Our History

Chicagoland MBA Excellence Since 1946

At Lake Forest Graduate School of Management (LFGSM), our mission is to provide business education from business leaders. We strive to create more effective business leaders through our campus-based and online Leadership MBA program, and our corporate business leadership development programs.


Lake Forest Graduate School of Management was created to respond to a business need. After World War II, the Chicagoland area entered a manufacturing boom and business leaders on the front lines were in high demand. To address this issue, Abbott Laboratories, Fansteel Metallurgical Corporation,and Johns-Manville Products Corporation joined with Lake Forest College to form the Lake Forest College Industrial Management Institute (IMI) in 1946. Together, they introduced a revolutionary educational approach incorporating a practical business model taught by Business Leader Faculty. Initially, IMI was in place to provide management training to returning veterans to help them transition into and succeed in business.

Since becoming an independent, non-for-profit organization in 1965, Lake Forest Graduate School of Management has continued to build on its high-performance, results-oriented approach. We are uniquely positioned at the intersection of business and education with a network of over 20,000 MBA and corporate learning solutions alumni. These relationships are those with students, faculty board members and corporate partners shape our MBA curriculum.

As a graduate school of business, we run ourselves as a business. We pride ourselves on our high-performance, employee-centric culture and our unwavering commitment to the customer intimacy model that sets us apart from other business schools in the Chicagoland area.

As an independent, not-for-profit enterprise, we put your educational interests first. Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association, LFGSM is authorized to grant Master’s degrees by the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Strictly Business - Right From the Start

A pioneer of the practical business education model, LFGSM was originally founded through a partnership of leading Chicago area businesses.

Since our founding we have strengthened and expanded our ties to the business community through affiliations with such leading companies as Abbott, AbbVie, Allstate, Blue Cross Blue Shield, CDW, Discover, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Medline, and Walgreens– to name just a few.

We believe that great leaders change lives. So come join us in our mission of molding broad thinkers and strong leaders who make a difference across organizations.