A New Milestone For Michigan Ross’ Online MBA: Its Very First Graduate

34-year-old Lindsay Case is the first student to complete Ross’ online MBA

The online MBA program at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business will achieve a milestone of sorts next month with its first ever graduate: Lindsay Case.

If you’re asking why only one person will graduate from the program’s inaugural cohort of 72 students, who began the program in the fall of 2019, is because Case fast-tracked herself through the program. Her official completion date will be Aug. 21, though the university’s actual graduation would be this December.

“Lindsay is a force of nature,” laughs Patricia Russo, managing director of part-time MBA programs at Ross. “Lindsay is always the first to be on the Canvas site to start the asynchronous sessions. She sent me a note before the spring session because she needed to move to Canada, learn French and take the organizational development course in three weeks.”


Most online students are expected to complete the 57-credit hour program in three years, but it’s possible for many students to either accelerate the timetable to two and one-half years or slow it down and extend it over a five- to six-year period. Case did it in just 24 months.

From Nashville, Tennessee, she is typical of the quality of students Ross has attracted to its online MBA program. She earned a PhD in computational genetics in animal-based protein production from the University of Guelph, where she also obtained her bachelor’s of science degree. Chosen as one of Poets&Quants’ Best & Brightest MBAs of 2021, Case, 34, has led a division at Genus PIC, a company that pioneers animal genetics. She is now transitioning to run the company’s Canadian business as the director of Genus PIC Canada.

Since entering the first online cohort of 72 students, the Ross online program has grown rapidly, with another 136 students who entered in the fall of 2020 and an expected cohort this fall that will equal the previous one. Ross also has gone to two intakes a year for its online MBA, having enrolled an additional 24 students during its winter term.


Patricia Russo, managing director of part-time MBA programs at the Ross School of Business

Ross has rolled out two signature features of its online experience: a unique iteration of its legendary experiential learning project called MAP (Multi-Disciplinary Action Projects) and an innovation residency that Case and her classmates just completed. During the three-day innovation residency, students had to develop ideas for B2B businesses and then work to turn them into functioning prototypes that they pitched to real VC investors.

Rolling out MAP, one of the differentiating features of Ross’ full-time MBA experience, was a major project in and of itself. The 14-week-long assignments, supported by a faculty advisor and communication coaches, were arranged around nine projects that kicked off in June. Sponsoring companies included Uber, Sony Playstation, Coinbase, Anthem, and Riot Games. This initial foray into action-based learning was virtual due to COVID, but Russo is hopeful that next year’s consulting assignments will feature on-site visits with sponsors.

“We also provided students with a great deal of extra programming on team dynamics that explored what they want to get out of their teams and what their role on the team will be,” says Russo. “I survey teams in MAP so the whole team of five to six students rates the performance of the team.”

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