Letter from the Dean

As we celebrate the University of Michigan’s 200th birthday, this occasion of our bicentennial has given us at Michigan Ross the opportunity to look at the contributions of our business school over the decades. And I must say, there is much to be proud of, much to live up to, and much to look forward to.

The business school was founded in 1924, and innovative thinking from our students and faculty began almost immediately. William Paton, for example, founded the The Accounting Review in the third year of the school’s existence, and it quickly became the standard for the entire profession, and still is. Paul McCracken came to the school in 1948 and went on to advise five presidents and publish frequently in The Wall Street Journal. C.K. Prahalad in the 1990s changed forever how business leaders would think about corporate strategy in emerging markets through his “Base of the Pyramid” concept.

As a member of our community for nearly a decade, I have come to cherish our rich history and tradition, and am inspired by those who have come before us and who made Michigan Ross one of the leading and most impactful business schools in the world. I am also energized by those pioneers to look forward, envision a new future, and lead our school into its next era of excellence.

The best way we can honor those who came before us is to climb on to higher goals, bigger and bolder aspirations, and with an unwavering commitment to innovation and excellence.

So, what are those higher goals? What are those bigger and bolder aspirations for Michigan Ross?

To elevate the Michigan Ross brand and be recognized among the world’s top business schools, we aim to be the world’s best career accelerator and most distinctive source of leadership talent globally. We will accomplish this goal by attracting the best student and faculty talent, providing a transformative educational experience rooted in our history of action-based learning, and by forming a deeply personal partnership with students and alumni where we are as committed to their success as they are.

To help bring this vision to life, I’ll offer a few examples.

What better way to learn business than by doing business? At Michigan Ross, we are beginning to merge our business education with the careers our students aspire to in ways that no other business school is attempting. We call it our Living Business Model. Many of our students are interested in careers in investment and asset management, so to accelerate our students’ learning, we now have seven student-run investment funds with nearly $9 million under management. What better way to learn how to invest than by investing real money in real assets, and being responsible for the actual returns. Likewise, many of our students are interested in consulting careers, so over two decades we’ve built a global consulting enterprise — our Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAP) — that consists of 167 projects this year spanning nearly every degree program and 27 countries. Next up, we will begin to build real businesses where our students are responsible for managing the people and operations. Imagine our students actually running a product or business line from concept, design, marketing and sales, to operations and results. Our students will hit every aspect of making the business a success. With the commitment of our faculty, the engagement of our students, and the support of our alumni, our Living Business Model could revolutionize business education for years to come, much like what our MAP program did 25 years ago.

Just as we revolutionized business education with action-based-learning for students, we are also out to blaze a new trail around “lifetime learning” with our alumni. To ensure our alumni have access to the cutting edge insights and teachings of our faculty and centers and institutes, such as the Sanger Leadership Center or the Zell Lurie Institute, we have introduced Alumni Advantage, which gives you lifetime free tuition-free access to executive education, as well as discounts for your team members and colleagues.

This is the first of many steps we will take to redefine and strengthen our partnership with students and alumni!

We have big ideas and bold aspirations. We are already bringing many of these ideas to life and will continue accelerating these and other innovations in the coming years. With your help, we can and will become the most impactful business school in the world — a business school that develops leaders who challenge the present, enrich the future, and create a better world through the power of business.

Go Blue!

Scott DeRue
Edward J. Frey Dean
Stephen M. Ross Professor of Business