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Tippie to end full-time M.B.A. program citing shifting market dynamics

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The UI Tippie College of Business’ full-time M.B.A program will close by May 2019.

By Marissa Payne

marissa-payne@uiowa.edu

The Tippie College of Business announced Tuesday it will phase out its full-time Master of Business Administration program.

The final cohort of full-time M.B.A. students will graduate from Tippie in May 2019, and the college’s undergraduate program will not be affected.

This move is not uncharted territory; Wake Forest University and Virginia Tech recently ended their full-time business programs.

University of Iowa Interim Provost Sue Curry said in an announcement about the program’s closure that the decision speaks “to the university’s willingness to look for opportunities where others see challenges.”

“The college has always been an innovator, anticipating the business education that students and employers need to thrive in a changing economy,” Curry said.

There will be no job loss for faculty or staff, Sarah Gardial, the dean of Tippie, told The Daily Iowan. Any faculty member who wants to remain an instructor with Tippie M.B.A. programs can continue to do so.

“We need everyone that is working in that full-time program, and over time we will just shift them to add resources to new growth programs and new opening programs,” she said.

Several specialized master’s programs will be introduced in its place over the next three years in response to changing market dynamics for graduate business programs — namely, there is higher demand for noncareer-disrupting options for earning a M.B.A. while demand for full-time programs is on the decline.

Gardial cited shrinking enrollment in the full-time program as another reason for the full-time program’s closure. More than 91 percent of Tippie enrollment comes from its part-time Professional and Executive M.B.A. programs.

“The decision on our part was we can’t do everything,” she said. “We can’t be all things to all people, and so we want to deploy our resources where they’re going to have the most impact on students and where they can have the most impact on Iowa, and that is clearly to invest more in our flexible M.B.A programs as well as our specialty master’s programs.”

Tippie has seen success with one of its specialized programs in particular. The Master of Science in Business Analytics program, introduced in 2014, has grown 517 percent since its inception, according to the UI.

Beginning in fall 2018, the UI will introduce a master’s program in finance to provide students with practical experience through consulting projects. It will also feature a first-of-its-kind student-managed fixed income fund; this aspect of the program is still under development.

In addition to expanding part-time program offerings, the program’s closure will involve putting more resources into online courses, Gardial said.

“When we are watching our own programs and where we’ve introduced new specialty master’s, such as the business analytics program — instantly gangbusters,” she said. “When we introduce new online courses, they immediately fill up,” she said.

The UI will present its plan to the state Board of Regents on the UI campus during the regents’ Academic and Student Affairs Committee meeting on Sept. 6.

Check daily-iowan.com as this story develops.

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