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Michael Alter is a Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.  Alter was the Executive Chairman (and former Interim CEO) of Vanco, the largest provider of electronic payment solutions to the faith-based and education communities. Previously, he was the Chief Executive Officer of The Tie Bar, LLC - the #1 e-commerce destination for stylish men's accessories. Prior to The Tie Bar, Michael was a co-founder and CEO of SurePayroll, a SaaS technology company that is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Paychex®. Alter co-founded SurePayroll in 2000 after six years as a Consultant with McKinsey and Company.  Prior to receiving his MBA from the Harvard Business School, Alter worked in various sales positions at IBM. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Northwestern University.

Alter is an active board and advisory board member for leading industry and entrepreneurial organizations including: Vanco – the leading payments provider to the faith-based and education communities, First Stop Health – a leading telemedicine services company, Pippin Title - provider of SaaS technology for the title search industry, and ConData Systems – provider of freight and parcel post audit and recovery services.  Some of his previous board work includes serving on the boards of Big Time Software – a leader provider of Professional Services Management SaaS to engineering, accounting and other small and medium size professional services firms, (Acquired by Vista Equity Partners), MAX Digital/FirstLook — the SaaS leader in Mobile Showroom and Digital Performance Management for Auto Dealers (acquired by NASDAQ:ACVA) and Nambe, LLC — a leading design and lifestyle brand known for their award-winning tabletop giftware (acquired by Portmeirion Group PLC (LON: PMP), and Quevos – maker of the award-winning low carb/high protein chips made from egg whites (Acquired).  Alter is a member of the JDRF International Board of Directors, a member of YPO Gold, CEO, and a former officer of the Chicago Chapter of the Young Presidents' Organization.

A past recipient of the Illinois Technology Association CityLIGHTS CEO of the Year Award, Alter has been a nationally recognized spokesman on business issues, having served as a columnist for and appeared regularly in media outlets nationwide, including Bloomberg TV, and the Wall Street Journal.

Academic Areas

  • Entrepreneurship

2023 - 2024 Course Schedule

Number Course Title Quarter
34111 Entrepreneurial Selling 2023 (Autumn)
34111 Entrepreneurial Selling 2024 (Spring)
34111 Entrepreneurial Selling 2024 (Summer)
34887 Entrepreneurial Selling 2024 (Summer)

Get Insights from Michael Alter in Chicago Booth Review

Michael D. Alter, Amanda Lannert, Jai Shekhawat

How Can Start-Ups Scale Up?

On this episode of The Big Question, a panel of experts discusses the challenges small businesses need to overcome to grow into large companies.