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Drake University's flexible MBA program is overseen by Assistant Dean Danette Kenne and Dean Daniel Connolly.

School Supplies: Number 2 Pencil & Management Track


If it’s September, school is back in session. And that could include you, Mr. or Ms. 40-something business executive or owner, as you sharpen your entrepreneurial skills with guidance from executive MBA programs.

With the advent of distance learning, MBA degrees from many of the nation’s top universities are available online. Many feature at least some short residency on campus, and many others offer an offshore component to learn how business is done globally.

Closer to home, and in person, Drake University, Iowa State University and the University of Iowa all offer some version of an executive MBA program, or a professional MBA. There is a difference. At Iowa, for instance, the professional MBA program runs 36 months and attracts students who on average have about seven years of work experience. The executive MBA program runs 21 months and attracts students who are well into their careers.

Dawn Kluber, assistant dean of executive education at UI, says executive MBA students come to class with significant responsibility over budgets, clients, projects or strategies at the companies they own or work at. UI uses the cohort approach – a set number of students are admitted at a particular time, and they all take the same classes over the course of their education.

"It’s especially important for people who own their own businesses," says Kluber, as they may well have to play many roles without backup. This works for professionals as well, and Kluber says cohorts always contain physicians and lawyers who are interested in bringing more business skills to their craft.

Daniel Connolly, dean of the College of Business and Public Administration at Drake, says the MBA program there is aimed at people who want to enrich their career path. They might want to learn more about leadership skills – there’s a course on that and human capital development. And in a data-rich, global business environment, there’s a course on developing data.

Drake emphasizes an MBA program that is flexible. A degree can take two years, or five if need be when life or business events pop up. Regardless of the timeline, Connolly says Drake intends to help executives move from functional to managerial roles.

Iowa State offers full-time MBA and professional MBA programs, with classes taught during the week in downtown Des Moines. And by this time next year it ought to start its first executive MBA program, which will focus on animal science and agribusiness.

Sam DeMarie, director of the executive MBA program, says it will feature a leadership speaker series where research scientists, startup entrepreneurs and industry experts will share their wisdom. Leading that series will be prominent Des Moines business leader Suku Radia.

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Legacy Bridge

New 'Opportunity Zones' Offer Tax Benefits

Opportunity Zones are coming, and they offer a way to spur economic development in depressed areas while providing great tax shelters.

The zones were created as part of last year’s federal tax overhaul. They allow states to designate lower-income census tracts as areas where investors can kick money into funds that will be used to start some kind of business. There are 62 zones across Iowa, with two in Des Moines and one in West Des Moines. Investors need not live in a zone to participate in one.

Investors will pour money into a fund from proceeds they receive from a prior investment. So if you score a $100,000 gain on a stock sale, for instance, you can roll that into an Opportunity Zone fund and defer taxes on the gain. If you leave the money inside the fund for the 10-year life span, you get a stepped-up basis and avoid taxes on the original gain plus anything that may accrue by way of the investment.

Details are still being formulated by the U.S. Treasury. Yet to be settled: who will administer these funds, how they will select an investment, and who will manage the investment.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority is handling things at the state level.
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Denton Homes
801 Chophouse

7 Leisure Activities of Super-Successful People
BY MEREDITH LEPORE for the website The Ladders

Ever wonder what super successful people do when they aren’t working? They have hobbies, just like us. And it is no coincidence that these people just happen to be successful too. Hobbies can be very beneficial to one’s career. A study out of San Francisco State University using 350 employees found that people with hobbies showed more improvement in their jobs. They can help you learn new skills, overcome obstacles, be better about time management, and make you more patient. In other words, go pick up a hobby and maybe consider one of those favored by Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey or others in this story.
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Get Your Ears in Gear: Three Ways to Listen to Customers

Ever Googled yourself and discovered all the people who share your name? I share mine with a Canadian CBS News journalist and an Olympic gold medal-winning horseman... > FULL ARTICLE

Estate Planning in a Digital Age
Stacie Neussendorfer, JD, CFP®, CAP®, Lead Advisor

You know an estate plan is important to dispose of your property at death. Did you know that, without a specific plan regarding your digital assets (Facebook, iTunes, etc.), your loved ones may not be able to access these when you’re gone? > FULL ARTICLE

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