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University of Missouri

Movie Maker & Shaker

Lawyer, movie producer and entrepreneur Chad Troutwine continues to conquer.

Chad Troutwine

Photo by Brad Swonetz/Redux for The Wall Street Journal.

Chad Troutwine, JD ’96, grew up in Independence, Mo., a fitting hometown for a young man determined to forge an eclectic career path. His athletic prowess earned him a track scholarship to Arizona State University, where he competed in the 1,500-meter and 5,000-meter events. But as subsequent graduate degrees from Mizzou, Yale and Harvard suggest, Troutwine is no dumb jock.

I had wanted to go to law school since I was a second grader,” Troutwine says. “For that quintessential childhood question, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ I had a pat answer: ‘I’m going to be an attorney.’ ”

It turns out that Troutwine’s law degree paved the way for his multifaceted career in entrepreneurship, real estate and film production.

After a brief judicial courtship in the early 1990s, he entered Yale and launched a company from his dorm room, à la Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg. Veritas Prep has become the largest Graduate Management Admission Test prep and MBA admissions consultant in the world.

In 1997, Troutwine teamed up with a buddy to purchase a warehouse and develop the first loft condominiums in what is now the Kansas City Crossroads Arts District. With money to invest in 2003, Troutwine co-produced Northfork, a film about a small Montana community forced to relocate to make way for a dam. He has since produced nine films, including Freakonomics (2010), a documentary anthology based on the best-selling book.

Troutwine has drawn from all four alma maters to help him earn his fortune, but the Missouri boy feels the strongest connection to black and gold.

I tell anyone who will listen,” he says. “My law degree at Mizzou is the degree I would give up last.”