Tippie revamps executive M.B.A. program to begin next fall

After noticing the need for programs that cater to busy schedules, Tippie designed a revamped executive M.B.A. option in addition to an online professional M.B.A. program.


Wyatt Dlouhy

The Pappajohn Business Building is seen on Monday, Nov. 12, 2018.

Kinsey Phipps, News Reporter

The Tippie College of Business has revamped its executive M.B.A. program to cater to those already in the business field with busy schedules.

The change follows the introduction of the online professional M.B.A. and specialized master’s programs in business analytics and finance.

With the fields of business and higher education changing rapidly, Tippie needs to stay ahead of the curve, said Dawn Kluber, the Tippie assistant dean of executive education.

When the market for flexible M.B.A. programs for working professionals opened, Tippie responded by fazing out the full-time professional M.B.A. and introducing the fully online program, she said.

Both the online M.B.A. and executive M.B.A. will launch in August 2019 in the Iowa City and Des Moines locations.

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“I think it’s going to allow a little more flexibility for students and allow some students who maybe wouldn’t have been able to make the commitment,” Kluber said.

After announcing the new online professional M.B.A., Tippie announced the executive M.B.A. program would be revamped after 40 years. 

Now, students have a 16-month track to completion, in-person classes on Fridays and Saturdays only, and strictly online courses in the summer.

The structural change, Kluber said, means more availability and accessibility for students wishing to advance their careers while in the middle of them.

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“I think those changes are going to let us meet students where they are,” said Professor Amy Colbert, the executive officer in the Management and Organizations Department. “These are working professionals, and one of the joys of teaching working professionals is they come with their own challenges that are relevant to the class.”

With an average student age of 40, the executive M.B.A. program brings in not only a wide array of ages and professional development but also a wide range of careers, Colbert said.

“We do have students with undergraduate degrees in business and [who have] worked in a functional area of business,” she said. “We also have a lot of students without business undergraduate degrees, and they have moved up in their career where they are being asked to make business decisions. A common misconception is as you move up in the organization that you work for, you just know how to make these decisions. Coming back gives students an opportunity to hear about the cutting-edge opportunities in the field of business.”

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

Tippie stays ahead of other business programs by being student-focused, Colbert said. Instead of watching what other business colleges and institutions are doing, school officials look at what the students want and need in order to be successful.

After that, she said, then they watch other programs. The creation of both accessible programs, the online and executive M.B.A., were created because of students’ needs.

“Sometimes, we need to be creative to meet the needs students have,” Colbert said. “That’s what’s driving the whole program.”

Current Tippie students are paying attention to the graduate-program updates.

“As a prospective M.B.A. student here at Iowa, Tippie’s revamped executive M.B.A. program becoming centered on working professionals allows students such as myself a greater incentive to remain in the area,” said Tyler Foster, a current Tippie undergraduate student. “During the fall and spring semesters, setting aside just two days at the end of each week creates opportunity for young M.B.A. students to get a head start on their professional careers while also furthering their education here at Iowa.”