On February 18, 1919, the dean of Emory College, Howard Odum, recommended the creation of a “school of economics and business administration” to the Board of Trustees. The purpose of the school was public service, training in business methods and “training in social efficiency alongside financial development.” Thus, in the fall of 1919, the new school worked with Emory College to offer courses in economics, accounting, and business law. By 1925, there was one faculty member and full-time assistant, five staff members and 145 students. In 1926, eight students received the Bachelor of Business Administration degree.
The business school moved to its home in the C.L. Fishburne building in 1936. Additionally, three women earned degrees from the school.
The war years exemplify the resilience of the business school. Although the school employed seven staff members and enrolled 133 students in 1940, the faculty was reduced to one professor, as a result of World War II. Moreover, there was turnover in the deanship; there were three deans in the span of six years. Nevertheless, when George H. Craft assumed the deanship in 1946, he marshaled unprecedented resources for the school. For example, Walter H. Rich, the president of the Rich Foundation, gave $250,000 for the construction of a building. Infrastructure growth was followed by greater recognition. In 1949, the business school was admitted to the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business.
Two decades after the school awarded degrees in business administration, the school accepted its first female student in 1954. In the same year, the MBA program commenced, with 19 registered students. By the end of the decade the school awarded 19 master’s and 38 bachelor’s degrees.
In 1961, the evening MBA program was introduced. At the same time, the school was achieving greater validation for its programs. When the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business began accrediting master’s programs, Emory’s program was one of the first to be approved. Four years later, Emory appeared on the list of the top American colleges and universities producing U.S. executives. This newfound acclaim accompanied new programs, such as the concentration within the MBA program for professional accounting. The school also hosted the Business Games – computer games whose format mimicked war games developed by the Rand Corporation.
The 1970s witnessed increased innovation and growth. In 1977, the school dedicated a $2 million addition and renovation of the Rich Memorial building, incorporating two important features – the Management Center and the Computer Center, which boasted a 32K minicomputer, two microprocessors, and direct links to the main Emory University system. To enrich its program offerings, the Executive MBA program was created in 1979. Also at this time, the school created a plan to allow students to complete both the MBA and juris doctor degree within four years.
Rankings of the school’s programs highlight the results of thoughtful and steady expansion. In 1986, the Gourman Report ranked the Emory graduate business program 26 th in the country. Similarly, the Executive MBA program was ranked in the top 15 in a Business Week survey.
In 1994, the school was renamed for Roberto C. Goizueta, a much-admired and successful business leader. During Goizueta’s tenure at the Coca-Cola Company, as CEO, the company experienced historic growth and amassed tremendous wealth. However, more than providing a namesake for the school, Roberto C. Goizueta placed his philosophical stamp on the school’s academic and financial development. Goizueta proclaimed, “Business schools today cannot just reflect business the way it is. They must teach business the way it will be.” A$20 million gift from the Goizueta Family Foundation and another $20 million from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation in honor of the Roberto C. Goizueta ensured years of financial security for the school.
The millennium brought about a new PhD program in business administration and a new program in Real Estate. Goizueta Business School installed its current dean, Professor Larry Benveniste, in 2005 and under his guidance, navigates a new era in the school’s history.