A study of College of Business graduates from Montana State University, 1980-1989
Ellis, Paul D.
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The primary objective of this study was to determine the need for additional entrepreneurial/small business management education at Montana State University. This determination was based upon the responses of College of Business graduates that had graduated between the years 1980 and 1989. Information was collected from the graduates in two areas: (1) General Information, (2) Demographics. Questionnaires were mailed to 629 College of Business graduates, of which 55% or 348 usable responses were returned. The first mailing produced 231 usable responses making it necessary for a follow-up mailing, which provided 117 usable responses. The survey instrument was reviewed, by graduate students in the College of Business enrolled in Business Education 524, Research in Business Education and by other of the college's students and faculty. After suggestions, appropriate revisions were made to the survey questionnaire prior to the first mailing. The review of literature indicated that the trend toward increased entrepreneurial/small business management education has been noticed as early as 1977. This trend is also noticeable at a large number of post-secondary schools in Montana, and through out the United States. The conclusions of the study were: (1) That a majority of the students felt Professional Correspondence/Business Communication was the course most widely used in the work enviroment and was the most adequately taught. (2)The courses Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship rank low in the adequacy of the course coverage provided by the college. (3) These same two courses, as indicated by the respondents, were used the least among their work activities. A considerable number of graduates, 37.60%, do plan to own their own business. (4) The majority of the graduates are finding employment in their chosen fields. (5) A majority, 59.33%, of the graduates work for firms that have sales volume in excess of one million dollars in gross sales volume, and 32.31% of the student's firms employ in excess of 500 employees. (6) The College of Business appears to be preparing students adequately for their careers. (7) Graduates, in general, are satisfied with their chosen careers. (8) The College of Business has had the foresight to either expand or delete course curriculum when necessary. Demographic conclusions were a majority of students, 60.17%, must go out of state to find employment, with 50% prefering to remain in Montana. The recommendations were: (1) It is recommended that the College of Business increase or expand their emphasis in Computers, Internships, Business Communication, Entrepreneurship/Small Business Management, and Finance. (2) It is recommended that more attention be given to the entrepreneur/small business area in the courses already being taught. (3) That a small business accounting course be added to the courses available. (4) That this study be replicated after 5 years to continue to provide feedback to the College of Business. (5) It is recommended that the current track in Small Business Management, under the Management Option, be evaluated to determine its relevancy to the management option.