15+ Best Business Schools in California

Posted by

When it comes to pursuing a business education, California stands out as a hub of entrepreneurship, and academic excellence. The Golden State offers aspiring business leaders a wealth of opportunities. In this article, we’ll explore 15+ of the best business schools in California, highlighting their unique features, academic programs, and contributions to the business world.

These institutions are known and recognized for their commitment to providing high-quality education and preparing students for the competitive business world. Whether you’re interested in entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, or business analytics, These California business schools offer programs that cater to a variety of interests and career goals.

Introduction to Business Schools in California

California, often referred to as the Golden State is not only a land of natural beauty and innovation but also home to 384 four-year colleges and universities, including 150 public institutions.

Business schools in California are more than just educational institutions; they are incubators for innovation and leadership. With a state economy that has a $3.598 trillion gross state product, surpassing even that of entire countries like India, the opportunities for MBA graduates are vast and varied.

While California may not have an Ivy League presence, it compensates with prestigious schools like Stanford University. The Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) has been at the forefront of business education since 1927, offering a comprehensive curriculum that emphasizes leadership and a wide selection of electives.

Why Study Business in California?

Studying business in California offers a unique blend of opportunities that are hard to find elsewhere. Here are some compelling reasons:

  1. Diverse Economy: California’s economy is incredibly diverse, encompassing technology, entertainment, agriculture, and tourism sectors, providing a rich context for business studies.
  1. Innovation Hub: It’s home to Silicon Valley, the global centre for high technology and innovation, offering students exposure to cutting-edge business practices.
  1. Networking Opportunities: The state’s numerous prestigious universities and business schools, like the Stanford Graduate School of Business, offer unparalleled networking opportunities with professionals and alumni.
  1. Entrepreneurial Spirit: California encourages entrepreneurship with a supportive environment for startups and small businesses, which can be inspiring for business students.
  1. Global Leader: Studying in a state that’s a leader in several industries allows students to learn from the best and understand what drives global markets.

Criteria for Selecting the Best Business Schools in California

Ranking the best business schools in California involves considering various factors. Here are some criteria used to evaluate business schools in the state:

  1. Academic Quality: The quality of faculty, curriculum, and teaching methods plays a significant role.

2. Job Placement and Alumni Success: Consider the employment rates of graduates, average starting salaries, and the success of alumni in their careers.

3. Location and Industry Connections: We considered the school’s proximity to business hubs, networking opportunities, and partnerships with local companies.

4. Specializations and Programs: Looked for schools that offer specialized programs in areas like finance, marketing, entrepreneurship, or technology management.

List of the 16 Best Business Schools in California

Below is a list of the best 16 business schools in California:

15+ Best Business Schools in California

1. Stanford Graduate School of Business

  • Acceptance Rate: Approximately 6%
  • Tuition Fee: For the academic year 2024–2025, the tuition is approximately $82,455.

The Stanford GSB stands at the forefront of management education, with a mission to create ideas that deepen and advance our understanding of management.

The school is dedicated to developing innovative, principled, and insightful leaders who are equipped to make a significant impact on the world.

The GSB offers a range of programs tailored to different career levels and interests. These include the prestigious PhD Program, designed to develop outstanding scholars for careers in research and teaching at leading business schools worldwide.

2. Minerva University (San Francisco)

  • Acceptance Rate: 1%
  • Tuition Fee: $21,630

Minerva University’s business department is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of corporate and market dynamics, as well as the strategy and mechanics behind transactions.

One of the specific concentrations within the business major is Brand Management. This concentration focuses on mastering the processes, tactics, and tools that businesses use at various stages of growth. It covers perspectives from ideation to start-up, from domestic to international markets, and from being a market follower to becoming a market leader.

Students learn effective brand management through a rigorous academic and practical approach, including core courses like Market Dynamics and Product Analytics, Financial Planning, Budgeting and Modeling, and Doing Business.

Minerva University stands out as the #1 Most Innovative University in the World for 2022 & 2023, according to The World University Rankings for Innovation (WURI).

Classes are small, dialogue-based seminars, and the curriculum includes interdisciplinary project-based learning. Students also have the opportunity to explore the world through a global rotation in cities like San Francisco, Berlin, Buenos Aires, and others.

3. University of California, Berkeley (Haas)

  • Acceptance Rate: For undergraduates, about 15%. For the MBA program, about 17%.
  • Tuition Fee: The Estimated tuition and fees are $69,814 (in-state) and $82,059 (out-of-state).

The Haas School of Business is a prestigious institution within the University of California, Berkeley. Haas offers a wide range of programs, including full-time and part-time MBA degrees, a Master of Financial Engineering, executive education, and undergraduate programs.

Haas provides a Full-Time MBA Program that emphasizes both analytic rigour and human understanding. Students learn to make decisions that inspire confidence, foster collaboration, and create purpose.

The program encourages breakthrough ideas and cultivates a culture of leadership. Graduates emerge as well-rounded leaders ready to tackle real-world challenges.

Haas also offers a High School Entrepreneurship Program, tailored to help students build confidence, enhance communication skills, explore various business subjects, and learn how to write a business plan. This program encourages young minds to turn their ideas into viable businesses.

Haas faculty members are at the forefront of business research. Their contributions span various fields, including game theory, behavioural finance, open innovation, and knowledge management. Notably, two Nobel Prizes have been awarded to Haas faculty members, reflecting their impactful work.

4. University of Southern California (Marshall)

  • Acceptance Rate: Undergraduate is 10%, While MBA program is 30%.
  • Tuition Fee: $76,131 per year

The USC Marshall School of Business is a leading business school located at the University of Southern California (USC). Marshall has established deep connections with dynamic companies and business leaders, not only in Southern California but across the country and around the world.

Marshall’s core philosophy revolves around *real-world learning. Students don’t just acquire theoretical knowledge; they also gain practical experience by applying what they learn in the classroom to actual business scenarios. This emphasis on experiential learning prepares graduates to thrive and excel in the workplace.

The school offers a diverse range of programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and executive education.

Marshall’s Full-Time MBA program is a two-year on-campus program designed for early career professionals.

It provides a comprehensive foundation in business fundamentals while also emphasizing the use of technology for business and social impact. Students have opportunities for networking, specialization, and career transformation. The program is STEM Certified and consistently ranks as a top MBA program.

Marshall offers a global undergraduate business program that combines in-depth knowledge of business theory with a solid foundation in the liberal arts. Students can major in Business Administration or Accounting, gaining a well-rounded education that prepares them for success in various industries.

5. University of California, Los Angeles (Anderson)

  • Acceptance Rate: 37.6%
  • Tuition Fee: Full-time: $74,618 per year (in-state and out-of-state); Part-time: $1,740 per credit (in-state and out-of-state); Executive: $91,776 per year (in-state and out-of-state)

The UCLA Anderson School of Management is a prominent institution located in the heart of Los Angeles, a global hub for creativity and innovation. It offers a range of programs including an MBA, Ph.D., and various graduate degree and non-degree programs to cater to the diverse educational needs and professional goals of students.

The Full-Time MBA program at UCLA Anderson prepares aspiring MBAs to become leaders in the business world. The program boasts a robust curriculum with concentrations in finance, technology, entrepreneurship, real estate, global management, entertainment, sustainability, healthcare, consulting, and more.

The school’s Parker Career Management Center is highly regarded, and voted #1 by The Economist for career services, connecting students with top recruiters from companies like BCG, Google, and Goldman Sachs.

6. University of California, Irvine (Merage)

  • Acceptance Rate: 21-22%
  • Tuition Fee: $50,598 per year for Full-time (in-state) students, $62,843 per year for Full-time (out-of-state) students.

The UCI Paul Merage School of Business is known for its commitment to innovation, inspiration, and inclusion. It aims to shape the future of business through technology and inclusive excellence.

The school offers a range of programs including undergraduate, MBA, Masters, and PhD programs, all designed to prepare leaders for a digitally driven world.

The school boasts impressive rankings, such as being the #2 for the percentage of women faculty according to Financial Times 2023, and #7 for public institution MBA programs as per LinkedIn 2023. It also ranks #26 for its MBA program and #29 for undergraduate business programs by U.S. News & World Report 2023.

7. University of California, Davis

  • Acceptance Rate: The acceptance rate for UC Davis is approximately 41.8%.
  • Tuition Fee: The estimated systemwide tuition & fees for an academic year is $14,436 for California residents. For non-residents, the total costs including the nonresident supplemental tuition are $78,996.

The University of California, Davis offers a comprehensive business education through its Graduate School of Management. The school provides a range of programs including a full-time MBA, part-time MBA programs in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area, and now an Online MBA program.

The curriculum is designed to prepare globally aware, agile leaders committed to making a positive impact on the world.

The UC Davis MBA program is known for its teaching excellence, pioneering research, and collaborative leadership program. The small class sizes promote a tight-knit community and close collaboration, led by internationally recognized faculty. The program has been consistently ranked among the top by U.S. News & World Report and The Economist for its faculty quality.

8. Chapman University (Argyros)

  • Acceptance Rate: 54%
  • Tuition Fee: $1,955 per credit

The Argyros School of Business and Economics at Chapman University is renowned for its comprehensive business education. It offers a range of undergraduate and graduate programs designed to educate and mentor future global business leaders.

The school is known for its high rankings, particularly being the #3 Best Private MBA in California and the #60 Best Business School Nationally, according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2024 rankings.

One of the unique aspects of the Argyros School is the Janes Financial Center (JFC), which boasts the most Bloomberg terminals of any university in Southern California. This facility provides students with hands-on experience in finance and investing, bridging the gap between academic learning and a career in the finance industry.

The school’s personalized education approach allows students to develop their leadership skills and prepare for successful careers in various business sectors.

The school also offers unique opportunities like the Walk Down Wall Street travel course, where students visit New York City and network with top finance professionals. Moreover, the school’s strong corporate network and dedicated career services ensure that students are well-prepared for their future endeavours.

9. University of California, San Diego (Rady)

  • Acceptance Rate: 43.9%
  • Tuition Fee: $54,160 per year for California residents, $66,405 per year for non-California residents.

The Rady School of Management is the graduate business school of UCSD, a public university located in San Diego, California. It was established in 2001 and was named the Rady School of Management in January 2004.

The school was created in response to a need expressed by the San Diego business community. It aims to advance business by generating meaningful research and educating principled, innovative leaders.

The Rady School offers a variety of departments and concentrations, including:

  • Accounting
  • Business Analytics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • General Management
  • Leadership
  • Manufacturing and Technology Management
  • Marketing
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Supply Chain Management/Logistics
  • Quantitative Analysis/Statistics and Operations Research
  • Technology

Its programs include full-time MBA, part-time MBA, and specialty master’s programs.

10. Pepperdine University (Graziadio)

  • Acceptance Rate: 79.49%
  • Tuition Fee: $113,640 total program

The Pepperdine Graziadio Business School was founded in 1969 and is anchored in the core values of integrity and innovation. Its mission is to shape leaders who drive meaningful, positive change in global organizations and communities.

The school offers a wide continuum of programs, including full-time, part-time, and executive MBA programs, as well as doctorate, master’s, bachelor’s, joint degrees, and professional development certificate courses. These programs are available both online and across the school’s five California graduate campuses.

The school offers cohort-based MBA programs, where small, highly connected executive-student groups progress together throughout the degree program. This collaborative approach fosters a tight-knit community and enhances the learning experience.

11. University of San Francisco (Masagung)

  • Acceptance Rate: The part-time MBA has an acceptance rate of 42%.
  • Tuition Fee: The tuition fee also varies by program. The full-time MBA and part-time MBA programs cost $1,700 per credit, and the Executive MBA program has a total program cost of $104,300.

The Masagung Graduate School of Management offers a diverse range of graduate programs that provide students with a global business perspective.

USF Masagung offers several MBA programs:

  • Full-Time MBA: A comprehensive program for those seeking an immersive experience.
  • Part-Time MBA: Designed for working professionals who want to advance their careers while continuing to work.
  • Executive MBA: Tailored for seasoned professionals looking to enhance their leadership skills.
  • Specialty Master’s Programs: These include degrees in Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Information Systems, Marketing Intelligence, and Organization Development.
  • STEM Designated Programs: STEM degrees at USF prepare students for tech-driven environments and offer 36 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT).
  • Dual Degree Programs: Combine an MBA with other disciplines like Asia Pacific Studies, Dental Surgery, Energy Systems Management, or Environmental Management.

12. Santa Clara University (Leavey)

  • Acceptance Rate: 44%
  • Tuition Fee: The tuition fee is reported as $1,277 per credit for part-time programs, $119,090 total program for executive programs, and $1,406 per credit for specialty master’s programs.

The Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University is a hub of innovation and high-impact experiential learning. The school offers a range of programs, including Undergraduate, Graduate, and Executive Education, all designed to empower students with the skills to make a positive impact on organizations and society.

The school is renowned for its problem-solving approach, where companies from Silicon Valley often turn to Leavey School of Business Masters of science students for solutions instead of major consulting firms.

This hands-on experience is a testament to the quality of education and the practical skills students gain. Additionally, the school boasts high rankings, such as the #1 Part-time MBA Program in Silicon Valley and the #1 Executive MBA Program in Silicon Valley, according to U.S. News & World Report.

13. California State University, Long Beach (CBA)

  • Acceptance Rate: The acceptance rate for the university is approximately 40%.
  • Tuition Fee: The tuition fee for the business department is around $17,430 for undergraduate students and $16,434 for graduate students.

The College of Business at CSULB is known for its comprehensive academic programs and commitment to excellence in business education. It offers a range of undergraduate and graduate programs designed to prepare students for successful careers in various fields of business.

The College provides specialized programs in areas such as Accountancy, Finance, Human Resource Management, Management Information Systems, International Business, Marketing, and Supply Chain Management.

It also offers unique opportunities like the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and events such as ‘Ethics at the Beach’.

14. California State University, Fullerton (Mihaylo)

  • Acceptance Rate: 47.24%
  • Tuition Fee: For graduate students in the College of Business and Economics, the tuition fee is $4,256.17 for enrollment in 7 or more units.

The Mihaylo College of Business and Economics is a dynamic and forward-thinking institution located in Orange County, California. It is committed to preparing students to be leaders in today’s ever-changing economic environment.

Mihaylo comprises several departments, including Accounting, Economics, Finance, Information Systems and Decision Sciences, Management, and Marketing.

The Department of Marketing within Mihaylo focuses on developing marketing leaders. Students learn about consumer psychology, strategic marketing, and cutting-edge technology.

Areas of specialization include digital marketing, social media marketing, advertising and promotions, marketing analytics, brand management, and sales. The faculty, with relevant work experience and doctoral degrees from reputable business schools, ensures that classes are interactive, practical, and interesting.

Mihaylo is ranked #2 for Social Mobility by U.S. News & World Report (2024). It is also recognized as the #7 Best Value College by the Wall Street Journal (2024).

15. California State University, Northridge (David Nazarian)

  • Acceptance Rate: 19%
  • Tuition Fee: For a part-time MBA, approximately $8,752 per year (in-state) and $13,504 per year (out-of-state)

The David Nazarian College of Business and Economics is a prominent academic institution within CSUN. The college provides a unique educational experience for students, emphasizing practical skills, networking opportunities, and exposure to influential business leaders.

The David Nazarian College of Business and Economics received recognition from AACSB International, the world’s largest business education alliance. It is one of only 26 business schools worldwide to receive this honour in 2024.

Students have access to prominent alumni and influential business leaders. Networking opportunities abound, allowing them to learn from successful individuals and build valuable connections.

16. California State University, Sacramento (CBA)

  • Acceptance Rate: Approximately 67%
  • Tuition Fee: For in-state residents, it’s approximately $2,000 per year. Non-residents pay approximately $7,100 per year.

The College of Business at Sacramento State is a dynamic hub for business education and leadership development. The college offers a rigorous, transformative management education to approximately 4,000 students, including both undergraduates and graduates.

Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) since 1963, the COB is part of the elite 5% of higher education institutions worldwide that have earned this prestigious designation.

The COB provides a broad, professional education across eight concentrations and five minors. Students can choose from various areas such as Marketing, Supply Chain Management, Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Information Systems, and Business Analytics.

The COB has a strong reputation in quantitative business topics, including Accounting, Finance, and Analytics. It has 14 business student clubs and over $300,000 in scholarships for business students.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes California an attractive destination for business education?

California offers a thriving economy, access to industry leaders, an entrepreneurial culture, and diverse networking opportunities.

What types of business programs are offered at these schools?

These schools provide various programs, including MBA, Executive MBA, specialized master's programs, and undergraduate business degrees.

How can prospective students learn more or apply to these business schools?

Prospective students can explore each school's website and find details on the application process.

Can international students apply to these business schools?

Absolutely! These schools welcome international applicants and provide resources tailored to their needs.


These institutions provide students with a robust foundation in business principles, coupled with the opportunity to specialize in various fields. Remember, the choice of a business school should align with your career goals and aspirations, so choose wisely. We’ve come to the end of this article.

Share and Help us Reach out to Other Students

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *