Iowa State announces new engineering/MBA concurrent degree

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University will offer a new degree program for engineering undergraduate students that will provide participants with a bachelor of science in engineering and a master of business administration (MBA) degrees concurrently.

The program is being introduced during freshmen orientation and will be announced this fall to junior engineering students, who will be able to enter the program their senior year.

Administered jointly by the College of Business and the College of Engineering, the program initially is open to students majoring in computer, electrical or industrial engineering. The combined program will reduce by one year the time normally required to earn both degrees.

"This collaboration is very well aligned with the needs of engineering students who want to be industry leaders," said Ted Okiishi, associate dean for research and outreach for the College of Engineering. "By engaging with the College of Business, our students will have an important competitive advantage when entering their career paths."

"By providing engineering and business coursework with practical experience, the Iowa State engineering graduate will be well prepared to meet the business needs," said Arun Somani, chair and professor of electrical and computer engineering. "We feel that by linking classroom theory with real-world practice in both the fields, our students will be prepared to meet challenges directly."

The program requires engineering students to take a slightly accelerated program through their first six semesters to complete their general education requirements. The remaining four semesters integrate engineering requirements with MBA courses. Twelve credits will be shared in order to fulfill the requirements for both the engineering bachelor's and MBA degrees. In addition, students in the program will be encouraged to obtain practical experience through at least two summer internships or co-ops in engineering and business.

"Through building on each college's strengths and course focuses, we've been able to provide a great option for engineering students," said Anthony Hendrickson, associate dean of graduate programs for the College of Business. "The program will be rigorous, but it will provide future benefits and advantages to help these engineering students prepare for leadership positions."

Dave Sly, who holds bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in industrial engineering and an MBA -- all from Iowa State -- says the new, concurrent degree will provide graduates an extra edge and more advantages to excel in today's business climate. Sly is president of Proplanner, an Ames-based business specializing in process engineering and management software solutions for discrete manufacturers.

"In reality, most technical issues live or die on their business merits, and many of today's business decisions involve significant technical issues," he said. "It is imperative that engineering students who seek to excel in management and decision-making roles have a solid business foundation."

The program is open only to Iowa State students who have completed three years of their engineering program. Prospective students must have strong academic records, demonstrate leadership, be career-focused, and meet the other requirements for admission into the Iowa State MBA program.

For more information about the program, contact Business Graduate Programs at (515) 294-8118 or In engineering, contact Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering Undergraduate Student Services at (515) 294-6092 or or the department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering at (515) 294-1603 or