Written by Callie Blumenfeld
Professor Trent Thurman teaches MAN 336H, Organizational Behavior, in the BHP. He is also the director of the UT Master of Science in Technology Commercialization (MSTC) program, and teaches a global studies class called technology transfer in the global economy. This class, culminates with a trip South Africa to teach the students about taking a technology idea to market.
While he’s definitely involved on campus, Professor Thurman particularly likes teaching a BHP class because of the engagement of the students. Thurman elaborated, “for one, it keeps me on my toes because everyone is prepared, bringing in current events and experiences from internships.” He enjoys teaching his students to take the theoretical concepts from class and find practical applications. “The fact that the majority of you guys have that real world experience allows us to talk about things in the practical application setting,” he explained with enthusiasm.
Professor Thurman spends most of his time in the classroom engaging his undergraduate and graduate level students, rather than doing research. However, his background is one filled with diverse experiences. After completing his undergraduate studies at the “other UT” (the University of Tennessee), Professor Thurman spent years in D.C. working on Capitol Hill for Senator Gore. Although the years on the hill were filled with memories, “I knew that I was going to go back to grad school of some type,” Thurman shared. While in D.C., Professor Thurman met his wife, who was originally from Austin, and she is a large part of the reason that he is here sharing his wisdom with us today.
Thurman completed his MBA here, at the real UT, and then went on to a job in commercial and corporate real estate for 10 years. He couldn’t fight the draw back to higher education though. “I realized that real estate wasn’t really my passion, and came to the realization that education was. My dad was my high school principal, my mom and wife are teachers, so I came back to McCombs initially just to launch the weekend MBA program in Houston.” After some more academic success, Professor Thurman ultimately began leading the portfolio of professional MBA programs, before leaving back to the University of Tennessee to teach for about two years. He found his way back to us in the end, and joined the faculty once again last fall to take over the MSTC program and to teach.
Professor Thurman is filled with life experiences, knowledge, and an abundance of care and goodwill towards his students. When you stop by his office hours, be sure to ask him a couple of questions that are sure to start some interesting conversations. He’d be delighted to talk about music festivals, all the cool places he’s run marathons (he runs about 50 miles a week!), his senate private office, the one time he threw out the first pitch at a baseball game, and of course, his two twin sons. Professor Thurman can be found on Tuesdays from 10:30-11:30 AM at Café Medici on the Drag, Wednesdays from 2:30-3:30 PM in his office (GSB 5.126J), and by email or phone appointment (he will gladly run with any willing student!). Be sure to stop by and share in the knowledge, smiles, and genuine good energy of this incredible BHP Professor.