Business Schools in Tennessee


Earn your MBA online through Capella University and serve as a leader in your field. Capella’s accredited online MBA program lets you customize your education by choosing from 11 focus areas most relevant to today’s business leaders. Make your move today by requesting information about Capella University’s online MBA program.

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.

Students wanting to study business in the Volunteer State will find over 85 schools to choose from offering programs online and in the classroom. From associate’s and BBA programs in business administration, HR, marketing and accounting to executive MBAs for mid-career professionals looking to advance and refocus their careers, Tennessee’s business schools have something for every type of business student.

A Word of Advice from an Experienced Professional

Below we interview Ms. Alex Hughes, Manager of Talent Retention for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. In addition to the Nashville Chamber, Ms. Hughes is very involved with YP Nashville, a young professionals organization of central Tennessee. In this interview, Ms. Hughes discusses how to build references, the importance of building a network of peers and the best networking advice she’s received.

Marketing Degree Programs in Tennessee

State of Tennessee’s Marketing Industry

Tennessee was shaken along with the rest of the nation during the recession, with the state’s important automotive production sector taking a big hit. But graphs now show definite climbs in employment and growth, supported by capital-goods manufacturing and health care.

Some of those health care giants – including HCA Holdings, Community Health Systems and Vanguard Health Systems – were large enough to make the Fortune 500 list in 2012. They joined six other Tennessee goliaths, including FedEx, International Paper and Dollar General.

When the marketing industry isn’t serving the needs of these industries and – of course – the Grand Ole Opry, it’s catering to some hard-charging up-and-comers. A total of 88 Tennessee names appeared on Inc.’s Top 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies in 2012, including, ASE Direct and Teknetex.

Job Prospects for Tennessee Marketing Graduates

Employment prospects for Tennessee marketing graduates are middling. For 2008-2018, the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development is projecting jobs for market research analysts to grow by 18%, PR specialists by 21% (a strong number) and marketing managers by 6%.

If marketing departments in manufacturing, healthcare and finance and insurance aren’t your style, tourism is an option – Forbes says the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the nation’s most-visited national park.

If its ad agencies you seek, top-grossing Tennessee firms include The Buntin Group, archer>malmo and cj Advertising. Harvest Creative, iostudio and CentreSource were the top three highfliers on Inc.’s 2012 list.

Or you could break out your guitar. Nashville, aka “Music City,” is the home of country music, generating billions of dollars in annual revenue through music labels and affiliated businesses.

Tennessee Schools for Marketing

There are 26 accredited marketing schools in Tennessee, as well as many in Nashville and Memphis. Here are two to compare:

1. University of Tennessee (UT) (

Ranked #64 in “Best Business Schools” by U.S. News & World Report in 2013, UT’s College of Business Administration offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in marketing, an MBA and a doctorate in marketing.

Undergraduates can apply for internships, join the American Marketing Association student chapter or Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals student chapter, or participate in study-abroad programs. Marketers may also want to look into pursuing a dual MBA/Master of Science in sport management or an MBA/Master of Science in business analytics.

2. Belmont University (BU) (

Students at BU’s School of Business Administration have the choice of a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in marketing and a variety of MBAs (professional, accelerated and health care). Both the undergraduate school and the Jack C. Massey Graduate School of Business are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

To help undergraduates prepare for real-world careers, the college supports student-run ventures, business hatcheries, internships and a variety of student organizations. Tennessee companies also work closely with BU’s four business research centers.

Professional Marketing Organizations in Tennessee

There’s an American Advertising Federation chapter in every nook and cranny of the Volunteer State and American Marketing Association chapters in Tennessee’s major cities. In return for annual fees, many offer networking events, continuing education opportunities and – if you’re lucky – excellent music.

Business Degree Programs in Tennessee

Graceland, Beale Street, and the Grand Ol’ Opry are some of the biggest tourist destinations in both the state of Tennessee and the world. They represent a diverse and storied musical history that has had a major impact on American culture.  However, Tennessee is more than just a place for music. The hardworking people of the Volunteer state fostered a thriving business community that grew through the recession and that generates over $300 billion annually.

As a business school graduate in Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree or specialized MBA in accounting, marketing, HR management or another vital specialty, you will have no shortage of opportunity with the state’s many growing companies.

How Small-to-Medium Sized Businesses Make Tennessee Great

While Tennessee’s small and medium sized businesses are incredibly diverse, the largest contributing sectors based on total employment are:

  • Healthcare and Social Assistance 377,420
  • Retail Trade 305,578
  • Manufacturing 289,477
  • Accommodation and Food Services 232,398
  • Administrative Support for Waste Management and Remedial Services 198,786

Small businesses make up a large portion of each of these sectors, with 54 percent of food service employees and over a third of the employees in the state’s other major business sectors being employed by small businesses according to the Small Business Administration.

However, the state is no stranger to the large corporations, hosting operations for eight different Fortune 500 companies (financial statistics as of 2014):

  • FedEx- 2.097 billion in profits
  • HCA Holdings-1.875 billion in profits
  • International Paper- 555 million in profits
  • Dollar General- 1.065 billion in profits
  • Community Health Systems- 94 million in profits
  • Unum Group-413 million in profits
  • AutoZone-1.070 billion in profits
  • Eastman chemical- 751 million in profits

Growing employment at large and stable firms, including the addition of many jobs in accounting, marketing, finance, HR management and business administration, makes the state of Tennessee one of the best places in the nation for business school graduates to establish a career.

University of Tennessee

The full-time Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Tennessee is an intensive program designed for completion in 17 months. Using team-based learning and cross-functional approaches, you will tackle tough business problems and gain hands-on experience. The school is particularly well-known for its innovation and entrepreneurship track, but offers six other concentrations: business analytics, finance, marketing, operations, supply chain management and a custom concentration that you can tailor to your interests. The school’s top-ranked Professional MBA is 16-month hybrid program for individuals with at least five years of work experience; it combines online learning with Saturday classes and two-week residencies. The intense Executive MBA for Strategic Leadership takes just a year to complete through distance learning, on-campus residencies and a global immersion trip. The school’s other specialized MBAs include the Global Supply Chain Executive MBA, the Physician Executive MBA and the Aerospace and Defense MBA. The College of Business Administration has also partnered with other schools at the university to offer six dual degree programs that couple an MBA with a Juris Doctor or an additional master’s degree in agricultural economics, business analytics, engineering or sports management.

Vanderbilt University

Earning your MBA at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University involves joining a small cohort of fellow students who become a part of a tight-knit community of faculty, alumni and support staff. The MBA programs at this school emphasize leadership development; practical learning and real-world projects in the United States and abroad are central to the program. Students tackle a full 62-credit-hour curriculum organized in “mods” of seven weeks. In addition to the standard MBA, the school offers several specialty programs. The Healthcare MBA combines classes in business fundamentals with immersive experiences in healthcare facilities. Vanderbilt’s Executive MBA is tailored for executives on the fast track, but it isn’t a stripped-down program. You’ll take the full 60 hour load and engage with a “C-Team” of executives from numerous industries to tackle real-world challenges. Classes meet two Saturdays a month, with two one-week residencies at the university.

Tennessee Tech University

Tennessee Tech is an innovator in distance learning. The school offers a full-time MBA and a part-time MBA, along with a “Plus One” program that allows you to add an MBA to any of this school’s bachelor’s degree programs with just one additional year of study. Interactive classes are offered on campus and online, following the same curriculum and taught by the same faculty. You will learn through case studies, simulations and hands-on research projects. After completing foundation courses, you can create your own area of specialization or pursue a concentration in accounting, finance, human resource management, international business, management information systems or risk management and insurance. Both the online and on-campus degree programs are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and both programs result in the same degree.

University of Memphis

The University of Memphis Fogelman College of Business and Economics offers five MBA options. The Customer-Driven MBA is a unique program in that it is sponsored by corporations in the area and built around specific industry needs. Immersion in the business community is a core part of the curriculum: students hold down a job with a sponsoring corporation, working 10 hours a week during the school year and full time during the summer, with the promise of full-time employment upon graduation. The Executive MBA for seasoned managers involves 17 months of intense study that combines challenging courses, international travel and applied learning. The International MBA pushes the boundaries of the traditional MBA, giving you international experience, cultural understanding and a grasp of the dynamics of globalization. The evening Professional MBA adapts the rigor of the traditional MBA to fit the schedules of working students. The last option is the Online MBA, designed to bring a highly-rated University of Memphis program to you regardless of your schedule or geographic location. Online students complete the same program as on-campus students and graduate with the same degree, attending only a three-day, on-campus residency.

Belmont University

The intensive MBA at Belmont’s Massey School of Business is designed for individuals with no business background or experience. It is a full-time, rigorous, immersive program designed to bring you up to speed fast; it can be completed in as little as 12 months. You’ll begin with core courses, all taught from an entrepreneurial and international perspective. In fact, an international study-abroad experience is a required component of the degree. If you have a business degree or have a business background, the Professional MBA may be a better option. This is considered the flagship MBA at the school and requires students to have at least two years of work experience. When you have completed your core courses, you can add electives in over a dozen specializations to fit your career goals; in addition to common specializations such as marketing and accounting, you can choose from several more unique concentrations including music business and new venture creation. Like the intensive MBA, the Professional MBA requires study abroad. This rigorous program is offered in the evenings so that you can balance your studies with work and takes between two and four years to complete it. The school also offers a specialized MBA for healthcare professionals as a joint venture with the Inman College of Health Sciences and College of Pharmacy.