Emory business school marks 100 years

Emory University traces its roots back to 1836, but it wasn’t until 1919 that a business school became part of its program offerings. This year, the DeKalb-based institution is marking that milestone with celebrations hosted by alumni around the globe and highlighted by a centennial gala later this year here at home in metro Atlanta.

Julie Barefoot, Emory’s associate dean of engagement and partnerships, says having a 100-year-old business school is worthy of a year-long party.

“Emory was among the first in the nation to offer a bachelor of business administration, and to do that 100 years ago is pretty significant,” said Barefoot. “I also think it was unusual for Emory that’s known as a strong liberal arts university at its core.”

The beginnings of the now renowned Goizueta Business School, named 25 years ago for former Coca-Cola Company chairman and CEO Robert Goizueta, started off modestly, with just a couple of faculty members and a handful of students. In the mid-1950s, the master in business administration was added, and that program, along with the practicality of a business degree, has fueled the growth of the business school in the last two decades.

“Students can specialize in finance, marketing or a number of other areas, and that’s a big reason for its popularity,” said Barefoot. “And then when they graduate, they have a tremendous number of job opportunities.”

In 1968, when Ann Evans Edwards was among eight women and 17 men who earned an Emory business degree, job opportunities were less available to women.

“Some of the big accounting firms wouldn’t interview women,” recalled Edwards, who went to Emory from her hometown of Dalton to be a medical librarian but switched to business after loving an accounting class. “I was the first woman professional on the staff of (the accounting firm) Arthur Andersen in D.C., and they told me they called clients to see if they minded having a woman on the audit team. The end of the ’60s was a time of great changes. In fact, both my husband and my daughter earned MBAs at Emory.”

Edwards and her family members are among the more than 23,000 Goizueta graduates whose careers have taken them around the world. Alumni now live in 104 countries, with the highest number in the U.S., China, South Korea, Japan and India. And school officials expect that number to grow considerably with the addition of the latest program, a master of science in business analytics.

Barefoot’s own career reflects how practical a business degree can be, she said.

“I was began my career as a banker and switched to academics,” she said. “You can be an art history major and get into a fine MBA program and change your career path. That’s what I mean about it being a very versatile degree.”

Information about Emory’s Goizueta Business School is online at goizueta.emory.edu.

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Each week we look at programs, projects and successful endeavors at area schools, from pre-K to grad school. To suggest a story, contact H.M. Cauley at hm_cauley@yahoo.com or 770-744-3042.

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