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Taking A Look At The Most Affordable San Diego MBA Programs

Affordable San Diego MBA

Cities that exist on thresholds—geographic, cultural—tend to generate a lot of interesting friction. San Diego, situated a few steps from the Mexican border, embodies the possibilities, contradictions, and mystery that make places that are neither-here-nor-there so enticing.

“Threshold cities”—a term I just made up—go beyond the idea of the melting pot, where multi-faceted perspectives coagulate to form new ones. San Diego’s liminal living creates an environment where people seem to exist simultaneously in multiple different realms—there are military bases and idyllic surf spots; research labs and wireless headquarters; Mexico and the United States.

It’s precisely this kind of multiplicity that makes SD such a superb location to undertake an MBA—and that’s to say nothing of the climate. Culture and location aside, one of San Diego’s selling points for prospective b-schoolers is its bargain-priced business programs. Let’s take a deeper dive into five of San Diego’s most affordable MBAs.

UCSD’s Rady School of Management

The UCSD Rady School of Management excels in the development of “ethical and entrepreneurial leaders who make a positive impact in the world through innovation, collaboration and knowledge.” Alumni have founded a reported 150 companies since its inaugural 2006 class. According to an interview with the San Diego Business Journal, Dean Robert Sullivan said, “15 percent of graduates operate a successful startup company,” including wearable device company Aira, women business accelerator HeraLabs, and digital health company Braykion. The full-time MBA is competitively priced at $48,961 for California residents and $55,546 for out-of-state students, as of 2017-18. The school also provides “limited merit-based fellowship support to exceptional individuals” through the Rady Fellowship.

SDSU’s Fowler College of Business

Ranked 9th overall by SoFI in its 2016 Salary-to-Debt Ratio list and 86th by Bloomsberg Businessweek in its full-time MBA list, the Fowler School of Business at San Diego State University was designed for “highly motivated students seeking an intensive academic environment combined with extensive hands-on industry experience.” Distinguished Fowler alumni include Jenny Amaraneni (’11, MBA), Co-founder and CEO of SOLO Eyewear; Adelia Coffman (’76, Accounting), Founding CFO, Qualcomm Incorporated; Kevin Gelfand (’11, Management), Founder and President of Shake Smart; Bret Johnsen (’98, MSBA), Chief Financial Officer, SpaceX; and Neil Schloss (’92, Finance), Vice President & Treasurer, Ford Motor Company. 2017-18 tuition is priced at $29,938 for California residents and $47,758 for out-of-state residents.


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California International Business University

The California International Business University (CIBU) “believes that a good education should be in reach for everyone.” At $26,000, CIBU certainly puts their money where their mouth is. The school’s 48-unit, two-year full-time MBA grooms “students for careers in business management and the necessary skills and global orientation to succeed in the international marketplace [by] promoting critical thinking skills and the blending of hands-on experiences with in-class instruction.”

Alliant School of Management

The Alliant MBA was built to provide today’s modern entrepreneur with the “advanced business, management, and analytical skills” needed for increasingly multi-cultural and international contexts. Available as online or evening programs, Alliant students follow a cohort model before choosing one of the following concentrations: Entrepreneurship; Healthcare Informatics; Healthcare Management; Human Resource Management; International Investments Management, International Marketing; Information and Technology Management; Management and Leadership; Marketing, Organizational Psychology; or Pharmaceutical and Biotech Industry Management. Tuition is priced at $24,300 for California residents and $28,350 for out-of-state residents.

USD School of Business

The University of San Diego School of Business developed its program to give future agents of change the tools needed to “help you pursue your ultimate business calling.” The school counts Verizon Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam (’83) and founder and CEO of private equity firm StepStone Monte Brem (’00) among its distinguished alumni.

USD’s two-year full-time MBA, priced at $79,520, touts its intimacy, flexibility, and international scope as just a few of its many attributes. “Tailor your curriculum by choosing program length, area of emphasis, and varied international options, [including] consulting projects…in countries as diverse as China, Brazil, Germany, the Dominican Republic and many more.”

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About the Author

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer

Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as contributing writer at MetroMBA and contributing editor at Clear Admit, he is co-founder and lead producer of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.

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  1. Phoenix vs San Diego - Where Should I Get My MBA? | MetroMBA - […] we previously discussed, there are a number of affordable programs in the San Diego region, with SDSU’s […]

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