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Life Science Business Incubator is applied space. The business school should be involved with agriculture, medicine and engineering in the business of managing innovation.” Gabel serves on the board of the incubator and is a member of Centennial Investors, a private funding organization that invests in the ideas of entrepreneurs and researchers to help bring them to market. Her willingness to interact with the business community has garnered praise from local business leaders. Chamber of Commerce President Don Laird says her “new perspective from her unique background” plays well at the chamber and other organizations. Cornell Hall hosted the chamber’s annual Economic Outlook Conference last November. The school actively courts local businesses as partners. “I sense a meaningful contribution for Columbia emanating from the university’s business school under Dean

Gabel’s leadership,” says Paul Land, the chamber’s chairman of the board. “Already the chamber’s Education Committee is exploring ways to match up MU students with its members in a volunteer mentoring capacity.” Land is anxiously awaiting results from a benchmarking study the chamber requested from a team of MBA students that will compare Columbia to peer Missouri cities and selected other U.S. communities on several demographic, business and economic indicators. The report, expected later this spring, is a study of Columbia’s attractiveness to prospective businesses, says study director Gregg Martin, associate teaching professor of management. “We hope this interaction between the chamber’s leaders and the university’s energetic researchers will provide a resourceful and empirical scorecard of Columbia’s performance,” says Land. “Just as importantly, it can serve as a

basis for more regular communication between the school and the local business community.” Interaction with the local business community keeps the school grounded, Gabel says, in a town/gown relationship that benefits everyone. “The quality of our programs, and our graduates, attracts industry to Columbia,” she says. “It makes Columbia a more attractive place to locate a business. We are a partner in the economic development of this area.”

Trulaske College of Business is rising, Gabel declares. “Tremendous things have been done, but there is still much to do,” she says. “Challenges yield opportunities. We have to grab those opportunities, just like a good entrepreneur.” It’s an irresistible prospect for this entrepreneurial dean, all tied up with a bow.

Call In The COnsuLtants Looking for answers to business conundrums without the fancy consultant price tag? Check out the MBA consultancy program at MU’s Trulaske College of Business, where MBA students offer cutting-edge solutions for a wide range of business struggles. And the price is right, too — it’s free. Working under the tutelage of gregg Martin, associate teaching professor of management, every student in the Crosby MBA program must participate in two consulting projects. The projects, Martin says, provide graduate students with real-world experience in defining problems, organizing teams, scheduling, developing well-written documents, using technology to present information, evaluating peers and demonstrating commitment. “Truly, the Trulaske College of Business is dedicated to bringing real business situations to students,” Martin says. “We hope these abilities will transfer to increase productivity and help the students as they help their employers.” students work in teams to analyze specific situations as requested by real client organizations. The teams act as consultants and meet with clients, draft proposals and present findings in a written report and a final presentation. As a result, Martin says, consulting teams can assist with a multitude of precise needs related to marketing, management, finance and accounting. projects often involve comparative studies of competition, production standards and organizational structure for nonprofit organizations. recent local projects have included a telecommunication system 58


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that monitors calling patterns of departments within the University Hospital system; analyzing care after departure from University Hospital; statistical procedures for Miller’s professional imaging to monitor its process quality; and a report on the demographics and housing competition in the East Campus area for Junk Architects, a firm that is considering a housing project in that location. “Clients have been from very large Fortune 500 companies to not-yet-started companies,” Martin says. “The process always includes analysis of the client’s internal and external environment using company data when available, surveys, observations, interviews and secondary research. This results in unique outcomes for each client.” The business school has offered consulting services for about 15 years, Martin says, logging between 400 and 500 completed projects, primarily in Columbia, st. Louis and Kansas City. There is no cost to clients, unless they opt for research conducted with a variable cost such as purchasing mailing lists for surveys or traveling for firsthand observations. “The largest demand for team service is development of marketing strategy and related promotion,” Martin says. “We have had hundreds of clients in need of this service.” Other frequent requests are cost studies that impact production, location of facilities or human resources. The MBA team service meets about 80 percent of requests, as demand has grown. To request a team service, e-mail gregg Martin at

Inside Columbia's CEO Spring 2011  

Joan Gabel prepares MU business students for a bright future; the Renaissance Awards celebrate local art's biggest fans; and Columbia's busi...

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