Prospective Tippie College students make a pitch for 'tuition perks'

Proposal aimed at recruiting best prospective, returning students

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IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business has begun offering what it calls “tuition perks” to help it recruit the best prospective and returning students.

The financial incentives, implemented last spring, are designed to lower some tuition costs for the college’s programs.

Paul Pinckley, Tippie’s director of admissions and financial aid, said the school is offering discounted tuition for graduates of Tippie’s full-time MBA program who want to take a course specific to a skill they want to fine-tune. Tuition discounts for select courses in the part-time MBA programs are offered at $1,000 per course, about half of the total cost.

“We have a lot of alums,” he said. “What can we do to keep them engaged with us? We go to them a lot for things, whether it’s asking money for the foundation. Instead of us going with our hand out, (we) go with something to give them.”

Pinckley said another tuition perk event, which first took place on April 29. targets prospective students and gives them a chance to win a scholarship.

To attract new students, the college recently has used Twitter campaigns and its Advance Weekend, which allows prospective full-time MBA students to visit campus during the last weekend of April each year to get a feel for its classes.

Pinckley said the college added an event to Advance weekend: Personal Pitch Day, a competition in which students give judges a short speech on why they should be admitted to the college without having a formal interview.

“It would tell us what we need to know why you’re the person for Tippie,” Pinckley said. “In an interview, it’s a different dynamic. This creates excitement and attention. You need to get in front of them and get them excited about something other than the humdrum typical admissions process.

Nine prospective students delivered their message in four minutes or less during Personal Pitch Day. But the speeches are a learning tool students use when they have to explain why they are the best candidate during a job interview, Pinckley said.

“We wanted to see folks who could come in and in (three) minutes tell their story and interest us,” he said. “We wanted to know they knew how to tell a story. That’s one of the things we stress with students.

“You have to be able to craft your story. Resumes are not going to get you the job. You’ve got to be able to explain it in a way that puts you at the top of the list.”

And Meron Myers, 25, who won Personal Pitch Day, put herself at the top of the list of prospective students.

Myers’ husband was a 2013 Tippie graduate, and she said seeing his skills in business and leadership piqued her interest in the school.

“It gave him exactly the kind of outcome I was looking for,” she said. “I saw basically what it did career-wise and leadership-wise. It was easy for me to think business school was where I wanted to go next.”

Myers, who wants to work in brand management, said she remembered feeling while growing up that she didn’t have professional female role models.

“Growing up in Ethiopia, if I was thinking about people I looked up to, it would be my mom,” she said. “Then I would think about career-wise, and I didn’t have career models or they are men.”

In her three-minute speech, Meyers told the judges about her goals to empower women in business and to start a business that boosts women in their careers in some way.

Myers received a scholarship of about $4,000 or half the cost of tuition in the Tippie School programs for winning the pitch competition.

“It was very empowering,” she said. “It kind of sets the stage for starting school. I got to meet some of the best people I’ve got in my career. It set me up for success.”

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