The University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business in Iowa City has been experimenting with ways to pique prospective students’ interest and keep alumni engaged. This year, the college offered two new tuition perks to achieve both objectives.
The first perk, launched this spring, is designed to attract the best new students to the full-time MBA program. Tippie invited prospective students to come to campus to compete in what it called “Personal Pitch Day.” The students presented three-minute presentations in answer to the question “Why Me? What I Bring to the Iowa MBA.” The winner received a scholarship package that will pay a little more than 50 percent of the program’s tuition.
To be considered for the competition, participants had to be based in the U.S.; they had to have applied for admission to the full-time MBA program; they had to have registered for the competition, submitting a copy of a resume; and they had to plan to attend the school’s prospective student weekend in April.
Of the ten students who applied for the competition, the college chose seven to bring campus. A judging panel made up of Tippie faculty and administrators chose a winner based on five criteria: clarity of presentation, personality, persuasiveness, potential for success at Tippie, and adherence to the three-minute time limit. The school also reimbursed all or part of the finalists’ travel expenses, based on those same criteria.
"We did this to get an up close look at our applicants," explains Paul Pinckley Sr., director of admissions and financial aid for the full-time MBA program. "The hope is also that once they see the campus and meet the people, they'll fall in love with our school.
The second perk is aimed at graduates of Tippie’s full-time MBA program. To encourage this group to return to campus, the school is offering a tuition discount for select courses in its part-time MBA. The discount amounts to US$1,000 per course, or about half of the $1,995 total cost per course. This discount is offered through the Tippie College’s lifelong learning program, which includes expanded certificate and master’s programs as well.
Alums who take advantage of the discount will have the opportunity to earn one of three five-course, 15-credit certificates in either marketing, finance, or leadership, explains Lisa O. Smith, Tippie’s educational services coordinator. The school will apply up to six credits from their previous MBA coursework toward the certification. “We want to provide excellent service to our alumni as well as to our current students,” says Smith. “Through these discounts, we want to provide incentives for our alumni to continue their educations and professional development.”