Top 10 Budget MBA Programs in California

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. 

San Bernardino, California 26 Followers 18 Discussions

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. 

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Long Beach, California 31 Followers 27 Discussions

“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. 

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Los Angeles, California 45 Followers 47 Discussions
Pepperdine - 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. 

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Santa Clara, California 12 Followers 11 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.  

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San Francisco, California 29 Followers 40 Discussions
Hult - 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. 

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Davis, California 21 Followers 26 Discussions
UC 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. 

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San Diego, California 55 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.  

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Irvine, California 41 Followers 40 Discussions
UC 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. 

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La Jolla, California 35 Followers 18 Discussions
UCSD - 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.

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Los Angeles, California 103 Followers 120 Discussions
USC - 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. 

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