Friday, December 3, 2021
By Rebekah Tilley

Epic journeys often start with major disruptions. The first MBA program, launched in 1908, was sparked by the Industrial Revolution. 

In the wake of World War II, the Ford Foundation believed business school curriculum was not academic enough and so made a massive investment in business schools across the country. This spurred the launch of the MBA at the University of Iowa in 1961. 

Working professionals also wanted to earn an MBA, and the college responded with its first off-campus MBA offering in 1966 and the Executive MBA Program in 1977. Technology advances brought the first Iowa MBA classes online in 2003. As student demand changed, the college phased out the Full-time MBA Program in 2017 to provide different graduate-level degree options. 

Over the past four years, the Iowa MBA has continued to evolve with the launch of the Online MBA. The college added specialized master’s programs in business analytics and finance and revamped the Executive MBA Program. And then, the COVID-19 pandemic forced more Iowa MBA classes online. After experiencing the high quality of online classes, many working professional students determined that they could learn the same content while enjoying the flexibility that online classes provide. 

So once again, the college listened to its customers and merged the part-time Professional MBA and Online MBA programs into one Iowa MBA in August 2021. The merger provides students with the ability to take classes online and/or in person at multiple locations around the state of Iowa and have them count equally toward completion of the degree. They keep the same advisor and can decided on a course-by-course basis how they want to learn specific content. 

“Students spoke and we listened,” says Dean Amy Kristof-Brown. “The demand for lifelong learning continues to grow, and we’ll find ways to meet that demand that fit with the lifestyles of our students.” 

While ever evolving to meet customer needs, the college’s commitment to its core values have never wavered, says Kristof-Brown. “We are giving our students an exceptional, transformational experience. We are delivering graduate education that is the growth engine for our state, our nation, and our world. And we’re making good on that promise at any stage of our students’ careers.” 

DYK? The Iowa MBA was the 65th MBA program established in the United States. 

This article first appeared in the Winter 2022 edition of Tippie Magazine. Alumni are invited to update their contact information with the college to be placed on the mailing list for future print editions.