The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 16, 2004

Iowa's Beijing MBA Program Offers Agricultural Focus

As it has in the past, the University of Iowa's Henry B. Tippie School of Management is providing much-needed management training to executives in a specific industry. The Tippie International MBA Program in Beijing is designed for executives in China's food and agribusiness sectors and is being offered in conjunction with Purdue University. At the completion of the program, graduates will have a master of business administration (MBA) degree from Iowa and a certificate in agricultural business from Purdue.

Approximately forty students started the program in October. These students have extensive work experience in agricultural industries such as fisheries, food and beverage production, and product distribution, according to Mary Spreen, director of Tippie International Executive MBA (EMBA) Programs.

Classes are held in the Pan-Pacific Tower of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) in Beijing. Courses are taught in an intense format of four-day sessions. Students attend two sessions consecutively over eight days with a scheduled completion date in December 2005. Eleven UI faculty will travel to Beijing to teach business courses, while four Purdue professors will teach agribusiness courses.

Gary Gaeth, associate dean of the Tippie School of Management, said the Executive MBA program in Beijing has a clear mission: developing world-class Chinese business leaders in the food and agribusiness sectors. "This targeted program has been developed to meet specific needs of executives in China's food and agribusiness industries. These industries have experienced the most dynamic growth since the reform of any economic sector, but are faced with enormous challenges."

Gaeth explained that the overall competitiveness of China's food and agribusiness industry is still low compared with that of developed countries. "Structural reform and improvement of management are critical to make changes, but the most important factor is to develop people with the required qualities," he said.

This is the Tippie School's second venture in China. In 2002, an Executive MBA Program was launched in Hong Kong. Since that time, the first cohort graduated in May 2004 and an additional two cohorts are currently taking courses.

UI faculty benefit from teaching in China through interactions with Chinese educators and business leaders and opportunities to explore new research topics, Gaeth added. Like the Hong Kong MBA program, the Beijing program is expected to pay for itself through tuition income and generate revenue for the Tippie School.

The Tippie School is conducting the Executive MBA program in cooperation with the Franklin Institute of Management, which is recruiting students and providing on-site logistics in Beijing. CAAS provides case studies about Chinese corporations in food and agribusiness and conducts short courses on special topics relevant to the students in the program, building on the strengths of the Tippie and Purdue faculty.

The Tippie School of Management offers three MBA programs designed to enhance professional education: a full-time MBA; the MBA for Professionals and Managers in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities; and the Executive MBA, with programs in Iowa City and Des Moines. The Tippie School also offered a successful Executive Engineer Dual Master's Degree program with Iowa State University. The Tippie College of Business, accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), provides instruction in a personalized setting with easy access to qualified faculty and staff, and its programs utilize the latest technology to ensure that students receive a comprehensive management education that will help them succeed in today's competitive world.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: George McCrory, University of Iowa News Services 319-384-0012,; Program: Gary Gaeth or Mary Spreen, Tippie School of Management, 319-335-1039