The Best Colleges for an MBA in California

How to find the right college

1. Search for a college or university in your home state. Look at the big four-year universities in your state: UCLA, Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine, and UC Davis.

2. Do your homework. Use the university’s College Scorecard to determine its program offerings. Talk to professors and administrators at your local campus and through local business and civic associations. Search the CSU Web site for a listing of alumni in your area.

3. Avoid doing business with a for-profit college. They’re vulnerable to fraud and abuse, and they can be expensive. The best private schools in California are small, non-profit institutions known for offering high-quality education, which isn’t what you’ll find at for-profit schools.

4. Join a graduate alumni group.

Ranking of the best colleges in California

U.S. News compiled two lists to determine the rankings: the Best Online Programs and the Best Regional Universities for an MBA. These lists are based on 14 criteria in three categories: student engagement, faculty quality, and alumni success. They assess the most popular online programs, as well as regional universities that offer full-time MBA programs.

“The Best Online Programs for an MBA in California” includes seven colleges: Claremont Graduate University, Golden Gate University, Johns Hopkins University, Southern California College of Law, University of St. Mary of the Lake, Regis University, and the University of Colorado Denver.

The benefits of an MBA

The University of California, Berkeley — known in the business world as Cal — is the oldest, most prestigious public university. Stanford, a private school, is one of the top 10 business schools in the world.

Other schools in the top 25, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, are Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Johns Hopkins, MIT, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Virginia, UC-Santa Cruz, UC-Riverside, USC, and UCLA.

Enrollment in an MBA program in the Golden State is relatively stable, with 20,000 students in 2014, according to Business Insider.

Businessweek ranks “best” MBA programs based on alumni salary and graduation rates, the quality of the faculty, the quality of the facilities, and the value of the degree.

The costs of an MBA 

An MBA from one of California’s six public business schools may cost nearly as much as it does elsewhere. However, many firms are willing to foot the bill thanks to the state’s strong labor market and favorable business climate.

Companies like Prudential Financial Inc., AT&T, IBM, Xerox, Exxon Mobil, and AT&T Technology & Operations Management Group are just a few California-based companies that now have a California-based MBA program.

Many California MBA programs boast below-average class sizes, making them ideal places for executives who are used to a fast-paced work environment and want to quickly develop leadership skills.

According to the new online survey, the average class size at a California MBA program is 35 students, up from 27 in 2017 and a ten-year low of 32 in 2010.

How to choose your school and major 

Parents and students considering the best California colleges should first consider:

The quality of California’s higher education institutions and how they measure up to other nationally competitive colleges.

A thorough and deep understanding of how each school operates.

If you plan on graduating in three years or less, a campus visit will allow you to see exactly what your college experience will be like.

Making a college choice

The first step in choosing the right college is to talk to current students and alumni to better understand how your peers are navigating college and majoring in what they choose to study.


When choosing a college, the key questions that we must ask are: Where do we want to spend the next four years of our lives? Will this be the college that helps us move closer to the dream of owning a small business, or will it just give us another diploma that we have to keep up with?

Above all, we must think about the career we want to pursue. If our major is business administration, the best place to get a graduate degree may not be a business school. Likewise, if we are talking economics, math, or computer science, the best schools for those majors may not be business schools. Similarly, a liberal arts education does not necessarily transfer into being a professional. However, if a college provides a broad education, all college-level programs should lead to a credential.