Your Guide to the Best Marketing MBA Programs in San Diego

Best San Diego Marketing MBA

The San Diego metro is home to some of the country’s best weather and finest defense, tourism, international trade and research/manufacturing sectors. But “The Plymouth of the West” is also gaining notoriety as a rapidly growing digital marketing hub.

According to Underground Elephant, a San Diego-based marketing company, local employment in advertising, PR and related services has grown by about 7.5 percent since 2013. The number of firms specializing in those services has risen from 418 to 452 over the same period, and 10 local online advertising and marketing firms made it onto Inc. Magazine’s list of the country’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies in 2013.

This growth in San Diego’s marketing sector has also affected the ways local business schools approach teaching marketing. How do San Diego business schools prepare students to enter this growing industry? Let’s take a deeper dive.

Alliant School of Management – Alliant International University

The Alliant School of Management was formed in 2001 when the California School of Professional Psychology and United States International University merged. Since then, the university has made preparing students part of an increasingly global and diverse workforce one of its primary missions. At its San Diego campus, the Alliant School of Management offers an MBA program with evening classes geared toward working professionals. MBA classes are also offered at Alliant’s San Francisco, Irvine and Fresno campuses. Additionally, students can study toward their Alliant MBA entirely online.

Alliant’s Online MBA program features a concentration in marketing. According to Alliant, this concentration builds on the executive-level marketing courses in the MBA core with targeted content covering concepts and theories such as:

  • Branding and brand management
  • Developing and presenting marketing plans
  • Establishing sales strategies that work
  • Conducting market research
  • Evaluating consumer behavior, especially within multi-cultural or international contexts

California International Business University (CIBU)

The California International Business University (CIBU) take on business school is a unique blend of the American and Scandinavian approaches to business studies. In fact, CIBU partners closely with the Niels Brock Copenhagen Business College and has plans to eventually merge the two schools. CIBU offers an MBA and an MBA (Vatel) with a Tourism and Hospitality concentration.

The CIBU MBA program requires 12 courses: Eight core courses and four electives. Core coursework covers topics such as business ethics, marketing and economic analysis. With their four electives, students may study topics in human resource management, international business & commerce and project management. Elective Marketing courses offered at CIBU include Lifestyle Marketing & Media and International Marketing.

Fermanian School of Business – Point Loma Nazarene University

Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) was founded in the Los Angeles area by Dr. Phineas F. Bresee in 1902, but moved to its current location in Point Loma, San Diego in 1973. Currently accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, PLNU started offering MBAs in 2001 at the Mission Valley campus. The Fermanian School of Business offers a one-year, full-time daytime MBA degree, in addition to a 24-28 months evening part-time MBA.

While no marketing concentrations are offered at Fermanian, marketing classes are part of each program’s core coursework. Two marketing classes—BUS 625 – Marketing Research and BUS 655 – Marketing Management—are required in all Fermanian MBA degrees.

Fowler College of Business Administration – SDSU

San Diego State University College of Business was the first business school in California to earn AACSB accreditation in 1959, and was one of the first business schools in the state to gain this distinction. Today, the college has grown into one of the largest business schools in Southern California.

All students at the Fowler College of Business Administration are required to complete a total of 18 elective units, and earning an MBA specialization is optional. Students who wish to specialize in a specific area of study will be required to take a minimum of four classes in their chosen area of emphasis, including marketing.

Specialized marketing electives include:

  • MKTG 761 – Product Innovation Management
  • MKTG 762 – Seminar in Integrated Marketing Communication
  • MKTG 769 – Seminar in International Marketing
  • MKTG 772 – Strategic Brand Management
  • MKTG 779 – Advanced Marketing Strategy

Rady School of Management – UC San Diego

A relatively new business school, the the Rady School of Management was founded in 2003 and earned AACSB accreditation in 2011. The school offers a full-time MBA that typically takes 21 months to complete. It also offers two flexible programs: The FlexEvening MBA, which requires 30 consecutive months to complete, and the FlexWeekend MBA, which takes 24 consecutive months.

Rady’s core coursework features one marketing class, where students take an analytical approach to the study of marketing problems. The course provides an understanding of customers and competitors as a basis for developing, pricing, promoting, and distributing goods and services that satisfy customer and organizational objectives.

Rady also offers the following elective coursework in marketing:

University of San Diego School of Business Administration

Founded in 1972, the School of Business Administration at the University of San Diego offers two MBA programs: a full-time MBA and a Professional part-time MBA. School of Business Administration MBA students may focus elective coursework in an area of concentration, including the marketing concentrations.

Completion of courses towards the marketing concentration provides students with the skill and know-how to pursue career opportunities in product and brand management, advertising, public relations, multinational marketing management and other areas in the marketing field. Marketing concentration coursework includes:


About the Author

Max Pulcini

Max Pulcini is a Philadelphia-based writer and reporter. He has an affinity for Philly sports teams, Super Smash Bros. and cured meats and cheeses. Max has written for Philadelphia-based publications such as Spirit News, Philadelphia City Paper, and Billy Penn, as well as national news outlets like The Daily Beast.

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