In 1924, the School of Business Administration was a newcomer to an established University of Michigan. But it wasn't long before the alumni of what is now Michigan Ross distinguished themselves in the face of some of humanity's biggest changes and challenges. 

As the University of Michigan celebrates its 200th birthday, these alumni reflect on the decades that helped define them.

1920s: Breaking New Ground in a New School

In 1971, Dividend asked two members of the very first MBA class at the School of Business Administration, Merwin H. Waterman and D. Maynard Phelps, MBAs ’26, to write up some reminiscences from their student days.

1930s: Rising Above Challenges of Race and the Great Depression

Harold Bailer, MBA ’96 , had a historic tenure at Michigan Ross. He began his MBA journey in 1936 as one of two African-American students.

1940s: Moving From Wartime to Postwar Success

Norman Auerbach, AB ’41/MBA ’47, came to U-M during the Depression with just $25.

1950s: Leading the Way for Women in Business

In the 1950s, when Diane Lindwall, BBA ’56, first stepped into the Michigan Business School, her immediate reaction was one of shock and surprise.

1960s: Learning in an Era of Upheaval

For many people, the 1960s were turbulent times. Eric Flamholtz, PhD ’69, remembers that time vividly.

1970s: Changing Times and New Directions

In today’s B-schools, women constitute 4o to 50 percent of the classroom. For Barbara J. Mahone, MBA ’72, it was vastly different.

1980s: Experiencing Two Sides of Business

When Maggie Bayless, MBA ’84, began her business education at Ross, her life was a study in contrasts.

1990s: Bouncing Back from a Crisis

Kevin Greiner and Robyn Roberts, MBA/MS ’98, had an up-close view of one of the biggest corporate scandals in history.

2000s: The Art and Science of Serving Society

Jerry White, MBA ’05, already had a lifetime’s worth of accomplishments before he joined the Ross Executive MBA Program.

2010s: Nonstop Hustle, On the Court and At the Startup

On the basketball court, Zack Novak, BBA ’12, seemed to be everywhere. He’s brought that same intensity to Uptake.

A Legacy of Innovations

Since its founding, the business school at the University of Michigan has been a source of game-changing ideas. These are the stories of a few notable alumni and faculty members who thought big and acted boldly.

Our History

A look at some of the significant developments at the school through the years.