Devin WIles

Devin Wiles, BBA '26

Forging His Own Path as a First-Generation College Student

Devin Wiles, BBA ’26, didn’t begin his college application process with business school in mind. A four-year varsity baseball player in high school, Devin received offers to play in college at Division II and III schools in the state of Michigan. However, an MRI during his senior year of high school revealed significant damage in his pitching elbow, forcing him to reconsider what his college experience might look like. 


Around the time of the MRI, Devin was accepted into the BBA Program at the Ross School of Business. While it would mean no longer being involved in baseball on the field, he realized that taking advantage of the academic opportunities at Michigan Ross and exploring a career in sports business would best set him up to one day return to baseball off the field. 


“I’ve wanted to play baseball my whole life, and it was my dream to play in college, but I’ve also worked so hard on my academics all these years. Academically, this was the best option for me, and financially, the scholarship opportunities available to University of Michigan students, such as the Go Blue Guarantee, made Ross an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Devin said. 


Devin was initially unsure what the transition would look like going from high school to college because of his status as a first-generation college student. However, once he got on campus, the First-Gen Gateway quickly helped him learn what college life looks like. 


“My parents and I didn’t have a lot of knowledge about what the transition process was like, so we were kind of just learning as we went along,” Devin said. “I went to a lot of the First-Gen program events here at Ross early on. It was really cool to find people with similar experiences as me and learn about their transition process because it’s pretty different from others.”


Making the Most of Opportunities

Now a sophomore, Devin has found that his education at Michigan Ross has allowed him to gain skills in a wide variety of areas while also keeping up with his passion for baseball and sports. 

The Michigan Ross education allows you to do so much because no matter what the class — accounting, marketing, real estate — the skills and concepts we talk about can be applied everywhere and help in just about every career option.

Devin Wiles, BBA '26

Outside of the classroom, Devin has continued to pursue his passion for baseball and sports business through the many extracurricular opportunities available at U-M. He is a member of the Sports Business Association, a communications intern with the U-M football team, and next year will be the editor-in-chief of the Michigan Society for American Baseball Research


“The University of Michigan gives you the opportunity to do anything you want. I found people at M-SABR who are just as obsessed with baseball as I am. Now I get to pursue professional opportunities, such as writing about baseball for a website that I never thought would be possible,” Devin said. 


Looking Ahead

As Devin thinks about a potential career, baseball operations may be in his future, but he’s keeping an open mind as he continues to explore different opportunities at Michigan Ross. No matter what he decides to do, the mindset and skills he learned growing up with his parents will help him forge his path. 


“My parents taught me how to work hard. My dad is a blue-collar worker, and my mom is the most organized and straightforward person I know,” Devin said. “I feel like there’s a bit of a stigma around people who didn’t go to college, that they might be less skilled or hardworking than those who did. That’s not true. My parents are the hardest working people in my life. The skills that I’ve been able to gain and the position that I am in today are because of them.”