Ivy College of Business dean reflects on highlights of the 2018-2019 academic year


Jillian Alt/Iowa State Daily

Dean of the Ivy College of Business, and part of the committee to select the new dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Science David Spalding presents the first candidate for the position. 

Kirstie Martin

It has been a busy year within Iowa State’s Ivy College of Business. Here are eight highlights from the 2018-19 academic year within the college:

MBA programs thrived.

This year the Ivy College of Business’ full-time MBA program was ranked in the top 10 percent in the country, and the part-time MBA program was recognized as the Best MBA program in Des Moines.

“I think this gives us a lot of momentum to build on as we look to grow enrollment in both of those programs, and it provides a lot of great external validation around the very high quality programs that we are offering,” said Raisbeck Endowed Dean David Spalding. “One of the points I make regularly is that the faculty who teach in that program ranked in the top 10 percent of the country, those are the same faculty that are teaching the part-time MBA program”

Gerdin Business Building is expanding.

This year the Gerdin Business Building expansion was announced and construction began. 

“One of the really important things in the College of Business is the sense of community that we have, and that sense of community is really built by having our program offered here in the Gerdin building,” Spalding said. “And as we have grown so much in the last 6 years, and had to spread our students out across campus, you lose some of that sense of community.”

The first classes will be held in the new addition at the beginning of the Spring semester in 2021. Spalding said he is excited for the opportunity to bring everybody back together in one building.

The “We Are Ivy” brand launched.

Building community seemed to be a theme for this year, and the “We Are Ivy” brand launch was another effort toward it. “We Are Ivy” attempts to send the  message of community that the Ivy College of Business stands for. Spalding said that it is a community made up of students, faculty and staff.

“It is going to help us establish our brand name across the state,” Spalding said. “I think 10 years from now when you are a graduate, your employers are going to say ‘wow you’re an Ivy grad?’ That’s going to mean something. Just like today it means something with other named programs around the country.”

More than $1 million in student scholarships were offered.

More than $1 million in scholarships were offered to students in the Ivy College of Business this year. Spalding said that he has heard from students that these scholarships gives them more freedom.

“It gives them freedom from worrying about their financial situation all the time while they’re here,” Spalding said. “It gives them the freedom to more broadly experience their college life. The number of students that say, ‘I’m working only 10 hours a week instead of 20 hours a week as a result of that scholarship I got.’”

Three new programs are launching in the fall semester.

Actuarial Science:

This is a field that involves studying statistical patterns and drawing future judgements based on those statistical patterns, which is critical in the life insurance field. Actuarial thinking is applied to a lot of problems that involve large numerical data sets.

“There is an increased demand for students with an actuarial background as the whole big data and data analytics field grows,” Spalding said. “This sets us apart from the other programs in Iowa, because this program is in their department of statistics and here it is in the Ivy College of Business.”

Master of Real Estate Development:

This program has a large importance in Iowa given how important land and the development of land is in the state.

“We really are looking to offer a program that provides an experience that enables people working in that industry and field to deepen their knowledge about how to approach their real estate efforts,” Spalding said.

Executive MBA Program:

This is a groundbreaking program that is being offered in collaboration with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“What we hear from the industry is that it is hard for them to find people who have a good solid academic understanding of both,” Spalding said. “This is designed for working professionals who are ten years or more out of their undergraduate degree program.”

The college hosted the largest Business Analytics Symposium to date.

This year the Business Analytics Symposium had 600 people registered, which was up a third from last year. The symposium moved from the Marriott in Des Moines to the Civic Center this year.

“This really validates us as the premier business analytics conference in the state of Iowa and reinforced the idea that the Ivy College of Business is where working professionals come to learn more about business analytics,” Spalding said. “While that’s true through the symposium, it’s also true through our Master Business Analytics program.”

Voorhees Supply Chain Conference achieved its largest attendance to date.

Similarly, the Voorhees Supply Chain Conference is an annual supply chain conference that the Ivy College of Business holds. Two hundred and fifty people attended the conference this year, which is the largest attendance ever.

“This is considered to be the premier supply chain conference in the Midwest for working professionals,” Spalding said. “If you take a look at the Voorhees conference and the business analytics conference, this very much fits into our land grant mission of being directly engaged with the people of the state of Iowa and the economy of the state of Iowa.”

The college continued to increase its number of female employees.

Five years ago the Ivy College of Business was last in the Big 12 in the percentage of its faculty that were women. After working on this the last five years, the Ivy College of Business is now no. 1 in the Big 12 in terms of percentage of women faculty members in the College of Business.

“We have hired some women over the last five years who are among the top researchers and top teachers in our college,” Spalding said. “So we’ve worked hard to get very high quality women faculty in this college. That is really going to help drive opportunities for us to attract more women students as well. It is always great when our athletic teams are number one in the Big 12, but we like being number one in the Big 12 too.”