Charles Morrissey '56


Business Model

Charles Morrissey '56 at the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University.
Charles “Chuck” Morrissey ’56 agreed to give a guest lecture on new business start-ups at the University of California, Irvine, in 1984 and has been hooked on teaching ever since. Today Morrissey is a professor at the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University, blending a scholarly background with real-world experience. A former entrepreneur and new venture incubator, Morrissey also heads up Pepperdine’s annual Business Plan Competition.

An associate professor of strategy, Morrissey says the entrepreneurial environment at the Graziadio School makes his “the perfect job in America.” A self-described “roads scholar,” the Irvine resident regularly commutes to Pepperdine campuses in West Los Angeles and Malibu to teach. He has taught at all of the school’s academic centers from Orange County to Santa Clara.

With a Ph.D. from Claremont University, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and a B.A. from Colby, Morrissey has deep academic credentials. Teaching held an early interest for him, but it wasn’t until 1989 that he decided to move into the classroom.

“When the Los Angeles Times published a story on the Beckman family gift to Pepperdine for a new graduate campus, I read it and thought Pepperdine sounded like the right place for me,” Morrissey said. He contacted Graziadio School professor John Nicks and managed to pitch himself into a job. The move propelled him into management education, while allowing him to remain in the world of new business ventures as a consultant.

Morrissey had previously been involved in two successful for-profit ventures: Timeshare Corp., which enabled competitive computer timesharing and was sold to Houghton Mifflin, and a company called Studio Software. The experience gave Morrissey valuable practical experience that serves him well in the classroom.

“I define entrepreneurship as ‘developing innovation without resources,’” Morrissey said. “An entrepreneurial approach to starting new enterprises is contrary to traditional strategy models involving institutional lenders.”

Morrissey illustrates the notion of developing innovation without resources by recalling the founding of the United States. “Our country has relied on entrepreneurs since its beginning, and it is vitally important to nurture future generations of entrepreneurs who are not likely to launch their businesses through traditional financing methods.”

Mark Mallinger, director of Pepperdine’s full-time M.B.A. program, says Morrissey brings the same level of enthusiasm to running the Business Plan Competition as he does to teaching. “His energy and commitment to quality have helped shape the competition into a premier event.”
The students’ plans, presented to an audience of their peers and business professionals as judges, were evaluated on the originality of the idea, the viability of the business model, and the potential for future financial success.

The winning plan for 2008 was Nurse Education Web, a Web-based clinical practice reservation system for nursing schools. The site allows nursing schools to save time and money and expand the number of nurses available to enter the workforce.

Meanwhile Morrissey remains dedicated to his teaching. “It’s important,” he said, “to remind everyone how important entrepreneurship is to the world economy and that entrepreneurship is a key value in society.”
— Jerry Derloshon