Courses and descriptions

Iowa MBA students take nine required core courses. You'll choose six classes from the elective options to round out your 15 courses. Check out the listing of core courses or explore elective options.

Core courses

Marketing Management (MBA:8110)
Concepts, principles, and models of marketing. The relationship between marketing and other functional areas of business. Emphasis on how the marketing manager can achieve desired outcomes with the target market. Includes analyzing marketing opportunities; researching and selecting target markets; developing marketing strategies; planning marketing programs; and organizing, implementing, and controlling the marketing effort. (3 s.h.)

Management in Organizations (MBA:8120)
Examines ways to explain, predict, and influence behavior in organizations. Emphasizes use of decision making, leadership, communication, and group skills in management positions. Topics include motivation, leadership, teams, organizational culture, organizational design, individual differences, and organizational change. (3 s.h.)

Corporate Financial Reporting (MBA:8140)
Provides a framework for understanding contemporary financial reporting practices in the United States. Emphasis is placed on how alternative accounting treatments affect the usefulness of financial information in applied decision settings. (3 s.h.)

Data and Decisions (MBA:8150)
This course introduces analytical techniques for making business decisions. Utilizing Excel, students apply descriptive and predictive analytical tools to solve practical business problems using real-world data. To deal with uncertainty in decision making, the course first introduces formal probability concepts and statistical methods for describing variability through topics such as decision trees, random variables, and hypothesis testing. Students then learn the practical application of techniques such as linear regression, Monte Carlo simulation, and linear optimization to model, explain, and predict for operational, tactical, and strategic decisions. (3 s.h.)

Managerial Economics (MBA:8160)
Introduces basic economic concepts. Value creation and how alternative economic institutions accomplish this. Drivers of demand, the concept of economic cost and its relation to accounting data, and pricing decisions, macroeconomics, and the international environment of the firm. (3 s.h.)

Managerial Finance (MBA:8180)
Topics include time value of money and applications of present value techniques; stock and bond valuation; capital budgeting; cost of capital calculation; portfolio formation and efficient market analysis; financial statement analysis; pro-forma analysis; hedging financial risks. For off-campus students, MBA:8140 or an undergraduate-level course in financial accounting or finance is recommended prior to taking MBA:8180. (3 s.h.)

Operations and Supply Chain (MBA:8240)
Planning and decision-making activities for managing an organization's operations in both manufacturing and services, with an emphasis on production and service delivery strategy, process design, capacity planning, process analytics, queueing, and an introduction to supply chain management including supply chain design and coordination. (3 s.h.)

Foundations in Strategy (MBA:8300)
Key elements of domestic competitive and corporate strategy; industry analysis (understanding the importance of industry for firm performance); strategies for achieving competitive advantage (cost focus, differentiation focus); corporate strategy (corporate scope, horizontal diversification, vertical integration); topics of global strategy, which may include challenges of attaining competitive advantage in foreign markets, such as cross-national distance and liabilities of foreignness, as well as international strategies (replication strategy, adaptation strategy, arbitrage strategy). (3 s.h.)

Capstone: Select from:
Business Integration (MBA:8310) - Student teams run an operational business simulation, conduct organizational/industry analysis, assess market opportunities, define strategic direction, compete for company profitability and market share through a Marketplace simulation. Formerly MBA:8300 Strategic Management and Policy. Prerequisites: 5 of the following are required: MBA:8110, MBA:8140, MBA:8150, MBA:8180, (MBA:8240) and MBA:8300. Completion of all six prerequisites is recommended.  (3 s.h.)

Strategic Business Growth (MBA:8320) - Students will develop an executive-level, actionable growth plan for a business of their choosing based on fundamental principles of scaling a business, including leading people, formulating strategy, executing effectively, and managing financial resources. Formerly ENTR:9500 Managing the Growth Business. Prerequisites: 5 of the following are required: MBA:8110, MBA:8120, MBA:8150, MBA:8160, MBA:8180, MBA:8300.  (3 s.h.)

Strategy in Action (MBA:9300) - Students will conduct an internal analysis of a company’s strategic plan, develop a strategy map and aligned balance scorecard to identify the most important initiatives and metrics to deliver on the strategy, and propose recommendations for how the firm can improve its ability to turn strategy into action.  Prerequisites: Completion of MBA:8300 is required and 4 of the following: MBA:8110, MBA:8120, MBA:8150, MBA:8160, MBA:8180. (3 s.h.).

Elective Courses

Strategic Cost Analysis (ACCT:9020)
Introduction to cost accumulation, reporting, cost management systems; managerial and divisional performance evaluation; appropriate use of cost data for short- and long-run decisions; product costing in manufacturing and service industries.  Pre-req: MBA:8140. (3 s.h.)

Financial Statement Analysis and Forecasting (ACCT:9040)
Use of corporate financial statements for investment and lending decisions; emphasis on financial analysis techniques, valuation, business analysis, cash flow projections, credit scoring, related research evidence.  Pre-req: MBA:8140. Recommendations: MBA:8180 or prior undergraduate finance course. (3 s.h

Data Programming in Python (BAIS:6040)
Introduction to principles and practices of handling, cleaning, processing, and visualizing data using the Python programming language; basic data programming skills that can be applied to software development in any high-level programming language, data types, control structures, functions and modules, and other useful libraries for data manipulation and machine learning applications in Python. (3 s.h.) 

Data Management (BAIS:6050)
Understanding how data is stored in databases and learning the tools used to access the data is key to creating datasets to answer many business questions; how to manage and access data in relational databases). (Formerly BAIS:9230 Database Systems) (3 s.h.)

Data Analysis with R (BAIS:6060)
Using the R programming language, students will practice the steps of handling, cleaning, processing, visualizing, and drawing conclusions from data. Additional programming techniques and topics in machine learning will be introduced. The course concludes with a real-world group project. No prior programming experience is required. (3 s.h.)

Data Science (BAIS:6070)
Underlying concepts and practical computational skills of data mining tools including penalty-based variable selection (LASSO), logistic regression, regression and classification trees, clustering methods, principal components and partial least squares; analysis of text and network data; theory behind most useful data-mining tools and how to use these tools in real-world situations; software for analysis, exploration, and simplification of large high-dimensional data sets. Prerequisites: MBA:8150 or BAIS:9100 (3 s.h.)

Text Analytics (BAIS:6100)
Concepts and techniques of text mining; the practice of using statistical tools to automatically extract meaning and patterns from collections of text documents. Topics include document representation, text classification and clustering, sentiment analysis, and topic modeling. Prerequisites: (BAIS:6040) and Corequisite: BAIS:6070. Recommendation: Python data programming or knowledge; and prior or concurrent enrollment in data science course for part-time M.S. in business analytics program students encouraged. (3 s.h.)

Social Analytics (BAIS:6105)
Exploration of collection, management, and analysis of social data (interactions among actors); actors as individuals, organizations, or other collectives; sources for social data including social media, websites, annual reports, press releases, articles, and other traditional media. Prerequisites: (BAIS:6040) (3 s.h.) 

Big Data Management and Analytics (BAIS:6110)
Introduction to advanced techniques for managing and analyzing big data; nonrelational data models, such as semi-structured (e.g., XML) and unstructured (e.g., key-value) data; state-of-the-art big data tools for non-relational data management, such as noSQL databases and distributed databases (e.g., Hadoop); query languages such as HIVE; design and implementation of data-analysis methods on these platforms; through exercises and course projects, students will be trained to use the tools introduced to implement analysis tasks on big data sets. Prerequisites: BAIS:6050 and BAIS:6040. (3 s.h.)

Information Visualization (BAIS:6140)
This course exposes students to the problems and challenges of effectively interpreting and communicating the pervasive data that surrounds us. It covers the area of Information Visualization, grounded in theoretical foundations of visual perception, cognition, information design, human-computer interaction, and the analysis of quantitative, unstructured and relational data. The course will follow a lecture/seminar style with discussion of assigned readings, critiquing of visualization examples, hands-on experience with a commercial information visualization application as well as exploration of select open-source information visualization tools and toolkits. (3 s.h.)

Data Leadership and Management (BAIS:6210)
Core chief information officer (CIO) basics; focus on how to keep technology, systems, and procedures supporting business goal outcomes including management of information technology (IT)) teams, systems selection, vendor negotiation, change, information risk, data integrity, ethics, information system (IS) policies, strategies, cloud computing, and budget.  (3 s.h.)

Cybersecurity (BAIS:6280)
High-level view of computer security and fostering a cybersecurity mindset which is in demand across all industries; frequent change of perspective from employee to CEO, casual home user, and hacker; broad range of topics; actionable items to make daily digital interactions more secure. (3 s.h.)

Advanced Analytics (BAIS:9110)
Development of data-driven, problem-solving skills for prediction of uncertain outcomes and prescription of business solutions; linear and nonlinear regression, Monte Carlo simulation, forecasting, data mining, and optimization utilizing spreadsheets and dedicated software packages. Prerequisite: BAIS:9100 or MBA:8150 (3 s.h.)

Lean Process Improvement (BAIS:9130)
This course focuses on the design, management, and improvement of business processes which form the basis of every organization, ranging from manufacturing facilities to service providers and from for-profits to non-profits. Through a series of hands-on exercises, students learn the principles of lean thinking and continuous improvement. The course employs a team-based, data-driven approach to instruct students on how to map a value stream, identify waste, analyze root causes, and brainstorm countermeasures for a variety of different processes. Recommendations: MBA:8240 (3 s.h.)

Agile Project Management (BAIS:9140)
This course prepares students to create or participate in a successful agile work environment. Students will learn various agile methods such as scrum, lean, Kanban, XP, as well as understand and apply tools, techniques, and approaches used in an agile setting. Students will understand how to apply advanced agile topics such as story mapping, advanced planning and estimating, and scaling methods. (3 s.h.)

Innovations in Technology (BAIS:9300)
Current innovations in technology; examination of virtual reality including basics, hardware and history, applications, psychology; focus on experiencing prebuilt environments to develop an understanding of how virtual reality can be used in different industries rather than on building virtual reality environments; technical background not required. (3 s.h.)

Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ENTR:9100)
The entrepreneurial process from conception to birth of a new venture; attributes of successful entrepreneurs, innovation and creativity, opportunity recognition, venture screening, identification of resources, feasibility analysis. Do not enroll in this course if you previously enrolled in ENTR:9400 as the content is similar and both cannot be counted toward your degree.  (3 s.h.)

Entrepreneurial Finance (ENTR:9200)
Financial aspects of launching and growing entrepreneurial ventures; topics include financial feasibility, financial forecasting and cashflow management, business valuation, sources of venture financing, deal structure, financing growth, and exit strategies. (3 s.h.) Prerequisite: MBA:8140 (3 s.h.)

Design Thinking (ENTR:9300)
Introduction to concepts of design thinking—a human-centered approach to developing products, services, and experiences; methods and mindset of design thinking including identifying the problem, gathering customer insights, ideating a solution, developing a prototype, experimenting, and iterating based on customer feedback to creatively develop solutions that are desirable, feasible, and viable. (3 s.h.)

Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation (ENTR:9450)
Role of technology in creation, growth, and survival of industries; processes, risks, and rewards of technological innovation and commercialization; successful approaches to developing technological strategy and products. (3 s.h.)

Entrepreneurship Business Consulting (ENTR:9700)
Experience on teams providing consulting services to startup and early-stage companies; the consulting process—proposal development, data collection and analysis, final report preparation and presentation; projects—marketing studies, financial projections, strategic planning. (3 s.h.) 

Corporate Risk Management and Insurance (FIN:9130)
Introduction to corporate risk management and the risk management process; how insurance can be used as a risk management tool; standard commercial property and liability insurance contracts and their applications; fundamentals of insurance company operations and their distribution channels, rate making, underwriting, and claim settlements. (3 s.h.)

Enterprise Risk Management  (formerly Corporate and Financial Risk Management) (FIN:9140)
This course studies the analysis and treatment of risks faced by businesses. It analyzes how risk management creates value in corporations, includes the development and implementation of the risk management process, and explores the application of various risk management techniques to identified exposures. Case studies are utilized to study how businesses manage risk and how insurance and other risk management tools help reduce the cost of risk. Prerequisite: MBA:8180 (3 s.h.)

Financial Modeling and Firm Valuation (FIN:9150)
How to model firm value from a discounted cash flow perspective; identify a company’s key value drivers, create spreadsheet valuation models; projected financial valuation integrates projected pro forma accounting statements; forecasting, free cash flow estimation, industry competitive analysis. Prerequisite: MBA:8180 (3 s.h.)

Portfolio Management (FIN:9200)
Introduction to fundamental elements of modern portfolio theory, application to investment analysis; investment environment, instruments, types of investors; concepts of risk and return, broad perspective on historical risk and return of various asset classes; asset allocation decision, risk and return dynamics of a multiple securities portfolio; varied asset pricing models, how capital markets work for investors and users of capital. Prerequisite: MBA:8180 (3 s.h.)

Real Estate Finance and Investments (FIN:9230)
In-depth understanding of concepts and techniques of real estate financial analysis, equity investment decision making; real estate investing from analysis of developments through the securitization of mortgages; mortgage markets and pricing, real estate finance and investments, mortgage-backed securities, development process, real estate valuation, tax effects, securitized real estate, real estate cycles, application of derivative instruments, strategic asset allocation. Prerequisite: MBA:8180 (3 s.h.)

Corporate Investment & Finance Decisions (FIN:9300)
Underpinnings and optimization of corporations’ investment and financing decisions; firm-wide and project-specific cost of capital, optimal capital structure decisions; in-depth capital budgeting methods, including real options techniques; corporate investment module of the class includes simulation analysis using Crystal Ball; cost of capital, valuation techniques, advanced capital budgeting, capital structure and dividend policy, option pricing models applied to corporate finance. Prerequisite: MBA:8180 (3 s.h.)

Corporate Financial Strategy (FIN:9310)
Major strategic decisions within the corporate form; risk management, including why firms engage in it, their methods for doing so, and exercises in the simulation of uncertainty; dividends and repurchases under the payout policy decision; corporate governance topics, including executive compensation, board structure, and institutional monitoring; merger and acquisitions analysis, including regulation, valuation, anti-takeover devices, payment method, and LBOs; divestitures and other restructuring topics, including corporate diversification, spin-offs, carve-outs, private workouts, and Chapter 11. Prerequisite: MBA:8180 (3 s.h.)

Wealth Management (FIN:9350)
Rapid growth of the field of wealth management over several decades, driven by general increase in personal wealth and increased responsibility for individuals to manage their own wealth; knowledge and tools to enter the financial services industry; financial planning industry, client characteristics, tax shield structures, insurance, asset allocation plans, estate planning, behavioral finance. Prerequisite: MBA:8180 (3 s.h.) 

Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability (MGMT:9091)
Introduction to main corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability issues; current debates; costs and benefits of CSR/sustainability; relationship between leadership, innovation, and CSR; CSR's effects on companies' ability to attract and retain good employees; numerous cases studies ranging from small to large companies from various sectors including food and agriculture, manufacturing, finance, mining, energy, retail, transportation; students read and debate articles and case studies written by leading business experts, academics, and CEOs; individual or team work on a CSR change analysis. (3 s.h.)  

Dynamics of Negotiations (MGMT:9110)
Predictable aspects and dynamics of bargaining experiences; simulations, experiential exercises to foster skills needed for effective negotiation in almost any situation. (3 s.h.)

Leadership and Personal Development (MGMT:9120)
Major theories; determinants of leader effectiveness, personal and career success; practical development of leadership, managerial skills to enhance individual, organizational effectiveness. (3 s.h.)

Strategic Management of Change (MGMT:9130)
How congruence in organizational strategy, structure and culture, job design, and employee characteristics produces effective organizations; emphasis on managing organizational change, implementing and working in teams, project management. Completion of MBA:8120 is recommended. (3 s.h.)

Project Management (MGMT:9185)
Preparation for managing projects and project portfolios; project selection, project planning and budgeting, scheduling, resource allocation, project control; integration of project planning tools, including project management software. This course was previously offered under course number MSCI:9185. If you have completed MSCI:9185 Project Management do not enroll in MGMT:9185 as it is the same course. (3 s.h.)

Law and Ethics (MGMT:9210)
Legal issues surrounding startup and day-to-day management of a business; contract law, standard business formations, tort law, employment law, business ethics, alternative dispute resolution. (3 s.h.)

Maximizing Team Performance (MGMT:9220)
Current approaches to implementing effective teams within organizations; team selection and formation, group dynamics, facilitation skills, performance and obstacle management. (3 s.h.)

Managing and Preventing Conflict (MGMT:9230)
Skills for management of high-conflict situations in the workplace and for long-term business success and job satisfaction; experience developing mediation-based skills and communication techniques to prevent and resolve workplace conflicts. (3 s.h.)

Inclusive Leadership (MGMT:9240)
Skills to develop a more inclusive leadership style including leading productive conversations about diversity, transforming diversity-related conflicts into opportunities for learning and growth, evaluating diversity initiatives for potential effectiveness, and developing a change management plan for increasing inclusion in an organization; exploration of foundations for inclusive leadership behaviors and team cultures through self-assessments, case studies, and group activities.  Pre-req: MBA:8120 (3 s.h.)

Managing Employee Performance (MGMT:9250)
Concepts and practices to effectively manage, measure and improve employee performance; establishing and communicating organizational expectations, the manager as coach and motivator, measurement methodologies, and performance improvement methods. (3 s.h.)

Social Media Marketing (MKTG:9015)
Fundamentals of social media marketing; establishing clear organizational goals for engaging in social media to market a product or service, developing solid strategies for implementation, and determining other key campaign logistics. Prerequisite: MBA:8110 (3 s.h.)

Digital Marketing Insights, Strategies, and Applications (MKTG:9155)
Introduction and examination of foundational, strategic and operational concepts of digital marketing through a combination of interactive lectures, case discussion, and project work; materials taught from a business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) perspective and considers marketplace dynamics, emerging technology, consumer insights, and data driven digital channels that inform a corporate vision for digital, a go-to-market strategy, and executional roadmap; introduction and knowledge advancement of tools and levers of digital marketing, followed by application to real world scenarios. Prerequisite: MBA:8110 (3 s.h.)

Marketing Analytics (MKTG:9310)
Quantitative tools to support marketing planning decisions, including forecasting, elasticity analysis, conjoint analysis, and customer LTV; analysis of syndicated data. Prerequisite: MBA:8150 (3 s.h.)

Strategic Brand Positioning (MKTG:9320)
Strategies for building, leveraging, and defending brands; principles of consumer behavior, how they relate to building brand identity and equity; branding of consumer goods and services. (Same course as MKTG:9150 Brand Management) Prerequisite: MBA:8110 (3 s.h.)

Product and Portfolio Strategy (MKTG:9330)
Why and how product strategy is the cornerstone of business performance; explore appropriate product development and growth strategies for start-ups through established businesses in business-to-business and business-to-consumer environments, including professional services companies. (Same course as MKTG:9330 Product and Pricing Management) Prerequisite: MBA:8110 (3 s.h.)

Marketing Communication and Promotions (MKTG:9350)
Develop effective communication programs for business and consumer markets; manage agency relationships; integrate media/vehicle platforms; track and evaluate investments in communications and promotions. Prerequisite: MBA:8110 (3 s.h.)

Business Communication (MBA:8130)
Build executive-ready communication skills in writing, presenting, and visualizing. Learn to communicate effectively, efficiently, and in a compelling manner to capture interest and drive action. Students get practice, feedback, and coaching with personal/individual communication assignments in a variety of formats. (3 s.h.)

Communication with AI and Business Technology (MBA:8430) 
Harnessing AI programs to produce and enhance business writing, developing professional presentation skills with feedback from instructor and specialized apps, optimizing program-generated visualizations for human audiences, and exploring the role of critical thinking when using technology in business environments. (3 s.h.)

Seminar in International Business 
Global Learning Opportunities (GLO) (MBA:8500)

Issues and challenges facing organizations doing business in international markets; social, economic, political factors, business policies and customs in the global environment; may include travel, study abroad. (3 s.h.)

Leadership Communication & Story (MBA:9130) 
Learn how effective communication drives effective leadership, both day-to-day and in common challenges leaders and aspiring leaders face, including difficult conversations, and crises, and how story can be used as a tool for creating vision and empowering others to follow it. Assignments include a mix of individual reflections as well as experiential group learning activities. (3 s.h.)