Iowa State’s MBA program looks for continued expansion


Matt Rezab

Gerdin is home to Iowa State’s Ivy College of Business. 2019 Business Week will be Sept. 16 through Sept. 20.

Dawit Tilahun

With full-time Master of Business Administration (MBA) enrollment dropping, Tippie, University of Iowa’s business school, has chosen to phase out their full-time MBA program and double down on their part-time programs.

Not too long ago, the College of Business at Iowa State, had faced a similar issue with decreased enrollment in its own full-time MBA program.

“We [Iowa State] developed a program we call our STEM MBA program,” said David Spalding, Dean of the College of Business at Iowa State.

Implementation of the STEM MBA program has allowed Iowa State’s School of Business to bounce back and boost enrollment.

The STEM MBA program allows students to get their MBA if they enroll for an additional year after completing their fourth year in the undergraduate program. This combats the issue of students having to leave work for 2 years to complete the full-time MBA program, only to go back into work after completion.

Enrollment in the STEM MBA program makes up half of Iowa State’s overall MBA enrollment, the other half coming from international students.

Iowa State’s College of Business offers both a full-time and a part-time MBA program. The part-time MBA program is located in Des Moines and is taught by the same instructors who teach the full-time program in Ames.

Plans to expand into other areas of Iowa are not on the College’s agenda, since the Des Moines location is close to the Ames campus.

“The important thing for us is having the same faculty teach the program,” Spalding said.

The teachings of the full-time and part-time curriculum are very similar.

Each program is learning the same material, however the full-time program engages in a final case study with an opportunity to win money. The part-time program deals with more team based projects and applies the material to the companies they are interested in.

“The big difference between the two programs, is that the part-time program has more experienced students as compared to more of an internship experience with the concurrent students,” said Professor Sam Demarie, instructor of the Capstone project and the head of the MBA Core Committee.

“The enrollment we have currently in the MBA program is the second highest we’ve had in the last 9 years,” Spalding said.

With enrollment in the MBA program growing, the College of Business is looking to add its third MBA program, called the Executive MBA program. The college is also partnering with the College of Design to make its fifth specialized masters program, a masters in Real Estate Development.

Along with additions to the MBA program, the College of Business is adding a new undergraduate program in Actuarial Science, tentatively set to launch in fall of 2019.

Tippie at the University of Iowa will be phasing out their full-time MBA program and replacing it with specialized course offerings.

The plan at Iowa to phase out the full-time program will be discussed September 7 at the Board of Regents’ meeting. The final cohort of full-time MBA students at Tippie will be graduating in May of 2019.

“Right now our [Iowa State’s College of Business] enrollment is strong. We are not complacent, so we continue to look for ways to expand that enrollment,” Spalding said. “We are not facing any current problems in our MBA program.”