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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.”