"We simply couldn't do what we do without the generosity of our donors."
Missie Bowers, Beaman professor of Business in the Department of Business Analytics and Statistics at Haslam, loved math in high school and majored in biochemistry at the University of Georgia. “I found a truly good fit for my math skills in management science and operations research,” Bowers says. “I enjoyed taking math models and applying them to real-world problems and having a direct impact on organizations.” She earned her PhD in management science from Clemson University in 1989 and joined the UT faculty that same year.
The Master’s of Science in Business Analytics program was launched in 2010 and enrolls some 40 students each year. Bowers has directed the program since 2014. “We work very hard to make sure our students have multiple touchpoints with industry,” she says. “We also teach them the soft skills necessary to be effective when they get out into industry.”
The program’s track record includes placing 99+ percent of its students within six months of graduation. In 2018, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) awarded it the UPS George D. Smith Prize, citing it for “using innovative curriculum, introducing students to real-world business environments and preparing them to become effective business-analytics practitioners.” The prize had previously gone to programs at the University of Michigan, the Naval Postgraduate School, MIT, the University of British Columbia, the Air Force Academy and Carnegie-Mellon University.
Among many teaching awards, Bowers has received the 2011 Outstanding MBA First-Year Faculty Award, the 2012 and 2015 Richard Sanders Outstanding Leadership in Executive Education Award, the 2014 MSBA Outstanding Service to Students Award and the 2016 Allen H. Keally Excellence in Teaching Award.
The Beaman Professorship in Business helps the Haslam College of Business retain faculty members like Bowers, a national figure in the field of business analytics, applied optimization and lean operations. Her professorship and Beaman professorships in several other UT colleges are funded by the Alvin G. and Sally M. Beaman Foundation Endowment.
Alvin Beaman graduated from UT in 1933, moved to Nashville and owned soft-drink bottling and distribution companies, a Dodge-Plymouth auto dealership and half of WKDF radio, which he sold to become a founding investor in Nashville’s CBS TV affiliate. The Beamans believed strongly in the importance of education and investing generously in educational institutions.
“I am truly grateful for the Beaman Professorship,” says Bowers. “We simply couldn’t do what we do without the generosity of our donors.”
“When Coonhound won first prize, it really showed us that people believe in us and our idea.”