How is The University of Arizona different?

During my summer blog series, I have written posts that I hope to benefit the incoming MBA students here at Eller MBA. When my family and I first moved to Tucson and I started Eller MBA, many of our colleagues, friends and family throughout the US often confused The University of Arizona with either Arizona State University or University of Phoenix. I could see how these schools are easily confused because they have very similar names and even share the same state. Add to that the fact that Arizona’s geography is not as widely known as say California or New York, we have a recipe for confusion.

Examples of the questions my wife and I often received from our colleagues, friends and family are:

  • I thought The University of Arizona would have been in Phoenix, the state capital. Why isn’t it?
  • Why did you move to Arizona, doesn’t the University of Phoenix offer classes online?
  • Why didn’t they put the MBA school on the main campus in Phoenix?
  • Isn’t their mascot a Sun Devil?

I actually didn’t know these answers before researching MBA programs and reading about The University of Arizona and Eller MBA. In selecting an MBA program, we put a lot of weight on MBA rankings and reviews so that is how we came to know the differences. When you get these questions (and you will get them), just refer your colleagues, friends and family to this post and I will be happy to explain to them the differences.

The University of Arizona is located in Tucson, Arizona, about 100 miles south of Phoenix and 70 miles north of the US/Mexico border. The University of Arizona was founded in 1885 as a public land-grant and space-grant university and is considered to be a Public Ivy by Howard and Matthew Greene in their book The Public Ivies: America’s Flagship Public Universities. The University of Arizona is known as one of the nation’s top 20 public research institutions. UofA, as it is commonly referred to by locals, has an enrollment of 37,000 students. UofA’s mascot is the Wildcats.

Originally when Arizona became the 48th state and last of the contiguous states admitted to the Union in 1912, many of the territory residents believed Tucson would be selected as the state capital. Instead, Pheonix was selected and The University of Arizona by then had already been built in Tucson over 27 years earlier in 1885.

(Interesting fact for Tennessee Volunteer fans: The University of Tennessee was built in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1794 and not Nashville because at the time, Knoxville was the state capital.)

Arizona State University and University of Phoenix are also well known Arizona universities but are separate from The University of Arizona system. The University of Arizona is much like Middle Tennessee State University where I received my Bachelors. Like MTSU is located primarily in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, The University of Arizona has one primary campus located in Tucson, Arizona.

Arizona State University’s main campus is located in Tempe, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix and has 3 other campuses located throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area. Arizona State University is Arizona’s largest university with about 70,000 students. Arizona State’s mascot is the Sun Devil.

University of Phoenix, unlike The University of Arizona and Arizona State University, is a private university owned by the Apollo Group, Inc. University of Phoenix has several locations throughout the US but holds most of their classes predominantly online. They do not have an official athletic department but they do sponsor University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the NFL team Arizona Cardinals.

The Eller MBA at The University of Arizona currently does not offer any online or video recorded courses. I along with about 70 other Eller MBA students attend the full-time program with courses scheduled on-site at the Eller College of Management Monday through Friday during Fall and Spring semesters. The University of Arizona Eller MBA offers along with the traditional full-time MBA, an Evening MBA, an Accelerated MBA and an Executive MBA, each top quality programs designed for students unable to attend the traditional full-time 2 year program.

This year, the Financial Times ranked Eller MBA the 5th best MBA in the world and Entrepreneur Magazine and Princeton Review ranked the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program the 3rd best entrepreneurship graduate program in the US. I am currently enrolled in both Eller MBA and the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship.