“Entrepreneurship” has become a buzz word in the 21st century. At a time like no other, gifted thinkers, innovators, and visionaries are able to thrive in businesses of their own, rather than working for others. And while a college education isn’t always necessary to prepare someone as an entrepreneur, it’s certainly an advantage. But are college programs preparing students—especially Latinas–for such opportunities?
As a whole, the answer is “yes.” And here’s why:
There’s a New Curriculum
The once rigid business curriculum, limited to its traditional courses in accounting, finance, management and marketing, is now made up of courses that appeal to other practical aspects of entrepreneurship, many of which may fit well with Latinas. Certificates and courses in family entrepreneurship, health care entrepreneurship, and social entrepreneurship, dispense with the “one-size fits all” approach. Latinas, with their unique experiences and family cultural attributes, may benefit from some diversity in the curriculum that came from a once a white-male perspective of business education.
The Environment Has Changed
It’s not your parents’ campus. Like changes in the curriculum, the new business school culture is more accommodating to Latinas, as it is to many demographic groups. The increasing number of Latinas entering business programs creates a climate of diversity and inclusion, removing much of the cultural isolation and stereotyping that were once so inhibiting. Program requirements of both undergraduate and graduate programs are also more flexible; the convenience of online learning as well as adjustable course schedules and deadlines present a more family-friendly scenario for completing degree programs.
Support Systems are Now Part of the System
The professional and social support networks for Latinas have greatly expanded in recent years. On almost every campus, you’ll find women student organizations, Hispanic or Latinx student organizations, and even some Latina-specific organizations, such as New York University’s Latinas Alumni Network, or the City University of New York’s Young Latinas Leadership Institute. These groups are an invaluable resource for financial, moral, and academic support. Individual academic units, at the college or departmental level, may also offer scholarship opportunities designed specifically for Hispanic women.
You just have to look for them.
The playing field for Latinas is leveling. It still may be a challenge, but it’s there for anyone willing to go for it. Remember, colleges exist for you, the student: Let them help you make your dream come true.