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Release: Immediate

Business Week ranks University of Iowa MBA program among top 50 schools

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- In its bi-annual guide to business schools, Business Week ranked the University of Iowa's master's of business administration program among the top 50 in the nation.

Business Week ranks the top 25 business schools numerically and the next 25 alphabetically. The UI MBA program appeared in the alphabetical list, as it did in the 1996 ranking.

Business Week ranked the schools based on responses from student and employer surveys. Graduates were asked to rate their schools on such issues as teaching quality, program content, and career placement. Recruiters assessed the skills of the students and ranked business schools on their overall quality and the success rate of graduates in their organizations.

"We are not satisfied with our ranking, but we know we are on the right track. We intend to continue to improve our program. I'm confident that our long-term strategy will work by focusing on quality instruction, internships and placement," said Gary Gaeth, associate dean of MBA programs in the UI College of Business Administration.

The School of Business Administration emphasizes a quality MBA program for its students. This year the school has devoted additional resources to recruiting, retaining and supporting its MBA students. Gaeth focuses on recruiting the best candidates, adding value to students' education while at the university, and supporting them as they enter the employment arena.

"We are trying to provide a superior education at the best price we can," added Gaeth. UI's full-time MBA tuition is $13,682 for Iowa residents, among the lowest in the Big Ten.

In their comments for the survey, UI MBA graduates praised the program and appreciated the improvements made over the past two years.

"They (faculty and staff) offer a high quality education, individual attention, state- of-the-art technology for teaching and simulation, and a staff that maintains a persistently genuine interest in each student's well-being," said one MBA graduate in the comments section of the Business Week survey.

To boost its nationwide recruiting efforts, the UI MBA program has placed ads in the Wall Street Journal and Business Week.

Gaeth said the UI is trying to be more accessible to students, stressing personal service for its MBA students. "The support from Gary Fethke, our dean, and Robert Forsythe, senior associate dean, has been critical to our improvement efforts," he added.

As part of these efforts, Gaeth's staff surveyed MBA students on their overall satisfaction with the program, which has shown steady improvement over the past three years.

According to UI figures, placement also improved in the 1997-98 year with 90 percent of UI MBA students having job commitments at graduation. The average starting salary for a UI MBA graduate was $61,847, up 12 percent from 1996-97; top MBA finance recruits fetched six-figure salaries. Top employers included Bandag, Pillsbury, Rockwell International and Sprint.

Practical experience during the program is emphasized, with all of May 1999's graduating MBA class being placed in internships, consulting positions, or international study programs last summer. The UI's MBA program also attracts high numbers of quality international students and women (41 percent of the May 1998 graduating class).

"It's nice to see that all the efforts and changes in the program have been noticed," said Scott Miles, president of the UI MBA Association. "It's disappointing that we were not in the top 25, but we are poised to break in next time."