Trent Thurman is the Director of the Master of Science in Technology Commercialization (MSTC) program at the McCombs School of Business. As chief administrator, Trent oversees the academic, administrative, recruitment, admissions, student life, career management, and alumni relations aspects of the nation’s first master’s degree program focused exclusively on technology commercialization, innovation and entrepreneurship. A seasoned higher education executive, Trent has led and transformed multiple graduate business programs over the last decade. As Assistant Dean and Director of the working professional MBA portfolio at McCombs, Trent led the school’s weekend and evening MBA programs in Austin, Dallas, and Houston for over nine years. Under his leadership, the programs jumped to #6 in the U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of part-time programs, the highest ranking in program history.
During his stint as Executive Director for Graduate Programs at the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Trent led the effort to improve the quality and diversity of entering MBA classes. These targeted initiatives resulted in improved GMAT scores, a higher percentage of women and underrepresented minorities, and a record number of international students. Trent also developed, planned, and led the school’s first global studies trip to China.
In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Trent is an award-winning lecturer. He currently teaches Organizational Behavior at the undergraduate and business honors level as well as Technology Transfer in the Global Economy at the graduate level. Trent has been recognized for teaching excellence by the McCombs Undergraduate Business Council, the Texas Asian Business Students Association, the Canfield Business Honors Programs, and the MS in Technology Commercialization program. Additionally, Trent has led graduate-level international business seminars to Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America.
For his program leadership, Trent was awarded the President’s Outstanding Service Award by the University of Texas in 2012 and received the Student Services Excellence Award by the McCombs School of Business in 2011.
Active in the community, Trent is President of the Austin, Texas chapter of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Alumni Association, a board member of the Trail Foundation, an educational advisory board member for Galvanize Austin, and a member of the SXSW EDU launch advisory council. Trent previously served as President of the Memphis, Tennessee chapter of the University of Tennessee National Alumni Association and was later elected to the National Board of Governors. He also served on the Board of Trustees for Grace-St. Luke’s School in Memphis, and chaired the Downtown District YMCA Board of Management, also in Memphis.
Prior to his career in academia, Trent served on the legislative staff of Tennessee Senator Al Gore in Washington, D.C., where his research focused on legislative and regulatory issues relating to higher education, healthcare, technology and the arts. He later enjoyed a decade-long career in commercial and corporate real estate, including stints with Dallas-based Trammell Crow Company and Sacramento-based Panattoni Development Company. He was also the inaugural Director of Real Estate for Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation.
Trent received his undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.