Part-Time MBA Battle: Los Angeles vs. San Diego

Los Angeles vs. San Diego

When someone decides to pursue an MBA, there are a lot of decisions to make. From choosing between full-time and part-time programs and deciding on the perfect city in which to launch your business career, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration.

For prospective MBA students who want to maintain the momentum of their career—rather than take a break for the degree—and earn all the benefits and job growth of an MBA while preserving flexibility, a part-time MBA program may be perfect. But even when you’ve settled on the type of degree you’d like to receive, choosing where to pursue that degree can be a challenge.

It’s well-known that the Golden State has a number of business centers—even outside of the famous Silicon Valley and San Francisco—and can be the perfect place for someone to earn a degree or start their business career. With excellent part-time MBA programs in business hubs like San Diego and Los Angeles, it can be difficult for students to figure out the city and program that is perfect for them.

San Diego

Although San Francisco is well known around the world as a hub for startups, it was ultimately San Diego that took the top spot on Forbes‘ list of the “Best Cities to Start a Business.” Rated the fifth-best business community in the country, San Diego’s community of entrepreneurs has been growing exponentially in recent years.

Some businesses may be concerned about San Diego’s high real estate prices or high taxes for businesses. Yet, with a comparatively low cost of living—in contrast to New York or San Francisco—the benefits for a business (especially a new one) in San Diego may far outweigh any concerns.

There are three main part-time MBA programs in San Diego: the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego; the California School of Management & Leadership at Alliant University; and the Fowler College of Business Administration at SDSU.

Rady’s part-time MBA, better known as the Flex MBA, is the top-rated part-time program in the metro area. Students can complete the program on two distinct paths: the FlexWeekend track or the FlexEvening track. FlexEvening students attend classes on two nights per week over the course of 30 months, while FlexWeekend students attend classes on Fridays and Saturdays on alternative weekends. Unlike the FlexEvening option, however, this FlexWeekend path can be completed in 24 months, while still offering flexibility around professional work schedules.

At the California School of Management & Leadership, the MBA program requires students to take a full course load but offers the schedule and flexibility of a part-time program. Providing a strong foundation in business, leadership, and analytical skills, Alliant’s program can be taken either on campus in San Diego or completely online. The courses are entirely offered in the evening and all scheduling is done in consideration of working professionals. Even with the incredibly flexible schedule, however, students will take a full course load of two courses per eight-week term and therefore can still complete their degree in just two years. The program also allows students a number of concentrations to further focus their education.

At the Fowler College of Business, the part-time MBA requires students to complete 15 classes (or 45 units) total, but allows students three-to-four years to complete their degree, rather than just one or two. Classes are typically offered during evening hours and allow students to continue in full-time jobs. The program requires 15-21 units of core courses as part of the degree, but also permits students to use their additional elective credits to focus in a concentration such as international business, accounting and more.

Los Angeles

While it might seem like the film industry dominates the LA metro, it is also a vibrant and growing city for business, tech, and entrepreneurship. Between the diversity of the city, which brings together people from around the world, and a population bursting with creativity, it can be a perfect place for people to show off their talents, and that just might be in marketing, sales, or getting a new company off the ground. Many of the most successful companies in the country have had their start in Los Angeles, such as CitySearch (sold to Ticketmaster for $260 million) or LowerMyBills (sold to Experian for $330).

Several part-time MBA programs in Los Angeles include:

The Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management offers a part-time MBA program for working professionals which takes roughly two and a half years to complete and includes two sessions over the summer. The part-time program is similar to full-time, offering classes that provide a strong business foundation such as Quantitative Methods and Marketing Management or Managerial Accounting. Students can still be active in the workforce while earning their degree, but if they have time away from their jobs they can also pursue study abroad in countries like China, New Zealand, or the Czech Republic.

The Graziado School at Pepperdine’s part-time MBA is available to students either on-campus, online, or a combination of the two. The program can also be pursued at any of Pepperdine’s four campus locations in the Los Angeles metro area. The program consists of 52 semester units with the opportunity to specialize electives in areas such as Dispute Resolution or Organizational Change.

The part-time MBA at USC’s Marshall School of Business allows students to take classes only in the evenings and weekends, and can be completed in 33 months. The credits are evenly split between elective and core courses with the option of almost 100 elective courses offered ever year. After 12-months of core courses, all part-time students will also take PM.GLOBE, a semester-long macroeconomics class which also includes a 10-day international trip.

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About the Author

Alanna Shaffer

Staff Writer, covering MetroMBA's news beat for Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas.

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