Heller College of Business

History of Walter E. Heller and Alyce DeCosta

Over his lifetime, Walter E. Heller developed the skills and expertise to create a world-known organization. As a young man he was given the responsibility to oversee his father’s successful sausage casing business. Being a resourceful and meticulous entrepreneur, Walter expanded to jewelry and then automobile financing. As his prosperity grew, so did his vision. Whatever the business at hand, Heller pursued it with vigor. He was the first to arrive on the job in the morning and the last to leave at night. During the 1930s, Heller expanded into the rediscount business and then factoring. Heller's firm became the pre-eminent asset-based commercial lender and factor from the 1940s through the 1960s. Heller's firm was the Cadillac of its industry, loaning money to flamboyant and high profile Hollywood movie studios, including United Artists Corporation. In 1956, Heller’s stock began trading over the New York Stock Exchange. Through its growth, the firm acquired companies, divested companies, and expanded overseas. Business Week magazine summarized Heller’s reach in a 1958 article stating the company "served as a funnel through which 1,800 stockholders, 76 banks, and 10 insurance companies extended credit to some 500 manufacturing distributors, small-loan, and auto-finance companies."

In 1969, Heller died at the age of 78. With the generous support of his widow, Alyce DeCosta, and the Walter E. Heller Foundation, a gift of $2 million enabled Roosevelt University to construct a 10-story classroom, laboratory, and library facility. Alyce DeCosta established the Walter E. Heller Lecture Series in International Business and Finance and served as a member of the Board of Trustees. She died in 2004 at the age of 98. The college proudly carries the name of Walter E. Heller College of Business for Roosevelt University.


Roosevelt University's Heller College of Business provides a diverse population of students the best opportunity to develop critical skills necessary for success. This education emphasizes professional integrity, sustainable business practices, and global engagement.


All programs of the University are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In addition, the business degree programs offered through the Heller College of Business are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

Degree programs

The Heller College of Business offers five graduate business degrees. The Master of Business Administration is a general management degree with a chosen area of specialization. The college also offers four specialized master of science degrees: Master of Science in Accounting, Master of Science in Accounting Forensics, Master of Science in Human Resource Management, and Master of Science in Real Estate.

Full-time graduate students

The normal full-time load for a graduate student is 9 credit hours, (three courses) plus BADM 401 GRADUATE BUSINESS ORIENTATION (in the first semester). Scheduling conflicts may occur when taking four or more classes. Prerequisites are not waived to accommodate scheduling difficulties or to accelerate graduation.

Location and scheduling

Each degree is available at both the Chicago and the Schaumburg campuses, except for the MSRE degree which is only offered in Chicago.  BADM 401 GRADUATE BUSINESS ORIENTATION is offered online only and the other eight core courses for the MBA are offered at both campuses each semester. Concentration courses and specialty courses are offered on a regular basis, but not necessarily each semester. Graduate business classes are offered at various times, including the weekends.

Admission to graduate business programs

Domestic (U.S. citizen or permanent resident1) applicants. Applicants to graduate studies for the MBA and MS degrees in the Heller College of Business must complete and submit the following:

  • Graduate university application
  • Applicants with an undergraduate GPA below 3.0 may be required to complete an interview process with Business Administration staff and faculty.
  • Resume or detailed work history
  • A two-page personal goals statement
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, regardless of whether a degree was received
  • Application fee

Permanent residents must submit Permanent Resident Card

International applicants. International applicants and other students with academic credentials from institutions outside of the United States who are applying for the MBA and MS degrees in the Heller College of Business must complete and submit the following:

  • International Graduate University Application, including the Summary of Educational Experience by Year.
  • Those students below a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 grading scale might be required to complete an interview process with the Assistant Dean, Department Chairs and/or selected staff and faculty from the Heller College of Business.
  • Demonstration of English proficiency, as evidenced by TOEFL/IELTS/Roosevelt ELP test, is required if education is not from a North American institution in which English is the medium of instruction.
  • Resume or detailed work history.
  • A two-page personal goals statement.
  • Financial Statement and Affidavit of Support, with supporting financial records.
  • Application fee.

International or domestic applicants who hold international degrees.

  • Applicants with a degree from outside the United States must submit an international degree evaluation to assess for US equivalency from either Education Credential Evaluators (ECE), World Education Services (WES) or Educational Perspectives.
  • Applicants with a three-year degree will be considered.
  • Non-admissible applicants with a three-year degree may be eligible to enroll in an RU undergraduate program, preferably business, to work toward four-year equivalency.

Graduate assistantships

The college has a limited number of graduate assistantships available to full-time students each year. The assistantships provide a cash stipend and up to 18 credit hours of tuition annually. The duties of a graduate assistant may include tutoring, research, advising, or other academic projects. Applications are available online or through Admission.


Advising at the Graduate level is done by our Assistant Dean and Student Support Specialist. All new students should meet with the Assistant Dean before registering for their first course(s). Advising may be in person, by telephone, or by e-mail. All students should seek advice, if necessary, and register as early as possible in the registration period.

Student services

The Heller College of Business is committed to the success of our students.  We offer internships, mentoring programs and student professional development worksheets in order to emphasize the focus on learning through the classroom and applying knowledge and theory gained in the real world.

Mentoring program

The Heller College of Business pairs those students that are interested in the mentoring program in small groups of 3-6 students with an executive in the business fields to serve as a mentor on a semester to semester basis.  Students meet with their mentors on a monthly/regular basis and cover topics such as: networking, career advise, and many other topics.  If you would like to become a part of the mentoring program, please reach out to the Assistant Dean of Students for more information and an application.

Professional development workshops

The Heller College of Business provides many professional development workshops throughout the academic year at both campuses.  Topics that are covered include: resume building and cover letter writing, the perfect elevator pitch, Excel for business basics and advanced, financial planning, survival skills for the corporate world and much more.


Internships are offered as part of the graduate programs. With the prior approval of the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies, a student may elect to use an internship as an elective course in the degree program. An internship can be a valuable learning tool for those graduate students who have had limited work experience or for those seeking a major career change. Students interested in pursuing the possibility of an internship should discuss this with the assistant dean of Graduate Studies early in the program.

Graduate students may use up to three credit hours of internship to fulfill degree requirements. To accept an internship, a student must be legally eligible to work in the United States. A student may not use an employer for whom he/she already works full-time for an internship. The student must receive written approval from the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies before enrolling for an internship.