News Release

UC Davis Brings MBA Program to San Francisco Bay Area

September 13, 2004

(Davis, CA)–As applications surge for executive MBA programs across the country, the nationally ranked management school at the University of California, Davis, is bringing its successful program for working professionals to the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Graduate School of Management, with one of only three nationally ranked MBA programs in Northern California, is now recruiting students for the fall of 2005.

The program will be offered through weekend classes at the San Ramon Valley Conference Center, 35 miles east of San Francisco.

Although the UC Davis program will bring to 10 the number of executive MBA programs offered in the Bay Area, it will be strategically located in the Interstate 680 and Interstate 580 corridor, known for its software and telecommunications industries. And it will also be distinguished by its use of regular, full-time professors as instructors, as well as an intimate, highly interactive learning environment.

Applications to executive MBA programs have increased over 50 percent from 2003, said Maury Kalnitz, managing director of the Executive MBA Council. His organization fosters the development of executive MBA programs and has 220 member universities offering more than 260 programs, including UC Davis.

According to the Application Trends Survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council in partnership with the Executive MBA Council, more than half of executive MBA programs responding to the survey have experienced increases in applications for 2004.

Nicole Woolsey Biggart, dean of the UC Davis management school, said executive MBA programs are advantageous for professionals who want to grow in their careers and continue to earn income as they pursue their degree. Many businesses support employees in MBA programs with flexible work scheduling and tuition-reimbursement programs.

Biggart said the school’s market research found a significant demand among both employers and working professionals for a high-quality executive MBA program in the East Bay.

“We’ve been asked repeatedly to provide an MBA education in the area,” she added.

“We have so many good companies with young people who would love to get access to a high-quality MBA program,” said Joe Gabbert, executive vice president of worldwide human resources for Documentum and vice president of human resources for the EMC Software Group in Pleasanton. “It’s going to be great for our employees to have the opportunity to take advantage of an MBA program from a first-class institution like UC Davis.”

James Stevens, assistant dean for student affairs at the management school, said he expects to enroll about 50 students for classes beginning September 2005.

Applicants are expected to come from a wide range of sectors including high-tech and communications, banking and finance, science and engineering, health care, manufacturing, not-for-profit and others.

The program’s curriculum will mirror the school’s existing MBA program, offered in Sacramento since 1994. That program draws students from 17 Northern California and Nevada counties and attracts well-placed professionals with several years of work experience.

“In a class of highly skilled professionals, students learn not only from the professors but also from each other,” Biggart said.

Classes in the Bay Area MBA program have been scheduled so students won’t be traveling to and from the teaching site in peak traffic hours. They will meet every other week, Friday afternoons and evenings and all day Saturday. In the summers, the school plans to offer intensive residential courses, field courses and others involving international study.

The San Ramon Valley Conference Center, which offers overnight accommodations, is on Crow Canyon Road just east of Interstate 680, about seven miles north of Interstate 580.

The program’s schedule and location also make it convenient for students to fly in from other major Western cities — including Seattle, San Diego, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Stevens said the school has plans to further promote this feature of the program outside of the Bay Area to enrich the diversity and breadth of the student body.

Students will move through the program as a cohort, enabling them to bond and, as they work collaboratively, to enhance their leadership and team skills for greater effectiveness in competitive markets, Biggart said.

They will be required to take six core courses, three courses designed to ensure a breadth of management knowledge and 15 electives — allowing them to focus their studies in such fields as technology management, finance and marketing.

Students typically take two classes each quarter and would graduate in three years but could accelerate their studies by taking additional courses. The total cost of the program would be between $65,000 and $75,000.

The dean said the program will create greater visibility for the UC Davis management school in the Bay Area and cement the growing relationship with the business community and alumni already in the area. More than half of the school’s graduates live and work in the Bay Area. Top employers of UC Davis MBAs in the area include Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Wells Fargo Bank, SBC Communications and Bank of America.

The management school also offers a Full-Time MBA program and teaches an undergraduate minor in technology management on the Davis campus.

In its ranking of MBA programs, U.S. News & World Report currently places the daytime program 29th overall and 14th among programs at public universities; for the last nine years, the magazine has ranked the UC Davis program among the top 50 MBA programs overall.

UC Davis MBA students are known for their innovative and entrepreneurial activities, Biggart said. They plan and organize the annual Big Bang! Business Plan Competition, which has sent two winning ventures to the finals of Fortune magazine’s national MBA Showdown. In four of the last five years, UC Davis MBA students have taken top awards at the International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition. And last fall, a UC Davis team placed among the top 20 in the Thunderbird Innovation Challenge, an international competition billed to crown the “Most Innovative MBA Team” in the world.

A gala launch for the UC Davis Bay Area MBA program will be held at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at the San Ramon Valley Conference Center and is open to the public.

A series of information sessions will also be held in the area through April.

For more information about the program, call (530) 752-7658.


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