By Brooklyn Draisey
Business schools are moving toward specialty programs to cater to younger generations.
The Tippie College of Business has officially launched new full-time Master of Business Analytics and Master of Finance degrees. The programs will start this fall, and applications are being accepted now.
Specialty programs such as these follow the college’s decision to do away the full-time M.B.A. program. David Deyak, the assistant dean of the M.B.A. program, said Tippie is following the flow of market interest.
“[That decision] was really made as a response to a national shift in the market, so we feel like we’re responding to the market demand,” he said. “We have had fewer applications in recent years, and all of the research suggests that the specialty master’s program was in higher demand.”
As of 2018, the UI — along with Wake Forest University, Virginia Tech, Simmons College, and the Thunderbird School of Global Management — has moved full-time M.B.A. programs to degrees in growing fields.
As The Daily Iowan previously reported, although some M.B.A. alumni have expressed concern about cutting the program, Tippie Dean Sarah Gardial said business schools need to remain market-driven in making decisions.
The M.B.A. is a two-year program geared towards students with three to five years of work experience. The last full-time M.B.A. students will graduate in 2019. The phase-out won’t affect the undergraduate program.
Tippie has offered off-campus part-time M.B.A. programs for the past two years in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, and the Quad Cities, Tippie Associate Dean Amy Kristof-Brown said.
Approximately 900 students are enrolled, and demand is rising. Part-time degrees appeal more to people in the workforce who can’t become full-time students but want to further their education. On-campus, full-time students, however, want something a little more specific.
“As we were looking at declining student demand for that kind of program, we just realized the use of faculty, meetings, and all of the resources we put to that were just serving a smaller and smaller number of students,” Kristof-Brown said. “We’re basically shifting our resources to be able to serve where student interest is at the moment.”
Many professors already have the ability to teach classes pertaining to business analytics and finance, and will apply that knowledge to these new degrees, Kristof-Brown said.
“Everyone’s being retained; they’re just teaching new courses,” she said.
There have been part-time business analytics programs since 2014, Nick Street, the chair of the business analytics and information sciences department at Tippie, said, but having a full-time on-campus program will offer students more options, both academically and for careers.
“For the most part, we expect it to be people who are looking to get better prepared for a career and get on into the working world and make some money,” he said. “But if somebody shows up and feels like the academic life is the way they want to go, we’ll give you that opportunity, too.”
Street said the new programs will give the UI a greater reputation among business recruiters, allowing students to find better careers right after graduation.
“The more top-notch data people we have on campus, the more the big employers will say, ‘Hey, we need to be at Iowa recruiting,’ ” Street said.