The College of Business and Information Technology evolved from the University's degree programs in industrial engineering, which in the 1930's combined technology, business, law, economics, and management to benefit managers and administrators of utilities and manufacturing facilities, primarily Detroit's automobile companies and their suppliers. In the aftermath of the Great Depression in 1939, as financial conditions improved, Lawrence Tech consolidated much of its business and management course work, transferring it from the College of Engineering to a newly formed College of Business Administration. Several hundred students were pursuing degrees by the start of World War II.
Throughout the war, the College experienced many changes. As enrollment grew, Lawrence Tech's programs in industrial management, economics, and business administration were led by Edwin O. Graeffe, a talented, Belgium-born, German-educated professor whose early career as an import-exporter had given him a unique global perspective on business operations. The College of Management became the new name in the early 1980s, and in 1989 launched the first MBA program. Today the College of Business and Information Technology continues the tradition of offering programs that meet the evolving needs of students and the professions they serve.