Business Schools in Kentucky


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Syracuse University’s online MBA through the Whitman School of Management is designed to give students the analytical and decision-making skills they need to advance their careers in today’s business environment

[email protected], the online MBA from American University is designed for domestic and global business professionals who want to start or advance their career.

Kentucky offers business students over 50 schools to choose from. Majors and concentrations available at the graduate level include everything from economics, finance and accounting to health care management and HRM. If you’re looking for undergraduate programs in business administration, you’ll find no shortage of those as well.

Marketing Degree Programs in Kentucky

State of Kentucky’s Marketing Industry

After the storm and stress of the great recession, Kentucky looks to be on the leading edge of the U.S. recovery. Its manufacturing sector – which comprises 16% of Kentucky’s economy – is picking up steam, led in part by the auto industry. As of 2012, it had recovered or replaced 62% of the jobs lost in the downturn, according to Chase’s Kentucky Economic Outlook in 2012.

A healthy economy makes for healthy companies (and marketing budgets). Six Fortune 500 firms made the bluegrass state their home in 2012, including the health insurance giant Humana, the specialty chemical company Ashland and the fast food king, Yum! Brands.

Kentucky’s ad agencies may not be international names, but they are still in the running. According to the Inc. 5000, revenues at the Eisen Agency, Tobe Direct and CurrentMarketing have all grown rapidly from 2008-2011. The high-flying Eisen Agency almost tripled its 2008 revenue.

Job Prospects for Kentucky Marketing Graduates

Kentucky marketing graduates should feel pretty optimistic, though opportunities will depend on your choice of profession. Statistics from Kentucky Labor Market Information predict jobs for market research analysts will rise 23% from 2008-2018; PR specialists are expecting a 22% growth rate.

Salaries generally reflect Kentucky’s lower cost of living. Marketing managers earned a median income of $84,200 in 2011, far below the national average of $116,000 for the same year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( Non-managerial positions showed a similar discrepancy.

Recent graduates who are having trouble finding work in advertising and marketing agencies might take a look at government and private sector jobs. In-house marketing departments in Kentucky’s strong health, manufacturing and financial industries may just be on the lookout for new blood.

Kentucky Schools for Marketing

There are twelve accredited marketing schools in Kentucky scattered fairly evenly over the state. Two to consider are:

1. University of Kentucky (UK) (

UK’s Gatton College of Business and Economics plays host to the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain. Students have the choice of pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in marketing or a doctorate in Marketing.

Ranked #94 in the 2012 U.S. News & World Report’s list of “Best Business Schools,” Gatton is located in Lexington, horse capital of the world – so bring your boots and saddles.

2. University of Louisville (UofL) (

UofL’s College of Business offers either a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in marketing or else a minor in marketing to accompany any degree. Graduates then have the option to go for an MBA.

In addition to UofL’s regular marketing faculty, who all hold doctorates, adjunct faculty and guest speakers from the business world are brought in to keep courses relevant.

Professional Marketing Organizations in Kentucky

Marketers new to Kentucky can take part in the professional scene through a number of organizations and associations. Check out the education and networking opportunities available through:

Business Degree Programs in Kentucky

Understanding Kentucky’s thriving business environment is key to achieving success as a corporate professional in areas like operations management, marketing, sales, and even HR. With a bachelor’s degree or specialized MBA in these fields, you could go on to work with prominent Kentucky-based regional giants and multinationals like Yum! Brands, Humana, Ashland, General Cable, Kindred Healthcare, and Lexmark International, to name just a few.

As a business school graduate in Kentucky, you will join the ranks of fellow residents such as B. Wayne Hughes, the founder of the largest self-storage company in the nation. Hughes also happens to be an avid racehorse enthusiast and the owner of a winner of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

While you can be proud of the state’s horse racing and breeding traditions, or the worldwide success of Yum! Brands owned KFC, you will also recognize that Kentucky’s business environment is much larger than these well-worn examples of successful Kentucky-based businesses.

The following are examples of private sector corporate job vacancy announcements and related degree requirements (these illustrative examples taken from a survey of job boards in Kentucky in August of 2015 do not constitute job offers):

  • Regional Sales Manager with Impinj in Eastern Kentucky – bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as Business, Sales, or Marketing.
  • Regional Business Manager with Merz North America for Kentucky – bachelor’s degree, such as in a field like Business, Business Communications, Administrative Services, or Business Administration.
  • Business Development Officer with Republic Bank in Owensboro – preference for a bachelor’s degree in Finance or Business Administration.
  • Logistics Account Manager with UPS in Louisville – bachelor’s degree in Business Management.
  • Associate Marketing Manager with Fruit of the Loom in Bowling Green – MBA preferred, bachelor’s degree required in Marketing or a related field.
  • Franchise Finance Manager with Yum! in Louisville – MBA strongly preferred, bachelor’s degree required with a preference for graduates in Business, Finance, or a related field.

Preparing for a Business Career in Kentucky

Kentucky’s business environment is diverse. According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in 2015 Kentucky’s Gross State Product (GSP) reached $183.6 billion. The state’s total workforce that year numbered 2.5 million. A 2015 macro view of the state’s economy looks like this:

Private Sector

Total employment – 2.04 million

GSP generated by the private sector:

  • $38 billion from manufacturing
  • $24 billion from wholesale and retail trade
  • $20 billion from real estate
  • $16 billion from health care and social services
  • $2.6 billion from management of companies and enterprises

Public Sector

  • GSP generated by the public sector – $27.6 billion
  • Total public-sector employment – 357,741
    • State government – 99,760
    • Local government – 173,296
    • Federal government, civilian – 36,648
    • Federal government, military – 48,037

In addition to its urban environments, non-metropolitan West Central Kentucky is particularly competitive on a national scale. The following statistics reflect this region of the state compared with all other non-metro areas in the nation (provided by the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics ( in 2014):

  • Chief Executives – West Central Kentucky has the fifth-highest number of CEOs of all non-metro areas in the nation
  • Human Resources Managers – West Central Kentucky has the fifth-highest number of HR managers of all non-metro areas in the nation
  • Sales Managers – Sales managers in West Central Kentucky earn the third-highest average income of all non-metro areas in the nation

University of Kentucky

The Gatton College of Business & Economics at the University of Kentucky offers three Master of Business Administration (MBA) options. The quickest track allows you to complete your degree in one year of full-time, concentrated study. At the heart of the program are three hands-on modules in which students work alongside corporations in new product development, supply chain management and business finance strategies. If you are balancing work with your studies, the professional track is a possibility: you’ll take evening classes and complete the same curriculum in two or more years. This track has a study-abroad option involving 18 months of full-time study in Athens, Greece.

University of Louisville

The University of Louisville’s top-ranked MBA program is known for its focus on entrepreneurial thinking and strategy. The program is structured as a professional MBA, offering evening and occasional Saturday classes throughout a 20-month course of study. In addition to classroom learning, students take part in an international study trip and have opportunities for hands-on internships. The Ulmer Career Management Center facilitates a mentoring program and provides lifetime career development assistance; graduates benefit from a globally-recognized degree and an international network of contacts.

Eastern Kentucky University

The MBA program at Eastern Kentucky University is organized to accommodate you as you balance work and study. You can earn the degree full-time, on either the Richmond campus or at extended facilities in Corbin, Danville, Lancaster and Manchester. You can accelerate your course of study by taking classes during the summer session. You can also study part time, taking evening classes and completing some of the foundation courses online. The school offers a general business MBA, as well as specializations in accounting or integrated communications. Each of these programs is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky has designed its MBA with the workplace in mind. The university consulted with employers to map out the skills that corporations seek and then built the curriculum around those real-world needs. The degree includes 36 hours, covering the areas of management and leadership, analytics, managerial concepts and tools, global business, strategy and structure and managing for the future. A key part of the MBA experience at Northern Kentucky is the MBA Mentorship Program. You will work closely with a team of professionals who will help you network and understand how classroom learning applies in the real world, as well as assist you in developing your career.

Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University offers you a number of options for earning your MBA credentials. The school offers a traditional on-campus, full-time degree with a one-year curriculum. You can also pursue your degree part time via weekend classes that span a two-year period. In addition, the school is becoming known for its innovative online option, which allows you to pursue your degree full time from anywhere, or to juggle your studies with other commitments and take up to five years to complete the program. The on-campus and online options are both AACSB accredited.