Best Tennessee MBA Schools and Programs

Your Guide to an Tennessee MBA Career, Curriculum and Education

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What Can You Do With an MBA in Tennessee


Tennessee is a state known as much for its rich culture as it is for its rolling landscapes and ridged horizon. Almost seven million people call Tennessee home, with many residing in major cities like Nashville and Memphis.

The future is bright for students who wish to progress beyond their undergraduate degree through further academmics. Especially for those professionals who want to earn an MBA in Tennessee, whether through the full traditional experience based in a graduate school community or attending their academic courses through technology from anywhere in the state or country. The state touts low education costs and a growing economy, both of which support recent MBA students looking to find a feasible place to live and work.

Tennessee hosts more than one hundred college and university campuses you can search for the perfect professional program, including public schools like the University of Tennessee and Middle Tennessee State, and private schools like Vanderbilt University. Many schools within the state offer distance learning as an option to students, depending on the program.

There are many reasons for prospective MBA students to consider one of Tennessee’s many learning institutions. Tennessee offers its students plenty of education options and job opportunities, as well as a good salary outlook. Not to mention that most of these programs have the same course, with the same content, taught by the same faculty for their online students as they do for their traditional students.

Why Consider an Online MBA?


One factor in particular is a powerful draw for many college students across the country: Tennessee offers some of the lowest average tuitions in the United States, as well as a cost of living average that is lower than the national average. This makes an online MBA program in Tennessee an especially attractive option for many students, both in-state and nationwide.

Tennessee is home to 11 schools that have been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), several of which offer online learning, accelerated, and part- or full-time programs as enrollment options. Depending on what your calendar looks like, you'll have to choose one that gives you time to study and meet your other obligations. Specific requirements may vary from program to program, so be sure to do ample research ahead of time so you’re not caught unprepared. You’ll likely be expected to submit GMAT scores as part of your admission, though some schools may offer a waiver for eligible students so don't skip checking to see if you meet eligibility requirements.

Percentage of Students Enrolled By Distance Education


Typical MBA Concentrations


Many online universities offer students the opportunity to delve more deeply into a certain topic in their graduate studies by putting credit hours into an MBA concentration. This can help to give you better positioning in the job market upon graduating with your degree, though it might increase the time spent in school from a year and a half up to 3 years if you attend part-time. There are a variety of specializations available in the U.S. including human resource management, finance, international business, strategic planning, organizational development, info systems, project management, business analytics, and more. Below are two that are particularly relevant to the corporate job market in Tennessee.

  • Healthcare Administration
    A degree in healthcare administration will teach students the skills needed to oversee and operate departments within a healthcare facility with a view toward optimal patient care. They will master the ability to apply their knowledge of policy directly to the main healthcare organization, insurance company, hospital, or government agency that employs them.
  • Marketing
    An MBA in marketing will give students the information needed to develop and implement marketing strategies. They’ll learn how to identify emerging trends within their industry, and will know how to use data to create the best marketing plan for their business.

Accreditation in Tennessee


When selecting a school, it’s important to consider programs that have been given a seal of approval by a regional or national accrediting agency. This shows prospective students, along with other members of the general public, that the school meets the education standards held by the agency.

If you’re looking to get your online MBA from a more competitive business school, look for programs with regional accreditation. In Tennessee, regional accreditation is given by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Nationally accredited schools can be academically acceptable as well, but it’s a designation typically reserved for vocational or technical schools, or for-profit programs.

Career and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates


Tennessee joins many states, particularly southern states, in seeing a decline in the manufacturing jobs that have traditionally upheld the state’s economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare and social assistance jobs are now the most prevalent in the state. Tennessee is also known for its bustling music scene, with Nashville and Memphis regarded as two of the most important locations in the history of American music. Because of this, hospitality and tourism are also major factors in Tennessee’s economy.

As of 2017, Tennessee enjoyed one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country--just 3 percent of the state’s residents reporting not having a job. The forecast for Tennessee’s economy continues to be optimistic, with job growth anticipated to keep improving.

Top Employers in the State by Number of Employees


Company Industry Headquarters City Number of Employees
HCA Healthcare Healthcare Nashville 35,000
Fedex Shipping Memphis 30,000
Vanderbilt University Education Nashville 22,000

These are just a few of the companies in Tennessee that employ a high number of MBA holders. As evidenced by these three examples, the state offers a wide range of companies and industries that need MBA graduates to keep operations running smoothly.

Careers and Salaries for MBA Graduates in Tennessee


An advanced degree in any field can give students the opportunity to make a higher salary upon graduation than their less educated counterparts. Going on to earn an online MBA can set you up to earn as much as $10,000 more than those who entered the job force directly after getting their bachelor’s degree. The following chart shows the breakdown in salary between an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, and MBA.

Average Degree Salary Ranges Potential


  • Earnings with Associates - $44,194
  • Earnings with Bachelors - $57,505
  • Earnings with MBA - $82,000

Careers for Tennessee MBA Grads


  • Health Services Manager
    Since healthcare has risen in prominence as Tennessee’s number one industry, the need for health services managers to keep facilities and organizations running smoothly continues to grow. In this position, MBA graduates use their skills to analyze current operations and identify ways to increase both operational efficiency and patient satisfaction. They may oversee individual departments, or, in smaller organizations, health services managers may supervise the entire facility.
  • Supply Chain Manager
    Supply chain managers oversee their organization’s supply chain and are responsible for maximizing efficiency and productivity within the process. They develop and maintain relations with vendors and customers and identify any factors within company operations that may impact the supply chain on either side.
  • Operations Manager
    The operations manager is responsible for overseeing big picture operations within their organization. It’s their job to ensure that business is operating as cleanly and efficiently as possible and may be in charge of the day to day minutiae involved in the successful rendering of company services.
  • Marketing Director
    Marketing directors develop strategies pertaining to brand development, advertising venues, and company exposure, among other areas. With their marketing team, they work closely with the sales department to coordinate goals and set up the entire organization for effective brand exposure and marketing success.
  • IT Manager
    An IT manager oversees the technological infrastructure of the organization and handles any hiccups that may arise relating to the computer network. They develop the strategy for their company’s network and are in charge of implementing programs within the network and training staff on how to use them.

Best MBA Programs in Tennessee


Vanderbilt University Location
Nashville, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • Accountingy
  • Finance
  • General Management
  • Healthcare
  • Human and Organizational Performance (HOP)
  • Marketing
  • Operations & Analytics
  • Strategy
Tuition
$50,605
Retention %
97%
Graduation %
93%
Avg. Grad Salary
$82,295
University of Memphis Location
Memphis, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • Professional MBA
Tuition
$10,795
Retention %
78%
Graduation %
53%
Avg. Grad Salary
$67,937
Christian Brothers University Location
Memphis, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • Healthcare Management
  • Project Management
Tuition
$13,484
Retention %
75%
Graduation %
61%
Avg. Grad Salary
$75,000
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville Location
Knoxville, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • Business Analytics
  • Consulting
  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation (E&I)
  • Finance
  • Supply Chain Management
Tuition
$13,645
Retention %
87%
Graduation %
72%
Avg. Grad Salary
$67,446
Tennessee Technological University Location
Cookeville, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Human Resource Management
  • International Business
  • MIS
  • Marketing
Tuition
$11,840
Retention %
77%
Graduation %
54%
Avg. Grad Salary
$69,334
Bethel University (Tennessee) Location
McKenzie, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • Academic Practitioner
  • Executive Concentration
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Human Resource Management
Tuition
$11,476
Retention %
62%
Graduation %
32%
Avg. Grad Salary
$57,638
King University Location
Bristol, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Healthcare Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Leadership
  • Project Management
Tuition
$19,500
Retention %
65%
Graduation %
59%
Avg. Grad Salary
$60,477
Union University Location
Jackson, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • Human Resource Management
Tuition
$9,902
Retention %
84%
Graduation %
68%
Avg. Grad Salary
$62,935
Bryan College-Dayton Location
Dayton, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • Marketing
  • Human Resources
  • Ministry
Tuition
$9,977
Retention %
70%
Graduation %
45%
Avg. Grad Salary
$56,814
Trevecca Nazarene University Location
Nashville, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • Information Technology
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Project Management
  • Management & Leadership
  • Human Resources
Tuition
$10,130
Retention %
76%
Graduation %
56%
Avg. Grad Salary
$61,955
Sewanee-The University of the South Location
Sewanee, TN
MBA Concentrations
No
Tuition
$17,848
Retention %
89%
Graduation %
79%
Avg. Grad Salary
$72,126
Southern Adventist University Location
Collegedale, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • Accounting
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Management
Tuition
$11,976
Retention %
81%
Graduation %
55%
Avg. Grad Salary
$61,406
Carson-Newman University Location
Jefferson City, TN
MBA Concentrations
No
Tuition
$9,027
Retention %
68%
Graduation %
57%
Avg. Grad Salary
$57,263
Middle Tennessee State University Location
Murfreesboro, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Business law
Tuition
$8,946
Retention %
75%
Graduation %
47%
Avg. Grad Salary
$61,430
East Tennessee State University Location
Johnson City, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • Business Analytics
  • Cybersecurity Management
  • Health Care Marketing
Tuition
$8,640
Retention %
72%
Graduation %
50%
Avg. Grad Salary
$60,115
Martin Methodist College Location
Pulaski, TN
MBA Concentrations
No
Tuition
$8,910
Retention %
61%
Graduation %
36%
Avg. Grad Salary
$45,958
The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Location
Chattanooga, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • Professional MBA
  • Professional MBA - Business Analytics
Tuition
$8,450
Retention %
71%
Graduation %
48%
Avg. Grad Salary
$59,411
The University of Tennessee-Martin Location
Martin, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • MBA for Financial Services Professionals
Tuition
$9,096
Retention %
75%
Graduation %
47%
Avg. Grad Salary
$54,752
Rhodes College Location
Memphis, TN
MBA Concentrations
No
Tuition
$48,888
Retention %
92%
Graduation %
80%
Avg. Grad Salary
$64,936
Tusculum College Location
Tusculum, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • General Management
  • Human Resources
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Healthcare Administration
Tuition
$7,200
Retention %
62%
Graduation %
41%
Avg. Grad Salary
$59,846
Belmont University Location
Nashville, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • Accounting
  • Business intelligence
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Healthcare management
  • International business
  • Marketing
  • Music business
  • Negotiation and mediation
Tuition
$22,680
Retention %
83%
Graduation %
72%
Avg. Grad Salary
$60,649
Tennessee State University Location
Nashville, TN
MBA Concentrations
No
Tuition
$10,178
Retention %
64%
Graduation %
32%
Avg. Grad Salary
$63,246
Freed-Hardeman University Location
Henderson, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • Healthcare Management
Tuition
$10,980
Retention %
83%
Graduation %
58%
Avg. Grad Salary
$61,328
Lipscomb University Location
Nashville, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • Accounting and Finance
  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Health Care Management
Tuition
$18,414
Retention %
83%
Graduation %
68%
Avg. Grad Salary
$60,333
Lincoln Memorial University Location
Harrogate, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • Executive MBA
Tuition
$18,093
Retention %
77%
Graduation %
55%
Avg. Grad Salary
$69,363
Lee University Location
Cleveland, TN
MBA Concentrations
No
Tuition
$13,590
Retention %
78%
Graduation %
60%
Avg. Grad Salary
$53,150
Tennessee Wesleyan University Location
Athens, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • Management
Tuition
$19,575
Retention %
70%
Graduation %
41%
Avg. Grad Salary
$62,350
Cumberland University Location
Lebanon, TN
MBA Concentrations
  • Healthcare Administration
Tuition
$6,600
Retention %
60%
Graduation %
43%
Avg. Grad Salary
$65,361
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How to Choose & FAQ's


It’s important to put a great deal of thought and consideration into choosing which online MBA program is the best fit for you. Here are a few of the major factors to think about when you’re whittling down your degree options.

  • Think About School Location
    Though many online MBA programs allow students to complete all of their coursework online, others may require some degree of on campus face time. Find out what each school expects; this may force you to reconsider some options if they’re not locations you can feasibly access. Plus, choosing a school somewhat close by to you may give you more opportunities when it comes time to set up a job as a part of your program or following graduation.
  • Make Sure Classes Will Fit Your Schedule
    Though online learning is known for its innate flexibility, the degree of freedom offered to students greatly depends on the program. Some online MBA programs permit students to log on and take classes on their own schedule, without needing to attend virtual classes at any specific time. However, other programs may be less flexible, and may require you to be at your computer at a predetermined time for class or even to attend one or two events or visit campus throughout the school year. Find out what will be expected of you from each program, and consider that when making your final decision.
  • Think About Program Cost
    The costs associated with an online MBA degree are often significantly lower than one would expect to pay at a brick and mortar campus environment. Students aren’t handcuffed to expenses like housing near or on campus, meal plans, and major administrative fees. They may, however, expect to field expenses like computer costs, distance learning fees, and the cost of living expenses wherever you are located. Consider these costs ahead of time so you won’t be bombarded with an unexpected bill later on.
  • Talk To Students and Recent Graduates
    Who better to provide an accurate depiction of online student life in a certain program than a recent or current student? Check your potential school’s website for links to groups of students of alumni. If you have trouble finding connections, reach out to the admissions office and ask for a list.
  • Look For Partnerships With Local Companies
    Many MBA programs require students to complete a capstone practicum or internship prior to graduation. Find out what partnerships each school has with local or national businesses and check in particular to see if any of these partnerships are relevant to your industry of choice. If a school doesn’t have a relationship with any businesses near you, that might be a red flag that the program might not be the best fit.

MBA Degrees, Career Paths & Resources


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