students walking down steps of Old Capitol
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Tippie College of Business

The University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business will add an online MBA option to its part-time Professional MBA Program in fall 2019, introducing another alternative for working professionals to earn a graduate business degree that helps build their careers.

The new online option accompanies the addition in recent years of a spate of new certificate programs, specialized master’s degrees, and upgraded facilities that are designed to provide professional education in ways that students want it.

“Adapting to the market is key for growth in any organization, and we’re seeing clear shifts in what students and businesses need,” says Sarah Gardial, dean of the Tippie College of Business. “What’s most exciting about our new online option is that students no longer need to be near a classroom to access the Iowa MBA. Now, they can be anywhere in the state, or around the world.”

David Frasier, associate dean of the Tippie College of Business, says the online component of the Professional MBA Program will capitalize on the strengths of the in-person program that have led U.S. News & World Report to rank it number 22 in the country. It’s the only part-time MBA program in Iowa to earn such a ranking.

“The online component will be little different from an academic standpoint than the classroom-based program,” says Frasier. “The same faculty who teach in the classroom will also teach online.”

Online programs are being offered with increasing frequency at business schools across the country, and online classes are nothing new to the Tippie College of Business. The first online MBA course was offered in 2003, and more than half the in-person part-time MBA program is available online today. What’s new is that the degree can now be earned fully online from anywhere, says Colleen Downie, assistant dean at the Tippie College of Business and one of the architects of the online MBA.

“We’re thrilled about not having a location constraint,” says Downie. “The online MBA gives us a rural footprint and a global reach at the same time, whether a student is in Sidney, Iowa, or Sydney, Australia.”

Along with the new online option, the Tippie College of Business recently added two new specialized three-semester master’s degrees this fall, a Master of Finance and a Master of Business Analytics, both of which exceeded enrollment expectations.

The college has also ramped up its part-time master’s and certificate programs in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Davenport, with enrollments in all of them continuing to rise.

Tippie will continue to offer its part-time Professional MBA from classroom locations in Cedar Rapids, Davenport/Quad Cities, and Des Moines.

Gardial says that the strength of these more flexible, focused programs shows the wisdom of the ongoing strategy to provide education that working professionals want.

“Students are increasingly drawn to flexible methods of delivery and the focused education provided by master’s and certificate programs in specific subjects,” says Gardial. “They’re asking for less career disruption and greater specialization, which we are positioned to deliver.”

The online MBA program will enroll its first students in August 2019, and is planning to begin accepting applications in January 2019.

NOTE: Poets&Quants ran a piece about this in its September 19 issue, and the Quad City Times covered the story on October 7.