Accredited Online MBA in California
With the world’s eighth-largest economy, home to Silicon Valley, and an innovative hub of diverse and flourishing industries, California’s status is also courtesy of premier accredited business schools offering world-class online MBA programs in California.
If you want to pursue a campus or an online MBA program in California, this guide will help you make smart choices that align perfectly with your needs.
Best Online MBA Programs in California
If you are looking specifically for the top online MBA programs in California, the resources below will introduce you to several of them.
1. California Coast University
Located in Santa Ana, California Coast University offers an online MBA. The California online MBA degree is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). If you are a busy working professional, this program might be for you. Graduates leave the program with a firm understanding of best practices and theories and are better equipped to succeed in today’s competitive business environment.
The program is 39 credits in length (all courses are core courses; no electives are offered). It is incredibly flexible, and study is self-paced with no group projects, set meeting times, or exam dates. All classes are delivered online, and students can begin at any time of the year. No on-campus visits are required.
App applicants must have an undergraduate degree in Business Administration, Leadership, or Management, though other undergraduate degrees may be accepted. Exams can be challenged, and transfer credits are accepted. Applications can be received anytime throughout the year. Work experience is not required.
Standard Coursework (39 credits) – Business Ethics, Business Law, E-Commerce Management, Financial Management, Human Resource Management, International Business Management, Leadership, Marketing Information Systems, Marketing Management, Organizational Behavior, Project Management, Strategic Management, and the Research Process.
2. California Southern University
If you are looking for an MBA degree that is delivered 100% online, California Southern University might be for you. CalSouthern is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). It offers an accredited online MBA degree in California that is tailored to prepare students for future leadership roles across all businesses and sectors.
The online MBA program is 36 credits in length and can be completed in as little as 18 months or as long as two years. It is extremely flexible – all work is done online on your schedule – and does not require an entrance exam to begin. What’s more, you can start courses at any time throughout the year. Students also can customize the program according to their interests in focus areas like management, finance, or HR.
To apply, an accredited bachelor’s degree or its equivalent is required. Transfer credits may be accepted. Neither previous work experience nor an official GMAT exam score is required. Applications are accepted year-round.
Standard Coursework (21 credits) – Applied Data Analysis, Business Graduate Capstone Project, Business Organization and Management, Economics for Organizational Management, Ethics in Business, Managerial Accounting for Decision-Making, and Marketing Management.
3. California State University, Dominguez Hills
From the Hollywood Walk of Fame to the Lakers, Los Angeles is known for many things. LA is also home to California State University, Dominguez Hills. California State University Dominguez offers a WASC-accredited online MBA. The program is flexible and designed to provide students with a multidisciplinary skillset in business. Integration, teamwork, and critical thinking are core aspects of this program.
The MBA program online is 30–33 credits in length (depending on undergraduate coursework). All classes are delivered online and asynchronously, which means they can be viewed at any time. A combination of presentations, lecture notes, and case studies are used. Students can complete the program at their own pace and in as little as 15 months. Most students enroll in two classes each term or semester. Courses are offered in four sessions, with each session being 12 weeks long.
To apply to the program, applicants must have an accredited undergraduate degree with a GPA of at least 2.75. An official GMAT exam score is also required. Business foundational coursework is not necessary, but having foundational business courses can speed up completion of the MBA. Work experience is not necessary.
Standard Coursework (21 credits) – Advanced Topics in Accounting, Advanced Topics in Information Systems, Advanced Topics in International Business, Advanced Topics in Operations Management, Advanced Topics in Finance, Human Behavior in Organizations, Strategic Management, and Strategic Management: Cases and Current Issues.
4. California State University, Stanislaus
California State University Stanislaus boasts numerous certifications, including AACSB-accreditation and Online Learning Consortium (OLC) accreditation. It offers an MBA degree online that is designed to meet the needs of working professionals who want to pursue an MBA but are time-constrained.
A total of 33 units are required for the MBA degree, 24 of which are core courses and nine are electives. All classes are delivered online, which means you’ll never have to visit the campus. You can learn anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace. Courses are asynchronous and delivered by CSU’s full-time faculty.
An accredited undergraduate degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA and GMAT exam score is required to apply. Six foundational business courses, such as economics, marketing, and management, are also needed. Professional work experience is not necessary.
Standard Coursework (24 units) – Business Organization, Theory and Behavior, Computer Information Systems, Integrated Business Strategy, and Culminating Experience, Management Accounting, Managerial Finance, Marketing Management, and Seminar in Quality and Productivity Management.
5. California State University, Monterey Bay
California State University Monterey Bay is part of the Cal State University system and enrolls more than 7,000 students annually. Known for innovation and community service, CSUMB offers two WASC-accredited online MBA options: Executive and Traditional. Each track is delivered 100% online and designed to meet the needs of both experienced executives and soon-to-be leaders.
Program Completion Options
Executive MBA – CSUMB’s 48 credit Executive MBA is tailored for seasoned business professionals and built on a cutting-edge, technology-driven curriculum. The program is cohort-based and focuses on ethical reasoning, critical thinking, and problem identification. The program consists of eight six-credit courses that last ten weeks each. No electives are offered. Students can complete the program within 24 months and study online anytime. Terms start in April and October.
Traditional MBA – The traditional MBA is also 48 credits in length and delivered with eight six-credit courses, each of which lasts ten weeks. It is a cohort program with a fixed curriculum specifically designed to build and foster soft and hard skills, including leadership, teamwork, ethics, economics, finance, marketing, and management. No electives are offered. Students can study online at any time. Terms start in January, April, July, and October.
To be considered for admission, a variety of factors will be used. These include undergraduate GPA (> 2.5), personal statement, and application. A GMAT score is not required for either track. For the Executive Track, a minimum of seven years of professional work experience (three in a management capacity) is required. For the Traditional MBA, one year of professional work experience is required.
Standard Coursework (48 credits) – Accounting and Finance, Business Strategy, Global Business, Innovation and Technology Management, MBA Fundamentals, Micro-Macro Economics, Marketing and Entrepreneurship, and Organization and Leadership.
6. Fresno State
The Craig School of Business at Fresno State offers an AACSB-accredited online blended MBA. It is a perfect fit for individuals who want to pursue an MBA but cannot leave their careers and/or have families. A hallmark of the program is its flexibility in offering both on-campus and online classes.
CSB’s 36-unit online blended MBA is an accelerated program that follows the same structure and coursework as its traditional MBA counterpart. Classes can be taken online or on campus, and one or more courses can be taken at a time. Students progress through the program at their own pace. For highly motivated students, the program can be completed in 18 months.
To apply, an accredited undergraduate degree and official GMAT exam score are required. A minimum GPA of 2.5 and a GMAT score of 550 is necessary. Admission is based on a combination of GPA, GMAT, and work experience. Prerequisite courses in business are not required to begin the MBA program but will have to be completed during the program (15 units total). The application deadline is June 1.
Standard Coursework (18 units) – Financial Management, Leadership and Organizational Behavior, Management Information Systems, Managerial Accounting, Marketing Management, and Regulatory and Ethical Environment of Business.
7. Pepperdine University
From wine country to the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Diego Zoo, California is known for many attractions. It is also home to Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management, which offers an AACSB-accredited online MBA program in California. The program is specifically designed for working professionals who want to develop practical skills needed to analyze and tackle the challenges of business.
Ranked among the Top 15 “Best Online MBA Programs” by U.S. News & World Report, the program consists of 15 courses in six 14-week trimesters. This format allows students to earn a degree in just two years. The small classes deliver individualized attention and learning opportunities that incorporate real case studies, networking, and interaction with active executives. A weekend-long on-campus residency is required during the Personal and Leadership Development course.
Applicants need to meet the following requirements to be eligible for the program: hold a bachelor’s degree with an acceptable GPA from a regionally accredited institution, have two years’ work experience, and official GMAT score.
Standard Coursework (52 credits) – Personal and Leadership Development Workshop, Behavior in Organizations, Accounting Information and Control Systems, Quantitative Analysis for Business Operations, Prices Profit and the Market Economy, Financial Management of the Firm, Marketing Management, Information and Process Systems, Political Regulatory Ethical & Legal Issues of Business, Integration in Business Operations, Strategic Management, Integration in Business Operations, Strategic Management, and Concentration Course 1, 2, & 3.
Program Concentrations and Specialization Options
- Finance (12 credits) – Example Courses: Financial Laws & Regulations, Financial Processing Systems, Strategic Management
- Leadership & Managing Organizational Change (12 credits) – Example Courses: Financial Management, Information and Control Systems, Information Systems
- Marketing (12 credits) – Example Courses: Business-to-Business Marketing, New Product Management, Marketing & Technology
- General Management (12 credits) – Example Courses: Finance Elective, Leadership Elective, Marketing Consulting
8. University of Southern California
USC’s Marshall School of Business is a school known for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation. Marshall offers an online MBA in California that has been uniquely designed for the digital age. It is rigorous, AACSB-accredited, and comprehensive in its approach. Contemporary real-world scenarios are a crucial aspect of the program.
USC’s online MBA is cohort-based and requires eight courses (consisting of six core courses and two electives) to complete the program. A one-week, on-campus session is required at the beginning of the program. Classes are a combination of pre-recorded classes and live sessions, and students should expect one to two hours of online live class meetings two to three times per week (evenings or weekends). A workload of 20 hours per week is typical. The program can be completed in 21 months.
To be considered for the MBA program, a four-year undergraduate degree and official GMAT score are required. Professional experience is desired, but not a requirement. Start months are August and December.
Standard Coursework (8 credits) – Business Environment and Leadership, Fundamentals of Business, Managing Inside the Firm, Managing Outside The Firm, Opportunity Recognition and Implementation, Organizational Behavior, and Role of the Manager and Key Concepts in Strategy.
California Career and Job Outlook for Online MBA Graduates
According to California’s Employment Development Department, the state’s occupational employment will add over 2.4 million jobs, for a total of 18.7 million jobs by 2022. Professional and business services industry sectors figure among the top 50 list of the fastest-growing occupations.
Many students and professionals pursue an MBA in California to get into the executive suite. Examples of top executives include CFOs, CIOs, and COOs. Most people in these positions have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration or an area related to their work field. According to statistics from BLS.gov, the 2014 average pay for top executives was $112,490 per year. The demand for top executives is expected to grow by 14.1% in California between 2012 to 2022, compared to just 5.9% in the rest of the United States. Figures from Career InfoNet reveal that the national median hourly salary of chief executives is $83.33, while that of California executives is higher, at over $90.
The top three industries with high employment levels in management-related occupations include companies and enterprises, elementary and secondary schools, and the local government. California tops the list of states with the highest employment level in this management line of work. Los-Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division, is one of the metropolitan areas with the highest employment level in this occupation. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara is also among those with the highest concentration of management-related jobs. This metropolitan area also boasts the highest reported pay in this occupation.
On the topic of salary, here are some additional statistics from PayScale.com:
- The median salary of California employees with an MBA degree is $100,934, the highest of any state in the country.
- An MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business attracts an early- and a mid-career pay of $118,000 and $175,000, respectively.
- The same degree from Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley pays an early-career starting salary of $123,000 and a mid-career salary of $169,000.
- Among the top 15 California business schools with the best salary potential are Anderson School of Management at UCLA, Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University, Graduate School of Management of University of California Davis, and Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California.
The average salaries of MBA holders in various occupations are listed below:
- Financial analyst: $46,635 – $87,067
- Senior financial analyst: $64,277 – $98,136
- Chief financial analyst: $82,619 – $224,031
- Marketing manager: $49,121 – $117,728
- Marketing director: $63,878 – $164,684
- Operations manager: $46,360 – $116,477
- Finance manager: $65,614 – $115,883