MBA Programs in Georgia
Georgia is an excellent state for MBA graduates, whether your ultimate destination is one of the two largest metropolitan areas--Atlanta or Savannah--or one of Georgia's other charming Southern cities. CNBC voted Georgia one of the top 10 states for business in 2010. Georgia is also home to 14 Fortune 500 companies, including business giants Home Depot, UPS, Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines. And Atlanta, home to 10 of those Fortune 500 companies, is also a happening place for young professionals, according to Forbes, which named it one of 2010's top 10 "metros that offer the best chances for college graduates in a tough economy."
The state of Georgia's economic development efforts are heavily focused on maximizing and consolidating its tourism marketing efforts and increasing global commerce through the rapidly growing Port of Savannah, the fourth busiest terminal in the nation. The Global Commerce Division of the Department of Economic Development actively encourages Georgia businesses to enter the international marketplace. These efforts to grow and diversify Georgia businesses and spur state-wide economic development through a variety of business initiatives place graduates from business schools in Georgia in a unique position to capitalize on their MBAs.
A growing population, affordable housing, household incomes on the rise, and a cost of living that is among the 10 lowest in the country all contribute to Georgia's status as an excellent destination for graduates of MBA programs.
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Since 1981, the population of Alpharetta, Ga. has grown more than 1,700 percent, as the town has transformed into a leading global technology center. Located north of Atlanta, Alpharetta benefits from infrastructure, such as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, while fostering the supportive, streamlined business environment of a smaller city. As a result, it is home to a variety of top-flight companies, particularly in the telecommunications and tech sectors. As of 2009, its top two employers were AT&T and Verizon Wireless, according to the Alpharetta Business License Department and the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce. Other major Alpharetta employers include McKesson Provider Technologies, Hewlett Packard and Comcast Cable.
Given its location in the Atlanta metro area, it makes sense that Alpharetta is also a hub for transportation and distribution companies, such as UPS Supply Chain Solutions and Ryder Logistics & Transportation. More than 77 percent of Alpharetta's population is employed in professional, managerial, technical, sales and administrative jobs, according to the city's official website. Insurance and finance are two key sectors for professional employment with AIG Agency Auto, GE Money and E*Trade Financial accounting for about 2,000 jobs. Alpharetta also attracts entrepreneurs, whose ventures are encouraged and supported by a business-friendly environment fostered by local organizations like the Department of Community Development and the Downtown Alpharetta Partner's Program.
How can joining an MBA program help your career in Atlanta, Georgia? Sperling's Best Places recently ranked Atlanta at the top of its "Most Energetic Cities" list and it's easy to see why: The entire metro area thrives on innovation derived from some of the biggest names in business. Atlanta ranks fourth in the nation for the number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered in city limits, only behind New York City, Dallas and Houston. Major businesses headquartered there include Delta Air Lines, The Coca-Cola Company, United Parcel Service (UPS), Turner Broadcasting and The Home Depot.
The city's energy also attracts many visitors; tourism means big business in Atlanta. According to Forbes magazine, 35 million people visited Atlanta in 2009. As well, the city ranked the seventh most visited spot in the U.S. by international tourists, topping Philadelphia, San Diego and Houston as a travel destination. If you're ready to cash in on the city's energy, business schools in Atlanta could prepare you to jump at the opportunities arising there.
Golf fans know Augusta, Ga., as the home of the renowned Masters tournament, but business insiders are aware the city is also a booming hub for many different industries. While Augusta was recognized by Forbes as one of the best places in the country for its cost of doing business, the city was also named one of the top 10 labor pools in the South by Southern Business and Development magazine. Out of 362 cities, Expansion Magazine ranked the Augusta metro area number 36 for its manufacturing expansions and relocations; in fact, manufacturing employs about 17,000 people in Augusta, according to 2011 figures from the Georgia Department of Labor. The GDL shows there are more than 300 manufacturing companies in Augusta, including 49 fabricated metal products companies, 24 furniture makers, 22 chemical manufacturers and 19 machinery manufacturers.
The Augusta area is even more diverse, however: there are more than 900 construction companies located in Augusta, 800-plus retail trade businesses, 620 health care and social services firms, 459 professional/scientific/tech services firms and nearly 300 finance/insurance firms, according to the GDL. Among the companies with headquarters or large operations in Augusta are heavy-hitters such as Automatic Data Processing, Con-Agra, FedEx, General Chemical, Kellogg's, NutraSweet, Tyco healthcare/Kendall, Solvay Advanced Polymers, and SOLO Cup, according to the city's Economic Development Authority. Of course, tourism is another major industry in the city, given that Augusta hosts one of the international sports world's premier events each April, when elite golfers tee up at Augusta National.
Although it's known as "the hostess city," Savannah, Ga., might just as well be called "the Gulf Stream City." The Atlantic's Gulf Stream current brings massive ships to Savannah's port, which has long held strategic importance as a center of distribution for a huge portion of the country. According to the Savannah Economic Development Authority, the port is a major distribution hub for 26 states encompassing 75 percent of the U.S. population. The Home Depot, Coca-Cola, Target and Pier 1 Imports are among the corporations employing more than 100 people at Savannah distribution centers, SEDA reports.
But Savannah is not only a place goods pass through, it is also a city where goods are made. The business-jet manufacturer Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, headquartered in Savannah, employs more than 6,500 people. Two paper companies, Georgia-Pacific Savannah River Mill and International Paper, are also major manufacturers, as are sugar companies Imperial and Diamond Crystal. In addition to distribution and manufacturing, Savannah has gained recognition as a booming 21st century economy thanks to its expanding knowledge-based businesses, such as web design, digital media and business consulting. The Creative Coast Alliance has helped spur the development of this sector that, according to SEDA, generates more than $3.4 million in annual wages.