Best MBA Programs in California

California has numerous MBA programs, but all MBA programs are not created equal. Choosing a business school that offers the most profitable MBA degree can be a challenging task.

Best MBA Programs in CaliforniaHowever, College Choice is here to help you make the best decision about earning a Master of Business Administration in California. And not just residential programs; we ranked the Top Online Degrees in California as well!

According to Bloomberg Politics, California is the sixth-largest economy in the world. [1]  California’s economy is larger than France, and its gross domestic product ($2.5 trillion) is higher than Brazil. [2]   In other words, there is a lot of money, a lot of companies, and a lot of businesses that need professionals with MBAs to manage them.

What can you do with an MBA degree in California?

With an MBA from California’s best business schools, your options are virtually endless. You can become a financial advisor, fundraiser, medical and health services manager, logistician, human resources specialist, marketing manager, and more. [3]

Companies like Google, Apple, and Netflix are headquartered in California. As an MBA student in the state, you have unique opportunities to do internships with world-renown organizations.

How much money can you make with an MBA in California?

U.S. News & World Report suggests that prospective MBA students should look at the salaries of graduates at business schools when choosing an MBA program. [4] By observing what alumni make at various schools, students can project what they could make.

If money is on your mind, the statistics show that you don’t have anything to lose sleep over. The highest average starting salary for College Choices top 10 MBAs in California is $123,000. The lowest average starting salary is $81,700.

What are the best MBA Programs in California?

Ready to take your business profile to the next level in the “Sunny State” of California? College Choice has identified the top 10 MBA programs here. Our methodology took into account a number of factors: overall program reputation, tuition rates, retention rates, and starting salaries / ROI of graduates.

With an MBA from one of the top business schools in the state of California, you will be located in one of the best economic markets and have the opportunity to work with some of the most prominent companies in the world.

2018 Ranking

See our rankings methodology page.


The Best MBA Programs in California


Stanford University

College Choice Score: 100.00

Tuition: $66,540

Program Website


Stanford University’s MBA program is College Choice’s top MBA program in the state of California.   The Graduate School of Business (GSB) at Stanford resides in the vibrant business community of the San Francisco Bay Area. Accomplished faculty members who are Nobel Laureates and National Academy of Sciences members guide students in the Master of Business Administration program.


In the second year of the MBA program, students take up to 18 elective courses in a number over 14 areas of study. The program also allows students to take Stanford courses outside of GSB. Stanford’s MBA degree curriculum is so flexible that you earn a joint degree or dual degree. Some of the possible options include:

  • JD/MBA
  • MA Education/MBA
  • MS in Computer Science/MBA
  • MD/MBA


The Stanford MBA program gives you tools to accomplish your goals as a future business leader. In the first year of the MBA program students enhance their leadership styles and management skills. The curriculum also requires first-year students to have a global experience to understand global management issues. Along with the global locations particular to Stanford’s MBA program, you can also create your global study experience with the support of faculty.


University of California--Berkeley

College Choice Score: 98.26

Tuition: $42,500

Program Website


Berkeley’s Haas School of Business prepares innovative leaders through rigorous education and hands-on experience. The culture of Haas upholds its principles of “Questioning the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Student Always, and Beyond Yourself.” These principles prevail in courses on innovation like “Failure, The Other ‘F’ Word,” and courses on leadership like “Power and Politics in Organizations.”


Haas’ MBA degree program has a wide variety of areas of emphasis. You can focus on sectors such as Finance, Marketing, Strategy/Consulting, Corporate Social Responsibility, Energy and Clean Technology, Entrepreneurship, Global Management, and Real Estate. The school has been ranked highly in the following areas:

  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Entrepreneurship


The approximate starting salary for Berkeley MBA grads is $123,000. Berkeley’s MBA grads earn the highest early career salary among MBA grads in the entire state of California. UC Berkeley’s MBA degree will set you apart academically and experientially, and the degree is financially rewarding.


University of California--Los Angeles

College Choice Score: 83.32

Tuition: $53,907

Program Website


UCLA Anderson School of Management was established in 1935. It is located in one of the world’s largest economies. Anderson offers students an opportunity to earn their MBA in the diverse and thriving business community of Los Angeles, California.


UCLA is known for its excellent ability to connect its students to the market place. The MBA program has eight industry and research centers to further students in their careers. From entertainment to marketing, the school has a number of research centers to support its MBA students. Anderson’s MBA degree focuses on academics, career transition, and extra-curricular experiences. Highlight elective courses include:

  • Digital Marketing Strategy
  • Tools and Analysis for Business Strategy
  • Technology Analytics
  • Negotiations Behavior


If you earn your MBA from UCLA major companies will seek you out. Top companies continuously hire UCLA MBA grads. Apple, Amazon, Google, Comcast, Microsoft, and Uber are among the many organizations that look for University of California MBA grads. UCLA is so confident that you will be recruited that they prepare you for interviews, networking, and decision-making during your first quarter at Anderson.


University of Southern California

College Choice Score: 68.90

Tuition: $53,865

Program Website


The University of Southern California Marshall School of Business is one of the best schools to get your MBA degree. The campus is in the heart of Los Angeles, California—just minutes from downtown LA. The school has had over $6 billion dedicated to research. The MBA program is recognized nationally and globally.


Marshall MBA students receive a top-notch business education with emphases on real-life and communication skills. Organizations constantly recruit USC MBA students because of their communication skills. Graduate students increase their business and communication skills in the business world of Los Angeles as well as abroad. A few classes from the core curriculum include:

  • Microeconomics for Management
  • Managerial Statistics
  • Corporate Finance
  • Operations Management


Approximately 375,000 Marshall grads are members of USC’s Alumni Association. USC Marshall grads contribute to business communities in over 123 countries throughout the world. With a MBA degree from USC, you can join the USC family and continue the Trojan tradition of excellence.


University of California--Davis

College Choice Score: 64.77

Tuition: $37,711

Program Website


The University of California—Davis’ Graduate School of Management was established in 1981. It ranks in the top 40 in the nation for Full-Time MBA programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. There are over 4,000 alumni from the UC Davis MBA program currently making big strides in the world of business.


The UC Davis Graduate School of Management offers both a part-time and full-time MBA program. Students can attend the part-time program in either Sacramento or San Francisco. The two-year, full-time MBA program is offered at the school’s main campus in Davis. The curriculum features a sophisticated customized MBA structure with concentrations such as:

  • Business Analytics and Technologies
  • Entrepreneurship / Innovation
  • Marketing
  • Organizational Behavior


The MBA program at UC Davis will take you places . . . literally. The International Study Trip is a highlight course for most students. Students travel to international locations to meet with global business executives and managers. Last year, the course took students to Havana, Cuba.


University of California--Irvine

College Choice Score: 62.02

Tuition: $42,224

Program Website


If you are a resident of California, The University of California—Irvine (UCI) guarantees to grant you a fellowship of at least $10,000 when you enroll into the full-time MBA program. UCI Paul Merage School of Business is located in Orange County, California. The school is located in a prime location for entrepreneurship. From the entertainment industry to the fashion industry, UC Irvine is a hot spot for successful MBA students.


UCI’s Masters of Business Administration degree is supplemented with a lot of resources beyond the curriculum. MBA students collaborate in over 16 clubs and associations. Merage offers seven Centers of Excellence that focus on entrepreneurship, global leadership, investment and wealth management, and more. The Merage School of Business also offers three MBA certificates:

  • Digital Transformaion
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Real Estate and Urban Development


The Merage School MBA experience centers on collaboration throughout its curriculum. In your MBA program you can expect to work closely with corporate executives, faculty members, and school administration. Companies hire Merage MBA students for consultation instead of hiring professional consultants. The academic environment at Merage fosters the collaborative spirit that is useful in the business world.


Pepperdine University

College Choice Score: 48.83

Tuition: $46,400

Program Website


Pepperdine University’s George L. Graziadio School of Business is located at its beautiful Malibu campus. Graziadio’s full-time MBA program is highly ranked by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, and the Los Angeles Business Journal. The business school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). As an MBA student at Graziadio you will be among 5% of schools accredited by the AACSB.


Graziadio offers many options for its full-time MBA program. You can obtain your MBA degree in the normal two-year program or in one year through the accelerated program. Students in the accelerated MBA program must have at least three years of professional work experience. Pepperdine also offers the International MBA which includes two study abroad experiences. The school also has three joint MBA opportunities. Concentration options include:

  • Applied Analytics
  • Global Business
  • General Management
  • Leadership and Managing Organizational Change


Pepperdine’s MBA program is distinguished by its SEER Certificate which prepares MBA students to be socially, environmentally, and ethically responsible. The sustainable MBA program focuses on people, planet, profits, and product. The Princeton Review rates Pepperdine as a top ten Best Green MBA.


University of California--San Diego

College Choice Score: 47.76

Tuition: $45,000

Program Website


The University of California—San Diego established the Rady School of Management in 2003. Rady offers the Full-Time MBA and the FlexMBA. The Full-Time MBA program is designed to foster leadership and innovation skills. The FlexMBA is for working professionals who desire to deepen their knowledge about innovation and business.


UCSD specializes in assisting members of the Armed Forces and veterans into Rady’s MBA program. The school correlates skills learned in the military to skills used in the MBA program. People who are active or reserve in the military receive plenty of benefits by pursuing a MBA at Rady School of Management. The core curriculum across the MBA programs includes:

  • Managerial Economics
  • Organizational Strategy and HR Management
  • Marketing
  • Accounting


MBA students participant in a number of projects that cultivate leadership and teamwork in the marketplace. Students work on individual projects and group projects that allow them to make their academic skills practical. The school’s LTM Workshop is a two-quarter course that challenges student teams to create an innovative, marketable, and sustainable project idea.


University of San Diego

College Choice Score: 45.24

Tuition: $45,897

Program Website


The University of San Diego School of Business is an ideal place to get your MBA within an intricate community of professors, students, alumni, and corporate executives. The Graduate Business Student Association (GBSA) and the Management Consulting Association (MCA) are two student organizations that add to the community of career development at the University of San Diego.


San Diego’s School of Business focuses on building responsible leaders with global mindsets. Experiential learning, leadership labs and student leadership programs promote the values of leadership among San Diego’s MBA students. The school embraces community and social responsibility in relation to business. All MBA students are required to do Corporate Social Responsibility coursework. Other coursework includes:

  • Leadership Development
  • Financial Management and Analysis
  • Economics in a Global Environment
  • Sustainable Business Model Innovation and Design


Once you graduate from the University of San Diego School of Business with your MBA degree you will be well prepared to enter the job market. MBA students receive extensive career resources at the University of San Diego. You’ll encounter one-on-one career coaching, career and professional development courses, mentor programs, and professional development and networking events.


Santa Clara University

College Choice Score: 44.92

Tuition: $32,375

Program Website


Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business is an AACSB-accredited institution. It has over 25,000 alumni who lead business and organizations around the world. Recent MBA graduates of Leavey School of Business are leading as vice presidents, chief strategy officers, and project managers of major companies. With a master of business administration degree from Leavey, you could be next.


Leavey School of Business offers the Accelerated MBA and the Evening MBA. Each MBA program is customized for students who are at different points in their professional careers. The Accelerated MBA is a full-time course load on a part-time schedule. It offers students the opportunity to go on international trips. The Evening MBA has convenient class times for professionals who work during the day. Coursework includes:

  • Financial and Managerial Economics
  • Operating in Global, Finance, and Product Markets
  • New Business Ventures
  • Accounting and Quant Modeling


Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business has seven centers and institutes to support MBA students. The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, My Own Business Institute, and Retail Management Institute are a few of the school’s institutes.