Earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is typically the key for a future business leader to excel in their desire for career advancement and a better salary. Highly educated business professionals, including those that pursue MBA programs in California, are important for a strong economy.
Several sources indicate a growing need for highly qualified business leaders to step into the future with diverse career goals, and valuable knowledge. Gaining in-demand skills, along with a broader worldview, is easily obtained by completing one of the top MBA programs in California.
MBA Programs in California that Help Graduates Emerge with In-Demand Skills
Meet the real-world challenges that business leaders and executives face when you earn your degree from a school that offers a top MBA program in the State of California.
It is no wonder that the State of California offers so many top MBA programs. The Visual Capitalist reveals that California ranks as the number one state with the largest economy of all the states in the U.S. In fact, the site indicates that the economy of California is comparable to all of the United Kingdom.
The fact that the state has ranked number one with the largest GDP for the past several years means that there are many opportunities for professionals that want to earn an MBA. The increase in the number of jobs that provide the best opportunities to individuals with a Master of Business Administration degree continues to grow in the state, further indicating the importance of earning a graduate degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that while some jobs require only a bachelor’s degree that individuals with an advanced degree ‘will have the best job prospects.’
The BLS indicates that there is an average to ‘much faster than average’ anticipated job growth in business leadership and executive positions through 2029. California workers that have an MBA earn excellent wages in most career job titles. The job site Indeed lists some annual salaries, as of October 2020, for employees that have an MBA including:
- Financial Analyst – $81,773
- Operations Manager – $85,778
- Project Manager – $104,567
- Plan Manager – $108,295
- Director of Business Development – $145,901
- Strategy Manager – $152,546
These MBA programs in California are a mix of on-campus and online programs. The tuition listed for each program is the tuition rate for resident students. Fees, materials or supplies are typically not included in a school’s tuition rate. Please remember that schools periodically change their tuition rates.
24 Best MBA Programs in California
1. National University
The online MBA program at National University, a veteran-founded school, prepares students to graduate with a strong foundation in business that allows students to become a leader or entrepreneur in their chosen career area. Examples of the seven specializations include Supply Chain Management, Human Resource Management, International Business and Financial Management.
Graduates are expected to have the skills to demonstrate management skills in both domestic and global business settings, use evidence-based decision-making skills, and to have creative problem-solving skills. Students graduate with the ability to immediately apply knowledge and skills gained in the program to their professional life.
Members of the military and their dependents receive a tuition discount.
- Tuition: $442 per credit
- Program length: est. 12 months
2. California Polytechnic State University
Earn an affordable MBA degree at California Polytechnic State University, which offers one of the shortest accelerated programs in the state. Save thousands of dollars over the cost of pursuing an MBA in a traditional on-campus format.
The MBA program curriculum is designed to help students gain the skills to become responsible, independent leaders while pursuing the program in a supportive environment that is intellectually stimulating and quickly immerses students into the world of business. The intensive program takes students beyond the typical classroom to real-world learning experiences and opportunities for hands-on field trips that allows for experiencing different businesses and business cultures.
- Tuition: est. $496.25 per credit
- Program length: 10 months
3. California Baptist University
Prepare for your personal and career goals by earning an MBA from California Baptist University. Students prepare to become effective leaders through an in-depth exploration of marketing, economics, finance, organizational leadership, and other knowledge and skills. There are four concentrations that allows students to focus on their career interests, including a concentration in management, accounting, healthcare administration, or business analytics.
- Tuition: $662 per credit
- Program length: 12-24 months
4. California Coast University
Enjoy the flexibility offered by earning an online MBA degree at California Coast University. Students benefit from self-paced, 100 percent online courses with the ability to start the program at any time.
Students learn to examine best practices, analyze decision-making, and examine key concepts and theories as they apply to business administration. Students also focus on examining research on international trade and the challenges confronting businesses in the global marketplace, along with examining legal and ethical issues, social responsibility and global citizenship.
Active duty military, veterans, firefighters, law enforcement personnel, and government employees receive a 10 percent tuition discount.
- Tuition: $230 per credit
- Program length: est. 18 months
5. Azusa Pacific University
Azusa Pacific University provides the opportunity for students to earn an MBA in the on-campus setting, or in an online format. The online MBA program is highly accessible and flexible for students that want to learn on their own schedule. Students never sacrifice the quality of instruction by completing the program. Students learn from highly experienced faculty members, and have exceptional opportunities to engage with professors and with other students in the program.
Areas of study include entrepreneurship, finance, institutional research, sport management, organizational science, accounting, marketing or international business.
- Tuition: $672 per credit
- Program length: 15-30 months
6. Marymount California University3>
Marymount California University offers several options for completion of its MBA program, including the hybrid option. The self-paced program that can be completed in as little as a year allows students to take courses online while also fulfilling face-to-face requirements. The curriculum allows students to reach their personal career goals, whether turning their independent capstone project into an actual business, to work for a small business or excel at a multinational company.
Course examples include Organizational Strategy and Planning, Business Writing and Communication, Economics and Planning, and Professional Practice and Ethics.
- Tuition: $800 per credit
- Program length: 12 months
7. University of La Verne
The University of La Verne understands that every MBA student has their own idea of the ideal career in business leadership. The school offers an outstanding list of specializations for students to choose from, including the Information Technology concentration, the Supply Chain Management, Health Services Management, International Business, or several other concentrations.
Gain a solid foundation in business whether you complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis, completing requirements on your own preferred schedule. Another benefit to the MBA program at this school is that, unlike many other schools, there is no prior professional work experienced required to enroll in the program.
- Tuition: $910 per credit
- Program length: 12-36 months
8. California State University Long Beach
Meet the challenges of today’s rapidly evolving business world by earning an online MBA degree from California State University Long Beach. The university recognizes the need for graduates to have the ability to succeed across many diverse business environments or to have the knowledge and skills to start their own business. Whichever path that you wish to tackle, the curriculum of the full-time online program prepares you to meet the challenges facing tomorrow’s business leaders.
The school also offers an accelerated MBA program, an evening MBA program and even a Saturday MBA program to meet the needs of all students.
- Tuition: est. $633.33 per credit
- Program length: 24 months
9. John F. Kennedy University
John F. Kennedy University has been educating students in the Bay Area for more than 50 years. The school offers a variety of resources to helps students as they pursue their educational goals, including an online MBA program. Students complete an initial assessment to determine their current level of knowledge, and then progress through the courses that includes free learning materials such as eBooks, digital textbooks and videos.
Graduates have the knowledge, skills, and acumen to create marketing strategies to meet customers’ needs and to lead others to meet organizational goals. Learn to evaluate how changes to an organizations’ knowledge systems have the potential to improve performance, and to develop strategies to improve the competitive position of an organization.
Students with a bachelor’s degree in any discipline are permitted to apply to the MBA program.
- Tuition: $700 per credit
- Program length: est. 18 months
10. San Jose State University
Students pursuing an MBA degree at San Jose State University benefit from a cutting-edge, world-class program. Students are not required to have years of business-related work experience when they choose the Early Career MBA program. There are three tracks available for students that have five years or less work experience.
Busy students typically take their classes on campus on Saturdays and during the evenings. Students take courses such as Business Communications, Managerial Decision Analysis, and Silicon Valley Experience.
In addition to the full-time track, students have the option to take up to 36 months to complete the program on a part-time basis.
- Tuition: est. $694 per credit
- Program length: 21-24 months
11. University of Redlands
Redlands, California, one of the oldest cities in the state, is home to the University of Redlands, which offers an online MBA program with six start dates per year. Enroll in the program regardless of your prior business experience and tailor your degree to suit your career interests.
Choose your preferred path from a concentration in general business, finance, marketing, or location analytics, which the school indicates are the fastest growing areas of business. Gain the ability to excel in business as you gain a deeper understanding of business challenges, learn effective communication skills, and the skills to apply your expertise across multiple business scenarios.
- Tuition: $847 per credit
- Program length: 18-24 months
12. Chapman University
Students that enroll in an MBA program at Chapman University have the opportunity to choose the Executive MBA program, the Flexible MBA, the Accelerated MBA program which is specifically designed for current undergraduate students, or the Full-Time MBA program. The full-time program features personalized education that allows students to choose from eight specializations. Students have access to dedicated career resources, professional development, access to research centers and global travel courses to South America or Scandinavia.
Some courses that students take, in addition to electives related to their specialization, include Competitive Advantage, Managerial Accounting, Organization and Management, and Operations and Technology Management.
- Tuition: $1,720 per credit
- Program length: 16-21 months
13. Brandman University
The Brandman University MBA program guides students through a curriculum that prepares them to satisfy the mission, which is to ‘manage and lead enterprises that create value for stakeholders in a dynamic, global business environment.’ Students satisfy requirements for the two-segment program through courses that helps them gain the knowledge and skills to analyze and evaluate business functions and processes, to demonstrate leadership skills, engage in strategic planning and innovation.
The school offers an impressive 11 emphasis options. Some of the options include the Finance emphasis, Public Administration emphasis, Business Intelligence and Data Analytics, and e-Business Strategic Management emphasis.
- Tuition: $670 per credit
- Program length: est. 30-36 months
14. Golden Gate University
Gain real-world skills that are required for success when you earn an MBA from Golden Gate University. Students learn to advance their current business knowledge and leadership skills, and gain an integrated perspective of management as they progress through the program.
Several concentration options allow students to tailor their MBA to their specific interests or career goals. The curriculum covers topics such as the fundamentals of business, data analysis, business analytics, information technology management, corporate finance, project management, human resources, and public administration.
- Tuition: $1,090 per credit
- Program length: est. 24-36 months
15. Sacramento State
Sacramento State, or the University of California, Sacramento, offers a flexible Master of Business Administration program that allows students to complete the program on a self-paced basis. This gives students have the ability to accelerate completion of the program.
Learn the skills that are essential for success in the real world as you progress through a rigorous curriculum in your choice of a concentration in finance, general management, business analytics in healthcare, or entrepreneurship and global business. Students take courses such as Business Economics, Legal Environment of Business, Behavioral Science Applications in Management, Business Intelligence, and Management of Innovation.
- Tuition: $2,920 per credit
- Program length: 12 months
16. University of California, Riverside
Earn your MBA from the University of California, Riverside, considered one of the fastest-growing universities in California, and work with award-winning faculty members as mentors while you complete the program. The STEM-certified program provides the opportunity to build upon theoretical foundations, explore business research opportunities and to become a visionary and leader in your career.
The school offers seven concentrations, with students taking courses such as Operations Management for Competitive Advantage, Statistics for Management, Management Information Systems, Financial Accounting, and Strategic Management.
- Tuition: $1,434 per credit
- Program length: 21 months
17. Pepperdine University
Pepperdine University offers an impressive list of MBA program options in addition to the traditional on-campus program. The additional options include an MBA program specifically for executives and presidents, a hybrid program, or an online program. The school also offers an International MBA program which offers learning experiences in Malibu and then integrating learning experiences with a partner university in Asia, Africa, Latin America, or other areas.
The Accelerated Fast-Track MBA program allows students to waive up to three courses from the part-time MBA curriculum. Enjoy the accelerated format and learn to excel as a leader in business by choosing a concentration in digital innovations, general management, or global business. Other concentration options include dispute resolution, finance, marketing, or leadership and managing organization change.
- Tuition: $1,870 per credit
- Program length: 20 months
18. University of California, San Diego3>
The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) offers three options for students that wish to pursue the MBA program at the Rady School of Management. Choose the Full-Time MBA and discover a network of support to help you throughout the program and to pursue your business career goal and passion. Immerse yourself in innovation and get inspired as you work towards your vision for the future, as you progress through the on-campus program.
The FlexEvening program offers part-time students the opportunity to earn their MBA without interfering in their daytime employment. The program is designed for working professionals and focuses on helping students excel in their current role and train for future leadership roles. The FlexWeekend option is also a part-time program. The program guides students through a curriculum that allows students to focus on their studies, gain in-demand skills and knowledge that allows for taking on new responsibilities or for starting a new job while attending weekend classes.
- Tuition: est. $1,271.33 per credit
- Program length: 24 months
19. University of California, Berkeley
The Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley introduces students to several ways of thinking while enrolled in the MBA program that takes an interdisciplinary approach to business. The school explains that the core curriculum helps students master the analytical tools and the essential knowledge that allows for successful leadership. Students engage in hands-on learning and other real-world business experiences.
Learn to make evidence-based decisions, focus on building a strong foundation in the fundamentals of management, and to take intelligent risks. Choose from a variety of career path options, including Energy/Clean Tech, Consulting/Strategy, Technology, Real Estate and other options.
- Tuition: est. $1,784.61 per credit
- Program length: 24-30 months
20. Santa Clara University
The Leavy School of Business at Santa Clara University offers three MBA program options, including the online MBA program. The school calls the earnings potential of graduates ‘next level,’ based on the documented mid-career salary of its graduates.
Students learn from the same faculty members that teach in the on-campus MBA program. The school believes in turning ordinary professionals into Silicon Valley-worthy professionals after students complete the online MBA program. This is partially accomplished by students progressing through the core courses and electives such as Dynamic Microeconomics, Strategic Talent Management, Game Theory, Machine Learning, and Alternative Investments: Partnerships and Venture Capital.
Students that reside in or visit the area have the opportunity to participate in company tours, a benefit available only to online MBA students.
- Tuition: $1,193 per credit
- Program length: est. 36 months
21. University of Southern California Marshall
Enroll in an MBA program at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business and gain a strong foundation that is crucial for business leaders to excel at their fullest potential. The school points out that it is ‘located in one of the most vibrant global economies,’ and includes world-class faculty and staff members.
Discover and develop your own personal strengths, sharpen your existing skills and gain new skills, while learning in a culture of inclusion. The MBA program is STEM-certified, and focuses on a holistic academic-career program model. The school features the PRIME overseas experience, which allows students to travel abroad for 10 days to one of a select number of countries to learn how business is conducted on a global basis.
The University of Southern California also offers an Executive MBA program and a part-time MBA for Professionals and Managers program.
- Tuition: $2,050 per credit
- Program length: 24-30 months
22. Stanford University
The Stanford Graduate School of Business at Stanford University offers a full-time, residential MBA program that provides students with a ‘transformational experience’ that leads to developing the skills, knowledge, experiences, ideas and impact that is necessary for future business leaders.
Students learn to think boldly and how to transform organizations as they progress through core courses that builds general management knowledge and global exposure during the first year of study. The second year of study focuses on broadening the student’s experiences and strengthening areas of development through a series of elective courses, seminars and specialized topics of study.
Tuition for the program includes the cost of most expenses.
- Tuition: est. $2,075.16 per credit
- Program length: 24-30 months
23. University of California, Los Angeles
The University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Management focuses on preparing MBA graduates to become leaders in the business world. The full-time MBA program curriculum is designed so that graduates ‘create impact’ upon arrival at their career destination.
The school stresses the fact that employers expect graduates of an MBA program to be ready on day one to add value to their organization. UCLA Anderson offers outstanding specialization options, including Accounting, Corporate Finance, Marketing Analytics, Executive Development, and Brand Management. Some other specializations include Global Management, Healthcare Management, Real Estate, Entrepreneurship, Entertainment, Leaders in Sustainability, and Social Impact.
- Tuition: est. $2,412 per credit
- Program length: 24 months
We recognize that finding MBA programs in California is not easy when a person considers all of the available options. We took the difficulty and guesswork out of finding the top MBA programs in the state for you.
We researched both traditional on-campus and online programs available in California and narrowed the list down to accredited programs that offers more than one concentration, and programs that are committed to providing students with a high-quality education. We further narrowed our list to programs according to tuition and the length of the program, and assigned every school with a unique score for each category. When a tie occurred, the school with the lower tuition received the higher ranking.
Please note that we list any sponsored or featured school separately and do not allow any school to pay us for higher placement in our rankings. If you would like to include your school in our rankings or if you need to update the information for your school, we invite you to contact us.