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A master of business administration (MBA) is a popular professional degree offering pathways to managerial and executive careers. Most MBA degree-holders work in private industry or as entrepreneurs, but the degree can also lead to high-profile roles in public and nonprofit sectors.
General MBA programs teach core business management essentials in advanced detail, covering accounting, economics, finance, and marketing. Specialized and concentrated programs explore similar subject matter but shift their scope to support broad industries and niche economic sectors.
Data published in June 2021 by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) indicates those who hold an MBA earn a median annual base salary of $115,000, while bachelor's degree-holders earn a median salary of $65,000.
This guide ranks the top online MBAs in Georgia. We also cover essential information about MBA degrees, including admission requirements and available careers.
Online MBA Programs for You
Grow your career, leadership, and business acumen with an accredited online MBA program.
Best Online MBA Programs in Georgia
We ranked the top five online MBA programs in Georgia. Each school on our list holds regional or national accreditation. Accredited colleges and universities undergo an independent review process to demonstrate high academic quality standards. Many of the top MBA programs in Georgia also receive programmatic accreditation from industry-specific accrediting bodies. The programs in our ranking hold accreditation from the following organizations:
- AACSB International (AACSB)
- Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
- Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Why Get an Online MBA in Georgia?
Earning an MBA can unlock opportunities for lucrative, prestigious managerial and executive roles. MBA programs in Georgia also deliver quantitative and qualitative benefits that improve long-term career prospects in other ways.
Key examples include:
- Recession-Proof Employability: Candidates with advanced business degrees benefit from strong, ongoing employer demand. Many employment and economics experts consider MBAs recession-proof, as MBA degree-holders tend to weather severe economic downturns better than most.
- Networking Opportunities: Peer and faculty connections carry high value to students building their networks. MBA programs unite like-minded learners aspiring to succeed in the business world.
- Broadly Applicable and Relevant Skills: Online MBA programs in Georgia deliver transferable skills with near-universal applicability across industries. This transferability maximizes career options and creates more choice and flexibility than most other academic disciplines.
Three Georgia institutions made it onto the U.S. News & World Report's 2022 Best Business Schools. A total of 143 business schools provided enough data on their MBA programs in 2021 to be ranked for 2022.
Georgia also offers many lifestyle advantages. According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Atlanta ranks among the most affordable major metro areas in the U.S., with the cost of living about one-third lower than Los Angeles and less than half of New York City. It also enjoys great year-round weather with thriving arts, music, and cultural scenes.
What To Expect From MBA Programs in Georgia
Completing an online MBA in Georgia usually requires two years. Some institutions feature accelerated programs with graduation timelines of 10-18 months.
Many MBA students come from professional backgrounds and maintain employment while studying. To meet their needs and accommodate their busy schedules, Georgia's business schools have embraced flexible part-time program structures. Part-time learners usually complete their programs in 3-5 years.
Accelerated programs usually require 30-36 credits (or 10-12 courses), while intensive programs designed for depth can cover 60-72 credits (20-24 courses) or more. Online schools in Georgia support multiple MBA delivery options, including 100% online degrees and hybrid programs, which blend virtual and traditional classrooms. They offer general and specialized MBA programs while charging tuition rates that tend to fall below national averages.
Admission Requirements for MBAs
Online MBAs in Georgia require a four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. institution. Most business schools also require GRE or GMAT scores, and many prefer applicants with at least three years of professional experience.
However, many exceptions apply as MBA programs continue to move toward broad, inclusive accessibility. Some business schools offer no GMAT admissions, while others waive test score requirements for certain applicants. While specific requirements vary among institutions, most request GPAs of around 3.0.
Even the best online MBA programs in Georgia welcome applicants from non-business backgrounds. However, these candidates may need to complete prerequisites. Finally, applicants typically submit one or more letters of recommendation, along with CVs and personal statements. Most schools also charge application fees.
Specialized MBAs provide valuable learning opportunities for students looking to develop niche skills. Some concentrations focus on particular industries, while others build advanced proficiencies in specific areas of organizational management and operation.
Examples of industry-specific MBA specializations include MBA programs in hospitality management, agribusiness, information technology management, sports management, and nonprofit management. Proficiency-oriented specializations cover accounting, finance, marketing, human resource management, and big data.
Popular MBA Program Courses
MBA curricula vary in their course content, particularly regarding their electives and concentrations. However, core courses tend to emphasize a common set of concepts. Typical general MBA degrees include courses in:
- Fundamentals of Marketing: Marketing principles emphasize the so-called "four Ps:" product, price, place, and promotion. This course explores these concepts in detail, teaching students to apply and leverage these fundamentals to maximum benefit. It also creates a foundational knowledge base for advanced and elective marketing courses.
- Managerial Economics: This specialized branch of economics focuses on applying microeconomic and macroeconomic principles to managerial decision-making processes, particularly to determine price points for products and services.
- Organizational Behavior: Coursework examines how workplace structures and group dynamics influence individual performance and employee engagement. This course provides powerful tools for human resources managers can use to generate sustained boosts in productivity and job satisfaction.
- Principles of Corporate Finance: This essential course introduces students to the techniques and analytical concepts used by financial institutions and top executives to determine valuations of corporate assets and activities. Coursework also covers risk management and organizational structures.
The MBA Capstone or Thesis
Online MBAs in Georgia commonly include culminating projects as capstones or theses. These projects share some similarities and differences. Both occur during a program's final year or semester and prompt enrollees to perform intensive, original research.
However, they vary in their respective focuses. Capstones usually prompt students to develop practical solutions to real-world issues in business management, while theses focus more on applied theory and academic hypotheticals.
In most cases, MBA students work on capstone projects, which more closely resemble the quantitative, actionable analysis graduates perform in their careers. Similarly, business schools often structure capstone projects to include group work to reflect the collaborative realities of organizational environments.
How Much Do MBAs Cost in Georgia?
Georgia's business schools vary in their tuition pricing. Some target budget-conscious learners with total tuition fees below $25,000. Others emphasize their prestige, networking and recruitment opportunities, and ability to attract top faculty members, charging $50,000 or more.
The National Center of Education Statistics gathers data on student loan debt among postbaccalaureate graduates. As of the 2015-16 academic year, 52.8% of master's degree graduates had student loan debt from graduate school. Among MBA graduates specifically, only 43.8% had student loan debt from their master's degree. This indicates that MBA-holders recover from the cost of their degrees more quickly than other master's graduates.
On an annualized basis, the cost of a typical MBA program usually exceeds undergraduate tuition. However, candidates should remember that MBAs often lead to high-paying jobs and provide a strong return on investment. Look beyond tuition fees and consider important factors like alumni employment rates and average earnings for a more complete view of each school's value proposition.
Many MBA students need help meeting their program costs. You can find helpful financial aid resources by following this link:
What Jobs Can MBAs Get You?
An MBA offers a pathway to more prestigious careers and jobs with high pay rates. Employment statistics consistently show positive correlations between career advancement, pay rates, and MBA degrees. GMAC also notes that in 2022, the average starting salary for a newly minted MBA graduate holds at $115,000.
The following list profiles roles for MBA degree-holders. In many cases, their average pay rates in Georgia exceed nationwide median salaries by a significant margin.
These business analysis professionals can work for consulting firms or find success through self-employment. Management consultants provide expert insights into organizational structures and identify areas for efficiency improvements.
Required Education: MBA (concentration in operations management/organizational management preferred)
Job Outlook (2020-30): +14%
Median Annual Salary: $87,660
Average Annual Salary in Georgia: $95,270
These professionals plan and direct the activities of corporate sales departments. Sales managers establish goal targets, supervise staff, provide training and professional development programs, and track progress toward objectives.
Required Education: Some sales managers combine bachelor's degrees with extensive professional experience, but most hold MBAs
Job Outlook (2020-30): +7%
Median Annual Salary: $132,290
Average Annual Salary in Georgia: $143,460
Medical and Health Services Manager
Healthcare managers direct the administrative and human resources activities needed to optimize hospital and healthcare facility operations.
Computer and Information Systems/Information Technology Manager
Increasingly valued in today's digitized business environment, these management professionals identify IT needs and create plans to meet them. Computer and information systems managers also oversee system implementation, maintenance, and upgrades.
Required Education: MBA (concentration in IT/technology), or general MBA with a bachelor's or master's degree in computer science, computer engineering, or a related field
Job Outlook (2020-30): +11%
Median Annual Salary: $151,150
Average Annual Salary in Georgia: $148,760
Training and Development Manager
Typically functioning as part of an organization's human resources department, training and development managers design, implement, and administer skills enhancement programs.
Required Education: MBA (relevant concentrations include human resource management and leadership)
Job Outlook (2020-30): +11%
Median Annual Salary: $115,640
Average Annual Salary in Georgia: $113,510
Georgia's Top MBA Employers
Georgia's economy has been resilient in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. From mid-March through the end of June 2020 — the peak of the pandemic's first wave — Georgia's job numbers grew compared to the same period in 2019. It also attracted more than $2.1 billion in new investments during that time, also outpacing the previous year.
Atlanta is the state's economic engine, but Georgia also maintains a thriving agricultural industry. This makes agribusiness a viable MBA specialization for those interested in working in the state. Other relevant MBA concentrations include MBA programs in healthcare management logistics, supply chain management, finance, and information technology, as these apply to economic sectors that employ significant populations in Georgia.
Georgia also boasts a dense concentration of major employers and big businesses that hire MBA graduates. In 2021, 18 Fortune 500 companies and 33 Fortune 1000 companies called Georgia home. Its ranks among the top ten states for most Fortune 1000 companies
These three Georgia-based companies hire MBA graduates at considerable levels:
Top MBA Employers in Georgia
- UPS: Atlanta-based UPS is a world leader in courier and delivery services. Founded in 1907, UPS has grown to include more than 335,000 employees worldwide. The company generates annual revenues nearing $62 billion. As a major multinational company, UPS regularly hires MBA graduates to direct and manage its complex international operations.
- The Coca-Cola Company: The Coca-Cola Company has excellent employee retention and tenure rates, both of which suggest high job satisfaction. It also offers stable and lucrative opportunities to MBA graduates looking to make their mark with one of the planet's most recognizable brands.
- Delta Air Lines: Delta Air Lines ranks among the leading commercial and freight airlines in the United States. Its workforce includes more than 86,000 members, with annual revenues totaling more than $44 billion — good for 68th place* on the 2020 Fortune 500 list. The company has navigated the COVID-19 crisis relatively well and also participated in vaccine distribution efforts.
Selecting Your Georgia MBA Program
While ranked school lists explore the best online MBA programs in Georgia, each student should perform their own research to identify their ideal school. Ranking methodologies only consider a select set of general factors that may not account for your preferences or professional aspirations.
Some of the criteria you may wish to consider in your own research include:
- Student outcome data, including job placement rates and the average starting salaries of MBA alumni
- Tuition costs and return on investment potential
- The business school's culture and philosophy, and the relevance of the program's curriculum to your professional aspirations
- Whether the program accepts students from non-business academic backgrounds or requires prerequisites
Before applying to an MBA program, ensure that the institution holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. You can also seek out endorsements from specialized agencies like AACSB, which provides programmatic accreditation to schools with reputable MBA programs.
Why You Should You Consider Online Schools in Georgia
Online MBAs in Georgia excel at providing flexible study opportunities to emerging professionals seeking degree upgrades. Most programs deliver courses asynchronously with pre-recorded lessons and lectures. This benefits students looking to balance learning with personal and professional commitments.
MBA programs translate smoothly to online learning platforms as they do not depend on interactive student participation. Recorded lectures also allow students to review complex, technical, and difficult concepts with greater ease.
However, online learning demands high levels of independence and self-discipline, as students schedule and direct their own learning. New online learners may find difficulty in adjusting to the novelty of the setting.
Some learners prefer the live interaction of the traditional classroom, while others find they perform better in classes that follow set schedules. Traditional and virtual classrooms offer specific advantages and disadvantages, which you should consider with your personal learning style.
Online MBA Programs In Nearby States
Questions About Online MBA Programs in Georgia
Are online MBAs legitimate?
Yes. Online MBAs carry the same authority and value as MBAs earned in traditional classrooms. Employers make no distinction between these online and in-person degrees, and most schools do not mention the learning format on transcripts, diplomas, or other official documents.
How much does an MBA cost in Georgia?
In general, the costs of higher education in Georgia fall on the slightly cheaper side of national averages. MBA programs display significant cost variations, with affordable degrees starting under the $25,000 mark and scaling up to $50,000 or more.
Is getting an MBA online worth it?
Yes. MBAs are one of the most coveted and valuable educational credentials a professional can hold. Online learning offers the most versatile and flexible route to earning an MBA, as they allow you to study part time on a self-directed schedule.
Does Georgia have online degrees?
Yes. Business schools across Georgia had already begun increasing their support for online learning before the COVID-19 pandemic forced much of the state's higher education into the virtual classroom.
- 2021 corporate recruiter's survey: demand of graduate management talent. (2021).
- 2022 best business schools. (2021).
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook. (2021).
- Georgia companies remain strong in 2021 Fortune 500 and 1000 rankings. (2021).
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