Full-Time MBA Battle: San Francisco vs. Seattle

San Francisco seattle MBA

Whether it’s 49ers vs the Seahawks or Apple vs Microsoft, it may seem like there are a lot of differences between San Francisco and Seattle. Putting these minor dissimilarities aside, however, and you’ll find common ground between two of the northwest’s biggest cities: Both metros are known as top locations for prospective MBAs looking to earn an advanced business degree full-time.

The Cities

San Francisco is the cultural, commercial, financial, and educational epicenter of northern California and Silicon Valley. It is the fourth-most populated city in the state, and 13th-most in the country, with an estimated population around 870,000. Known for its temperate climate, foggy vistas, hilly landscape, and historic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, San Francisco is also the headquarters of major companies, such as Levi Strauss & Co., Dropbox, Square, Inc., Airbnb, Yelp, Pinterest, Twitter, and Uber.

Meanwhile, with around 700,000 residents, Seattle is the largest city in Washington state. The city is situated on an isthmus between an inlet of the Pacific Ocean and Lake Washington, just 100 miles from the Canadian border. Seattle is the fourth-largest port in the continent in terms of container handling. Aside from shipping, Boeing established Seattle as a center for aircraft manufacturing, while Microsoft put the city on the map as a technology center beginning in the 1980s. Newer corporations like as Amazon helped spark an economic revival in the city, which increased the city’s population by almost 50,000 between 1990 and 2000.

Full-Time MBA Programs

San Francisco is home to some of the country’s premier full-time MBA programs, including:

The full-time MBA at Golden Gate University is designed for both working professionals and full-time students. Unlike many programs, Golden Gate features three intakes of students each year, with classes beginning in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. The program is set up in a cohort structure and offers 14 areas of academic concentration, including accounting, finance, human resource management, and more.

The Berkeley Haas full-time MBA is a two-year daytime program. There is one intake per year, and the program is in a cohort structure. Following core coursework, students can explore different Areas of Elective Emphasis including: finance, marketing, strategy/consulting, corporate social responsibility, energy and clean technology, entrepreneurship, global management, health management, nonprofit and public leadership, real estate, and technology.

San Francisco State’s Fast-Track MBA program features both afternoon and evening classes and can be completed in as little as 12 months. The program ends with a case study in strategic management, which evaluates strategy formulation, implementation, techniques and decision-making in the context of the economic, social, political, and competitive global environment.

Perhaps the most prestigious and well-known business schools in the San Francisco metro is the Stanford Graduate School of Business, which offers a full-time MBA program that has one student intake per year. Following core coursework, students take electives and areas of concentration before participating in a global management immersion experience between their first and second year of the program. Stanford also encourages multidisciplinary studies taken outside of Stanford GSB that apply 15 class units toward their MBA degree.

Lastly, University of San Francisco’s full-time MBA program is 22 month-long, and built with small class sizes and a strong alumni network in mind. Located in downtown San Francisco, the program focuses on experiential learning with a Personalized Career Accelerator Platform, consulting, and internships with nearby companies and a MBA social innovation project.

Seattle, on the other hand, settles for quality over quantity when it comes to its full-time MBA offerings.

The Seattle University full-time Bridge MBA takes one year to complete. The cohort-based program features daytime classes, and past work experience is not required. What makes this program stand out is that it was designed for recent graduates who did not major in business. Students are required to complete 14 three-credit courses and a six-credit capstone course for a total of 48 credits over the course of the program.

The 20-month long full-time MBA at the University of Washington Foster School of Business includes includes five core courses, one leadership development course, and 11 electives. Students must also take two international perspective activities and three practical experience activities, both of which may or may not be directly involved with current businesses. The program also boasts experiential learning options such as international consulting projects, fellowship programs, case competitions, and business plan competitions.

Job Placement and Salary

San Francisco is home to the MBA program that yields the highest-paid graduates. According to a Bloomberg Businessweek survey, Stanford business students receive the highest compensation one year out of school than any other business school. Furthermore, six to eight years out, the average recent Stanford MBA earns a staggering $285,000, which is tied with Harvard for the highest earnings among MBAs. Recruiters, school officials, former students, and other MBAs cited that Stanford’s prestige and proximity to Silicon Valley companies help lead to the high salaries.

Meanwhile, Seattle is home to Amazon—one of the most sought-after MBA employers in the country. According to CNN, Amazon is the sixth most desirable place to work for MBAs, with 11.94 percent of MBAs wanting to work there. In fact, according to Quartz, despite not calling Silicon Valley it’s home, Amazon is hiring the most MBAs in tech, and it’s not really close:

“The e-commerce giant is the biggest employer in the tech industry of graduates from elite business schools, hiring more than twice as many top MBAs last year as Microsoft, the next biggest tech employer, according to data from the schools in the top 20 of U.S. News & World Report’s rankings that release company-level hiring statistics. And while consulting firms like McKinsey and Deloitte are usually still the single biggest employers — consulting is often the biggest hiring category — Amazon leads the list at some schools. At the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, for example, Amazon hired 34 MBAs in 2015, ahead of McKinsey (22). The Seattle company also led in summer internships at Michigan, which often turn into full-time jobs.”

In Conclusion

While San Francisco and Seattle have their differences, both are great destinations for prospective MBAs. With top-notch programs and two of the finest cities one could ever want to live in, these metros stand out when it comes to full-time MBA offerings.

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About the Author

Max Pulcini

Staff Writer, covering MetroMBA's news beat for Chicago, Washington D.C., and Baltimore.

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