10 Awesome California Online MBA Programs

Created by Henry Steele

By Henry Steele - April 27, 2018
Reading Time: 7 minutes
Reading Time: 7 minutes

For many professionals, the major purpose for earning an MBA is the opportunity to increase their annual income. Earning your graduate business management degree can frequently lead to higher income over your career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states for example that the median salary for professionals with a bachelor’s degree earn $56,000 per year on average, while those with a master’s degree earn $68,000 per year.

Because getting an MBA is often one of the most important ways to increase your salary and get job promotions, it is good there are many online MBAs offered today from quality universities. Earning an MBA online is a convenient and affordable way to get your advanced business degree. Many online MBA programs allow you to take your classes on your own schedule. Thus it is possible to work full time and take classes in the evening from the comfort of your own home.

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Today there are hundreds of accredited, online MBA programs available in the US, and there are plenty to choose from in California.

Below are 10 California online MBA programs for your consideration. As you will see, many highly respected universities now offer online MBAs. So, you should have little difficulty having your MBA degree recognized for quality by potential employers.

As you are selecting your MBA program, it is especially important to consider accreditation. The MBA program ideally should be accredited by the AACSB which is the most widely known and respected business education accreditation institution in the world. The other business education accreditation agency to look for is the ACBSP, which also is well known for accrediting MBA programs. It also is important to look for online MBA programs that are well rated by organizations such as US News and World Report and The Princeton Review.

#1 Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management offers a top quality, online MBA. Based in Malibu, California, the Pepperdine MBA program has been accredited by the AACSB, so you can be confident that you are earning a well-respected MBA degree.

The Pepperdine MBA is ranked among the top 25 online MBA programs according to US News and World Report. The Graziadio School also was ranked the #3 best business school for opportunities for women in 2016. Forbes has ranked the Graziadio School as the #10 most entrepreneurial school as of 2015.

The MBA degree concentrations that you can choose in this MBA program are finance, leadership and managing organizational change, marketing and general management. Most students can complete the degree in two years.

Required courses in this AACSB-accredited program are:

  • Behavior in Organizations
  • Accounting Information and Control Systems
  • Information and Process Systems
  • Financial Management of the Firm
  • Integration in Business Operations
  • Marketing Management
  • Prices, Profit and the Market Economy

One of the major benefits of attending Pepperdine’s MBA program is you will become a member of a highly regarded alumni network. YOu will have life long access to career development resources that can help you to accelerate your career to the next level.

#2 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

The online MBA from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA is an AACSB-accredited business degree. The Anderson School currently is ranked #16 by US News and World Report. Its part time MBA also is ranked #5 by the same publication.

Since 2012, UCLA has offered the FEMBA Flex program. This is an innovative and hybrid scheduling program that offers both online and on campus classes. This program makes it easier for busy professionals to earn a partially online MBA but are unable to go to face to face classes every week. You are required to make only four campus visits each quarter, which is one weekend every three weeks. The rest of the learning experience occurs on the online platform.

According to the university’s website, students in the FEMBA program experienced a 23% to 34% increase in salary during the program. They also experience a 137% increase in salary in the six to eight years after they graduate. Further, 80% received a promotion or switched roles during their EMBA experience.

Available concentrations include HR, finance, general management, manufacturing, leadership, real estate and technology.

Major subject areas of the courses in the FEMBA program are in Leadership Foundations, Data and Decisions, Managerial Economics and Foundations of Finance. Students generally complete the FEMBA program within three years.

This business school also has an extensive alumni network that most MBA graduates find extremely useful for mentoring and career growth.

#3 University of Southern California (USC Marshall)

The USC Marshall School of Business based in Los Angeles offers a top-rated, AACSB-accredited MBA that provides students with an education that teaches students to be forward thinking business leaders that are able to analyze a situation from many perspectives and create the best and most practical solutions.

This online MBA at USC Marshall is relatively new, but it is currently ranked the #8 best online MBA program by US News and World Report. The Marshall online MBA was particularly praised for attracting students from many educational and professional backgrounds. It also earned #11 out of 280 programs for its selectivity in the US News survey.

According to the US News survey, the USC online MBA is particularly strong in these areas:

  • Student engagement: This ranks how responsive the professors are to online students and the students’ general satisfaction – 87 out of 100.
  • Admissions selectivity score: Marshall ranks 82 out of 100.
  • Peer assessment score: This ranks how highly regarded the school is by other universities – 3.7 out of 5.0.

The program can be completed entirely online, but there are some live classes that students must attend. Other courses are recorded and can be viewed as your schedule allows. According to US News, each course is taught by a team of two to four professors. Each week, students complete the pre-recorded coursework at their own pace and then meet live twice per week.

#4 Fresno State University

The Craig School of Business at Fresno University based in Fresno, California offers an online MBA that has flexible online classes as well as face to face classes every few weeks to provide you with exposure up close to the material, faculty and colleagues.

The highly rated curriculum follows the same coursework and structure as the traditional, full time MBA. This degree has been accredited by the AACSB. The school’s website states it is the highest rated AACSB-accredited MBA program between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The program has an emphasis upon applied learning and experiential exercises while also allowing you to develop the skill sets and critical thinking needed for advanced careers in all business industries.

Required courses include:

  • Managerial Economics
  • Accounting and Information Systems
  • Methods of Decision Sciences
  • Global Environment of Business
  • Production and Operations Management
  • Management Information Systems

The regular MBA can be completed in two years online, but there also is an executive MBA that can be earned in less than 17 months for highly experienced business professionals. However, students are required to attend 2.5 weeks of intensive classes at the beginning of the program on campus.

#5 California Southern University

The online MBA from California Southern University is designed to prepare you for leadership positions in businesses of all sizes and in all sectors. In addition to mastering vital business principles, students develop the ability to come up with strategies and implement them across many business sectors and functions.

Students in this two year, online MBA can focus on Online MBA in management, Online MBA in finance, Online MBA in healthcare administration, Online MBA in international business, Online MBA in project management or Online MBA in Human Resources.

Required courses include:

  • Managerial Accounting for Decision Making – 3 Credits
  • Economics for Organizational Management – 3 Credits
  • Business Organization and Management – 3 Credits
  • Ethics in Business – 3 Credits
  • Applied Data Analysis – 3 Credits
  • Marketing Management – 3 Credits
  • Graduate Capstone Project – 3 Credits

This university is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Its business programs have been accredited by the ACBSP. While this organization is not as well known as the AACSB, it is the other major business education accreditation agency in the US.

#6 California State University Monterey Bay

The online MBA from California State University Monterey Bay provides students the opportunity to learn at their own pace and earn a quality MBA without leaving the comfort of their home. Major features of the online MBA program include:

  • Study online at any time; most courses are recorded and can be completed on your schedule
  • No GMAT is required
  • Benefit from regular, real time case discussions from your professors and peers that are related to modern business issues and news
  • Receive personalized attention in online classes that are capped at 30 students
  • Three start times in January, July and October

Major business management competencies covered in the two year online MBA are:

  • Marketing
  • Ethics in decision making
  • Effective communication and management
  • Understanding and incorporating diversity
  • Research fluency and analysis
  • Systems thinking
  • Strategic execution
  • Organizational leadership and teamwork

According to US News and World Report, this online MBA program is ranked #11 in Top Regional Public Schools West, and #47 in Regional Universities West.

It should be noted that at this time, this MBA program is not accredited by the AACSB, but the program is pursuing accreditation and is in process. The entire university is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

#7 California State University Dominguez Hills

California State University Dominguez Hills College of Business Administration and Public Policy offers an online MBA degree that is an asynchronous format. This means that most of the courses are recorded each week and can be viewed on your own schedule. It is an 18 month program that is offered in four sessions. The program is essentially the same as the on campus program but all of the coursework is done online.

Required courses in this two year program include:

  • Advanced Topics in Finance
  • Human Behavior in Organizations
  • Strategic Marketing: Cases and Current Issues
  • Strategic Management
  • Advanced Topics in Accounting
  • Advanced Topics in Information Systems

The university is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

#8 California Coast University

This university is located in Santa Ana, California and offers an online MBA that is 39 credits long and can be completed in 18 to 24 months. It is a self-paced MBA and all courses are delivered online.

Required courses include the following:

  • Business Ethics
  • Business Law
  • E-Commerce Management
  • Financial Management
  • Human Resources Management
  • International Business Management
  • Marketing Information Systems
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Project Management

Students can complete this degree fully online and may begin the program at any time.

#9 California State University Stanislaus

The online MBA at California State University Stanislaus has been designed to meet the needs of full time business professionals and business executives who do not have time to travel to campus for the traditional MBA program. It is currently ranked the 164th best online MBA program according to US News and World Report.

This online MBA has been accredited by the AACSB and consists of 33 credit hours, with 24 hours being core classes and nine being electives.

Required courses include:

  • Business Organization
  • Theory and Behavior
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Integrated Business Strategy
  • Management Accounting
  • Managerial Finance
  • Marketing Management
  • Quality and Productivity Management

The professors in this top online MBA program have been certified by the Online Learning Consortium. This organization certifies online educators so that they become more effective teachers in the online environment.

#10 California National University

The online MBA program at California National University has been designed to model the accreditation standards of the AACSB. Graduates of this two year, online MBA are equipped with the business management skills to be competitive in the changing international, economic and technological business environment.

Required courses include:

  • Graduate Computers and Management
  • Graduate Economic Analysis
  • Graduate Financial Theory and Policy
  • Graduate Principles and Procedures of Finance Accounting
  • Production and Management System Analysis and Development

Available concentrations include accounting, business law, economics, finance, management, management information systems, HR, marketing and healthcare management


Henry Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.

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