Getting a degree in business administration and management in California certainly pays off! As of November 2020, the average annual pay for Business Administration Management jobs is $49,673 – and it translates to about $4,140 per month. This is quite attractive considering that the average monthly salary for the 25-34 years old cohort in the United States is $3,672 (U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics, 2020, 3rd Quarter).
Of course, the high-low spectrum must be taken into account. The salary ranges from $22,120 per year for entry-level jobs to $97,819 per year for senior management positions in California, and we can safely assume that the top-ranking officials like CEOs, COOs, and CFOs make even more money.
The bottom line: There are numerous opportunities for increased pay, career advancement, and personal satisfaction from pursuing a business administration career and management! This is all too true in California, where many of the world’s largest corporations maintain their headquarters and operations, such as Apple, Alphabet, Chevron, Wells Fargo, Intel, Facebook. Walt Disney, HP, Cisco Systems, Oracle, Tesla, and Qualcomm.
Keep in mind, too, that California has more than 4 million small businesses with more than 7 million people employed in them. Such is the abundance of these businesses that they make up 99.8% of all business establishments and employ 48.8% of California’s workforce. People with a degree in business administration and management will find an abundance of employment and entrepreneurship options in the Golden State’s thriving industries.
- San Mateo $5,388
- Richmond $5,041
- San Francisco $4,782
- Santa Clara $4,694
- San Diego $4,684
- Palmdale $4,673
- Pasadena $4,633
- Fremont $4,607
- Glendale $4,602
- Stockton $4,598
But first, you must get a degree in business administration and management to be qualified for these well-paying jobs! The beauty of such a degree lies in the knowledge and skills in accounting, finance, and human resources management, among other subject matters, which are useful in business situations. These knowledge and skills are learned in the classroom and on-the-job training, internships, and real-world research activities, which will take a minimum of four years for a baccalaureate degree.
In many business schools, the business administration and management degree programs come in four tiers.
- The associate degree program equips students with the knowledge and skills to become competitive in entry-level jobs, such as benefit and payroll clerks, executive assistance, and marketing assistant.
- The bachelor’s degree program allows its graduates to apply for management positions, such as project manager, sales manager, and shift manager, usually after a couple of years in an entry-level job. Graduates have more leeway in the type of jobs they will apply for because of their higher education.
- The masters’ degree program, or MBA program, equips students with the right tools and techniques to assume higher leadership and management roles. These include director of business analysis, business manager, senior business analyst, and vice president positions. Graduates can choose to work in the corporate setting, particularly in their specialty like CFO, or become instructors in community colleges and small universities.
Take note that an MBA degree demands substantial time, energy, and effort as well as money! You must then decide whether it’s worth the physical, mental, and financial stress in your case. We must say, nonetheless, that in most cases, it’s well worth it considering the career and pay advancement it can bring to your life.
- The doctoral degree program is geared toward professionals whose goal is to contribute to the development of business theory and management practice and increase their professional knowledge and skills. Graduates typically pursue a career in teaching, such as professors at colleges and universities, and become business consultants.
Emphasis must be made that there are differences between a Ph.D. in business administration and a doctoral in business administration, although both are business-centric terminal degrees. A Ph.D. is research-oriented, and, thus, graduates pursue an academic career. A DBA is focused on theoretical knowledge with practical applications in business management.
Take note that you may or may not pursue an associate degree before transitioning into a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management. You can go directly into a baccalaureate degree program since it’s a more continuous process.
With that said, here are a few notes regarding the best public schools to study business administration and management in the Golden State.
- The acceptance rate refers to the Fall 2019 rate for first-year students. The graduation rate is the four-year rate for the baccalaureate degree program.
- The admission requirements are for incoming students in the bachelor’s degree program in each school. There are different requirements for the master’s and doctoral degree programs; please check the business schools’ websites for more information.
#1 University of California – Berkeley
The University of California – Berkeley, or simply UC Berkeley, is among the world’s top-ranking universities and the oldest campus of the U.C. or University of California system, established 1868. Its business school, known as Haas School of Business or Berkeley Hass, is also recognized by The Economist, Bloomberg Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report as among the best business schools globally.
Such recognition is well-deserved considering that, among other things, many Berkeley faculty and alumni have founded notable companies, including Apple (Steve Wozniak), Softbank Group (Masayoshi Son), and Intel (Gordon Earle Moore). Graduates of its degree programs are sought after by Silicon Valley businesses and employers across the United States and worldwide.
Indeed, Berkeley Haas is your best choice to pursue your business administration and management degree! All of its programs are designed to provide students with an integrated and comprehensive view of business and, as such, enable them to lead, manage, and solve the complex problems of our times. Prospective students are well-advised for the rigorous academic curriculum and standards implemented by the credentialed faculty members.
The BSBA or Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree program is a selective program that accepts applications from continuing UC Berkeley students and transfer students. Students can only apply to the program after completing undergraduate prerequisite courses either at UC Berkeley or at another school. Afterward, they can finish their junior and senior years at Berkeley Haas.
UC Berkeley students planning to enter the BSBA degree program can only apply once. As such, failure to get into the program for your junior year means you likely won’t get another shot at it.
Admissions priority is given to transfer students who are California residents, U.S. citizens, and transferring from a community college in the state, per the law. But students who were admitted as junior transferees to the UC Berkeley’s College of Letters and Science and other schools and corresponding majors aren’t eligible. Students with an existing bachelor’s degree aren’t also eligible for admissions to Berkeley Haas’ undergraduate program.
Transfer students who have been notified of their admission are encouraged to attend the Haas Summer PreCore Program. This program consists of two 6-week courses designed to refresh the students’ knowledge and skills in preparation for the rigors of business school. There are also weekly workshops on a wide range of topics delivered by respected guest speakers.
Once admitted into the undergraduate program, students take both required core courses and elective courses, including communication, economics, financial and managerial accounting, marketing, finance, and ethics.
But there are undergraduate programs that newcomers can enroll in. First, the Global Management Program (GMP), where students learn about business from an international perspective.
Second, the Management Entrepreneurship and Technology (MET) Program is for students who want to combine business and engineering. It is a four-year degree program where students can earn two Bachelor of Science degrees from Berkeley Haas and the College of Engineering. The choices in engineering concentration are Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS), Mechanical Engineering (M.E.), or Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR).
There’s also the Biology+Business Program, a partnership between Berkeley Haas and the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. Students apply to UC Berkeley for their freshman year and then apply to the program during their sophomore year. This is also a four-year degree program where students earn two bachelor’s degrees in business and biology and learn about scientific inquiry, entrepreneurship, and commercialization.
Berkeley Haas also offers a summer business program for non-business majors known as the Business for the Arts, Sciences, and Engineering (BASE) Summer Program. Students can earn academic units from participation in the intensive 6-week program.
Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Acceptance rate: 17%
Graduation rate: 76%
- Completion of all undergraduate prerequisite courses (Take note that the prerequisite courses shouldn’t be more than five years old. All these courses should also carry at least four quarter units and three-semester units.)
- Letter grade C- or higher at the end of the spring term before your planned entry into Berkeley Haas
- At least 90 quarter units or 60-semester units
Applicants are evaluated based on their academic achievement, including course load, grades, consistently high academic performance; impact and consistency of extracurricular activities; communication and analytical skills; and life experiences and personal attributes.
Personal essays resume, and letters of recommendation are also considered during the admissions process. Interviews may also be conducted between a Haas staff or alumni and the applicant.
- B.S. in Business Administration
- Global Management Program (GMP)
- Management Entrepreneurship & Technology
- Biology+Business Program
- Full-time Master in Business Administration (MBA)
- Evening and Weekend MBA
- MBA for Executives
- Master of Financial Engineering
- Ph.D. Program
Graduates of Berkeley Haas possess the integrated knowledge and technical skills vital in a functional understanding of the contemporary business world. They are likely to achieve great personal and professional success in life and be prepared for graduate work if they so desire. Graduates also benefit from the liberal arts curriculum.
#2 California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, or Cal Poly, is a public polytechnic university, one of two of its kind in the California State University system. As a polytechnic, its primary academic focus is on combining professional and technical curricula with the arts and humanities.
The Orfalea College of Business (OCOB) is Cal Poly’s business school, and it’s known for its adoption of Cal Poly’s polytechnic thrust. Its business administration and management degree programs prepare students to become career-ready business professionals and leaders. Students must enroll in a wide range of courses from economics and business communication to accounting, human resources management, and quantitative analysis and undergo internships and enjoy dedicated mentorship.
The curricula integrate trends in business and technology and are imbued with cultural and social service ethos, a combination that gives students the ability to thrive in the modern economy. Students become innovative problem-solvers and catalysts for positive change aside from being thought leaders.
Every undergraduate student should complete a senior project besides excelling in their academic coursework. The senior study should integrate theory and application, and it’s considered a capstone experience for this reason. This can be one or more of these elements:
- A design, usually with a corresponding construction experience
- An experiment
- A presentation
- A self-guided research project
- An internship-based report
- A service-learning experience
- A co-op experience
- A public portfolio display or performance
Many of these senior projects result in employment, a new business venture, and recognition for the work. Notable examples include Punchd, a senior project acquired by Google, and Jamba Juice that started as Juice Club.
Prospective students must declare a major or concentration during the admissions process. Cal Poly admits only the most competitive applicants in every major or concentration based on their GPA and standardized test scores. Every major has its specific plan for a major change, which usually includes the courses to be taken and the required minimum GPA (typically between 2.5 and 2.75).
For these reasons, students are well-advised to make a decisive decision about their major or concentration. Otherwise, a transfer to other universities may be necessary.
Students taking up business administration as their major at OCOB can choose from nine areas of specialization, namely:
- Accounting and Law
Students gain a comprehensive understanding of accounting and tax laws as well as their practical business applications.
- Consumer Packaging
Students learn about packaging from their designs to their construction and how these can meet the customers’ needs and wants. The curriculum includes technical packaging, entrepreneurship, and marketing courses.
Students take up sales and marketing courses, people management, business strategy, finance, accounting, and technology, which are vital in business success. They have a wide range of support services provided by the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), such as pitch competitions, mentorship, and training.
- Financial Management
Students gain crucial knowledge, skills, and insight into the management of personal portfolios and income securities, among others. The focus is on accounting, economics, and computer science.
- Information Systems
Graduates are in high demand due to their comprehensive understanding of organizations, technology, people, and their relationships.
- Management and Human Resources
Students become versatile leaders with proficiency in global business management, organizational design, negotiation, recruitment, training and development, and compensation.
Graduates are well-versed in creative strategy, data analysis, and customer relations and are employable in technical and creative careers.
- Quantitative Analysis
Students can analyze market data and trends across several industries. They are data experts that can predict trends useful in business situations.
- Real Estate Finance
Graduates can immediately plunge into the real estate industry with their intensive background in real estate and finances. They are usually employed by consulting firms, insurance companies, and brokerage firms, too.
Besides their classroom lessons, students are also provided with unparalleled opportunities to work with corporate partners, build real-world business strategies, and even launch start-ups.
San Luis Obispo, California
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
Acceptance rate: 28%
Graduation rate: 51%
- Weighted GPA (from 9th to 11th grade; Weight will also be granted for courses with designations like college-level, honors, and advanced placement)
- Standardized test scores
- Work experiences
- Extracurricular activities
- Volunteer activities
- Accounting and Law
- Consumer Packaging
- Real Estate Finance
- Industrial Technology and Packaging
- Packaging Program
- Management and Human Resources
- Information Systems
- MS Business Analytics
- MS Packaging Value Chain
- MS Quantitative Economics
- MS Taxation
- Business Analytics
- Packaging Value Chain
Graduates find employment or establish businesses of their own after graduation. Their professional success is partly based on their foundational knowledge and finance, information systems, management, and accounting skills. Soon, they will grow into their respective leadership and change-maker roles.
#3 University of California – Irvine
The University of California Irvine—UC Irvine—is part of the University of California system and considered as a Public Ivy school; the Public Ivy designation means that it’s a public university that provides Ivy League-equivalent quality of education. Such is its world-class education that it has produced several Nobel laureates aside from attracting students from across California, the U.S., and the world because of its safe, dynamic, and beautiful communities.
The Paul Merage School of Business is UC Irvine’s business school, and it offers undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate business administration and management degree programs. Students and alumni love it for its academic excellence combined with a cutting-edge entrepreneurial thrust, world-class faculty, and strong relationships with corporations. The Merage School is also known for its unique business education theme: sustainable growth via strategic innovation.
No wonder that the Merage School maintains its status among the top 10% of business schools in the country! With more than 1,200 students in all its programs every year, it’s also a vibrant community wherein students learn from their teachers and each other. Students are provided with a highly personalized learning environment to develop their leadership, analytical decision-making, and collaborative skills.
Furthermore, students can expand their horizons through real-world, on-site experiences with companies. They can then make a concrete connection between their classroom-based theoretical knowledge and their real-world practical applications.
UC Irvine’s Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration enables students to acquire a broad knowledge of business administration during their freshman year. They must complete seven business courses that serve as the robust foundation in core business competencies.
- Information Systems
- Operations and Decision Technologies
- Organization and Management
Students are also required to take an international business course. This can be fulfilled by either taking a course specifically designated for this purpose or participating in the Education Abroad Program.
The Merage School also provides its students with ample opportunities to improve their presentation and concentration skills, engage in mentoring programs, and attend formal events where guest speakers discuss business-related topics. Students can also attend business writing workshops with writing consultants. These activities are intended to ensure that undergraduate students become well-rounded individuals with useful business skills.
Students are strongly encouraged to engage in various business-related practical experiences to complement their academic work. The Career Center sponsors UC Irvine’s Internship Program for this purpose. Students can request assistance in finding work opportunities, which can be paid or voluntary work, in industrial, business, and non-profit establishments.
The UC Irvine Undergraduate Administrative Intern Program is also a great venue for students to work for a year on special projects. The one-year internship is supplemented by attendance in administrative conferences and management seminars. These activities are specifically related to the administration and management of UC Irvine and its programs.
There’s a positive collaborative culture that permeates The Merage School, and it is part of the reason for the students’ strong leanings toward becoming differentiators. Students work with each other and the faculty and staff to meet the high academic standards while enjoying their time outside the classroom.
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business – AACSB International
Acceptance rate: 27%
Graduation rate: 69%
- At least 3.0 GPA for California residents or 3.4 for non-California residents
- Completion of the requirements of the 15 required a-g courses (No grade should be lower than C)
UC Irvine gives preferential treatment to students who excelled in their college prep courses and graduated in the upper 10th of the high school graduating class. But the admissions committee also considers other non-academic factors, such as extracurricular activities, special talents and skills, and volunteer work, particularly in leadership roles. Applicants should also answer four out of eight personal insight questions, which will also be considered.
- B.A. in Business Administration
- BS in Business Information Management
- Master of Finance
- Master of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- Master of Professional Accountancy
- Master of Science in Business Analytics
- Master of Science in Biotechnology Management
- Master of Science in Engineering Management
- Full-Time MBA
- Fully Employed MBA
- Executive MBA
- Open Programs
- Custom Programs
- International Programs
Graduates of The Merage School are often sought-after by world-renowned companies like IBM, HBO, Disney, Mattel, 20th Century Fox, and Deloitte Consulting for their excellent business education. Indeed, the degree programs are among the most competitive in California and the U.S.
#4 San Diego State University
San Diego State University (SDSU) is a top-ranking public research university that has produced several Fulbright Scholars in California, second only to UC Berkeley. Its student body is the most racially and ethnically diverse among universities in the U.S., aside from being one of the primary educators for the San Diego regional workforce. Indeed, most of its graduates remain in the region and contribute to its vibrant economy, just as SDSU itself contributes more than $2.4 billion per year to the regional economy.
SDSU’s business school is The Fowler College of Business, which offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in business administration and management. All its programs are designed to let students develop their leadership, teamwork, and communication skills and become creative problem solvers who will succeed in any business environment. The degree programs are characterized by intensive traditional education in the classroom, combined with engaging collaborations with the San Diego business community.
Indeed, students gain from the combination of theoretical knowledge, practical skills, and experiential learning opportunities during their time at SDSU’s business school!
Students in the Bachelor in Science in Business Administration (BSBA) degree program choose from eight concentrations. But every student must complete the requirements for core subjects, which are the foundation for the concentration-specific courses. Every concentration has its specific graduation plan, so students must work with their advisors.
The BSBA Major in Management degree provides students with the tools, techniques, and technologies to set objectives and plan and organize, make decisions and execute action plans, among other responsibilities, in the future. Graduates will likely become managers adept at identifying problems and their solutions, communicating with their subordinates, superiors, and peers, and directing the establishment toward its goals. This is, indeed, the best degree program for students who dream about becoming managers.
The BSBA Major in Accountancy degree is characterized by self-directed learning yet still under credentialed faculty members’ guidance. Students learn about accounting, auditing, and taxation principles and practices, which will prepare them for successful careers in the public and private sectors. This degree is offered in the Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy.
The BSBA Major in Finance degree prepares students for careers in the competitive world of finance. Their courses are intended to deepen their understanding of the free market system, capital and capitalism, and resource allocation, which are valuable in many industries, from energy to retail.
Students taking up General Business receive a broad education about the functions of a business and its sub-disciplines and their relationships to third party entities. They can select courses covering numerous business sub-disciplines, so their education has a broader nature; suitable jobs for graduates include sales, retail, and other service industries.
San Diego, California
Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Acceptance rate: 34%
Graduation rate: 40%
Take note that the SDSU uses the CSU common admission application. Applicants must pay a non-refundable filing fee for their application to be considered.
- Unofficial transcripts
- Social Security Number (SSN), if you have one
- Annual income (If you’re a dependent, you should report your parents’ income. Otherwise, you should report your income as an independent person)
- Citizenship status
- Credit card (This will be used in the payment of application fees during submission time.)
- Parents’ employment background and two letters of recommendation (This is only required for students applying to the Educational Opportunity Program.)
Prospective students must first be admitted to SDSU before requesting admission to The Fowler College of Business. If you’re admitted to the latter, you will be designated as a Pre-Business Administration student.
SDSU’s admissions process evaluates applicants based on a comprehensive set of factors that present a full picture of each applicant’s potential. Ideal candidates include students with high academic achievements who demonstrate great potential to contribute to their excellent reputation and diversity. The factors include:
- Completion of the a-g requirements
- Breadth and depth of academic record including participation in honors, international baccalaureate, and advance placement classes
- Personal story, such as overcoming life obstacles
- Extracurricular activities and volunteer activities
- Financial Services
- General Business
- Information Systems
- Real Estate
- Accountancy (BSBA/MS)
- Online Degree Completion (BSBA)
- International Business (B.A.)
- Business Administration (MBA)
- Juris Doctorate (JD/MBA)
- Latin American Studies (MA/MBA)
- Sports (MBA)
- Accountancy (M.S.)
- Cybersecurity Management (M.S.)
- Financial & Tax Planning (MSBA)
- Global Business Development (M.S.)
- Information Systems (M.S.)
- Data Analytics
- Executive Financial Planner
Graduates of these programs can compete for the best supervisory and managerial positions, become the top man in their businesses or open their consulting firms.
#5 San Jose State University
The San Jose State University (SJSU) is Money magazine’s Most Transformative University, a recognition based on its graduate earnings, graduate rates, and student loan repayments. As a California State University system member, it is also recognized as the largest producer of business graduates to the world-famous Silicon Valley.
The Lucas College and Graduate School of Business at SJSU has strong connections with Silicon Valley through many of its key initiatives. The Career Readiness Program is foremost among these initiatives, and it builds strong networking, job search, and professional skills in students so that they become valuable assets. These initiatives also include programs intended to develop the students’ entrepreneurship skills through project-based learning, research activities combined with experiential learning opportunities, and student competitions that test their entrepreneurial mindset.
The Lucas College and Graduate School of Business consist of three schools, two undergraduate departments, and the Lucas Graduate School of Business. Together, these units offer a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business administration and management.
The School of Management offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) with majors in Management and Human Resource Management. Students are provided with the knowledge, tools, and skills in the effective and efficient management of organizations and people and the identification of problems and their solutions.
The Accounting and Finance Department is home to the BSBA with majors in accounting and finance degree programs. Here, students learn the essential skills to measure, analyze, interpret, and communicate economic, business, and accounting data.
The Marketing and Business Analytics Department offers two options in concentration. First, the Marketing concentration prepares students for a successful career in the different areas of marketing, such as social media marketing, marketing management, and sales and promotion. Second, the Business Analytics concentration is for students with a passionate interest in quantitative approaches concerning business decision-making.
The School of Global Innovation and Leadership offers three concentrations: Entrepreneurship, International Business, and Global Operations Management. Students learn to become innovative leaders who see a business with a global viewpoint.
The School of Information Systems and Technology prepares students for professional success and makes meaningful contributions to the 21st-century information economy.
All undergraduate programs are designed to develop students’ key competencies in communications, entrepreneurship, decision-making, business analysis, critical thinking, global perspectives, and technical expertise. Prospective students must be prepared for the rigorous curriculum in their respective concentrations. It is a must to consider that they will be groomed as future business leaders.
San Jose, California
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
- California State Board of Education
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business – AACSB International
Acceptance rate: 64%
Graduation rate: 15%
- Have a high school diploma or its equivalent (Final transcripts should show your graduation date)
- A-G requirements must be fulfilled with a C- grade or better
- Meet or exceed the California State University (CSU) Minimum Eligibility Index
Submission of official ACT/SAT scores is suspended for the Fall 2021 admission cycle due to the pandemic. You may submit your standardized test scores, but these will not be considered for admission purposes.
SJSU has an admissions process that is so competitive even meeting the minimum CSU requirements won’t mean guaranteed admission. Also, local applicants – or incoming first-year students who graduated from a high school in Santa Clara County – are given preference during the admissions process.
Prospective students are well-advised to choose their primary and alternate majors carefully due to the university’s impaction process and admission thresholds. You can’t change your major during the application and admission process, too, and changing your major after you’ve been admitted is by petition only (i.e., no guarantee of approval). Your orientation, advising, and registration will also be based on your choice of concentration.
- Accounting Information Systems
- Business Analytics
- Corporate Accounting and Finance
- General Business
- Global Operations Management
- Human Resource Management
- International Business
- Management Information Systems
- Business Administration (Early Career), MBA
- Business Administration (For Professionals), MBA
Graduates with a business administration and management degree from SJSU become leaders in their own right, either as managers in public and private organizations or as entrepreneurs and business owners.
Yes, there are differences between traditional and online business administration and management degree programs, but these are mainly delivery methods. While traditional degree programs involve face-to-face interactions in a classroom setting, online degree programs use Internet-based technology to establish virtual classrooms and chat rooms and deliver the course materials. The curriculum and courses, including their content and challenges, are the same in all other aspects.
There’s also the fact that business courses are well-suited for self-study, and these include accounting, finance, and marketing courses. Students can study the course materials, answer the tests and quizzes, and submit their assignments via online technology and with relative ease.
With an online degree program, students have to adopt more efficient time management skills to stay on top of their coursework. Most online students, after all, choose this route because it offers more flexibility to manage their work and studies. But flexibility doesn’t mean that online students can overlook the degree program’s deadlines and requirements – they are subject to these aspects as much as their traditional counterparts.
Keep in mind that choosing this major is a personal decision and, as such, you must take full responsibility for it! Nonetheless, you’re likely an ideal candidate for a business administration and management degree if and when you possess the following traits or characteristics:
- You have excellent written and verbal communication skills.
- Your persuasiveness makes other people follow your lead or agree with your opinions. Yet, you respect the opinions of others and agree to disagree.
- You have a deep interest in data and information as well as in their practical implications and applications. You like math as it applies to accounting, finance, and economics in high school.
- You are keen on developing your critical thinking, analytical thinking, and problem-solving skills concerning your leadership and management roles.
- You have the drive and passion for management and leadership.
Remember that a minor with your business administration and management degree will impact your career path. A few minors that will go well with your business degree include:
- Organizational communication
- Social media analytics
- Management information systems
- Consumer psychology