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Columbia Student Enterprises (CSE)


Developing entrepreneurial and business leaders through student-run enterprises 



Columbia Student Enterprises Program

The mission of the Columbia Student Enterprises program is to provide students with a unique opportunity to cultivate and develop transferable entrepreneurship and enterprise management skills through leading and running student-operated businesses. The Columbia Student Enterprises is steeped in rich history dating back to 1965, when students created their own businesses to offset the cost of tuition. Today, these businesses provide employment opportunities to approximately 200 Columbia students each year. Participants of this program emerge as experienced business managers, with a strong foundation in leadership, business ethics, and professional responsibility through direct, hands-on experience.  The following three agencies make up today's Columbia Student Enterprises:

Program Overview

The Columbia Student Enterprises Program identifies talented students interested in developing valuable business, leadership and management skills to serve as Managing Directors. Managing Directors serve for a one year management term. They are provided training, extensive professional development, and support to ensure success and to help achieve their business goals. During their management term, they receive a salary and are eligible for a performance bonus at the end of their term.

Program Features


The Center for Career Education provides oversight and advisement for the Columbia Student Enterprises, as well as the Managing Directors and agency employees. Managing directors gain exposure to all aspects of the business through experiential training by shadowing current managers.  The training period lasts approximately two months before a Managing Director will start leading their business directly. Training is often customized depending on the needs of the business, current trends in the industry and professional recommendations.

Professional Development Workshop Series

External consultants and business professionals provide one-on-one personalized consulting to each Managing Director in order to support their business operations. These professionals can discuss goals, brainstorm ideas, and discuss issues that may arise within the business. The Professional Development Workshops in the past have included

  • Advertising and Marketing Strategy
  • Social Media Training for business
  • Effective Leadership
  • Technology and Website Development
  • Operations
  • Professionalism & Ethics
  • Succession Planning


In addition to ensuring compliance with Columbia University policies and procedures, The Center for Career Education provides support through strong advisory relationships, mentoring and coaching. Each Managing Director has an individual experiential education advisor and a financial advisor, along with an advisory board to assist in decision making, IT planning, and operations oversight. These advisors facilitate professional and personal development with the aim of helping students achieve financial success with their enterprises. In addition, CCE maintains relationships with employers, alumni and individuals in a variety of industries that may be called upon to assist a Managing Director.

Program Benefits

Students participating in the Columbia Student Enterprises program can expect to gain the ability to manage and operate a business successfully, build confidence by taking calculated risks, and develop highly transferable business experience that can translate into real world opportunities. Student managers also gain valuable knowledge about the operational procedures of Columbia University, including working closely with and learning from institutional administrators to develop critical leadership competencies that can be applied to their future careers within other complex organizations. With the high impact support of CCE, students will be able to apply the skills they learn to their academic, personal, and professional growth and development. Students who become Managing Directors can expect to gain real world experience in the following areas:

  • Management - Leadership, Operations, Financial Accounting, Business Plan Development, Strategic Planning, Sales, Negotiation, Marketing, Risk Analysis, and Human Capital Management
  • Professional Skills - Time Management, Project Management, Team building, Productivity and Systems
  • Soft Skills - Problem Solving, Teamwork, Creativity, and Effective Communication


In addition to management positions, there are over 200 part-time positions available within the enterprises such as bartending, tutoring, translating, blogging, writing, and advertising/sales. Interested students should check LionSHARE for any current postings or contact the current Managing Directors about the numerous part-time opportunities available (contact information below).

Information Sessions

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Program Contacts

If you have questions about this program, please contact the following individuals or click on the logo to link you directly to the website.

Program Advisor: Laura Maltz

Managing Director:

Program Advisor: Emily Rosenberg

Managing Director:

Program Advisor: Jill Burya

Managing Director: