Booming Business

It was a bold move for bold times.

But even before business school pioneers Herbert Davenport and Thorstein Veblen could pat themselves on the back, their colleagues at the University of Missouri were denouncing President A. Ross Hill’s decision to pull MU’s world-renowned economics department out of the College of Arts and Science and into the newly launched School of Commerce. The controversy pitted ivory tower champions of theory and culture against commercial pragmatists looking to populate the economic landscape with college graduates schooled in economics, business theory and practical management.

The pragmatists won.

In January 1914, MU joined the ranks of a handful of other universities and opened its business school. Touting a mixture of business theory and practical application, the nine faculty members of the School of Commerce set about educating their first 15 students during that winter 100 years ago. It was an illustrious group, led by Dean Herbert Davenport and his former professor at the University of Chicago, Thorstein Veblen. Davenport was a champion of the theory that the entrepreneur was central to market activity. Veblen, whose departure from Stanford five years earlier had been tinged with scandal, was the prominent economist who blended sociology theories with economic analysis. He coined the phrase “conspicuous consumption” in his 1899 opus, The Theory of the Leisure Class, and while in Columbia penned another well-known work, The Instinct of Workmanship and the State of the Industrial Arts. Neither Davenport nor Veblen stayed long in Columbia — they were both gone by 1917 — but their legacy set the stage for a tradition of business education and resources for the Show-Me State that has endured beyond the century mark.

“We’re really proud of our legacy,” says Joan Gabel, dean of what is now known as the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business. “When the business school launched in 1914, it was a question of if Missouri needed a business school. Now here we are, 100 years later, at the core of the university’s mission. We’re delighted that something that started as trendy has become nationally recognized and core.”

Mizzou’s was the ninth university-related business school to open in America, the third one located at a land-grant university and one of the first to receive accreditation (in 1926). In its long history the school has grown and contracted as a reflection of economic times. Now looking at the past as it envisions the future, Trulaske is offering a slate of programs and classes to meet the needs of 21st-century business and beyond.

The century mark is a milestone that only eight other American business schools have celebrated. For such a momentous occasion, a party was in order — and the college has been celebrating all year with a packed slate of events that stretched from Homecoming 2013 to Homecoming 2014. The crown jewel in that celebration has been the Centennial Speaker Series, a collection of 10 conversations between Dean Joan Gabel and leaders in the business world. The recorded one-on-one interviews are posted on Trulaske’s MU website and on its YouTube channel.

“We wanted to make our celebration accessible to all — not just something people could only enjoy if they were in Columbia,” says Gabel. “The format was flexible enough that we could record the interviews here or we went to them.”

The conversations with these business leaders — and not all are alumni — run anywhere from 25 to 40 minutes, broken into “chapters” in the college’s YouTube channel presentation. “We talked about their lives and their leadership journey,” Gabel says. “And how we should prepare our students to meet their businesses’ needs. We discussed companies, brands and strategies, although few were specific — more like the view from 30,000 feet up.”

Gabel admits to an ulterior motive with the interviews — a reality check for the college for assessing its success in preparing students for today’s business needs. “We were getting good intel on what we need to be doing,” she says. “I wanted it to be a high-engagement moment for faculty, staff, students, alumni and future students.”

Gabel relished the juxtaposition of commemorating a 100-year anniversary with cutting-edge technology. “This year’s speaker series was special,” she says. “We wanted it to be different and modern, leveraging all of the information and all of the technology we could.”

Centennial Speaker Series
Available online at and
José Gutiérrez
, wholesale solutions president, AT&T

David Haffner, CEO, Leggett & Platt Inc.

Gerry Lopez, CEO & president, AMC Entertainment Inc.

Jean McKenzie, president, American Girl

Ed Rapp, group president and executive office member, Caterpillar Inc.

Rodger Riney, founder & CEO, Scottrade

Matt Rose, executive chairman, BNSF Railway Co.

Steve Trulaske, owner, True Manufacturing

Don Walsworth, CEO, Walsworth Publishing Co.

James White, chairman & CEO, Jamba Juice

Trulaske College of Business offers a core of traditional business education at the University of Missouri. Undergraduates earn a Bachelor of Science in business administration or a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy/Master of Accountancy. Students may choose to specialize in management, marketing, accountancy, economics, finance, real estate or international business. The school offers MBA and Ph.D. degrees as well.

And because no business has cookie-cutter needs, the school has recently established several innovative programs that offer more unique paths to success in the business world.

“We are creating a mindset of ‘intrapreneurship,’ ” says Gabel. “Risk is no longer the same as cost. The lines are blurring between entrepreneur and improving an established business. Students willing to embrace new ideas and take risks get to that ‘fork in the road’ moment, and they’re going for it. We just have to make sure we are sending out well-prepared talent that can remain competitive and grow.”

Risk Management & Insurance Program

Trulaske’s centennial year celebration began with the announcement in 2013 of a new program in risk management and insurance, funded by $1 million in gifts from corporate and private donors. Finance students interested in the specialized area will graduate with specific skills in managing risk for corporations, businesses and individuals.

Executive MBA

The execMBA blends a combination of online coursework, on-campus study and an international residency for working professionals. The program is geared toward working professionals who require flexibility to get their degree. The 21-month program just graduated its inaugural class of 19 executives with 100 percent program retention.

Entrepreneurship Alliance
The Entrepreneurship Alliance is a talent incubator for students who demonstrate a high potential for new business development. Alliance members explore personal opportunities in various areas of business startups, franchises, and family-run businesses to develop entrepreneurial characteristics such as a passion for business, tenacity despite failure, self-determination, management of risk, self-confidence, opportunity creation, creativity, initiative and detail orientation.

Allen Angel Capital Education Program

The Allen Angel Capital Education Program is a student group of mid-Missouri investors. Funded by grants from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Shelter Insurance Cos. and other donors, students engage in cross-disciplinary collaboration to invest in high-growth startup companies. Investors learn to cultivate deal flow, perform prescreening duties, complete due diligence and structure investment contracts. After student investors take an equity position, the program monitors portfolio holdings and harvest investments.
The college also engages the professional business world to foster career development for students and serve as a resource to business.

Hire A Mizzou Tiger

Trulaske’s Professional Development Program and Business Career Services match opportunities to students and graduates, whether that is job shadowing, required internships or job placement.

MBA Consulting

Crosby MBA students consult with multinational companies on diverse topics and bring a fresh perspective to business topics. Deliverables include market analyses, competitive analyses, marketing segmentation strategies, economic impact analyses, human resource development plans, cost-accounting methods and feasibility studies.

Missouri Innovation Center

The Missouri Innovation Center works with innovators and entrepreneurs on the creation and growth of new ventures that translate research innovations into commercialized technologies, products and processes. The center supports the creation of new, high-growth ventures, particularly those with a technology component.

Missouri Training Institute

The Missouri Training Institute provides training and consulting services to improve business performance and organizational effectiveness for public, private and not-for-profit organizations. MTI offers training in professional development, supervision, management, human resources and consulting services.

Miz Biz Who’s Who
The University of Missouri’s College of Business proudly honors these men whose names define the buildings and programs of the college. Here is the answer to the question, “Who are those guys?”
– Robert J. Trulaske Sr., whose name graces the University of Missouri College of Business, was a 1940 graduate of the business school. He worked at Procter & Gamble until the start of World War II, when he served as a C-47 pilot. After the war, Trulaske founded True Manufacturing Co. in O’Fallon with his father, Francis Robert Jr., and his brother, Arthur William. The firm is a leading manufacturer in the commercial refrigeration, food-service and soft-drink industries. In 1997, he and his wife, Geraldine, created a multimillion-dollar endowment to fund scholarships for students in the undergraduate business program and the MBA program. The university awarded Trulaske an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2002 for outstanding achievements in his business career. Trulaske died in 2004 at the age of 86. In October 2007, the MU business school was renamed the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business after Trulaske’s widow donated a gift in an undisclosed amount.
– Harry M. Cornell Jr., namesake of Cornell Hall, is chairman emeritus of Leggett & Platt Inc., a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Carthage. Cornell’s grandfather, inventor J.P. Leggett, co-founded the company as a pioneer of the coiled bedspring. Cornell earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Missouri in 1950 and became president and CEO of Leggett & Platt in 1960. The company enjoyed substantial growth in the ’60s and went public in 1967. Cornell received an honorary doctorate of law in 2003 from MU. He and his wife, Ann, in conjunction with Leggett & Platt, donated $3 million to the college during its Excellence through Change capital campaign. In 2006, the Cornells gave an additional $4 million to the college, part of which funded enhancements to Cornell Hall. The gift also established the Cornell Leadership Program. Cornell Hall, which opened in 2002, is the fourth home of the College of Business. The School of Commerce began in Swallow Hall (named for George Clinton Swallow, MU’s first dean of agriculture), then moved to the old Law School building in the 1920s. In 1960, Middlebush Hall (named for Frederick A. Middlebush, business dean and MU president) opened and served as the home of the business school for 42 years.
– Gordon E. Crosby Jr., namesake of the Crosby MBA, was chairman and CEO of USLIFE Corp. During his 52-year career in the insurance industry, Crosby guided USLIFE to become one of the first life insurance-based financial services companies in the nation. He attended Kemper Military College in Boonville and then transferred to the University of Missouri, where he was captain of the Mizzou track team. He left MU in 1941 to join the Navy and served as a submarine officer during World War II. In 2002, Crosby and his wife, Chessie, donated $10 million in support of the MBA program, which now bears his name. He died in 2004 at the age of 84.
– Jeffrey E. Smith funds the Jeffrey E. Smith Institute of Real Estate, founded in 2005. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Smith is president and CEO of JES Holdings LLC, which he founded in the early 1980s. The Columbia-based family of real estate development, management and investment companies includes Bear Land Development Co., Fairway Construction Co., Fairway Management Co., Capital Health Management Inc. and Affordable Equity Partners Inc.

How Trulaske Stacks Up
Both Forbes and U.S. News & World Report rank MU’s Trulaske College of Business at No. 58 on the magazines’ most recent lists of Best Business Schools. The U.S. News ranking puts Trulaske in the top 13 percent of the magazine’s database. Bloomberg Businessweek ranks the full-time MBA program at No. 56, noting an 88 percent post-graduate job-offer rate.

Trulaske’s School of Accountancy is highly regarded nationally, ranking 11th in the 2013 Public Accounting Report.

A 2012 Forbes study on the return on investment of an MBA degree noted Trulaske MBA graduates averaged a five-year salary gain of $28,700, post-degree. Years to payback for MBA school costs were 3.9. According to the Forbes study, the 2012 average salary of Trulaske MBA graduates was $78,000.

Captains Of Industry
The University of Missouri issued its first business degree, to Donald S. Libbey, in 1915. A year later, Katherine O’Neill King made history as the School of Commerce’s first woman graduate and the first person of either gender to earn a Bachelor of Science in public administration. Since those early days, more than 32,000 graduates have earned business degrees from the University of Missouri, joining a veritable stream of famous (and infamous) leaders of business and industry. Here’s a look at some of the more notable names with degrees from MU’s business school.

Ralph W. Babb, chairman and CEO, Comerica Inc. financial services

Mark E. Burkhart, president and CEO, Cassidy Turley real estate services

Jack E. Bush, former president and director of Michaels Stores Inc.; president of Raintree Partners real estate investment and development

Ralph W. Clark, former corporate vice president of IBM, current director at Leggett & Platt Inc.

Harry M. Cornell Jr., chairman emeritus, Leggett & Platt Inc.

Gordon E. Crosby Jr., former chairman and CEO of USLIFE Corp.

Chase Daniel, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and founder/CEO, 10Star Apparel

Harvey P. Eisen, chairman of Bedford Oak Advisors

Alan C. Greenberg, former chairman, The Bear Stearns Companies Inc.

Matthew Flanigan, executive vice president and CFO, Leggett & Platt Inc.

Harold S. Hook, former president, CEO, and chairman, American General Insurance

E. Stanley Kroenke, chairman, THF Realty; owner, NBA’s Denver Nuggets, NHL’s Colorado Avalanche; co-owner NFL’s St. Louis Rams; co-owner Premier League’s Arsenal F.C.

Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron

Steven K. Lumpkin, former CFO, director and executive vice president, Applebee’s International

Jean McKenzie, president, American Girl

Edward Rapp, group president and CFO, Caterpillar Inc.

Rodger O. Riney, founder and CEO, Scottrade

Matthew K. Rose, executive chairman, BNSF Railway Co.

N. Scott Rosenblum, president and principal founding member, Rosenblum, Schwartz, Rogers & Glass PC Attorneys At Law

Jay Sarno, founder, Caesar’s Palace and Circus Circus in Las Vegas

Jeffrey E. Smith, president and CEO, JES Holdings LLC

Robert J. Trulaske Sr., founder and former CEO of True Manufacturing Co.

Roger M. Vasey, former executive vice president of Merrill Lynch & Co.

Samuel M. Walton, founder of Walmart

Tim Wolfe, president, University of Missouri
Wonder whatever happened to those first graduates? Libbey became superintendent of Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas after eight years as a geology professor and department chairman at Drury College in Springfield. King went on to have a career with the American Red Cross in Alton, Ill.