Scheller College of Business
|Scheller College of Business|
|Undergraduates||Approximately 1330 |
|Postgraduates||Approximately 690 |
|Location||Atlanta, Georgia, US|
The Scheller College of Business at the Georgia Institute of Technology is more than 100 years old  and is consistently ranked among the top business schools in the nation. Scheller College attracts undergraduate and graduate students with a wide range of professional interests. But the intersection of business and technology has always been at the heart of the school.
Under the leadership of Dean Steve Salbu since 2006, the Scheller College aims to become the world's leading school for business and technology. "Technology is only becoming more important to society, the economy, and the world at large," according to Salbu. "We are in the sweet spot, doing what the world is only going to consider more and more valuable."
When Georgia Tech first began offering evening business classes a century ago, bookkeepers and other office workers looking for a step up were its target market. "Your competition is fierce – your backbone sapped – unless you train well," warned an early advertisement in the Atlanta Constitution. "You want to grow. Will indecision balk your efforts? Are you always going to put off the 'get ready' for a better place? You want promotion. Then get ready."
After beginning to prepare these men (many of whom were already middle-aged and married) for career advancement through an initial "business science" course in 1912, Georgia Tech officially started its Evening School of Commerce the following year. By the time that newspaper ad was published in 1914, the school had moved from campus to occupy the seventh floor of the downtown Walton office building (no longer standing).
Tech's School of Commerce rapidly proved popular, with its focus on such business areas as accounting, finance, commercial law, business organization, and management. By 1915, the Atlanta Constitution was reporting that the school was "supported by leading Atlantans, many of whom have donated scholarships." By 1917, it was the third largest department at Georgia Tech, which was founded in 1888 as Georgia School of Technology as part of efforts to modernize a "New South."
Today, under the leadership of Dean Steve Salbu, the school is working hard to become the world's preeminent school for business and technology.
Driving Force Behind School's Creation
Georgia Tech engineering alumnus William M. Fambrough (ME 1903) played a key role in the formation of Georgia Tech's Evening School of Commerce, championing the idea to other graduates.
Vice president and general manager of mechanical engineering firm J.B. McCrary Co., Fambrough pushed for Tech to offer a course in "business science," which he began co-teaching in 1912 along with his colleague and fellow Tech alumnus J.B. McCrary (ME 1891).
Fambrough, then president of Tech's Alumni Association, promoted the idea of a full school heavily and helped raise the funds necessary to make it happen. He argued that "ignorant of Georgia's industrial and business possibilities, too many Tech graduates were going north to work for large corporations rather than staying home to develop the state and enrich themselves," according to Engineering the New South: Georgia Tech, 1885-1985 by Robert C. McMath Jr.
When the Evening School of Commerce officially opened for the 1913-1914 academic with a class of 44 students (who paid tuition of $50), Wayne S. Kell served as the first dean. But Fambrough stayed active as general counselor and an Advisory Board member.
Opening Doors of Opportunity
In 1917, another Dean, J.M. Watters, saw the Evening School of Commerce as a place that should open doors of opportunity to women. "The demands of the Army are taking thousands of young men away from business," he said at the time. "Capable young women are taking their places in many instances, and there is no good reason why the very efficient women in Atlanta offices should not qualify themselves for executive positions…
"It may be that quite a number of Atlanta young men, content with the job they have because a better one requires preparation, may find themselves working under women managers before many years have passed," Watters added.
By 1921, when the School of Commerce graduated its first woman, Annie Wise (who was already a college-educated school principal when she started), the school was seeing a "marked increase" in its female enrollment, reported the Atlanta Constitution.
"In the school, one of the most popular of all the divisions for women is the advertising selling branch," said one Atlanta Constitution article. "Many young women of marked originality in writing and salesmanship ability have turned to this class to secure basic training in the alluring field of advertising."
Rolling with Big Changes
During those years, the only admittance women students gained to Tech was through the Evening School of Commerce. But their limited entry came to halt in 1934, when Georgia's new Board of Regents – created to consolidate higher education in the state – made the controversial decision to move the popular school to the University of Georgia as a cost-saving move during the Depression.
The school then became known as the University System of Georgia Center Evening School (which in turn became Georgia State University in 1955). But business education never really stopped at Tech. In 1934, the Institute established the Industrial Management program to meet the need for managers who could thrive in industrial and technical settings such as plants and factories.
For years, Tech's business degrees were called industrial management. What would transition into an MBA program by the early 21st century started as the master of science in industrial management in 1945, the first professional management degree authorized in the state.
Evolving Student Body, Faculty
Women weren't admitted again at Georgia Institute of Technology until 1952. When Joel Cowan (IM 1958) arrived two years later, he could count the total number of women students across campus on fewer than 10 fingers. "We had regular mixers with students at Agnes Scott College, and a good number of people from my day married women from there…," he remembers.
"Tech's campus was much more compact in those days, so after freshman year, you were thrust out into the city, unless you had seniority in a fraternity house," says Cowan, who began a successful career as a real-estate developer soon after graduation, founding Peachtree City, Ga., in 1959. "Back then, everyone – even the industrial management majors – wore their slide rule and pocket protectors everywhere they went on campus."
Cowan, who now teaches as an adjunct professor in the Scheller College, notes that in those years, far fewer students than today arrived at Tech knowing that they wanted to study business. They often first explored the engineering options that Tech was far better known for at the time. But that trend has reversed dramatically over the last decade.
The school's journey to becoming the highly ranked College it is today gained steam in the 1960s, as it attracted more prestigious faculty who were focused on research, says Phil Adler, a retired professor of management and holder of the Hal and John Smith Chair.
"The school evolved heavily during those years," remembers Adler, who joined the faculty in 1962. "By 1969, the school officially became the College of Industrial Management, and we created a PhD degree the following year."
Graduating Top Leaders
Adler, who retired in 2000, credits the loyalty and success of the College's alumni for much of the great progress the school has made through the years.
He has kept in regular contact with many of his former students, inspiring so much devotion that a group of alumni raised a large sum of money to dedicate a fourth-floor faculty wing of the College's current building to him in 2005. "I'll match our school's graduates up against the alumni of any university in the world," Adler says.
Just a handful of the business leaders Adler taught during his 38-year career at Tech include Thomas A. Fanning (IM 1979, MS IM 1980, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company), Joseph W. Rogers Jr. (IM 1968, founder chairman of Waffle House), Jack Guynn (IM, 1964, retired president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta), Huber L. "Herky" Harris. Jr. (IM 1965, former CEO of INVESCO), and David Dorman (IM 1975, former CEO of AT&T and current chairman of Motorola).
"That's just the tip of the iceberg of the great success of our students," says Adler.
In the 1970s, the College had moved from a floor of the Skiles Classroom Building to occupy larger digs, the Groseclose building, where it remained until 2003. By the mid-1980s, the College had dropped "industrial" from its degree names.
"That word potentially limited which recruiters might look at our school," Adler remembers. "It implied a process like manufacturing, when we had graduates going into all types of fields."
For nearly a decade starting in 1990, the business school was shifted under the umbrella of the Ivan Allen College of Management, Policy, and International Affairs (which included liberal arts). Alder believes that the university administration of the time thought it made sense to group management alongside the social sciences because of the shared focus on people. "However, eventually there was enough pressure from faculty and powerful alumni that we got out of it," he says.
The business school returned to standalone status as Georgia Tech College of Management in 1998, and soon gained a new dean, Terry Blum, who would help position the business school for a period of remarkable growth. "Terry was the right person at the right time," says Larry Huang, IM 1973, a former chairman and current member of the College's Advisory Board.
Moving to Center Stage
One of Blum's most visible accomplishments during her seven-year dean as dean was the move of the College into its home in Technology Square, a development at the heart of Atlanta's Midtown business community. This bustling area also includes the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center, other educational and economic-development centers, and popular restaurant and retail establishments.
Construction began in September 2001, and by July 2003, the College had moved from the Groseclose building across the Interstate bridge linking main campus to Technology Square. By 2006, construction teams had considerably widened the bridge to enable landscapers to groom strips of park space on either space of the road and plant trees along tall walls to hide any view of the heavy traffic speeding below.
This aesthetically enhancing project was important not only to Tech Square, but also to the entire Institute, as the Fifth Street bridge serves as a major gateway to campus from the Midtown neighborhood that has continually gained in prestige and importance.
Integral to the Tech Square area are the Centergy office building and the award-winning MidCity Lofts, both developed around the same time. The high-rise condos that have sprung up all around are the visual evidence that Midtown is perhaps the hottest live-work community in Atlanta.
Near the center of it all, the College's current 189,000-square-foot building has provided students with the opportunity to attend classes just around the corner from companies where they can find great internships, co-op jobs, and careers.
Though perhaps hard to believe today, at outset of the Tech Square project, the area was considered rather blighted (thought it bordered the historic Biltmore building and was just a few blocks from the restored “fabulous” Fox Theatre). The area contained little more than dilapidated warehouse space before community leaders dug in their shovels for a groundbreaking new era.
Within a year and a half, the College achieved its $45 million fundraising goal to cover the cost of its new home. Funded without state dollars, this state-of-the-art, building (LEED-certified for environmentally friendly design) is one of few Georgia Tech facilities to be fully funded privately.
Passing the Baton
With building funding completed, Blum announced in 2005 that she'd be stepping down in a year to pursue her research interests, including creation of Tech's interdisciplinary Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship.
Steve Salbu, who'd been an associate dean at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas-Austin, succeeded Blum as dean in August 2006. "By every measure imaginable, Dean Salbu has been able to build upon my legacy, taking the College from exceptionally good to truly great status," says Blum, holder of the Tedd Munchak Chair.
Before pursuing the deanship here, Salbu had fielded numerous headhunter calls about other dean positions over the years. "I talked to so many schools that made me think, 'This is a suicide mission,'" he jokes. But his closer inspection of Tech's business school revealed tremendous promise. "This was one of the exceptions where I thought this school could really be brought to the next level of prestige and excellence."
Fulfilling a Bold Vision
In his quest to position the College as the leading school for business and technology, Salbu immediately set about boosting the size of the faculty. When he started, the number of tenured/tenure-track professors was 53. Now the school has 80.
"The cornerstone of a great business school is a great faculty," explains Salbu, holder of the Steven P. Zelnak Chair. "My highest priority as dean has been to accelerate the growth of our faculty. These world-class faculty members will drive the College's reputation; ensure the continuation of existing programs, and the development of innovative new ones."
In order to recruit and retain the best talent to teach students, Salbu worked to secure and deploy 24 expendable term professorships (each lasting three or four years) as a creative "bridge to the future" as the College sought many more permanently endowed chairs and professorships.
Despite the tough economic climate, the College's Development team was proving successful at its efforts to secure funding to attract the world's best professors and students when it scored big in fall 2009.
That's when the College received an anonymous commitment of $25 million, $20 million of which was a dollar-for-dollar Challenge Grant designed to inspire charitable gifts and commitments from other donors to the College's endowment.
Building a New Brand
As the Challenge Grant drew close to fulfillment in summer 2012, the anonymous stepped into the light, pledging another $25 million in order to rename the school as the Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business.
Scheller, who earned his bachelor's degree from the College in 1952, said, "I owe so much to Georgia Tech and rigorous education I received, and I've always felt a tremendous amount of gratitude and a strong desire to give back to the Institute. I want Georgia Tech and the business school to be number one.
"We already have the leadership to make that happen with Steve Salbu as dean and our superior faculty, student body, and alumni,” says Scheller, chairman emeritus of Silberline. “I hope that my gift will now be the catalyst for permanently lifting the business school into the ranks of the world's finest."
With the name change from College of Management to College of Business, what had always been a business school finally became officially titled as such for the first time in its 100-year history. The change made sense given that the school offers business administration degrees (BBA, MBA).
"We are one of the oldest business schools in the world,” Salbu says. “For 100 of its 127 years of existence, Georgia Tech has provided business education. The name, scope and organizational structure have changed many times during the years to meet the changing needs of students and the business community. None of the changes over the past century are as transformational as the Scheller gift."
After seven years on the job, Dean Steve Salbu announced in early 2013 that he would not be seeking a third term after his current one expires on June 30, 2014.
“Beginning July 1, 2014, I will resume my faculty role as the Cecil B. Day Chair in Business Ethics and Director of the new Cecil B. Day Program in Business Ethics, here at Georgia Tech,” he said. “It has been a joy to work with Institute leaders, fellow deans, alumni, faculty, staff and students who are so smart, ambitious, talented, driven and collegial,” he says. “I love Georgia Tech dearly and always will. I am passionate about teaching, and it will be a pleasure to return to the classroom, as well as to my research,” he says.
A dean search is now underway, with a goal of filling the dean's position in summer 2014.
“We have reached great heights in a very short time, and I am more excited than I can express about the future we will all share under the next leader of the College,” Salbu said. “The deanship of the Scheller College of Business is among the most desirable in the world, and the search for my successor next year will attract superb talent.”
Georgia Tech opened a $180 million building project in Atlanta called Technology Square in 2003. This multi-building complex, home to the College of Business, is a fusion of business, education, research, and retail space. The complex also houses The Global Learning Center, Advanced Technology Development Center, Economic Development Institute, Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development as well as the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center. The facilities are located in the heart of Midtown Atlanta near a number of corporate headquarters and high-tech start-up businesses.
The intent of Technology Square is to promote the formation of a high tech business cluster centered around a premier research university. Similar formations have taken place in cities such as Palo Alto and Boston, both nexuses of thriving high-tech corridors.
The College of Business currently offers a BS in Business Administration with various concentrations available.
The College also offers a PhD Program in Management and several MBA options: the Full-time MBA, Evening MBA, and two Executive MBA Program options (the MBA in Global Business or MBA in Management of Technology).
Scheller College's Huang Executive Education Center offers Six Sigma certification and tailors leadership-oriented programs (often lasting two weeks) to meet the needs of a growing number of major companies, including Coca-Cola, Clorox, GE, NCR, and McCain Foods.
Rankings as of 2013
Bloomberg Businessweek: #23 U.S. Full-time MBA Programs (#8 among public universities)
U.S. News & World Report: #27 U.S. Full-time MBA Programs (#10 among public universities)
U.S. News & World Report: #24 Part-time MBA Programs
U.S. News & World Report Specialty Categories: #13 (Supply Chain/Logistics), #14 (Production/Operations), #16 (Management Information Systems)
Forbes: #35 U.S. Full-time MBA Programs (based solely on return on investment)
Bloomberg Businessweek: #41 U.S. Undergraduate Business Programs
U.S. News & World Report: #27 U.S. Undergraduate Business Programs
U.S. News & World Report Specialty Categories: #7 (Quantitative Analysis) #12 (Production/Operations), #12 (Management Information Systems), #12 (Supply Chain/Logistics)
Notable College of Business Alumni
|Stephen P. Zelnak Jr.||1969||Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board, Martin Marietta Materials|||
|John Salley||1988||Four Time NBA Champion ( Detroit Pistons 1989, 1990; Chicago Bulls 1996; Los Angeles Lakers 2000)|||
|Stewart Cink||1995||2009 British Open Champion|||
|James D. Robinson III||1957||Former CEO, American Express 1977-1993.|||
|William L. Ball||1969||Former Secretary of the Navy|||
|Charles W. Brady||1957||Co-Founder, INVESCO (currently AMVESCAP)|||
|Alan J. Lacy||1975||Former CEO, Sears Roebuck and Company|||
|Dennis M. Patterson||1971||Premier of Northwest Territories, Canada 1987-1991, Corporate Executive Vice President, SunTrust Banks|||
|Robert Milton||1982||President and CEO, Air Canada|||
|Greg Owens||1982||CEO of Iron Planet, Former chairman and CEO of Manugistics, Private-equity fund manager for Daniel Snyder, Red Zone Capital Partners II|||
|David Garrett||1955||Retired Chairman and CEO, Delta Air Lines|||
|Joseph W. Rogers Jr.||1968||Chairman Waffle House|||
|Orson George Swindle III||1959||Federal Trade Commissioner, 1997-2005|||
|Derek V. Smith||1979||President and CEO, ChoicePoint|||
|J. Leland Strange||1965||Chairman, President and CEO, Intelligent Systems Corporation; CEO CoreCard Software|||
|Mike Neal||1975||President and CEO, GE Commercial Finance|||
|James R. Lientz||1965||Chief Operating Officer State of Georgia|||
|Marcus C. Bennett||1959||Former Executive Vice President & CFO, Lockheed Martin Corporation|||
|Jack Guynn||1970||Former President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta|||
|Gary M. Clark||1957||Retired President, Westinghouse Electric Corporation|||
|Thomas Fanning||1980||Chairman, President and CEO, The Southern Company|||
|David W. Dorman||1975||Former Chairman and CEO, AT&T Corp|||
|Joel H. Cowan||1958||Owner, Habersham & Cowan Inc.|||
|Alvin M. Ferst Jr.||1943||President, Real-estate Development and Management-Consulting Company Alvin Ferst Associates Inc.|||
|W. Mansfield Jennings Jr.||1956||Chairman, ComSouth Corporation|||
|Joseph W. Evans||1971||Chairman and CEO, Flag Financial Corporation|||
|Toney E. Means||1982||CEO, Rx Fulfillment Services Inc.|||
|Jere W. Goldsmith, IV||1956||First Vice President Investments, Merrill Lynch|||
|J. Michael Robison||1997||Chairman and CEO, Lanier Parking Holdings|||
|Neil K. Braverman||1960||Entrepreneur, Co-founder Safeskin Corp.|||
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