The University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business announced today that it plans to phase out its full-time Master of Business Administration program to focus on opportunities for growth in its part-time MBA and specialized master’s degree offerings.

The change, subject to a presentation the college will make to the Iowa Board of Regents’ Academic and Student Affairs Committee on Sept. 6, will allow the college to introduce several specialized master’s programs over the next three years, said Sarah Gardial, dean of the Tippie College of Business. It will also allow the college to increase investments in Iowa MBA programs that serve working professionals such as the Professional MBA and the Executive MBA.

“Adapting to the market is key for growth in any organization, and we’re seeing clear shifts in what students and businesses need,” Gardial said in a release. “Both are expressing preferences for non-career-disrupting options for the MBA, while others are increasingly drawn to the focused education provided by master’s programs in specific subjects.”

One such specialized program launched three years ago —- a Master of Science in Business Analytics degree in Cedar Rapids — was quickly expanded to Des Moines and the Quad Cities. Graduate enrollment in this program has grown 517 percent in less than three years. Due to the demand for the program, Tippie intends to add a three-semester degree option.

The college also will introduce a master’s program in finance in fall 2018. The new program will emphasize real-world experiences, including a student-managed equity portfolio and consulting projects for business clients. Also under development is a student-managed fixed income fund — the first of its kind in any master of finance program.

Tippie is experiencing shifts in demand in its Iowa MBA programs as well, where enrollment in the part-time Professional MBA and Executive MBA programs makes up more than 91 percent of all MBA enrollment. The college recently introduced professional certificates, invested in new off-campus locations, and expanded its online course offerings within its Professional MBA. The college anticipates the entire Professional MBA curriculum will be available online in the future. 

Tippie officials said the changes will have no impact on the college’s undergraduate program. The final cohort of full-time MBA students will graduate from Tippie in May 2019. 

With the decision to phase out its full-time program, Tippie joins business schools such as Wake Forest University and Virginia Tech, both of which recently ended their full-time MBA programs, Gardial noted.

“We are extremely proud of our full-time MBA, its rankings, its faculty and staff, and the incredible successes of its alumni whom we have had the honor of supporting on their career journeys,” she said. “They are a credit to the university, and we look forward to their full and continued engagement in the life of the institution moving forward. This move will continue to grow the value of the Tippie brand and the reputation of the Iowa MBA.”