MBA in Sustainability in California

Although it is rare to find an MBA specifically in Sustainability, several schools throughout California offer Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs with concentrations in sustainability. This article explores available programs, study options, and potential career paths. Schools offering Environmental & Social Sustainability degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Antioch University - Los Angeles

Antioch University - Los Angeles has an online Master of Business Administration program that can be started at three times throughout the year and completed in less than two years. Students can select a concentration in sustainable business and complete coursework in climate change, social sustainability, and ecological economics, in addition to learning about organizational leadership and human resources management to a total of 36 credit hours.

Presidio Graduate School

Students can earn a Master of Business Administration in Sustainable Solutions at Presidio Graduate School in as few as four terms, or 14 classes. The program takes students through three foundations in sustainability education: sustainable systems, sustainable leadership, and sustainable business.

University of San Diego

The University of San Diego offers a full-time MBA program that can be completed in 17 or 22 months, an evening professional program that takes two to three years to complete, and a hybrid professional program that can be completed partially online and also takes two to three years to complete. Students can earn a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in corporate social responsibility and sustainable enterprise by taking electives such as business and social innovation, corporate culture, and business leadership.

University of San Francisco

University of San Francisco has a Master of Science in Environmental Management/Master of Business Administration dual-degree program through full-time or part-time study. The program consists of 58 or 66 credit hours (full time, with an MBA concentration), and integrates sustainability, business administration, and environmental strategy.

University of Southern California

The Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California has a 2-year full-time MBA program, a 3-year part-time MBA program, and an online program. In addition to these program options, Marshall also offers a graduate certificate in Sustainability and Business which is offered as a 15 unit certificate with a number of required courses including sustainable supply chains and business law and digital strategies for sustainability in the global market.

School Name Programs Offered Average Graduate Tuition (2018-2019)*
Antioch University - Los Angeles Online MBA
Sustainable Business
$16,416
Presidio Graduate School MBA
Sustainable Solutions
$30,950
University of San Diego Full-Time MBA
Professional MBA
Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Enterprise
$26,712
University of San Francisco MSEM/MBA $24,930
University of Southern California 3-Year Part-Time MBA
Online MBA
Traditional 2-Year MBA
Graduate Certificate in Sustainability and Business
$44,712

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

Admittance Requirements for Sustainability Focused MBA Programs in California

MBA programs in California that specialize in sustainability require incoming students to have earned a bachelor's degree and may prefer candidates who have an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or 3.0. Some programs may require students to have also completed an entrance exam, such as the GMAT or GRE. International or non-native English speakers may need to also earn a qualifying score on the IELTS or TOEFL exam. Other common requirements for all students include a resume, references (or letters of recommendation), and one or more personal essays.

What Can You Do with an MBA in Sustainability?

Industrial Production Managers

Industrial production managers direct the operations and production in manufacturing or other plants. These managers may assess production, recommend changes, report on production efficiency, and ensure that production processes meet regulatory compliance. Industrial production managers who work in larger plants may be required to have an MBA as well as qualifying experience. By focusing their degree in sustainability, applicants are able to apply sustainable and responsible processes to production.

Natural Sciences Managers

While some natural sciences management positions may require scientific degrees, an MBA with a focus on sustainability can give graduates an understanding of business and sustainability, enabling them to utilize sustainable practices in their management roles. As a natural sciences manager, they will oversee biologists, chemists, and/or physicists and direct various activities such as research, quality control, and production, and may also manage budgets, oversee staffing procedures, set standards and administrative policies, and report to other management officials.

Top Executives

An MBA with a focus in sustainability emphasizes sustainable practices, which helps graduates to effectively lead and manage using socially responsible and sustainable practices. Top executives are managers who work in higher-level positions such as operations managers, city managers, chief executive officers, and college presidents, and their duties vary based on position and organization but may include establishing goals, implementing changes in procedures, appointing department heads, reviewing financials, and analyzing operations to identify possible improvements. Many top executives have a master's degree in business administration, especially those working in larger corporations.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2018)* Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Industrial Production Managers $103,380 1%
Natural Sciences Managers $123,860 6%
Top Executives $104,980 6%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Several schools throughout California have programs that enable students to earn a Master of Business Administration with a focus on sustainability in as few as two years. Students learn about various business, management, and sustainable practice topics that prepare them for leadership careers in a variety of settings.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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