entrepreneurially, as well as using entrepreneurial thinking when working inside established organizations.

Outside of lectures and activities, students relaxed over milkshakes during nightly socials at Ruby’s, a local 1950s style diner. Students from around the world got to personally know and learn about each other’s cultural differences and similarities.

After three days of learning the importance of entrepreneurship, self-interest, and institutions, these exceptional students are now one step closer to making this world a better place.

  • Nick Hanchey is a Summer Programs Associate at FEE. He is a senior at Georgia College & State University double majoring in Economics and Management.