Elective courses

Depending on the track you choose, some of the courses listed below may be required for your plan of study. All electives are 2 semester hours unless otherwise noted.


Business analytics course descriptions

Advanced Analytics (MSCI:9110)
This course considers techniques of quantitative analysis that have wide applicability in business functional areas. Typical topics include the construction of Monte-Carlo simulation models, advanced regression techniques (transformation of variables, interaction effects, logistic regression, time-series regression), time-series forecasting using smoothing methods, and the formulation and solution of optimization models (linear, nonlinear, and mixed-integer). Analytical techniques are applied to application cases from finance, marketing, operations, and human resource management. Prerequisite: MBA:8150 or consent of instructor.

Managing the Supply Chain (MSCI:9120)
Design, operation, and management of a supply chain; supplier and customer partnerships, supply base management, transportation and logistics, supply chain innovation, supply chain sustainability; supply chain risk management and performance metrics.

Supply Chain Analytics (MSCI:9160)
As companies look across the world to find the best combination of talent, quality, and cost, they face the challenge of managing a far-flung supply chain where the incentives of members may not always be aligned. This course addresses the design and management of supply chains through the study of such topics as infrastructure design, supplier-customer contracting and partnering, risk management, demand management, inventory systems design, and global logistics. Special emphasis is given to the quantitative skills necessary to analyze the global supply chain. Prerequisite: MBA:8240.

Project Management (MSCI:9185)
Preparation for managing projects and project portfolios; project selection, project planning and budgeting, scheduling, resource allocation, project control; integration of project planning tools, including project management software.

Lean Process Improvement (MSCI:9130)
Lean principles across the enterprise; real-world applications and case studies in manufacturing and service sectors.

Business Analytics in Practice (MSCI:9080)|
To be effective leaders, MBAs need to be able to apply the theory from in the classroom in the real world. This course gives students the opportunity to apply the classroom learning working on a company-sponsored project applying analytics to solve problems in a variety of contexts, including supply chain and operations, marketing, finance or health care. (3 s.h.)

Product and Pricing Decisions (MKTG:9330)
Managing profitability in volatile market conditions is an essential marketing skill. The course will explore how to create and capture value through product and service design, including state-gate evaluation models; implementing pricing strategy for new products and existing product lines. Prerequisites: MBA:8110 and MBA:8150.

Data Programming with R (MSCI:9060)
Introduction to the principles and practices of handling, cleaning, processing, and visualizing data using the R programming language. Students will also acquire basic programming skills that can be applied to software development in any programming language, covering such topics as variables and data types; control structures; functions and subroutines; arrays and other simple data structures.

Introduction to Modeling with VBA (MSCI:9210)
Learn to use Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) in Microsoft Excel. Basic programming concepts are explored in VBA, macros, and models for decision making in finance, marketing, operations, and accounting. No prior programming experience is required. Prerequisite: MBA:8150.

Data Management and Visual Analytics (MSCI:9050)
Theories and methodologies for semantic, logical, and physical database design; entity/relationship diagrams and their mapping to database schemas; normalization; languages for relational database systems, including relational algebra, Structured Query Language, query by example; query optimization and index selection; database and view creation, query and update processing; form and report design; practice with commercial DBMS products; integrity, security, concurrency control, transaction recovery.

Data Science (MSCI:9070)
Underlying concepts and practical computational skills of data-mining tools, including penalty-based variable selection (LASSO), logistic regression, regression and classification trees, clustering methods, principal components and partial least squares; analysis of text and network data; the theory behind most useful data-mining tools in real-world situations; software for analysis, exploration and simplification of large high-dimensional data sets.

Marketing Analytics (MKTG:9310)
This course can be used to fulfill a business analytics elective requirement. See description.

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Finance course descriptions

Financial Accounting Standards and Analysis (ACCT:9030)
Focus is on understanding the basic accrual accounting model and the alternative measurement and recognition rules for assets, liabilities, and related issues of income determination. Emphasis is placed on economic substance of transactions, evaluation and interpretation of financial statements and related footnotes, and ways of detecting earnings management. Prerequisite: MBA:8140.

Financial Modeling and Firm Valuation (FIN:9150)
This course teaches students how to model the firm value from a discounted cash flow perspective. Students will learn how to identify a company's key value drivers and how to create spreadsheet valuation models. The projected financial valuation will also integrate consistently projected pro forma accounting statements. Topics covered include forecasting, free cash flow estimation, and industry competitive analysis. Prerequisite: MBA:8180.

Wealth Management (FIN:9350)
The field of wealth management has been growing rapidly for several decades, driven by the general increase in personal wealth and the increased responsibility for individuals to manage their own wealth. The purpose of this class is to provide students with the knowledge and tools necessary to enter the financial services industry. Topics covered include the financial planning industry, identifying client characteristics, tax shield structures, insurance, asset allocation plans, estate planning, and behavioral finance. Prerequisite: MBA:8180.

Structured Finance–Securitization (FIN:9280)
Structured finance is the design of debt, equity, and hybrid financing techniques that are used to resolve particular issuer and investor problems that cannot be resolved by conventional methods. The objective of this course is to examine why and when corporations and financial institutions should issue structured securities, how the securities should be designed and priced, and what types of securities make sense to investors. The course content includes the study of securitized assets such as mortgages, asset-backed securities (e.g., credit cards, auto loans, trade receivables), collateralized debt obligations, institutional structures, credit risk, valuation, cost of capital, corporate finance, and accounting. The legal, tax, and regulatory issues associated with securitization are examined, as well as the design, value, and implementation of structured-financed products. Prerequisite: MBA:8180.

Portfolio Management (FIN:9200)
The objective of this course is to introduce students to the fundamental elements of modern portfolio theory and its application to investment analysis. The course begins with a discussion of the investment environment, instruments, and the different types of investors. It examines the concepts of risk and return and provides a broad perspective on the historical risk and return of various asset classes. The asset allocation decision, in which the risk and return dynamics of a portfolio of multiple securities is analyzed. Various asset pricing models are introduced, along with a discussion of how efficiently the capital markets work for investors and users of capital. Prerequisite: MBA:8180.

Derivatives (FIN:9210)
This course examines the wide range of derivative securities that cover the financial landscape. It starts with a discussion of the marketplace, trading, and investors. It then moves on to understanding the different derivative securities in existence, their relationship with the underlying securities, and pricing. The course includes applications of derivative securities to risk management and speculation. Principles learned in this course apply to several other courses, such as Fixed Income Securities, International Finance, Real Estate Finance and Investments, and Structured Finance–Securitization. Prerequisite: MBA:8180.

Strategic Cost Analysis (ACCT:9020)
Introduction to cost accumulation, reporting, and cost management systems; managerial and divisional performance evaluation; appropriate use of cost data for short- and long-run decisions; product costing in manufacturing and service industries. Prerequisite: MBA:8140.

Real Estate Finance and Investments (FIN:9230)
Students will obtain an in-depth understanding of the concepts and techniques of real estate financial analysis and equity investment decision making. The course covers all aspects of real estate investing from analysis of developments through the securitization of mortgages. Topics covered include mortgage markets and pricing, real estate finance and investments, mortgage-backed securities, development process, real estate valuation, tax effects, securitized real estate, real estate cycles, application of derivative instruments, and strategic asset allocation. Prerequisite: MBA:8180.

Corporate Investment and Financing Decisions (FIN:9300)
This course examines the underpinnings and optimization of corporations' investment decisions and how these investments are financed. The class begins with estimation of both a firm-wide and a project-specific cost of capital, then examines the determinants and trade-offs in optimal capital structure decisions. Building on capital budgeting knowledge from MBA:8180, advanced perspectives of corporate investment behavior are analyzed. Real options that are built into most investment opportunities are considered, as well as their value. The corporate investment module of the class relies heavily on simulation analysis using Crystal Ball. The topics covered in this class include cost of capital estimation, valuation techniques, advanced capital budgeting, capital structure and dividend policy, and option pricing models applied to corporate finance. Time permitting, the course ends with the study of how investment and financing decisions may interact. Prerequisite: MBA:8180.

Fixed Income Securities (FIN:9220)
The objective of this course is to equip students with the conceptual framework and the tools to allow them to undertake the valuation of fixed income securities and the management of fixed income portfolios. The course begins with a discussion of the various fixed income instruments and the markets in which they trade. Students are then introduced to the basic building blocks of fixed income analysis including the concepts of duration, convexity, and the term structure of interest rates. The course stresses the application of these concepts in bond portfolio immunization strategies. The course also introduces students to the use of interest rate derivatives in portfolio hedging applications. Prerequisite: MBA:8180.

Alternative Investments and Portfolio Strategies (FIN:9290)
This course continues from where the Portfolio Management course ends. It begins with a discussion of alternative investments, which include hedge funds, private equity funds, and venture capital vehicles. The purpose of alternative investments is covered, including the risk/return profile of alternatives and correlations with traditional asset classes. The specific hedge fund styles, strategies, and their risk profiles are introduced. Overall portfolio strategy topics include diversification benefits, management of downside risk, international diversification, behavioral finance, performance measures, and performance attribution analysis. Prerequisite: MBA:8180.

Corporate Financial Strategy (FIN:9310)
Students will explore the major strategic decisions within the corporate form. The first topic is the study of risk management: why firms engage in it, their methods for doing so, and exercises in the simulation of uncertainty. Under the payout policy decision, the course studies both dividends and repurchases. Corporate governance topics include executive compensation, board structure, and institutional monitoring. Merger and acquisitions analysis focuses on regulation, valuation, anti-takeover devices, payment method, and LBOs. Divestitures and other restructuring topics include corporate diversification, spin-offs, carve-outs, private workouts, and Chapter 11. Prerequisite: MBA:8180.

Applied Securities Analysis—Henry Fund I and II (FIN:9250 & FIN:9260)
Students in this class manage the Henry Fund. Over the year, students in the course determine the type of portfolio to be managed, learn about the legal environment in which the fund operates, analyze potential investments, and implement control systems to monitor the fund's performance. All decisions and investment recommendations are made by the students. Each student will be responsible for analyzing a particular economic sector and geographic region. For example, a student may be a utilities analyst and a specialist in South East Asian economies. While the fund cannot currently invest directly in foreign listed stocks, it does hold U.S.-listed stocks with significant overseas interests, and students are able to invest in a number of ADRs. Prerequisite: MBA:8180. (3 s.h.)

International Finance (FIN:9240)
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the structure and functioning of global financial markets. The course will cover currency market and international equity markets. The use of derivatives in currency risk management for both corporate and investment needs will be covered. Corporate investment decisions in an international context will be explored. Prerequisite: MBA:8180.

Putting Finance into Practice (FIN:9390)
This experiential learning course provides students with hands-on practical experience in corporate finance or investments. In this applied course students will work in teams on either a corporate finance project or an investment project for a corporate or institutional client. Partner companies will identify financial issues, challenges, and opportunities that our students will help solve. Students will work with the companies and a faculty member to provide the company with an analysis of the situation and proposals of actions to be taken. Prerequisite: MBA:8180. (3 s.h.)

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Marketing course descriptions

Applied Marketing—Field Studies in Marketing (MKTG:9200)
Work with corporate or nonprofit client in planning, designing, implementing, and reporting on a marketing research, branding, or positioning project. Communicate with managers, apply marketing principles, develop project timelines, and convert findings into action recommendations for management. Repeatable. An international field studies in marketing may be considered in the spring term. Prerequisites: MBA:8110 and MBA:8150. (3 s.h.)

Applied Marketing Research (MKTG:9300)
Managerial application of marketing research technologies including research design, survey design, sampling, data analysis, qualitative research methods, and research project management. The course will also review how to assess the value of information, sources of bias, interpretation of scanner data, and how to apply integrated research systems. Prerequisites: MBA:8110 and MBA:8150.

Marketing Analytics (MKTG:9310)
Explores quantitative tools to support marketing planning decisions including forecasting, elasticity analysis, conjoint analysis, and customer Lifetime Valuation (LTV). Learn sources of syndicated data and methods to analyze the information for decision making. This course can also be used to fulfill a business analytics elective. Prerequisites: MBA:8110 and MBA:8150.

Strategic Brand Positioning (MKTG:9320)
Defining the brand position requires a broad understanding of the competition, customers, and market opportunities. This course will explore how to define marketing boundaries using customer and competitor analyses to create sustainable market positions; creating and managing brand identities; brand architecture and brand equity measurements. Prerequisite: MBA:8110.

Product and Pricing Management (MKTG:9330)
Managing profitability in volatile market conditions is an essential marketing skill. The course will explore how to create and capture value through product and service design including state-gate evaluation models; implementing pricing strategy for new products and existing product lines. Prerequisites: MBA:8110and MBA:8150.

Customer Analysis (MKTG:9340)
Learn how to identify high-potential customers, estimate return on marketing investment, and build models to predict and build successful marketing programs based on understanding of consumer behavior. Explore how decisions are made by an organization, or individuals, and techniques to measure post-sale satisfaction. Prerequisites: MBA:8110 and MBA:8150.

Marketing Communications and Promotions (MKTG:9350)
Explore the key methods for reaching and persuading target consumers to desired action. Learn the essentials of managing agency relationships; developing a cohesive message across media/vehicle platforms, and ultimately tracking and evaluating the investments made in communications and promotions. Methods explored include mass media, public relations, social marketing, causal marketing, buzz and guerilla marketing, digital marketing, sales force promotions, and other emerging marketing techniques. Prerequisite: MBA:8110.

Category Management (MKTG:9360)
Manufacturer–retailer relationships, product line planning, efficient consumer response, cross-category marketing strategies, competition between national brands and store labels, retailer positioning, customer loyalty.

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Supplemental elective course descriptions

Taxes and Business Strategy (ACCT:9050)
Effect of taxes on business decisions, including investment strategies; compensation planning; capital structure; global expansion; and mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. Emphasis on tax planning and evaluating tax consequences of business decisions. Prerequisites: MBA:8140 and permission of instructor.

Financial Information and Capital Markets (ACCT:9040)
Use of corporate financial statements for investment and lending decisions. Emphasis on financial analysis techniques, valuation, business analysis, cash flow projections, credit scoring, and related research evidence. Prerequisite: ACCT:9030.

Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness I (MGMT:9150)
Operational and financing aspects of nonprofit management; mission and governance of organization; strategic planning for effective management, including finance, budget, income generation, fundraising.

Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness II (MGMT:9160)
At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to describe the qualities needed for leaders of nonprofit organizations, including relationship with staff and volunteers; and discuss the relationship of a nonprofit organization with the external world: the nonprofit's community constituencies, governmental entities, professional associations, and collaboration with other organizations.

Seminar in International Business—Study Abroad (MBA:8500)
Issues and challenges facing organizations doing business in international markets; social, economic, political factors, business policies, and customs in the global environment; may include travel or study abroad. (Required; if taken a second time, serves as an elective.)

Writing for Business and Industry (CNW:3640)
This course prepares students for real-world writing situations and is based on seminars that the writing consultant performs for companies throughout the Midwest. Building a portfolio, resumes, cover letters, and interview skills for job searches are all emphasized. The course teaches techniques for revision—both within sentences for efficiency and clarity and within whole documents for comprehension, persuasion, and coherence. Students revise many kinds of transactional documents, from letters and memos to procedures and reports. All examples are drawn from actual business transactions. Students should emerge from the course with enhanced writing, editing, job search, and managerial skills.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ENTR:9100)
An introduction to the entrepreneurial process from conception to birth of a new venture; attributes of successful entrepreneurs, innovation and creativity, opportunity recognition, venture screening, identification of resources, and feasibility analysis. Prerequisite: MBA:8140.

Entrepreneurship: Business Consulting (ENTR:9700)
This course provides experience on teams providing consulting services to startup and early-stage companies; the consulting process/proposal development, data collection and analysis, final report preparation and presentation; and projects (marketing studies, financial projections, strategic planning).

Advanced Business Planning (ENTR:9800)
Mentored course for individuals in the final stages of preparing to launch their own business.

Evaluating Innovation Opportunities (ENTR:9400)
The course attempts to encourage an integrated, cross-functional perspective of how organizations identify and evaluate opportunities and develop strategies to compete in a global marketplace. It concentrates on innovation and creativity, opportunity recognition, venture screening, identification of resources, and strategic business planning.

Commercializing New Technology (ENTR:9550)
Students in this course will gain hands-on experience with the process of technology commercialization. Students will take a real-world opportunity in the form of a technology, either being developed in an academic environment or in the private sector, and create a plan to transfer that technology to the marketplace. This will consist of identifying a specific application of that technology (the product), identifying and sizing relevant market segments, determining the appropriate business and financial model, and designing a marketing plan. This content will then be assimilated into a business plan. The course will be completed with the students presenting their business plans/opportunities to simulated venture capitalists. The course will include case studies and outside speakers but will consist primarily of team-based work on your business opportunities. Access to successful entrepreneurs will be provided to the teams. (3 s.h.)

Dynamics of Negotiations (MGMT:9110)
Predictable aspects and dynamics of bargaining experiences; simulations and experiential exercises to foster skills needed for effective negotiations in almost any situation.

Leadership and Personal Development (MGMT:9120)
Major theories; determinants of leader effectiveness, personal and career success; practical development of leadership, managerial skills to enhance individual and organizational effectiveness.

Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability (MGMT:9091)
Introduction to main corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability issues; current debates; costs and benefits of CSR/sustainability; relationship between leadership, innovation, and CSR; CSR's effects on companies' ability to attract and retain good employees; numerous case studies ranging from small to large companies from various sectors, including food and agriculture, manufacturing, finance, mining, energy, retail, transportation; students read and debate articles and case studies written by leading business experts, academics, and CEOs; individual or team work on a CSR change analysis.

Consulting Project Leadership (MBA:8309)
Student team leads for Iowa MBA Consulting engage in activities to support the launch of spring consulting projects: initial client interactions, project scope, project planning documents, project arrangement letters, and detailed work plans in consultation with their client and Iowa MBA Consulting leadership; basics of leading a team of student consultants.

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