Affordable Mba Programs In California

Last Updated on December 14, 2022 by

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The nation’s most populous state, California offers extensive higher education opportunities, including some of the best online MBA programs. More than 954,000 businesses call California home, highlighting many opportunities for graduates. MBA-holders possess the business acumen and management knowledge to qualify for a variety of lucrative business, management, and financial careers. One of the most versatile degrees, an MBA is valuable in nearly any industry.

Earning a business graduate degree opens the door to careers like human resources manager, training and development manager, and top executive. Students may also qualify for more specialized management positions in fields like information technology (IT) or finance, depending on their previous academic or professional experience.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects faster-than-average job growth for business and financial occupations from 2019-29.

In this guide, we discuss considerations for earning an online MBA in California, how to choose a school, and career opportunities for graduates. Keep reading to discover the best online MBA programs in California.

Affordable MBA Programs in California

Mar 04, 2019Show Me Schools

View 10 Popular Schools  »

All of these Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees offer tuition rates under $15,000. Candidates can learn about the eligibility requirements and curriculum for five programs.

School Comparison

Candidates can compare the locations and tuition rates for five schools located across the state.

InstitutionLocationAverage Graduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)
Bethesda UniversityAnaheim, CA$7,851*
California Baptist UniversityRiverside, CA$14,130*
Brandman UniversityIrvine, CA$12,080*
Abraham Lincoln UniversityGlendale, CA$12,600 (tuition only, fees not included)**
California Miramar UniversitySan Diego, CA$6,535*

Sources: *National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), **school website.

Overview of Affordable California MBA Programs

Bethesda University

Bethesda University has a 45-credit MBA program that teaches students marketing and leadership skills. Transfer students may be able to take fewer than the 45 credits, however, if they transfer credits from their former school. The program has distance learning classes for interested students.

Potential students will submit an online application and $50 fee. They will also need to submit their official transcripts, a personal essay, and a copy of their photo ID.

California Baptist University

Candidates can choose from four MBA specializations at California Baptist University: accounting, aviation management, management, and healthcare administration. They will take courses such as technology and innovation and strategy in making decisions. Candidates can enroll in a 12-month, 18-month, or 24-month program, with on-campus classes held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

Candidates will need a bachelor’s degree with a 2.5 GPA. The department requires prerequisite courses in areas such as statistics and marketing; however, candidates can also utilize applicable work experience to meet these criteria. The admissions process includes an online application with $45 fee, two recommendations, personal essay, resume, and an admissions interview.

Brandman University

Brandman University’s MBA program has 10 areas of emphasis including data analytics and health administration. Students can choose from a traditional or hybrid program. Program coursework includes marketing management and data analysis. Students should submit an application and official transcripts. They will need to meet one of the following for graduate admissions:

  • Bachelor’s or post-baccalaureate coursework with 3.0 GPA for last 30 credits
  • Bachelor’s or post-baccalaureate coursework with 2.5 – 2.99 GPA for last 30 credits and satisfactory GRE or GMAT scores
  • Master’s degree or higher
  • Portfolio that includes writing samples, resume, reference letters, and letter describing student’s suitability for acceptance

Abraham Lincoln University

Candidates can enroll in Abraham Lincoln University’s online MBA program. Students will receive multidisciplinary training in areas such as finance, management, and marketing. Core courses include marketing management and managerial accounting, with electives offered in business finance and sales management. Candidates will need a bachelor’s degree and must supply their official transcripts. They should submit an online application and $50 fee, along with a resume and photo ID.

California Miramar University

California Miramar University offers a 39-credit MBA program that has seven concentrations, including international business and strategic leadership and management in global business. Students will take required courses like managerial accounting and marketing management. They will need prerequisite classes such as principles of accounting; students who completed the three prerequisites as an undergrad and earned at least a B do not typically need to take them as part of the MBA program. Prospective students will need complete an online application and supply their official transcripts.

Affordable MBA programs in California offer traditional, hybrid, and weekend classes. Several of the programs offer specializations in areas like international business and healthcare administration.Next: View SchoolsLink to this page

Related to Affordable MBA Programs in California

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California Colleges

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

An admission advisor from each school can provide more info about:

  • programs & curriculum
  • career opportunities
  • tuition & financial aid
  • admissions & starting dates
  • 1Full Sail UniversitySchool InfoMinimum eligibility requirements:School locations:Program InfoOnline ProgramsGet Started with Full Sail UniversityWhat is your highest level of education?  Select One…  Still in High School  High School Graduate  GED  Attending College  Associate’s Degree Completed  Bachelor’s Degree Completed  Master’s Degree Completed 
  • 2Colorado State University GlobalSchool InfoMinimum eligibility requirements:School locations:Program InfoOnline ProgramsGet Started with Colorado State University GlobalWhat is your highest level of education?  Select One…  Some High School  High School or GED  0-12 credits  13-30 credits completed (Freshman)  31-60 credits completed (Sophomore)  61-90 credits completed (Junior)  91+ credit completed (Senior)  Associate of Applied Science  Associate of Arts or Science  Associate of General Studies  Bachelor’s Degree  Master’s Degree  Doctoral Degree 
  • 3Strayer UniversitySchool InfoMinimum eligibility requirements:School locations:Program InfoOnline ProgramsGet Started with Strayer UniversityWhat is your highest level of education completed?  Select One…  Still in high school  High school graduate/GED  Some College  Associate’s Degree  Bachelor’s Degree  Master’s Degree 
  • 4Pacific Oaks CollegeSchool InfoMinimum eligibility requirements:
    • Applicants to the master’s and doctorate programs must have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Pasadena
    • San Jose
    • Master
      • M.A. Organizational Leadership and Change
    Program InfoOnline and Classroom-Based ProgramsGet Started with Pacific Oaks CollegeWhat is your highest level of education completed?  Select One…  High School Diploma/GED  Some College  Associate’s Degree  Bachelor’s Degree  Master’s Degree  Doctorate  No High School Degree/GED 
  • 5Regent UniversitySchool InfoMinimum eligibility requirements:School locations:Program InfoOnline ProgramsGet Started with Regent UniversityWhat is your highest level of education completed?  Select One…  High School  GED  Some College  Associate’s Degree  Bachelor’s Degree  Master’s Degree  Doctorate or PhD  Currently in H.S. 
  • 6Southern New Hampshire UniversitySchool InfoMinimum eligibility requirements:School locations:Program InfoOnline ProgramsGet Started with Southern New Hampshire UniversityWhat is your highest level of education completed?  Select One…  Still in high school  High school graduate/GED  Some College  Associate’s Degree  Bachelor’s Degree  Master’s Degree 
  • 7Purdue University GlobalSchool InfoMinimum eligibility requirements:School locations:Program InfoOnline ProgramsGet Started with Purdue University GlobalWhat is your highest level of education completed?  Select One…  GED  High school diploma  Some college (1-19 Semester Credits)  Some college (20 or more Semester Credits)  Associate’s degree  Bachelor’s degree  Master’s degree  Doctoral degree  Still in high school 
  • 8Florida TechSchool InfoSchool locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Master
      • Master’s in Business Administration/Management
      • MA in Organizational Leadership
      • Master’s in Business Administration
    Program InfoOnline ProgramsGet Started with Florida TechWhat is your highest level of education completed?  Select One…  High School Diploma  Some College  Associate’s Degree  Bachelor’s Degree  Master’s Degree  Doctorate  No High School Degree/GED 
  • 9Capella UniversitySchool InfoMinimum eligibility requirements:School locations:Program InfoOnline ProgramsGet Started with Capella UniversityWhat is your highest level of education completed?  Select One…  Still in high school  High school graduate/GED  Some College  Associate’s Degree  Bachelor’s Degree  Master’s Degree 
  • 10Bellevue UniversitySchool InfoMinimum eligibility requirements:
    • Bachelor degree applicants must have completed 60 college credits or more
    • Online Learning
    • Master
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Science in Acquisition and Contract Management
      • Master of Science in Organizational Performance
    School locations:Program InfoOnline ProgramsGet Started with Bellevue University

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.

However, 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.


 California’s economy is larger than France, and its gross domestic product ($2.5 trillion) is higher than Brazil.


  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.

Top 10 Best MBA Programs in California

1Stanford UniversityStanford, CA
2University of California–BerkeleyBerkeley, CA
3University of California–Los AngelesLos Angeles, CA
4University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, CA
5University of California–DavisDavis, CA
6University of California–IrvineIrvine, CA
7Pepperdine UniversityMalibu, CA
8University of California–San DiegoLa Jolla, CA
9University of San DiegoSan Diego, CA
10Santa Clara UniversitySanta Clara, CA


Accredited Online College Programs


Tulane University

– 100% Online – Affordable Tuition – Previous IT Work/Experience Required – Classes Start Soon! Enroll Now!Learn MoreTulane University logoVisit Site

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.[footnote][/footnote]

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.[footnote][/footnote] 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.

Related MBA Rankings

The Best MBA Programs in California

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  1. Stanford UniversityLOCATIONStanford, CATUITION$$$$$
  2. University of California–BerkeleyLOCATIONBerkeley, CATUITION$$$$$
  3. University of California–Los AngelesLOCATIONLos Angeles, CATUITION$$$$$
  4. University of Southern CaliforniaLOCATIONLos Angeles, CATUITION$$$$$
  5. University of California–DavisLOCATIONDavis, CATUITION$$$$$
  6. University of California–IrvineLOCATIONIrvine, CATUITION$$$$$
  7. Pepperdine UniversityLOCATIONMalibu, CATUITION$$$$$
  8. University of California–San DiegoLOCATIONLa Jolla, CATUITION$$$$$
  9. University of San DiegoLOCATIONSan Diego, CATUITION$$$$$
  10. Santa Clara UniversityLOCATIONSanta Clara, CATUITION$$$$$

California has more top business schools per square mile than many other states and countries for that matter. And it’s not just the prestigious and expensive schools that fill the Golden State, such as Stanford University or UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. There are many leading MBA program providers that offer outstanding education and good monetary value. 

California itself is a wonderful location to study in, with the laid-back lifestyle and warm climate a huge plus. But perhaps the biggest draw is the career opportunities on the West Coast: many schools are close to tech hotspot Silicon Valley. 

Students will, however, have to consider additional costs beyond tuition fees — including living and travel expenses. The full MBA experience rarely comes cheap. 

Still, we’ve ranked the Top 10 Budget MBA programs in California, starting with the cheapest. California State University (CSU) – San BernardinoSan Bernardino, California 22 Followers 18 DiscussionsCSUSB

Compared with its Californian competitors, CSU’s Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration looks downright cheap. The full-time MBA, run over 24 months, is a bargain, for both in-state residents and those not from California. And there’s also a 15-month accelerated version of the MBA that’s even cheaper. Not only will you pay less in fees but you’ll also forgo less in salary as you’ll be out of the workforce for just 15 months.  View School ProfileCalifornia State University, Long Beach (CSULB)Long Beach, California 31 Followers 25 DiscussionsCSULB

“Acceleration” seems to be the mantra for Californian business schools. California State University, Long Beach also offers a fast-track version of its course, reasonably priced for the entire 12-month course. The degree focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship, teaching students how to bring new products and services to market, as well as the business fundamentals, of course.  View School ProfilePepperdine University – Graziadio School of Business and ManagementLos Angeles, California 39 Followers 45 DiscussionsPepperdine - Graziadio

The Pepperdine Graziadio Business School in Los Angeles offers its well-regarded MBA at a reasonable price. The flexibility is good: you can choose to do the MBA in 12, 15 or 20 months. Students study from the school’s iconic campus in sunny Malibu. They have the option to take a certificate in social, environmentally and ethically responsible business strategy, too.  View School ProfileSanta Clara University – Leavey School of BusinessSanta Clara, California 11 Followers 12 Discussions

The Leavey School of Business, at Santa Clara University offers an “Evening MBA”, which is designed for working professionals, who typically study in their spare time alongside full-time jobs over a two-year period. The school is in Silicon Valley, providing students with excellent access to the world’s top tech companies, investors and entrepreneurs.   View School ProfileHult International Business School – San Francisco CampusSan Francisco, California 25 Followers 40 DiscussionsHult - San Francisco

Hult International Business School offers MBAs in four global campuses, including San Francisco. The California course is at the upper end of the budget market, price-wise, but it offers a truly global experience. Students can choose to study modules at the other international campuses, which are in Boston, London and Dubai.  View School ProfileUniversity of California, Davis – Graduate School of ManagementDavis, California 19 Followers 26 DiscussionsUC Davis

The MBA tuition fees at UC Davis Graduate School of Management are reasonable, for both in-state and out-of-state students. The school, which is part of the University of California system, is ranked among the top American MBA providers by US News & World Report, a respected publication. So the price point does not dim the course’s quality.  View School ProfileUniversity of San Diego (USD) School of BusinessSan Diego, California 54 Followers 28 Discussions

The University of San Diego School of Business offers students good flexibility — they can finish the MBA in 17 or 22 months. The program is hands-on, with students conducting a semester-long consulting project for a local company, or completing an international project in diverse countries such as China, Brazil or the Dominican Republic, and other locations. The school’s MBA is value-priced, compared to many others offered in Southern California.   View School ProfileUniversity of California, Irvine – The Paul Merage School of BusinessIrvine, California 38 Followers 39 DiscussionsUC Irvine - Merage

As of 2017, 80 percent of UC Irvine’s MBA students were receiving fellowships to help them saddle the cost associated with doing an MBA. Scholarships at the school are merit-based, meaning they are usually reserved for exceptional students, for example those with high GMAT scores.  View School ProfileUniversity of California, San Diego (UCSD) – The Rady School of ManagementLa Jolla, California 33 Followers 17 DiscussionsUCSD - Rady

The Rady School of Management, part of the University of California at San Diego, is not just ranked well in America, but globally, with The Economist of London placing the school’s MBA course at 81st in the world and 47th in the US. Although the MBA’s price tag is higher than those offered by some other schools on this list, it’s still a budget option, compared to some other MBAs in California. View School ProfileUniversity of Southern California (USC) – Marshall School of BusinessLos Angeles, California 98 Followers 116 DiscussionsUSC - Marshall

Bloomberg Businessweek ranked USC Marshall’s MBA program as the 14th best globally. It’s located in Los Angeles, which is considered to be a hub for global business, being home to companies such as Snapchat, and a gateway to the “Pacific Rim” region that includes South America, Australia and eastern Asia.  View School Profile

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