Education

University of Iowa may add online option to part-time MBA program

Reflects larger national trend in business education

Reflecting a growing national trend, the University of Iowa’s Henry B. Tippie College of Business wants to add a fully online option to its part-time professional master of business administration program next fall.

The Iowa Board of Regents will consider approving the change at its Sept. 13 meeting.

“For the last several years, we have had a small selection of courses available online, which have literally filled up within a few hours of our registration opening,” said David Frasier, associate dean of MBA programs at the UI Tippie College of Business. “We know that for our current students, it’s a very attractive option.

“We also did some market research that indicated just within the state — to say nothing about others outside the state — there appears to be a very healthy demand for it. We are adding some additional online courses this year targeting our in-person students to give them additional options.”

Marketing will start once the university receives regents approval, he said.

“We think it will help us expand our footprint in terms of students in the western part of the state that we could not serve with our in-person program,” Frazier said.

Plans call doe classes to remain relatively small, with about 45 enrollments per section.

“We want it to be manageable for our faculty,” he said. “We also want to maintain our emphasis on teamwork and group learning, which companies value.”

Frasier said business schools nationally are adding more of the types of programs that students want, including specialty masters degrees, certificate programs and part-time MBAs.

“I think we will be the 10th of the Big Ten universities to offer a fully online part-time MBA,” he said. “Our analytics department has had the master’s degree in analytics program available at the same sites where we have had in-person part-time professional MBA program.

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“This fall, we began a master of science in finance and the master’s in business analytics as full-time programs here on the Iowa City campus. We have met our enrollment expectations for those programs.”

Frasier said the Tippie College also expects to set an enrollment record of 960 students in its part-time professional MBA programs in Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Des Moines.

In August 2017, the Tippie College of Business announced plans to phase out its full-time MBA program. Ninety-one percent of all UI students seeking MBA degrees were enrolled in the part-time professional MBA and executive MBA programs when the shakeout was announced.

“Nationally, we’re seeing considerably less demand for full-time MBA programs,” Frasier said. “Students want more flexibility. They don’t necessarily want to give up a full-time job.

“We have seen that industrywide since the recession in 2008. The numbers have really not bounced back since June 2008.”

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