Light on buzzwords, heavy on substance

Know that inspired, why-didn’t-I-think-of-this-sooner refreshed feeling you get when you go to a great conference? Now imagine that feeling happening all the time, without even hopping on a plane.

We put corporate jargon on the back burner and focus on what really matters. Our curriculum was designed to build your competency across business functions, from corporate finance to marketing management and business analytics. Courses use case analyses, business simulations, discussion, team presentations, lectures, assigned readings, and guest speakers.


Your first residency week introduces you and your classmates to strategic management. You'll explore the role of marketing, operations, and finance in the strategic-planning process using case studies and a live business simulation.

Data and Decisions teaches you to use data to make better business decisions. You'll utilize Excel and real-world data to apply analytical tools that solve practical business problems. Learn how to deal with uncertainty in decisions and describe variability with probability concepts and statistical methods like decision trees, random variables, and hypothesis testing. You'll complete this course with the skills to apply techniques like linear regression and linear optimization to model, explain, and predict.

This course covers concepts, principles, and models of marketing, including the relationship between marketing and other areas of the business. Emphasizing how you can achieve desired outcomes within your target market, you'll analyze market opportunities, research and select target markets, develop marketing strategies, and plan marketing programs. Finally, you'll learn about execution, including organizing, implementing, and controlling marketing campaigns.

In this course, you'll gain a framework for understanding financial reporting practices, the forces that shape them, and how they influence financial information for decision making. Through interpretation and analysis, you'll cover three main topic areas: (1) measurement rules for production of financial statements and using financial statements for credit decisions, (2) strengths and weaknesses of alternative accounting methods and financial disclosures, and (3) analysis for valuation purposes.

Human Resource Management takes a systematic approach to managing your organization's human resources based on practices backed by the latest research and theories. You'll explore HR strategy, recruitment and selection, training and development, employment law, career management, and compensation, and learn how to combine sound HR management practice to improve outcomes across the organization and in your own team.

Why are markets the best way of allocating resources? And why do governments regulate them? This course answers these questions while examining their implications on business: pricing, capacity, market entry and exit, and other business strategies. You'll explore ways that business strategy accounts for competition. And because businesses need to understand and influence government intervention in their industry, you'll work to understand when you can expect governments to intervene.

Managerial Finance focuses on the concepts and principles of financial management, and provides insight into the way financial managers make decisions. You'll explore the time value of money, the trade-off between risk and return valuation techniques, capital budgeting, capital structure, and the role of financial markets. Special emphasis is given to the mathematical tools of financial decision making, and the reasoning and concepts behind applying these tools the right way.

A keystone of the Executive MBA Program, this course explores organizational behavior principles and human resource topics that are relevant to all managers. You and your fellow students will practice using these concepts to solve problems encountered when managing others. The course also explores decision making, leadership, communication, motivation, and teams, as well as organizational culture, design, and change.

In your second residency week, instruction dives deep into strategic management, integrating all aspects of business through a complex, team-based business simulation, complete with a "pitch" to venture capitalists to secure funding for your "company." Case studies, selected reading, and lively classroom discussions round out the week.

Every well-rounded manager has their hands in the operations of a business. Focused on the planning and decision-making surrounding operations, this course covers the major trade-offs you can expect when making decisions, and tools/techniques that will help you implement your decisions and reach your goals. Topics include production planning, materials control, process design, capacity planning, demand management, supply chain management, and more.

Few EMBA classes are as critical to the workplace as Law & Ethics, a course designed to help you spot legal issues and create a plan for ethical behavior before it's needed. Being able to head off a crisis for your company saves legal fees and lost profits. By semester's end, you'll understand laws and regulations affecting business, from startup to managing day-to-day operations. Contract law, tort law, and employment law are covered, as well as alternative dispute resolution.

Designed to help you make better decisions, Strategic Cost Analysis focuses on how you can parse accounting data to evaluate your options and make sound choices. The decision contexts you'll consider will span planning (Should I outsource this product? What capacity level should I install?) and control (Why did actual performance vary from budgets? Are we doing the things that ensure long-term success?).

Analytical skills help you discover the best solutions. But those solutions mean nothing without negotiation and interpersonal skills that get your solutions accepted—and implemented—within the organization. Dynamics of Negotiations builds your negotiating toolkit through real-life simulations of negotiation situations. In-class negotiation exercises give you an opportunity to develop skills, and high impact guest speakers supplement and build upon classroom lessons.

Even if your job description doesn't include finance, it affects how—and if—your decisions, plans, and proposals come to fruition. If you can see the whole picture, you'll make better, more efficient business decisions and convince others to follow your lead. You'll explore valuation, advanced capital budgeting, mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, venture capital, and leveraged buyouts. Real-world, in-class exercises, using real-time data, will put what you've learned to work.

This course develops your ability to take a set of financial statements and use that data to analyze the company systematically. You'll finish this course understanding the role financial statements play in valuing publicly traded equity and will explore bankruptcy prediction and credit ratings.

An intensive 10-day study abroad trip that will illuminate different cultures and demonstrate international business practices firsthand. You'll learn how cultural differences impact behaviors and business decisions and gain the skills to understand the promise—and potential pitfalls—of doing business in other cultures. Destinations vary by year.

In the capstone course, it's all about the "big picture." Foundations in Strategy brings together the full EMBA curriculum, linking knowledge and applying skills you acquired in prior courses. You'll develop a framework to address strategic problems and select the right competitive strategy, while examining strategies of effective—and not-so-effective—organizations. At the course's end, you'll know how to think, develop, and lead the charge for new strategic initiatives that will enhance your organization's performance.

Program Schedule

Everyone in your Executive MBA class has the same class schedule. A new cohort starts every August. You'll meet for in-person classes once a month, on Fridays and Saturdays, alternating between Des Moines and Iowa City. A complimentary shuttle service and Friday-night hotel stay is included in your tuition. Additionally, classes are held online one Saturday per month.