California is an incredible place to get an MBA. It has beaches, mountains, Disney, legal marijuana, and some of the best business programs in the world. Graduate from one of these programs and you’re likely to be set up to work in one of California’s booming industries such as the technology or entertainment industries. Check out top programs from the Bay and Los Angeles areas below:
University of California Berkeley (Haas) – Berkeley, CA
While the University of Berkeley’s business school did not make our list of the top business schools in the United States it has been steadily climbing those lists for years now. A big part of what is driving that climb upwards is its great undergraduate program that feeds into a bunch of the companies around the Bay Area and just being in the Bay Area in general with all of the large technology companies which means it has great connections with Apple, Google, NVDIA, Tesla, Salesforce, and all of the other top employers in the region. It is in a really interesting area of the Bay, right by Oakland but a short drive across the bridge to San Francisco and only a couple hours from Napa or Sonoma. You learn all sorts of practical stuff such as Macroeconomics in the Global Economy, Data and Decisions, Financial Accounting, and much more and also soft skills like Strategic Leadership and Leading People. Berkeley has a really low amount of women with only 37% of the students being women but they do better in getting diversity through their minority students getting 29% of US minority students and 35% international students. It’s a very small class of students with only 283 students. Overall students have very good GMAT scores at 725 and a GRE of 162. The class has a large number of people who studied engineering in undergraduate making for an interesting class profile.
Stanford University – Stanford, CA
Stanford is one of the best MBA programs in the USA and made our list of the best programs. You can go to that list to read in detail about the academics, admissions, and to hear about what makes Stanford unique including that it does a lot of research even as a business school. This part of the article will also talk about the California part of Stanford which is another unique feature of the school. Because of its location Stanford is near some of the biggest companies in the world including Google in Mountain View, which has lots of Stanford connections, Facebook in Menlo Park, Apple in Cupertino, and many many more companies. It is also near a number of the most attractive funds to be at, for example the famous venture capital funds of Sand Hill Road which all have extensive connections to Stanford and the business school specifically. As part of the South Bay area you are also not far from San Jose, Santa Cruz, and a number of other cool locations nearby.
University of California Los Angeles (Anderson) – Los Angeles, CA
Anderson school of business, University of California Los Angeles’ school of business, makes the list for top California schools for so many different reasons. Foremost it is a great program if you want to be in the Los Angeles area to get involved with the entertainment scene in Hollywood or the sports scene in Los Angeles, anything to do with the movies or with music. Los Angeles is also near some of the most famous and nicest beaches in the country in Santa Monica, Malibu, and across the entire pacific coastline. UCLA does a good job getting US minorities with 29% of the students being from minority groups but like many of the business schools it does not do as well at getting female attendees getting only 34% women for their class. The most common undergraduate major for these students was finance and they scored really well too with an average GMAT score of 719. It is a pretty competitive class to get into, admitting only 360 people from the over 2800+ applications received. The average amount of experience for the Anderson students was five years of work experience. Overall this is certainly one of the most attractive MBA programs in California. The second largest contingent went into the technology industry boasting employers such as Google, Tesla, Microsoft among others with an average starting salary of $120,000!
University of Southern California (Marshall) – Los Angeles, CA
The Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California is one of the best MBA programs in CA. US News and Rankings ranks Marshall solidly top 15 in the nation. If you’re looking for a strong network within California and especially in southern California / Los Angeles area you can’t do any better than Marshall. Marshall is first in the nation to reach gender parity with close 50% of its class consisting of women. Additionally, Marshall prides itself on a small class size of 200 students with an elite acceptance rate of 30%. The average GPA is 3.5 and GMAT is 710 (80th percentile). Marshall not only has a strong network and elite group of students, but also helps those students make a lot of money upon graduation. The average base salary out of Marshall was $120,000 with 30% of the class entering the elite consulting field. Those students who went into consulting had a mean starting salary of over $135,000 with the upper bound being over $150,000.
University of California Irvine (Merage) – Irvine, CA
South of Los Angeles in Orange County California lies Irvine which is near a bunch of beaches such as Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. A little away from the bustle of Los Angeles you are also a closer trip to either Anaheim or San Diego and you are well positioned to visit fun stuff like the Santa Catalina Island. Irvine is apparently America’s safest big city according to the University and there are tons of good businesses nearby including Amazon, Google, Western Digital, Disney, Hyundai, and Taco Bell. It is an incredibly small class with only 100 people enrolled in the fall class and only 50 people enrolled in the spring class. You can get into Irvine with scores that are slightly lower than some of their California counterparts with an average GPA of 3.28 and an average GMAT of 590. People have some more work experience that at a lot of MBA programs with the average being almost six years. The most common background for the class is a manufacturing background followed by biotech and healthcare which makes for an interesting class profile.