Ross School of Business

The Stephen M. Ross School of Business (Ross; formerly known as University of Michigan Business School) is a business school operated by the University of Michigan. It offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, as well as an executive education program. Its Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Master of Business Administration (MBA), and Executive Education programs have been ranked among the top in the U.S. and the world.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] Ross also offers dual degrees with other University of Michigan colleges and schools. The Distinguished Leader Certificate is offered by the Executive Education program.[8]

Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan
Ross School of Business logo.png
MottoDeveloping leaders who make a positive difference in the world
Parent institution
University of Michigan
Endowment$435 million[9]
DeanFrancine Lafontaine (Interim)[10]
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States
AffiliationsUniversity of Michigan
MichiganRoss Primary horizontal logo.png


Early history (1900–1923)Edit

Edmund Ezra Day was the school's first dean.

The first business courses were offered at the University of Michigan in 1900. Economics Department Chairman Henry Carter Adams oversaw the expanding practical courses to prepare students for business careers. The idea for the school came from the economics department.[12] In 1918, the university's College of Literature, Science, and the Arts began issuing a Certificate of Business Administration. In 1923, University President Marion LeRoy Burton hired Edmund Ezra Day to serve as the founding dean of a new business school.[12]

Founding (1924–1925)Edit

The University of Michigan School of Business Administration was founded in 1924; it offered a two-year Master of Business Administration after three years of general studies. There were 14 faculty members, including one of the first women to be part of a business school. In 1925, the Bureau of Business Research was founded to facilitate and coordinate faculty research, and publish research monographs and case studies.[12]

Clare Griffin era (1926–1943)Edit

In 1926 after serving three years, Day was replaced as dean by Clare Griffin, who initially came to the university to teach marketing. The same year, faculty member William Andrew Paton founded The Accounting Review. In 1935, the school began offering a PhD in Business Administration. In 1938, the first evening Master of Business Administration (MBA) classes were offered. In 1940, school enrollment reached 200 students. Between 1942 and 1943, a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree was introduced.[12]

Russell Stevenson era (1943–1959)Edit

In 1943, Russell Stevenson became the school's third dean. In 1947, enrollment exceeded 1,000 students, reaching 800 BBA students and 400 MBA students by 1949. In 1948, the school opened a new building that cost $2.5 million and had a nine-story tower. The same year, Paul McCracken joined the faculty. From 1950 to 1959, the school introduced the Public Utility Executive Program, its first stand-alone, non-degree program for continuing education of business executives.[12]

Floyd Bond era (1960–1978)Edit

In 1960, Floyd Bond became the school's fourth dean. The same year, the school launched its first international joint venture in Taiwan and Bond appointed a committee to better integrate global business into the school's curriculum. In 1966, Bond established the Ad Hoc Committee on Educational Programs in Business Administration for Negroes, which tried to attract more African-American students but the initiative and a number of student strikes and other protests in the following years demanded more minority enrollment. In 1971, the school began a $1.5 million expansion of the physical facilities and assembly hall. By 1971, total enrollment exceeded 1,300, more than three-quarters of whom were graduate students with 370 in the Evening MBA Program. In 1972, the school's first two alumni clubs in New York and California, held their first meetings. In 1974, Alfred Edwards joined the faculty as a professor of business administration and director of the research division, later becoming known as the school's ambassador for diversity.[12]

Gilbert Whitaker era (1979–1990)Edit

In 1979, Gilbert Whitaker became the school's fifth dean and established an enlarged Office of Development & Alumni Relations. In 1980, total degree-program enrollment reached 2,000, including about 600 BBA students, while the number of faculty members exceeded 100. From 1980 to 1989, Whitaker stablished 17 joint-degree programs with other U-M units. In 1982, he announced a $15 million fundraising campaign for three new buildings, including a library. The campaign raised $17 million, and the buildings opened by 1984. In 1983, the school joined the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management and began offering a Master of Accounting degree. In 1990, the school received a federal grant to establish a Center for International Business Education.[12]

B. Joseph White era (1990–2001)Edit

B. Joseph White was the school's sixth dean.

In 1990, B. Joseph White became the school's sixth dean. In 1991, White and Associate Dean Paul Danos introduced a major MBA curriculum overhaul by initiating the Multidisciplinary Action Project (MAP), a full-time, seven-week project that allowed teams of students to work on real-world business challenges for sponsor companies. After a pilot run, it became part of the MBA core curriculum in 1993. In 1995, an international MAP option was created as a separate program. In 2015, MAP became an option in the undergraduate curriculum.[12][13]

In 1992, the William Davidson Institute was founded. In 1995, the Tauber Institute was founded as a joint project with the College of Engineering. In 1996, the Global MBA Program is introduced, allowing students to study abroad in one-month terms. The same year, the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Environmental Management Institute was established. In 1999, the Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies was founded. In 2000, Sam Wyly Hall opened to house Executive Education and other programs. The same year, the number of faculty members approached 200. In 2001, the school introduced an Executive MBA Program, which targeted business leaders in supervisory positions.[12]

During White's tenure, other initiatives, such as research on how to supplement the GMAT, helped cement the school's reputation for innovations that produce business leaders.[14]

Robert J. Dolan era (2001–2011)Edit

Exterior of the Stephen M. Ross building

In 2001, Robert J. Dolan became the school's seventh dean. In 2002, the John R. and Georgene M. Tozzi Electronic Business and Finance Center was established. In 2003, several faculty members published "Positive Organizational Scholarship: Foundations of a New Discipline", a study on how to create positive organizations. The school would later found the Center for Positive Organizations. In 2004, alumnus Stephen M. Ross donated US$100 million to the school, which was renamed the Stephen M. Ross School of Business.[12] This was the largest-ever gift to a U.S. business school and to the University of Michigan. The Ross gift funded a campus overhaul; the school demolished 180,000 square feet (17,000 m2) of existing building space and renovated or added 270,000 square feet (25,000 m2).[15]

In 2006, the Ross Leadership Initiative, later renamed the Sanger Leadership Center, was established to improve the leadership development of MBA students. In 2009, the school's Master of Supply Chain Management degree program was introduced. The same year, the $145 million Stephen M. Ross building opened. In 2010, a Weekend MBA Program was introduced, allowing students to complete an MBA in two years while working full-time.[12]

Alison Davis-Blake era (2011–2016)Edit

Alison Davis-Blake was the school's eighth and first female dean.

In 2011, Alison Davis-Blake became the school's eighth and first female dean.[12][16] In 2012, the Executive MBA Program was expanded to a second campus in Los Angeles.[17]

In 2013, Stephen M. Ross made a second $100 million gift as a part of a larger fundraising effort; the gift aimed "to help complete the vision of a unified business school complex, including one new building, one fully renovated building, and other improvements".[12] The same year, a Minor in Business is offered for non-business undergraduate students.[12][18] In late 2013, the school launched a major fundraising campaign.[19]

In 2014, a new 10-month Master of Management degree was introduced.[12][20] The same year, the school began sponsoring the annual Positive Business Conference.[21] During Davis-Blake's tenure, the school broadened its global presence, increasing the number of overseas experiences for students and beginning a partnership with Shanghai Jiao Tong University.[22][23] The Desai Accelerator for startup businesses—a joint effort between Ross and the University of Michigan College of Engineering—opened in downtown Ann Arbor in 2014.[24] The same year, Davis-Blake oversaw a large, donor-funded construction project[25] that includes the new Jeff T. Blau Hall,[26] as well as renovations to several older buildings on the business campus.[27]

In 2015, Davis-Blake announced that she would step down at the end of her five-year term in 2016 to pursue a broader role in higher education.[28] In 2015, Michigan Ross announced the Alumni Advantage program that offers free lifetime open-enrollment executive education tuition for all its degree alumni and half-price tuition for non-Ross UM alumni.[29] In 2016, the Jeff T. Blau Hall and the renovated Kresge Hall opened.[12]

Scott DeRue era (2016–2021)Edit

In 2016, Scott DeRue became the school's ninth dean. He joined the Michigan Ross faculty in 2007 and had been an associate dean. In 2017, enrollment exceeded 3,000 students, including about 1,600 BBA students and 800 full-time MBA students. Nearly 40% of incoming BBA students are women, and about half are from other states.[12]

Francine Lafontaine - Interim (2021)Edit

Francine Lafontaine stepped in as the business school’s interim dean, effective May 24, 2021. Lafontaine began her academic career as an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University.  She joined the Michigan Ross faculty as an assistant professor in 1991, and was promoted to associate professor in 1995 and to professor in 2000. She was the Jack D. Sparks – Whirlpool Corporation Research Professor of Business Administration from 2005-07 and has held the William Davidson Professor of Business Administration chair since 2010.

From 2016-20, Lafontaine served as the senior associate dean for faculty and research at Michigan Ross. Prior to that, she served as the director at the Bureau of Economics for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission from fall of 2014 to the end of 2015. She also was the chair of the Business Economics and Public Policy group at Ross from 2003-2012.

Her research focuses on industrial organization, vertical relationships, contracting and franchising, and entrepreneurship, along with related public policy issues. She has received several research grants, including from the Sloan Foundation and the National Science Foundation.[30]

Facilities and institutesEdit

Upon its establishment in 1924, the business school was located in Tappan Hall, the oldest extant classroom building on campus. The original 1894 wing was designed by the Detroit firm Spier & Rohns, and the south wing was designed by Luckenbach / Ziegelman & Partners.[31]

The school moved to its current site in 1948. Authorized by the Regents in July 1945, the site was in the northern half of a block surrounded by Monroe Street, Tappan Street, Hill Street, and Haven Street. It was purchased at the time construction was begun. Ten private dwellings were demolished for to make way for the construction, which began in August, 1946. The business school was the first skyscraper on campus and was designed by architects Lee and Kenneth C. Black, of Lansing, Michigan.[32]

New York City real estate developer Stephen M. Ross (BBA '62) gave a gift of $100 million to the business school, the second largest donation ever to a U.S. business school and the largest gift to the University in its history. In recognition, the Board of Regents met in special session on September 9, 2004, to rename the school the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. In 2013, Ross announced a second gift to the school of $100 million. The second gift was used for facilities upgrades, including high-tech classrooms, a new career services space, and additional areas for practical research; as well as student scholarships.[33] In September 2017, Ross donated an additional $50 million to the school.[citation needed]

The William Davidson InstituteEdit

The William Davidson Institute (WDI) is a not-for-profit, independent, research and educational institute that was created in 1992 when Guardian Industries made a 20-year financial commitment to establish an institute at the University of Michigan Business School. The institute was named for Guardian Industries' chairman, president and CEO William Davidson.[citation needed] WDI supports international activity at the University of Michigan by funding research, hosting visiting scholars, organizing seminars and speaker series, sponsoring summer internships, and creating dynamic and current teaching materials.[34] Since 2006, more than 1,800 MBA students have participated in more than 450 international projects. WDI's publication initiative houses a collection of international business and social impact teaching materials.[34] A publishing subsidiary named WDI Publishing was founded in 2007.[35]

The Erb Institute for Global Sustainable EnterpriseEdit

Created in 1996 by a donation from Frederick A. Erb (BBA ’47) and his wife Barbara, the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise is a partnership between the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) to provide education and opportunities for research into business sustainability. The Erb Institute's Dual-Degree MBA/MS Program, in which students earn a Master of Business Administration from the Ross School and a Master of Science from SNRE in 2 1/2 to 3 years, has received many accolades. In 2013, Michigan Ross (Erb Institute) received the top ranking for MBA programs with a Sustainability specialty (Bloomberg Business MBA Rankings)

The Joel D. Tauber Institute for Global OperationsEdit

Joel D. Tauber donated $5 million in 1995 to establish the Joel D. Tauber Manufacturing Institute, which trains graduate engineering and business students in operations management. The program is run jointly with the University's College of Engineering. In 2007, the Institute was renamed the (Joel D.) Tauber Institute for Global Operations to recognize increased interest from service, healthcare, IT, and retail organizations. In 2012 the Institute was awarded the first UPS George D. Smith Prize from INFORMS[36] for its effective and innovative preparation of students to be practitioners of operations research, management science or analytics.

The Zell-Lurie InstituteEdit

The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies provides the curriculum, program initiatives, community involvement, and alumni outreach activities that provide resources for graduates of the Ross School of Business. In 1999, a $10 million donation from Samuel Zell and Ann Lurie on behalf of her husband Robert H. Lurie established the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Business School.

The Wolverine Venture FundEdit

The Wolverine Venture Fund (WVF) is a multimillion-dollar venture capital fund operated by the Ross School of Business.[37] The fund was started in 1997 by Karen Bantel.[38] The fund invests with the active involvement of MBA students, faculty assistance, and an advisory board composed of professional venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.[38] It invests in early-stage, emerging growth companies.[39] The Fund typically provides US$50,000 to $200,000 in seed and first-stage funding rounds[38] with other venture capital funds and angel investors.[citation needed] The Wolverine Venture Fund, the oldest such U.S. venture, earned $1 million when Intralase, a U-M spin-off technology company, went public.[40]

The Center For Positive OrganizationsEdit

Founded in 2002 as the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship, the center’s mission is "to inspire and enable leaders to build high-performing organizations that bring out the best in people".[citation needed] It researches topics such as positive leadership, meaning and purpose, ethics and virtues, and relationships and culture in an organizational setting. Starting in 2014, it sponsors an annual Positive Business Conference.[41]

The Sanger Leadership CenterEdit

The Sanger Leadership Center at Michigan Ross was named for a gift by Steve and Karen Sanger in 2015,[42] The center offers leadership development programming for all University of Michigan students. Its signature initiatives open to U-M students include the Leadership Crisis Challenge, Impact Challenge, Story Lab, and Legacy Lab.[43] Sanger uses leadership development theories and tools developed at Michigan Ross, such as the Michigan Model of Leadership.[44]

Student lifeEdit

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow meeting with students from the business school in 2016

Ross School of Business students publish a newspaper called the Monroe Street Journal and houses the Michigan Journal of Business, the first undergraduate-level academic journal in the field of business.[citation needed]

A Ross MBA community tradition is the Ross MBA college football tailgate, which takes place before and after every home game at "The Bus", a 1985 Ford school bus that is painted in maize and blue, Michigan's colors, and is decorated with a dance floor, a DJ on the roof, and couches in the interior. On game days, The Bus is parked in a nearby Lumber Yard for an event called the Ross MBA tailgate, which attracts over 500 students, alumni, and friends. As of 2013, this tradition had been intact for the last decade.[45] After the bus "died" in 2013, a group of MBA students started a crowdfunding campaign on to purchase a new mobile tailgate bus.[46]

Michigan Journal of BusinessEdit

Michigan Journal of Business
Edited byRoger Zhong, Kabir Sodhi
Publication details
Standard abbreviations
ISO 4Mich. J. Bus.
OCLC no.644450557

Michigan Journal of Business is a biannual, peer-reviewed, open access, academic journal that is published by undergraduate students at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business (University of Michigan). It was established in 2007 by William Moon and publishes theses, empirical research, case studies, and theories relating to accounting, economics, finance, marketing, management, operations management, information systems, business law, corporate ethics, and public policy. The editorial staff is composed of students of the University of Michigan.[citation needed] The journal is abstracted and indexed in EBSCO's Business Source Complete database.[47] Archival issues are available at the MJB's website.[48]


Business school rankings
Worldwide overall
Times Higher Education[50]15
U.S. News & World Report[51]11
Worldwide MBA
Business Insider[52]14
Financial Times[54]28
Bloomberg Businessweek[55]18
U.S. News & World Report[57]10

U.S. News & World Report,[58] in its 2019 ranking of top MBA programs, placed Michigan Ross seventh in its ranking of business schools in the United States; it was tied with the University of California at Berkeley's Haas School of Business. In the same publication and year's BBA rankings, Michigan Ross was ranked fourth. In the most recent U.S. News & World Report, the school fell back to 13th.

In the most-recent U.S. News & World Report[59] specialty rankings for 2019, Michigan Ross' full-time MBA program was ranked third in the Management and Production/Operations categories, fourth in Marketing and Accounting, fifth in Nonprofit and International, sixth in Supply Chain/Logistics, seventh in Entrepreneurship, and tenth in Finance. In 2014 BusinessWeek ranked the MBA program ninth overall.[citation needed]

In 2015, U.S. News & World Report rankings of the best U.S. undergraduate business programs ranked Ross first in the management category. Also in 2015, the BBA program ranked second in marketing, third in finance, fourth in international business[a] and productions/operations management, and fifth in accounting.[citation needed] In the 2015 QS Global 200 Business Schools Report,[60] Ross School was placed as the eighth-best business school in North America.[citation needed] In 2011, the Masters in Supply Chain program was ranked second in supply chain in the U.S. by Gartner.[citation needed] In the 2015 Bloomberg BusinessWeek rankings of undergraduate business schools, Ross was placed twelfth; in 2016, Ross moved up to eighth place in that list.[61]

The Ross School of Business was ranked third worldwide in 2011 for research output,[62] and first in 2013 for sustainability by Bloomberg Businessweek.[citation needed]

Notable alumniEdit



Arts and entertainmentEdit



  • Ms. Catherine P. Bessant (BUS: BBA), called the most powerful woman in banking; has been the Chief Operations and Technology Officer at Bank of America since July 22, 2015; and serves as its Member of Executive Management Team
  • William S. Demchak, (BUS: MBA), President and Chief Executive Officer of PNC Financial Services Group.
  • Haluk Dinçer (BUS: MBA), President of the Retail and Insurance Group of Sabancı Holding, one of the two largest industrial and financial conglomerates of Turkey
  • David Kellermann, (BUS: BSBA), Chief Financial Officer of Freddie Mac
  • Shailesh Kumar (BUS: M.B.A.), writer, entrepreneur, private investor, and founder of Value Stock Guide, a financial website providing information about investing
  • Herbert "Bart" H. McDade III, President and COO of Lehman Brothers at the time of its bankruptcy
  • Euh Yoon-Dae (BUS: Ph.D.), Chairman of KB Financial Group and of the Presidential Council on Nation Branding, Korea


  • Gary Hamel (BUS: MBA PhD 1990), co-author of The Core Competence of the Corporation; selected "Number One Guru" by The Economist magazine in 2003



  • Sam Belnavis (BUS: MBA), executive in automobile racing; as an African-American, one of the few minority persons to have owned a NASCAR racing team
  • Donald Hicks, businessman, author, and expert in supply chain management; president and CEO of LLamasoft, Inc., a supply chain design software company
  • Shailesh Kumar, businessperson; founder of Value Stock Guide
  • Frank Legacki, former President and CEO of Kaepa, Inc., an athletic footwear company based in San Antonio, Texas.
  • Sam Wyly (BUS: MBA 1957), serial entrepreneur; owner of the Bonanza Restaurants chain; founder of computer companies acquired by Computer Associates, SBC Communications, and Datran; chairman of Sterling Software

Federal Reserve/FDIC/OCC/TreasuryEdit

Government and judiciaryEdit



  • H. David Burton (BUS: MBA), the thirteenth Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1995 to 2012.
  • Charles "Chuck" Conaway (BUS: MBA), businessman best known for having been the CEO of Kmart; former President and Chief Operating Officer of CVS Corporation
  • John DeLorean (BUS: MBA 1957), General Motors Group Vice President and Designer of the DeLorean
  • Dave Deno (BUS: MBA), former CEO of Quizno's and former COO of Yum! Brands
  • John V. Faraci (BUS: MBA 1974), CEO of International Paper
  • Frederick Henderson (BUS: BBA 1980), former Chairman of GM Europe and a GM group vice president; named GM Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer in 2005
  • Donat Leclair (BUS: MBA), former chief financial officer and executive vice president of Ford Motor Company
  • Archie McCardell (BUS: MBA), American business leader; former chief executive officer, president, and chairman of the board at the International Harvester
  • Michael Roney (BUS: MBA 1981), CEO of Bunzl
  • Roger B. Smith (BUS: 1947, MBA 1953), former Chairman and CEO of General Motors
  • David N. Weidman (BUS: MBA 1980), CEO of Celanese; member of the Board of Celanese (2004–, as chairman, 2007–); Society of Chemical Industry Chairman

Information technologyEdit

  • David Bohnett (BUS: MBA 1980), founder and CEO of GeoCities
  • Bharat Desai (BUS: MBA 1981), co-founder, President and CEO, Syntel Inc.
  • Donald Hicks (BUS: MBA), founder of LLamasoft, Inc., a software and services company that develops and markets technology to model and optimize supply chain networks
  • Warren Lieberfarb (BUS), Chairman of Warren N. Lieberfarb & Associates, LLC.; serves on the board of directors of Hughes Telematics, Inc.; board member of Sirius Satellite Radio and thePlatform
  • Paul Saleh (BS, MS; BUS: MBA 1985), CFO, Nextel Communications Inc.
  • Richard Snyder (BA 1977, BUS: MBA with distinction 1979, LAW: JD 1982, Certified Public Accountant), Chairman of the board of Gateway Inc., venture capitalist, and Governor of Michigan (2011–2019)


Real estate and infrastructureEdit

Venture capitalEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Although now ranked 12th in 2017[citation needed]


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External linksEdit

Coordinates: 42°16′21.8″N 83°44′15.2″W / 42.272722°N 83.737556°W / 42.272722; -83.737556