Options are a very good thing

For working professionals, flexibility is everything. So we've put you in control of your Iowa MBA experience.

The program can be completed fully online or, if you're near Des Moines, you can take a mix of online and in-person courses. 

Iowa MBA is a synchronous program, and both online and in-person courses include a combination of recorded lectures and a two-hour live session each week. Live sessions are at either 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. Central time, no Fridays or weekends. 

Most MBA courses are eight weeks, but a few condensed options are available throughout the year. When you register for courses, you'll know the live session times for every course, so you can choose classes that work best for your schedule.

Set aside some "you" time

The necessary time commitment for the Iowa MBA varies for everyone, but in general, you should plan on at least 10-12 hours per week of study and coursework for each eight-week course. 

This will vary weekly depending on exams, presentations, team assignments, and your previous experience with the subject.

“With little kids, I struggled with timing my MBA. In Iowa’s program, I’m able to organize my schedule so that it makes sense from a home-life and work perspective.”

Core courses

These are the nine required courses every Iowa MBA student completes. For students with an extensive academic background in a certain area, you can request to waive the core course from that area and complete an elective in its place.


Concepts, principles, and models of marketing. The relationship between marketing and other functional areas of business. Emphasis on how the marketing manager can achieve desired outcomes with the target market.

Emphasizes decision making, leadership, and communication in management positions. Topics include motivation, leadership, and teams, as well as organizational culture, design, and change.

A framework for understanding financial reporting practices in the U.S., including how alternative accounting treatments affect financial information that impacts decision making.

Utilizing Excel, you’ll apply analytical tools to solve practical business problems using real-world data. Includes dealing with uncertainty and techniques to model, explain, and predict decisions.

MBA-level economics, including value creation, drivers of demand, economic cost and its relation to accounting, international economies, and pricing decisions.


What’s your dollar worth a week, six months, a year from now? This course teaches you to apply time value of money and NPV techniques you’ll use for years to come. Also covered: valuing stocks and bonds, capital budgeting, and analyzing financial statements and pro-formas.

How to plan and make decisions that optimize operations, whether you’re in manufacturing or services. We’ll emphasize delivery strategy, process design, capacity, and supply chain.

Learn how to compete and thrive in domestic and global markets through a solid foundation in strategy. Topics include fundamentals of industry analysis, competitive advantage, horizontal diversification, vertical integration and elements of foreign and international strategy.

A capstone is a multi-disciplinary course that utilizes the application of business concepts and gives students an opportunity to bring together foundational concepts from core courses.

The Iowa MBA capstone requirement allows students to choose between Business Integration,  Strategic Business Growth and Strategy in Action. 

Business Integration provides a low-risk, high-reward environment to practice influence, negotiation, and decision making skills as a member of an executive leadership team in a business simulation competing with other teams.  

Students in Strategic Business Growth will develop an executive-level, actionable growth plan for a business of their choosing based on fundamental principles of scaling a business, including leading people, formulating strategy, executing effectively, and managing financial resources.

Strategy in Action students will conduct an internal analysis of a company’s strategic plan, develop a strategy map and aligned balance scorecard to identify the most important initiatives and metrics to deliver on the strategy, and propose recommendations for how the firm can improve its ability to turn strategy into action. 

Elective courses

We change up which elective courses are offered throughout the year. Here’s a sample of recent electives we’ve offered:

Finance & Accounting

  • Financial Statement Analysis and Forecasting
  • Portfolio Management
  • Real Estate Finance & Investments
  • Corporate Investment & Finance Decisions
  • Wealth Management
  • Strategic Cost Analysis
  • Corporate Financial Strategy

Business Analytics

  • Data Programming in R
  • Data Programming in Python
  • Data Management & Visual Analytics
  • Advanced Analytics
  • Data Leadership & Management
  • Text Analytics
  • Data Science
  • Agile Project Management
  • Value Creation Using AI


  • Dynamics of Negotiations
  • Leadership & Personal Development
  • Project Management
  • Managing & Preventing Conflict
  • Maximizing Team Performance
  • Strategic Management of Change
  • Managing Employee Performance
  • Inclusive Leadership
  • Law & Ethics
  • Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability


  • Social Media Marketing
  • Marketing Analytics
  • Marketing Communication & Promotions
  • Product & Pricing Management
  • Customer Experience
  • Digital Marketing Insights, Strategies & Applications


  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation
  • Strategic Management of Technology & Innovation
  • Design Thinking
  • Entrepreneurial Finance

Course waivers and transfer credit

Students who have completed significant undergraduate coursework in one content area and meet the requirements may be eligible to waive the core course in that area. Additionally, some core courses may also be waived for students who have successfully passed the CPA or level 1 of the CFA.

If you have earned previous graduate credit, you can submit this information for transfer review after program acceptance.

To learn how waivers or transfer credit would impact your plan of study, talk with your advisor. 

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