The following section features a ranked list of the programs with the best online MBAs in Tennessee. Prospective MBA students can factor in these rankings when differentiating between them and ultimately choosing a program. Moreover, since several schools operate out of Tennessee's smaller towns and rural areas, online education has allowed these schools to make their programs accessible to a more geographically diverse population. Several of these schools, including Tennessee Tech and Maryville College, have expanded their distance learning offerings in recent years.

Online MBA Programs in Tennessee

If you want to earn an online MBA, Tennessee offers numerous opportunities. If you are interested in learning about the best online MBA programs in Tennessee, please take time to explore the information gathered here. The following list includes all of the accredited online MBA programs in Tennessee.

Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description

Bryan College

Location Dayton, TN Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $19,620 % Receiving Financial Aid 52% Student Population 1,489 School Type Private

Bryan College is a non-denominational, Christian-affiliated liberal arts college based in Dayton, Tennessee. The school offers one of the best MBAs in Tennessee. The program allows students to choose between specializations, such as healthcare administration, sports management, ministry, marketing, and human resources. Students generally complete the program's 36-credit curriculum in 18 months. Aiming for flexibility and convenience, the program delivers all coursework asynchronously and offers nine-week accelerated courses.

As a private college, Bryan charges all online learners the same per-credit tuition regardless of location. The MBA program's core curriculum includes studies in key business areas, such as strategic marketing, ethics, and managerial economics. All students must take a course on the biblical worldview as it pertains to management. The curriculum does not include a thesis or a capstone experience. The program holds accreditation from the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.


Concentrations

Carson-Newman University

Location Jefferson City, TN Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $14,100 % Receiving Financial Aid 65% Student Population 2,528 School Type Private

A Baptist-affiliated liberal arts school based in Johnson City, Tennessee, Carson-Newman University offers multiple distance learning programs, including one of the stronger online MBA in Tennessee. Primarily serving the needs of working professionals, the MBA program offers a 10-course, 30-credit generalist track and a 12-course, 36-credit track that allows students to choose a specialization. Students generally complete the program in 11 to 16 months by taking one course at a time.

Each semester consists of three, five-week courses, and coursework is delivered asynchronously. Students do not need to visit campus to complete the degree. The program allows transfer students to bring up to nine approved credits with them and prefers applicants who earned a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA. The program considers GMAT scores optional.


Cumberland University

Location Lebanon, TN Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $17,100 % Receiving Financial Aid 64% Student Population 1,550 School Type Private

Located less than an hour outside of Nashville in Lebanon, Tennessee, Cumberland University's online MBA in Tennessee earns a spot among the school's distance learning offerings. The program requires students to complete 36 credits, a process that they can complete within a year. The curriculum offers concentrations in healthcare administration, entrepreneurship, services, educational leadership, and general business.

Unlike some other programs, Cumberland's MBA curriculum allows students the option to write a thesis. The program offers some of the curriculum online and asynchronously and some through blended learning. As such, the program typically, but not always, includes some on-campus requirements. All applicants to the program must submit evidence of a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA. While the school does not require an undergraduate business background, students with an unrelated degree must complete a foundations MBA course in addition to the rest of the curriculum.


Concentrations

Freed-Hardeman University

Location Henderson, TN Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $17,700 % Receiving Financial Aid 57% Student Population 1,828 School Type Private

A private, Churches of Christ-affiliated college based in Henderson, Tennessee, Freed-Hardeman University primarily focuses on undergraduate and residential programs. The school offers some of its programs through distance learning; however. including an MBA. FHU's MBA program offers an accelerated format, with each course lasting eight weeks. Students can complete the program's 30-credit curriculum within a calendar year; including a capstone in strategic management and coursework in finance, economics, accounting, and decision-making.

The program delivers all online coursework asynchronously and never requires students to visit campus. The MBA curriculum prepares graduates for the CPA exam. Students who do not hold an undergraduate degree may also enroll in a dual BBA/MBA program at FHU. As a private university, FHU charges all online students the same tuition regardless of location.


Concentrations

Johnson University

Location Knoxville, TN Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $19,800 % Receiving Financial Aid 59% Student Population 1,171 School Type Private

Based outside of Knoxville in Kimberlin Heights, Tennessee, Johnson University offers a Christ-centered education, as the school maintains an affiliation with the Christian Restoration Movement. Johnson's online MBA in Tennessee includes both missional concerns and biblical teachings. The MBA program's 36-credit curriculum allows students to choose concentrations in leadership, nonprofit administration, and business administration. Regardless of concentration, students never need to visit campus in Knoxville or attend classes at set times, since the program delivers all coursework asynchronously.

Johnson University of Tennessee's MBA cost also holds up to the competition, as the school offers the same low, per-credit tuition rate to all students regardless of location. The program offers several merit-based and need-based scholarships in addition to sustainable financial aid opportunities, such as work-studies and federal grants.


Concentrations

King University

Location Bristol, TN Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $21,780 % Receiving Financial Aid 69% Student Population 2,920 School Type Private

A private, Evangelical Presbyterian-affiliated university based in Bristol, on the Tennessee/Virginia border, King University specializes in graduate programs in education, nursing, and business. As such, King's graduate business program awards a great online MBA in Tennessee. The program prefers applicants with two years of professional business experience. As a result, the program focuses on advanced studies in topics such as project management, problem solving, and business communications. All students choose a concentration in either project management, management information systems, marketing, healthcare management, general management, or human resources management.

The program delivers all online coursework asynchronously and never requires students to visit campus. The program differentiates itself from its peers through its use of the case method, a four-step process that involves reading a case study, proposing action, discussing with peers and a professor, and evaluating the critical thinking that went into the decision.


Concentrations

Lincoln Memorial University

Location Harrogate, TN Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $17,460 % Receiving Financial Aid 56% Student Population 3,983 School Type Private

Located in the city of Harrogate, Tennessee, just outside of the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Lincoln Memorial University takes its name from the 16th U.S. president. The school primarily focuses on professional and graduate education and offers one of the strongest MBAs in Tennessee. The MBA program allows students to choose between completing the program entirely online, asynchronously, and without in-person requirements or completing the program through blended learning. Regardless of completion method, graduates complete between 30 and 36 credits and choose between a generalist track or specializations in marketing, management, or sport management.

LMU also offers dual degree options for students who want to pursue degrees in veterinary or osteopathic medicine while earning their MBA. While the MBA program does not list standardized test requirements, all applicants must earn a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75.


Concentrations

University of Memphis

Location Memphis, TN Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $18,900 % Receiving Financial Aid 62% Student Population 20,585 School Type Public

One of the Volunteer State flagship schools, the University of Memphis, now locally governed, primarily focuses on research. Nevertheless, the school offers several professionally-focused programs, including an online MBA degree. The MBA program has a generalist approach and the 33-credit curriculum does not include any concentrations. The curriculum includes coursework in foundational areas such as finance, management, and economics.

The program delivers coursework through both synchronous and asynchronous methods. The MBA admissions committee accepts students for the spring, summer, and fall terms. All applicants must submit GRE or GMAT scores. The university does not list a minimum GPA for applicants. The MBA program holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, a distinction conferred upon less than one out of every 20 business schools worldwide.


Concentrations

Southern Adventist University

Location Collegedale, TN Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $22,500 % Receiving Financial Aid 58% Student Population 3,125 School Type Private

A private college affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Southern Adventist University operates its central campus just outside of Chattanooga in Collegedale, Tennessee. The school serves students across the state and the nation through its online MBA degree. The MBA program curriculum consists of 36 credits, including studies in foundational business, such as financial management, organizational behavior, and leadership. Students who enroll in the program's accounting, management, and healthcare specializations can earn their degree without visiting the campus through asynchronous coursework.

All applicants to the MBA program must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Students with a GPA of 3.25 or five years of work experience can be exempt from the program's GMAT requirement. In addition to business, SAU excels in healthcare. The school's dual MSN/MBA degree is a good option for students interested in both fields.


Concentrations

Tennessee Wesleyan College

Location Athens, TN Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $15,000 % Receiving Financial Aid 67% Student Population 1,027 School Type Private

A private, Methodist-affiliated liberal arts school based in Athens, Tennessee, Tennessee Wesleyan University excels in programs for working professionals. The school currently offers an online MBA in Tennessee. The MBA program allows students to earn their degrees without ever visiting any of Wesleyan's campuses, although students interested in blended learning or a hybrid format can also opt to take some evening courses at the school's Knoxville campus.

The program's curriculum offers concentrations in management and accounting. The accounting concentration integrates with the Becker Professional Education CPA review program. The MBA curriculum consists of 30 credits, about 10 courses, and delivers coursework asynchronously. Core coursework includes studies in strategic management, sustainability, and marketing theory. Full-time students in the program earn their degrees within a year, while part-time students generally finish in about two years.


Concentrations

The University of Tennessee - Chattanooga

Location Chattanooga, TN Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $28,944 % Receiving Financial Aid 61% Student Population 11,387 School Type Public

One of the three campuses of the University of Tennessee system, UTC offers several distance learning options, including one of an online MBA in Tennessee. Catering primarily to working professionals, the MBA program never requires students to visit campus and delivers all coursework asynchronously. Students in the program can choose a generalist track or a concentration in business analytics or healthcare administration. Regardless of the concentration, students in the program typically finish in 24 months. Core coursework in all tracks includes marketing, accounting, organizational behavior, and decision-making.

The program boasts accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, a distinction that only five percent of business schools earn nationwide. UTC is one of the only schools in the region to hold that honor.


Concentrations

The University of Tennessee - Martin

Location Martin, TN Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $21,736 % Receiving Financial Aid 56% Student Population 6,827 School Type Public

One of three schools in the University of Tennessee System, UT Martin is one of the only institutions of higher learning in West Tennessee. Students everywhere can benefit from the UT Martin MBA program, a great online MBA in Tennessee. The program caters to working professionals and all applicants must demonstrate two years of post-bachelor's work experience for admission. For that reason, the program delivers coursework asynchronously and eliminates in-person requirements so students may stay employed while in school.

The program runs on a cohort model, with each cohort graduating in 20 to 21 months. Program coursework includes studies in managerial economics, marketing strategy, and operations management, among other core business areas. Prospective students with seven years of work experience and an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 receive a waiver from the program's GMAT or GRE scores requirement.


Concentrations

Tennessee Technological University

Location Cookeville, TN Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $10,640 % Receiving Financial Aid 45% Student Population 10,900 School Type Public

Based about an hour and a half outside of Nashville in Cookeville, Tennessee, Tennessee Technological University offers a good option for an online MBA in Tennessee. The school's "Hybrid, Industry Immersed MBA program" combines online, asynchronous coursework with monthly "superdays" in which students spend time learning at local businesses, including redpepper in Nashville. The program runs on a cohort model, with students completing the same sequence of coursework with the same group of peers.

The school also offers entirely online and entirely on-campus tracks for their MBA program, though these options do not include the industry immersion days. In all cases, the MBA curriculum consists of 30 credits of foundational business courses, including financial management, strategic marketing, and organizational leadership. Students can also choose a concentration in human resources management, international business, and finance.


Concentrations

Trevecca Nazarene University

Location Nashville, TN Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $18,720 % Receiving Financial Aid 68% Student Population 2,640 School Type Private

Located in Nashville's Chestnut Hill neighborhood, Trevecca provides a liberal arts education grounded in Nazarene values. The school now offers several of its programs online, including an online MBA in Tennessee. Trevecca Nazarene University's online MBA program provides flexibility by delivering coursework asynchronously and eliminating application fees, in-person requirements, and standardized testing requirements. Students may choose a specialization in healthcare administration, project management, information technology, human resources, or management and leadership.

The curriculum consists of 13 total courses and includes core studies in business ethics, marketing management, and business analytics, among other topics. The program runs on a cohort model, providing each student with peer support. Students complete one course at a time. The MBA degree also features a professional mentoring program where students connect with successful businessmen and businesswomen in the Nashville area.


Concentrations

Union University

Location Jackson, TN Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $20,700 % Receiving Financial Aid 52% Student Population 3,583 School Type Private

Located in Jackson, Tennessee, Union University is a Baptist-affiliated Evangelical Christian school. The school operates satellite campuses in the Tennessee cities of Hendersonville and Germantown and offers several programs online, including an online MBA in Tennessee. Union's MBA program delivers coursework synchronously, with students in each cohort meeting online once a week for virtual courses. Each course lasts for eight weeks, and students can complete the program in 12, 18, or 24 months depending on how many courses they complete per term. The program does not include in-person requirements.

Students in the program can choose a concentration in marketing, leadership, human resources management, or accounting. All applicants to the program must submit GMAT scores. The program offers five start dates throughout the academic year. Union's MBA program holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, an award earned by less than five percent of business schools worldwide.


Concentrations

Lee University

Location Cleveland, TN Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $20,224 % Receiving Financial Aid 53% Student Population 5,302 School Type Private

Affiliated with the Pentecostal Church of God, Lee University operates a central campus in Cleveland, Tennessee. The university also offers several degrees through distance learning, including an option for an online MBA in Tennessee. Lee's hybrid MBA degree allows students to choose between on-campus or asynchronous online courses. The program does not include any on-campus or in-person requirements and students may earn their degrees entirely online. Students typically finish the 32-credit curriculum in 20 months, which includes studies in organizational theory, management, and accounting.

Ninety percent of students in the program continue to work full time while pursuing their degree. All applicants must submit GMAT scores and evidence of an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Transfer students may bring up to six approved credits with them.


Why Consider an Online MBA in Tennessee?

Students should pursue online MBAs in Tennessee for several reasons. The Volunteer State offers a good mix of public and private universities, allowing candidates to enjoy additional choices in their learning. Furthermore, as several of Tennessee's colleges operate in rural environments, distance learning makes their programs more accessible. Additionally, Tennessee houses 10 different schools that enroll at least 3,000 students through distance learning.

Number of Students Enrolled in Distance Education (2015)

Undergraduate Graduate
Any Distance 82,589 12,383
Exclusively Distance 21,822 7,369
On-Campus 194,159 34,368

Source: Distance Education State Almanac 2017

Distance Enrollment by Institution Type (2015)

All Students Graduate Students Enrolled in Any Distance
Private for-profit 17,103 802
Private not-for-profit 82,985 4,139
Public 223,411 7,442

Source: Distance Education State Almanac 2017

MBA Concentrations for Tennessee Students

A student pursuing an online MBA in Tennessee planning to secure employment in the Volunteer State would do well to align their degree with the state's top industries. Tennessee's largest companies value healthcare administration and supply chain management/logistics skills in particular. Furthermore, many of these large companies require human resources managers to ensure that their businesses run smoothly. Below, we delve into deeper detail about the benefits of those three particular MBA concentrations.

  • Healthcare Administration This concentration prepares students to work in managerial positions in large healthcare businesses, including companies with strong footholds in Nashville, such as HCA.
  • Supply Chain Management/Logistics Supply chain management and logistics courses prepare graduates to manage every aspect of product creation and distribution, including warehousing and shipping.
  • Human Resource Management Human resource management concentrations prepare graduates for human resource manager positions, in which they establish norms, rules, and culture for companies, along with overseeing the hiring and firing processes.

Accreditation in Tennessee

The best online MBA programs in Tennessee are offered through accredited institutions. These schools meet the strict academic and ethical standards set by quality control organizations known as accrediting bodies. The two most common types of accreditation are national and regional.

Most nationally accredited schools are vocational or technical institutions, while nonprofit schools typically receive regional accreditation. Of the two types, regional accreditation is generally considered more prestigious. Credits earned at a nationally accredited school are less likely to transfer than those from their regionally accredited counterparts. If you want to improve your career prospects with an online MBA, Tennessee harbors many regionally accredited institutions.

Tennessee Economy, Career, and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates

Employment trends in all of the Volunteer State's top industries bode well for students who earn online MBAs in Tennessee. Though known for its music scene and its record labels, Nashville's healthcare reigns supreme as the Music City's largest employer. As Nashville's growth shows no signs of slowing down, and with major employers in HCA and Vanderbilt, the healthcare industry also holds the title of the state's fastest-growing field. Nashville's explosion over the past decade has accelerated the growth of healthcare administration, affecting the state's economic landscape as a whole.

In Memphis, FedEx rules over the job market, employing MBA graduates in supply chain management and logistician roles. Chattanooga and Knoxville also offer employment opportunities in healthcare, supply chain management, and human resources. Online graduates who specialize their MBA degrees in one of those three fields should position themselves well to find jobs in any of Tennessee's four largest cities.

Over the next decade, earning an MBA in healthcare administration should continue as the best option for employment in Tennessee. If and when the boom period slows in Nashville, MBA students can reevaluate the best specialization for them.

Company Location Main Industry Number of Employees
HCA Nashville Healthcare 35,000
FedEx Memphis Shipping/Logistics 30,000
Vanderbilt University and Hospital Nashville Higher education, Healthcare 20,000

Source: Career One Stop

Earning an MBA in healthcare administration, supply chain management, or human resources should help students earn a job at one of the three companies listed above. In addition to HCA and the Vanderbilt Hospital, Nashville houses several other significant healthcare companies. Even if graduates do not earn a job at one of those three companies, an MBA can still lead to plenty of opportunities in the Volunteer State.

Earning Potential with an MBA in the State of Tennessee

Earning an online MBA in Tennessee can increase a professional's earning potential for multiple reasons. As in any other state, an MBA helps students earn larger salaries than their bachelor's degree-holding counterparts. Moreover, an MBA helps professionals earn quicker consideration for promotions to management-level positions, even if they have less experience than other candidates. Moreover, given the state's main industries of shipping/logistics and healthcare administration, earning a specialized online MBA can help professionals take advantage of the emerging opportunities in these two particular areas.

Salary for Graduate Business Majors (2015)

Major Median Annual Salary
Business Management and Administration $65,000
General Business $73,000

Source: Center on Education and the Workforce

Careers for MBA Grads in Tennessee

Market Research Analyst

These analysts study markets to make predictions about how a company's product might fare. As almost all companies require this skill, market research analysts can find employment at almost any for-profit operation. Market research analysts earn a median annual salary of $63,120.


Logistician

Logisticians take responsibility for the coordination of a company's supply chain. They manage product life cycles, including acquisition, storing, and delivery. These professionals often manage warehousing and transportation. Logisticians take home a median annual salary of $74,600.


Human Resources Manager

Human resources professionals take responsibility for all of an organization's administrative processes. These processes can include recruitment, hiring, interviews, and strategic planning. They often link a company's employees to its top executives. Human resources managers earn a median annual salary of $113,300.


Top Executive

Top executives, often chief executive officers, take responsibility for an organization's big picture direction, often performing duties such as liaising with investors and creating strategic plans and goals. They must also attend board meetings and earn the approval of a company's board. Top executives take home a median annual salary of $104,980.


Healthcare Administrator

Particularly prevalent in Nashville, healthcare administrators plan the delivery of medical services and sometimes manage multiple medical facilities. They often work for large healthcare corporations, such as HCA. Healthcare administrators earn a median annual salary of $99,730.

How to Choose an Online MBA in Tennessee

There are many important considerations to make before settling on an online MBA program in Tennessee. These include factors discussed above like cost, accreditation, and available specializations. The following list includes some key steps to follow during the program research process for MBA options in any state.

  • Compare student outcomes data

    Student outcomes include graduation rate, year-to-year retention rate, the average debt for a graduate from that school, and overall student satisfaction with their degree program. Student outcomes do not guarantee you will be satisfied with a particular program, but can be useful for pinpointing a school's strengths and weaknesses.

  • Estimate the expected costs of your programs

    Virtually every accredited college or university posts tuition rates online. Additionally, you should research other college-related costs like living accommodations and meal plans (if you plan to live on-campus), administrative fees, and technology fees (for online students). You should also look into scholarships, grants, and other forms of institutional financial aid that can offset some of the costs.

  • Check that classes will fit in with your schedule

    Scheduling is critical for students with other important commitments, such as childcare or full-time employment. Many online programs are asynchronous, or self-paced; students in these tracks are free to complete course requirements on their own schedule. Synchronous programs, on the other hand, require weekly online meetings with teachers and fellow students.

  • Look for partnerships with local businesses

    A large number of online MBA programs include internship and/or capstone practicum requirements ― and in many cases, students are able to gain on-the-job training and real-world office experience. You should look into the school's business partnerships, particularly in regard to the industry you plan to enter after earning your MBA.

  • Make sure the program is accredited

    Accreditation status should always be available and easily accessible on a school's website. In addition to regional or national accreditation, some MBA pathways receive programmatic accreditation. Recognized programmatic accreditors for MBA programs include the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the International Accreditation Counsel for Business Education (IACBE).

  • Talk to current students and/or recent alumni

    You should contact the alumni office at each school you are considering and ask to be connected with former students. These individuals can be good sources of information about education costs, life on- and off-campus, local business tips, and other important details for aspiring MBA students.

Online MBA Programs in Surrounding States