A Master's in Business Administration, or MBA, degree is designed to help prepare the leaders of tomorrow's business world by enhancing both their financial and organizational expertise. Students further their knowledge in key subject areas like economics, marketing, accounting, and finance. But they also gain skills in management and leadership, which helps them to organize teams of any size, which can then plan and execute any plan of action that a business might have in mind. And seeing as experience is such a key factor, it's important to have programs that allow students to work and study, without breaking the bank. So today we'll be looking at convenience and affordability in MBA education, thanks to the Top 10 Online MBA Programs in Georgia.
FINDING AN MBA DEGREE
MBA programs can seem to lump together at first. Sometimes curricula will overlap, with shared courses, credit requirements, and concentration options. This is especially true for Georgia, where a number of public universities use the Georgia WebMBA curriculum, which offers ten preset courses and no electives or concentrations. But in fact, each MBA program has unique faculty members, residency requirements, admissions standards, and student bodies, which make it important for students to still choose the right school. As an example, students who have foreign language skills or an interest in working abroad may want to seek a program that offers an international residency or global trip. Other programs might have only domestic courses but offer a large pool of alumni connections to companies in Georgia or around the country.
Each program is going to be geared towards business professionals, but some may expect students to be further along in their careers than others. Programs such as Executive MBA programs tend to recruit students who have a minimum of seven-to-ten years of full-time, post-bachelor's experience. Standard MBA programs may require one-to-three years of work experience, but many programs simply require a bachelor's degree and standardized test scores. Whichever program a student ends up pursuing, the job prospects offer a promising future. Executive MBA programs can lead to Chief Executive positions, which pay a median annual salary of almost $190,000 per year. And even normal MBA programs can lead to jobs such as being a Financial Manager, which earns nearly $130,000 annually. Prospects like that can make an MBA, especially an affordable online one, a great career choice.
RANKING THE 10 BEST ONLINE MBA PROGRAMS IN GEORGIA
Online MBA Today uses eight metrics to grade each school: Quality of Online Programs from U.S. News, Mid Career Pay from Payscale, Student Review Score from Rate My Professor, aggregate reputation score from other ranking sites, and Percentage of Online Programs, SAT Scores, Average Net Price, and Retention Rate from the National Center for Education Statistics. For a comprehensive breakdown of how we categorize and source data, please visit our methodology page.
#1. UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA
The University of Georgia has a Professional Master of Business Administration program, which can be completed in 23 months part-time. Classes are offered through evening, Saturday, and online platforms. Students will either take two evening classes per week for two consecutive weeks or one Saturday class every two weeks. Online learning activities are also completed once every three weeks. The curriculum includes 16 courses – 48 credit hours – divided between 12 core courses and four electives. Students also have a number of professional development opportunities, which cover things such as leadership skills, presentation skills, networking, and negotiations. Georgia's MBA program also offers an optional international residency, which is a ten-day immersion in a global business environment. The most recent residency took students to Chile.Georgia's Part-Time MBA program was ranked by U.S. World News & Report as the 25th best public part-time MBA in the United States. Students applying to the program are required to have a minimum of two years of full-time work experience after completing their bachelor's degree. They must also submit either GMAT or GRE scores, though waivers are available for students with a previous graduate degree or significant previous academic achievement. Applications for the Professional MBA program are accepted on a rolling basis. The most recent class of Professional MBA students entered with an average of seven years of work experience and an average age of 30. Students came from a wide range of professional backgrounds, including general services, technology, and consumer products. The average GPA was 3.14 and the average GMAT was 558.
#2. GEORGIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY
Georgia Southern University is home to an online Master of Business Administration program, which offers motivated professionals a 21-month path to the MBA degree. The program utilizes an asynchronous structure, which allows students to access the classroom and coursework 24/7. Students take two courses per semester for five consecutive semesters. The curriculum for the program is made up of 10 courses, or 30 credit hours. The program coursework is structured from start to finish, with no electives or concentrations offered to students. Core coursework is composed of courses such as Strategic Marketing, Managerial Accounting, Entrepreneurship-New Venture Creation, and Production and Operations Management. The capstone course of the program is named "Business Strategy", which focuses on global management and looks at how students can grow critical business strategies within global environments.
U.S. Students are required to attend an in-person orientation at the beginning of the program, which is designed to enhance the online experience through in-person meetings and a variety of structured sessions. Students should have foundational coursework completed in the following subjects: Financial Accounting, Corporate Finance, Business Statistics, and Microeconomics. Students without this background will need to take these foundation courses before beginning the MBA curriculum. Students can enter the program in either the fall or spring semesters. Students may transfer in up to two three-credit classes into the program. Beyond the two-day orientation at the beginning of the program, there are no campus visits or residency requirements for the degree.
#3. KENNESAW STATE UNIVERSITY
Kennesaw State offers its version of the Georgia WebMBA program, which is a part-time, online Master of Business Administration degree designed for full-time professionals. The Georgia WebMBA is a standardized curriculum offered by six different public universities in Georgia. The only on-campus visit required by the program is a two-day orientation before students begin their first class. Classes are delivered through virtual, team-based learning, which includes a cohort structure that ensures student interactions, peer-to-peer learning, and long-lasting relationships. Students take two courses per term for five consecutive semesters, earning a total of 30 credit hours. The ten courses for the program are pre-set, starting with Human Behavior in Organizations and Managerial Decision Analysis. Students eventually progress to later courses such as Management Information Systems and Managerial Finance.
The online MBA program is designed to be completed in around twenty months. U.S. World News & Report ranked the Kennesaw State program as the No. 21 online MBA program in the country. The mandatory orientation at the beginning of the program is held in Atlanta, generally toward the beginning of the month of August. In addition to its online MBA program, Kenesaw also has a traditional on-campus program, as well as an evening program that is also designed for working professionals. Kennesaw State is a public university, with its main campus located in Kennesaw, GA. It is the third-largest university in the state of Georgia.
#4. UNIVERSITY OF WEST GEORGIA
West Georgia is home to an online Master of Business Administration program, which is also based on the Georgia WebMBA curriculum. It is a 30-credit-hour program, which most students complete in around 18 months. Students are required to attend a two-day orientation at the beginning of the program, before completing the remainder of degree requirements online. Applicants to the program are expected to have a minimum of two years of full-time post-bachelor's work experience. Courses in the program are pre-set, with students taking classes such as Strategic Marketing, Managerial Decision Analysis, and Global & International Business. Students complete the program through a capstone course that involves a business simulation, where students must manage the strategy formulation and implementation of a given enterprise.
Students may transfer in up to six credit hours of graduate credit into the program. Faculty members in the West Georgia MBA program include Charles Hodge, who earned his MBA in Finance from Florida State University in 1988. He is involved in the Finance and Financial Planning courses, along with helping teach the Business Internship seminar. There is also Brad Prince, who is the Associate Dean of the Business College and who earned his Ph.D. from Auburn University in 2006. Dr. Prince teaches graduate courses on information systems and the Seminar in Sustainability. Students are required to submit GRE or GMAT scores as a part of the admissions process.
#5. GEORGIA COLLEGE & STATE UNIVERSITY
Georgia College & State University offers an accelerated online Master of Business Administration program, which has been offered for almost 20 years and takes only 20 months to complete! The program is designed for working professionals and draws its curriculum from the Georgia WebMBA template. Students are organized into cohorts, which helps to build team-based learning in the ten courses, or 30 credit hours, that students are required to take. There are no electives or concentration areas. Students take two courses per semester, progressing in a lockstep format with their peers. Students must attend a mandatory in-person orientation at the beginning of their first semester in the program.
The GCSU MBA program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which is a distinction given to only 5% of schools worldwide. Students can begin the program in either January or August. U.S. News & World Report rated GCSU's online MBA program as the second-best online MBA in the state. Students may earn admission to the program based on their performance at a regionally-accredited institution of higher learning or through the submission of GMAT or GRE test scores. Students entering the program are expected to have completed foundational coursework in areas such as statistics, economics, accounting, and finance. Program semesters tend to run around 12 weeks.
#6. MERCER UNIVERSITY
Mercer University is home to an online Master of Business Administration program that can be completed in as few as 18 months. Students complete 36 credit hours of coursework, which is divided between 21 hours of core courses and 12 hours of elective courses, before finishing with an MBA capstone. Core courses include Ethical Leadership, Issues in Business Law and Corporate Responsibility, and Operations Management Science. Students then choose an area of concentration from one of six options: Marketing, Finance, Economics, General Business, Human Resources, and Healthcare Management. The MBA Capstone allows students the opportunity to correlate, integrate, and apply the core and concentration skills that they have earned throughout the program.
Mercer University's online MBA program was ranked by U.S. World News & Report as one of the 100 best online MBA programs in the country. The most recent cohort of students entering the program had an average age of 28 years old, with five years of full-time work experience. Students generally work during the program, along with tending to other personal and professional commitments outside of the MBA program. Graduates from the program have gone on to pursue careers as market researchers, financial analysts, healthcare administrators, supply chain analysts, and customer engagement managers. Each specialization track in the program requires students to complete four elective courses. Students without an undergraduate background in business may be asked to complete up to three foundational courses in economics, finance, and statistics.
#7. COLUMBUS STATE UNIVERSITY
Columbus State University's online Master of Business Administration program is a general-purpose management degree, which is designed to prepare students for leadership roles in a wide range of business areas. The curriculum places an emphasis on the practical application of tools that are made to support managerial decision-making. Students take ten pre-set courses, for a total of 30 credit hours, that is based on the Georgia WebMBA program outline. The Columbus State program stresses teamwork, as well as the ethical and international aspects of business. The program is open to three cohorts each year, starting in the fall or spring. Students take two courses per semester for five consecutive semesters, including the summer.
Students are required to attend an in-person orientation towards the beginning of the program, which takes place in Atlanta. Students applying to the program are expected to submit GRE or GMAT scores, along with two letters of recommendation. Students with previous graduate work may request up to six hours of transfer credit. Students have a maximum of six years from the first term of enrollment to complete all MBA degree requirements. Undergraduate prerequisite courses for the program include Managerial Finance, Quantitative Analysis for Business Decisions, and Principles of Accounting. Program alumni now work in a variety of settings, including government agencies, large corporations, non-profit organizations, and colleges and universities.
#8. VALDOSTA STATE UNIVERSITY
Valdosta State offers an online Master of Business Administration program, which is a part of the Georgia WebMBA program. This program requires 30 credit hours, or ten courses, of pre-set coursework, which includes courses such as Managerial Accounting, Strategic Marketing, and Entrepreneurship. Like other programs using the Georgia WebMBA, Valdosta requires students to complete a mandatory two-day orientation in Atlanta before beginning the program and does not offer any electives. It is a non-thesis based program. Students applying to the online MBA program must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university, with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5 on all attempted undergraduate coursework. Students must meet GRE/GMAT score requirements or qualify for a score waiver through five years of work experience, a previous graduate degree, or by having above a 3.0 undergraduate GPA.
Valdosta State has more than 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students, which includes students from every county in Georgia, every state in the United States, and more than 75 different countries. In addition to the online MBA, Valdosta has a traditional MBA program, which does not involve the completion of an original thesis. The on-campus program is offered in the evenings, to help meet the needs of working individuals. Similar to the online program, the curriculum includes ten courses; however, only seven of these are required, core courses. Students in the on-campus program have three elective courses that they are able to choose, which can be any MBA- or MACC-labeled courses.
#9. BRENAU UNIVERSITY
Georgia State & College University offers an Online Master of Business Administration program. It is a 36-credit-hour program, which can include an emphasis in a particular subject area, such as Cyber Security, Finance, Healthcare Management, and Marketing. The coursework for the program is broken down among introductory, core, and concentration courses. For the general emphasis MBA program, concentration courses are replaced by Global Sequence courses, such as Cross-Cultural Business Challenges and International Finance. The Global Sequence curriculum also includes an opportunity for an International Business Experience. During this experience, students will conduct research in preparation for a trip abroad. Students will then depart on a foreign country experience that will center around the critical assessment of the unique challenges of doing business in that country.
Other specialization options not listed above include Business Analytics, Communications Management, and Public Accounting, among others. The Public Accounting Concentration is specifically designed to help students prepare for the Certified Public Accountant exam. Students applying to any of the MBA program options are required to have a minimum undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0, as well as a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Students whose undergraduate degree is in a subject unrelated to business will be asked to complete one of two prerequisite course programs before beginning their MBA curriculum. The two options are to take either four introductory undergraduate courses in economics and finance or two upper-level undergraduate courses in the same subjects.
#10. EMORY UNIVERSITY
Emory University offers an online Executive Master of Business Administration, which is referred to as the Modular EMBA. This is a hybrid-delivery MBA program, meaning that students complete both online and face-to-face elements. The Modular EMBA program begins in January of each year and includes eight week-long residencies that occur roughly every other month over the course of 16 months. Sixty-five percent of the coursework in the Modular program is conducted in person, with the remaining 35% delivered through online work. Students take two elective courses during the program, but most of the program is delivered in a lockstep format. There is a global immersion automatically included in the Modular EMBA curriculum. Ideal candidates for the program will be currently employed and possess a minimum of seven years of full-time professional experience.
The Modular EMBA includes online course elements for the convenience of working students. Applications for the Modular program accepted in a sequence of five rounds, progressing until the program begins or all spaces have been filled. Every applicant for the program is required to complete an admissions interview as a part of the process. Emory also has a Weekend EMBA program for students who would prefer to complete all of their coursework in-person, meeting every other weekend over the course of 21 months, or 5 terms. The Weekend EMBA is made up of 60% core classes and 40% electives. The Weekend MBA program includes two immersions: one in Atlanta and one abroad.