Thomas Rietz, Departmental Executive Officer and Professor of Finance at UI, poses in front of the Pomerantz Center on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017. With the relinquishing of the MBA through the Tippie College of Business, the UI has implemented a Masters of Finance for students who wish to pursue continuing education in the finance department. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Tippie to offer new Master of Finance degree starting fall 2018

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Tippie spearheads new Master of Finance degree for fall 2018 amid growing demand for specialty programs.

By Sarah Watson

sarah-e-watson@uiowa.edu

The Tippie College of Business is now accepting applications for a new three-semester Master of Finance Program starting in the fall of 2018. The move comes after the school announced in late August it would phase out its full-time M.B.A.

The new program will become one of three specialized Master’s programs offered by the Tippie College of Business. The other two are in accounting and business analytics.

In the new on-campus-only program, students will be able to consult for clients and manage a stock portfolio, the $6 million Henry Fund. Finishing touches are being put on a student-managed fixed income fund, Finance Department Executive Officer Thomas Rietz said.

“We’ve been working on it for four or five years,” he said. “There’s been a change of demographics where a lot of students are demanding more specialized education.”

In late August, the college announced it will phase out its full-time M.B.A. program because of shifting market dynamics. The 2017 class will be the last members of the program when they graduate in 2019.

The college has seen a shift to its part-time professional and executive programs and increasing enrollment in specialty master’s programs.

“There is strong demand for specialty master’s degrees and flexible delivery methods,” Tippie Dean Sarah Fisher Gardial said in an August email announcing the decision to discontinue the program. “Adapting to the market is key for any business to grow and thrive. The rules are no different for a business school.”

RELATED: Some express concerns about Tippie’s reputation after program discontinuation

There will be no lost jobs in the process. A whiteboard flowchart in Rietz’s office displayed transitions of approximately 15 professors in the Finance Department who will switch from teaching classes in the M.B.A. program to teaching classes for the Master of Finance program.

The program was approved at a state Board of Regents meeting in April.

Since introduced in 2014 to its remote campuses, the Master of Science in Business Analytics degree has seen a 517 percent increase in enrollment in fewer than three years, according to the university.

The new program hopes to do that as well.

“Specialty programs are kind of the new buzz words as enrollment and applications decline for traditional two-year programs,” Director of Admissions and Financial Aid for M.B.A. programs Jennifer Carter said. “Unlike traditional M.B.A.s … this program is really designed to bolster your knowledge in one area, and of course, that’s finance.”

In the four weeks since the application has been open, there have been approximately 40 applicants in the process of submission, a handful that have formally submitted, and one student has been accepted, Carter said.

“We’ve seen some pretty positive results from the short time that people have been able to apply,” she said.

The program will be open to all majors, and it involves an experiential learning component, which the department highlights.

“With the Master of Finance program, most students won’t have any practical experience,” Rietz said. “But we are applying the same ideas [as the M.B.A. degree] — give them technical skills and enough experiences in the corporate world with actual businesses to be able to contribute.”

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