students in Washington DC
Carson Scholars

Discover how business and public policy work as a Carson Scholar where you learn on campus in the winter term and then travel to Washington, D.C. in early May to meet with a range of elected officials, government experts, industry leaders, issue advocates, and lobbyists!

Ross BBA and Business Minor Juniors and Sophomores are invited to apply to become a Carson Scholar.  During the BL 488 Business & Public Policy course and Carson Scholars Program – which began in 2005 and now with over 1,000 alumni – all students will have the opportunity to meet with government and business leaders, and learn from a range of experts, on the public policy process.

Dates and Location

The course will have 6 class sessions during the Winter B semester before heading to Washington D.C. in early May the week after University of Michigan Commencement. While in Washington, students will participate in an intensive, one-week course held at a series of unique locations around D.C. 


With David Carson's support, fees are generally covered for the Washington Campus portion of the course while in Washington. As a Carson Scholar, you will be responsible for transportation to and from Washington, your meals during the program, and a Ross course fee that includes five nights at a centrally-located hotel close to all cultural and course sites, and other administrative costs.


The faculty director is Norm Bishara, who is a professor of business law and ethics. Professor Bishara is a staff editor at the American Business Law Journal and a past president of the Employment Law Section of the Academy of Legal Studies in Business. While in private practice in New York state, he represented a diverse group of corporate and individual clients in corporate, and commercial litigation matters. He has a public policy degree from Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy and has worked with various domestic and international entities, such as the United Nations Development Programme-RBEC and the Lebanese Transparency Association.  His research has been widely cited in academic work and in the media, as well as by The White House, the Federal Trade Commission, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Guest presenters in the course include current and former government officials — for example, members of Congress, senior White House and congressional staff, regulatory and cabinet agency executives, journalists, business executives, political professionals, and representatives of advocacy organizations and trade groups. While in Washington students also interact with experts and University of Michigan alumni about the wide range of careers in public policy and business. The Washington residency portion of the course typically includes site visits to Capitol Hill, other government buildings, and diplomatic embassies or missions.


Students must complete and submit a brief application form to enroll in the course, which is available in the first half of the fall semester each year.

Selected students are announced before the winter course registration begins in mid fall. Admitted students will have Wolverine Access permission add the class when registering for winter term courses. (This course is included in the 18-credit-hour limit for the winter term.)

Students not admitted to the course will be placed on a wait list.

For more information, contact [email protected].

Michael Hartt
The Carson Scholars program was unlike any other academic or professional experience I’ve participated in. I had the privilege of spending a week in Washington, D.C. with a group of Ross’ most motivated and intellectually stimulating students, while listening to an array of speakers who are at the forefront of developing solutions to our nation’s most pressing concerns.
Business and Public Policy in Washington

As a Ross BBA or Business Minor student, you can get a close-up look at the interaction of business and government through a special three-credit course in Washington, D.C., in early May. David Carson (Michigan BBA, ’55) established a fund at Ross that covers the entire tuition for the course. Forbes magazine named Carson, the now-retired CEO of People’s Savings Bank in Bridgeport, Conn., as one of the 500 “most powerful people” in corporate America.

Students in the course are designated as Carson Scholars. Ross offers the course in conjunction with The Washington Campus, a consortium of business schools at top U.S. universities. Organized in 1978 by L. William Seidman (Michigan MBA, ’49) and other visionary leaders, the campus advances the principle that business leaders must understand how government works.

The Washington Campus course — BL 488: Business and Public Policy — provides you with the frameworks, concepts, and tools needed to incorporate public policy into managerial decision making and strategic planning. The course focuses on Congress and the legislative process, the structure of the federal courts, the impact of judicial decision making on business, the federal regulatory process, the organization of the White House, the role of lobbyists and interest groups, and the role of the media in the public policy process.

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