Business Schools in Alabama
If you’re looking to study business in Alabama, you’ll find nearly 60 schools with programs in your field. A wide variety of specializations are available, including marketing, management, finance, and accounting programs at the associate’s and bachelor’s level all the way to MBAs and even PhD programs.
Marketing Degree Programs in Alabama
State of Alabama’s Marketing Industry
Alabama wasn’t as hard hit in the great recession as other states, though the job market contracted more sharply than the national average. Thankfully, Alabama is seeing a slow but gradual improvement in its fortunes, supported by a reviving auto industry and growing energy sector.
Yet unlike some other states such as California or New York, you won’t see any Alabama names on Inc.’s Top 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies in the advertising and marketing sector.
On the positive side, Alabama plays host to nationally known ad agencies, large universities and plenty of big businesses (e.g., UnitedHealth Group, Walter Energy, Regions Financial) with in-house marketing departments.
Job Prospects for Alabama Marketing Graduates
Alabama’s Labor Market Information Division has forecasted job growth from 2008-2018 for marketing managers, market research analysts, public relations specialists and advertising and promotions managers, but that projected growth will lag behind the national average.
Graduates have the option to try for competitive positions in top advertising and marketing firms such as the Intermark Group, Luckie & Company, and Style Advertising, or to extend their job search to strong Alabama industries such as manufacturing, aerospace and agriculture.
The most promising job may be as a public relations specialist, one of Alabama Department of Labor’s “Hot 40 Demand Occupations.” In 2011, the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) put the median salary for a PR specialist in Alabama at $44,050, with employment expected to grow 15% by 2018.
Alabama Schools for Marketing
There are approximately 18 accredited marketing schools in Alabama, most of which are located in or near big cities. These include:
1. The University of Alabama (http://cba.ua.edu/academics/departments/general_business)
The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce offers majors in both management and marketing, including specializations in consumer marketing, entrepreneurship and global business. Candidates can also choose to pursue a master’s or doctorate in marketing.
U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Alabama #77 among public and private universities in 2012.
2. Auburn University (http://business.auburn.edu/academics/departments/department-of-marketing)
Ranked #89 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in 2012, Auburn University’s College of Business offers both a major and a minor for undergraduates in marketing.
As part of their syllabus, Auburn gives juniors and seniors the chance to participate in real-world internships. However, it doesn’t offer a graduate-level marketing degree.
Professional Marketing Organizations in Alabama
Confirming the Southern reputation for hospitality, Alabama marketers are active and social folks. You’ll find the professional marketing organizations listed below to be excellent sources of education and networking opportunities:
- BirminghAMA (http://www.bhamama.org/): Birmingham Chapter of the American Marketing Association
- Alabama AAF Member Clubs (http://www.aaf.org/): American Advertising Federation (AAF) clubs exist in Birmingham, Dothan, Mobile Bay, Montgomery, Northern Alabama and Tuscaloosa
- IPSA (http://www.ipsa-online.org/index.asp): Internet Professionals Society of Alabama
- PRCA Birmingham (http://www.prca-b.com/): Public Relations Council of Alabama in Birmingham
Business Degree Programs in Alabama
Led by qualified business school graduates with a bachelor’s degree in business administration or specialized MBAs in management, marketing, accounting, finance and more, Alabama-based businesses generate a combined total of $200 billion annually.
According to the Federal Small Business Administration (SBA), private-sector businesses are responsible for providing approximately 1.5 million jobs throughout Alabama, including positions for corporate leaders and strategists.
According to the SBA, businesses with less than 100 employees account for 34 percent of private-sector employment in Alabama, while medium-sized businesses with less than 500 employees provide jobs for 14 percent of the state’s overall private-sector workforce. These companies need qualified and educated professionals at the helm with the kind of strategic management and specialized business skills that can only come from earning a business degree.
National and global corporations are also an important part of Alabama’s business landscape, demanding qualified business school graduates to serve as corporate leaders in order to stay competitive on a macro scale.
The Impact of Strong Business Leadership on Alabama’s Economy
Broken down by sector, Alabama’s small and medium-sized businesses can be grouped into the following categories:
- 55,011 small and medium-sized businesses working in construction
- 49,313 in retail trade
- 47,586 in professional, scientific, and technical services
- 44,582 in administration, supplemental, and remedial services
- 37,820 in health care and social services
- 34,560 in real estate, rental, and leasing
Birmingham is home to one of the country’s Fortune 500 companies. D&B Hoovers reported that Regions Financial boasted nearly $6 billion in sales in its 2017 report on the largest companies in Alabama. Other notable companies included:
- Drummond Company of Vestavia – $5.9 billion in sales
- Protective Life of Birmingham – $4.5 billion in sales
- Motion Industries of Birmingham – $4.5 billion in sales
- Healthsouth Corporation of Birmingham – $3.7 billion in sales
- Vulcan Materials of Vestavia – $3.6 billion in sales
The US Department of Commerce reported on total wages paid to Alabama employees in 2015, arranged by economic sector:
- Manufacturing – $13.73 billion
- Health care and social services – $9.32 billion
- Professional, scientific, and technical services – $7.00 billion
- Retail trade – $6.20 billion
- Finance and insurance – $5.05 billion
- Wholesale trade – $4.49 billion
Altogether, in 2015 it is estimated that private-sector (non-farm) earnings in Alabama will total $69.08 billion, compared with the public sector at $17.98 billion. The companies behind these figures are only as strong as their leadership, relying completely on the strategic expertise of well-educated and experienced business professionals for continued growth and profitability.
A number of nationally-ranked traditional and online Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs are offered by Alabama schools. Some examples include:
Auburn’s College of Business MBA program gets top marks from publications such as Forbes and the Financial Times – it’s no wonder that it isn’t easy to get into! U.S. News & World Report ranks the Auburn program sixth in selectivity. The distance learning option offers the same benefits as the on-campus program, including the career coaching, professional development and access to the corporate recruiting for which Auburn is famous, making it ideal for the working professional. In fact, 86 percent of students are employed when they apply. This distance MBA program can be customized with one of 10 specializations, allowing you to study the topics most relevant to your career path. Auburn University also offers an Executive MBA and a Physicians Executive MBA, both of which blend distance learning with five weeklong campus residencies spread across a 21-month period.
Troy’s University’s Sorrell College of Business makes its nationally-ranked programs accessible via eTROY, the University’s online education platform. Designed for working professionals, the University’s degree programs make use of state-of-the-art technologies like Blackboard and video on demand – tools which helped to earn their MBA program the ranking of 12th in student services and technology by U.S. News & World Report. This program is designed to train students to make decisions and solve problems as managers, and offers concentrations in accounting and information systems. The school also offers an Executive MBA, designed for those with at least five years of professional or managerial experience.
Bama By Distance brings the University of Alabama’s nationally-recognized Manderson Graduate School of Business to your computer, which means that earning a Master of Arts in Management or a Master’s in Operations Management through this school is now possible online. The former provides a concentration in global business management; the latter concentrates on effective decision-making and designing and analyzing business operations. Both of these programs, accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), are designed for working professionals and can be completed online within two years.
The University of North Alabama has partnered with Athens State University to offer a number of MBA options, including traditional (on-campus), hybrid and online programs. You have a choice of concentrations in accounting, finance, health care management, information systems, international business, project management and enterprise resource planning systems using SAP, as well as a general professional concentration. If you already have substantial business experience, you may qualify for the Executive MBA program. The online MBA program requires 25 hours of core classes and nine hours of classes in your area of concentration, while the online Executive MBA program requires 19 hours of core classes and 15 in selected electives. Depending on your pace of study, these programs can be completed in as little as a year.
Jacksonville State University offers a nationally-recognized MBA program online. This program, offered by the University’s College of Commerce and Business Administration is accredited by the AACSB. It requires at least 30 semester hours in your area of concentration, as well as up to 24 additional semester hours of foundation courses.