Finding the Right Fit for Your MBA

Top 5 factors to consider

If you’re reading this, you know there are an array of options, formats and features when it comes to finding the right MBA for you.

At the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, we devote much of our time showing vs. telling prospective students about our collaborative culture, globally recognized faculty and world-class programs.

Our goal is to help you find the right fit as you make a significant investment in yourself to pursue an MBA to advance your personal and professional pursuits.

As a UC Davis MBA alumna myself, I’d like to share five areas to consider—and our strengths in each area:

Culture and Location

One of the advantages students repeatedly say they appreciate the most about the Graduate School of Management is our close-knit community. Our culture inspires others to achieve, helps others to succeed, builds trust and challenges you as a collaborative leader.

Collaboration is woven into the very fabric of our culture and learning environment across all our program locations—from the quintessential college-town atmosphere at the UC Davis campus to our part-time MBA programs in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as our Online MBA program. Our influence and networks span Northern California’s global innovation hubs and far beyond, connecting you to extraordinary opportunities.


Our Full-Time MBA program is cohort based with core courses, summer internship and electives that give you the flexibility to pursue concentrations and many related activities.

UC Davis MBA students have the freedom to explore their curiosities and strengthen their interests by choosing from over 45 elective courses, as well as graduate courses offered at a top-tier research university. MBA students also can take electives offered in all our MBA programs: Full-Time, Part-Time in Sacramento and Bay Area, and Online.

Many students enjoy having the flexibility to build their experience by taking courses outside of their concentration to fill-in their knowledge gaps.

Hands-on Learning

Opportunities to consult for companies and work with top executives are key to your MBA experience.

Agriculture students visit crops in field
Food and Ag Industry Immersion students out in the field at Driscoll's berries.

At UC Davis, our MBA IMPACT curriculum is built around hands-on learning, culminating in our capstone experience with student teams developing solutions for firms ranging from Fortune 50 and large non-profits to promising startups.

In addition, our deep-dive Industry Immersions are transformational journeys that combine UC Davis’ pioneering research and our corporate-partnership network to further develop your business knowledge and skills and prepare you for careers in specific fields. Anchoring our Industry Immersions, you team up on real challenges posed by senior executives and CEOs that are critical to the well-being of society in four key areas:

  • Food & Agriculture
  • Sustainable Energy
  • Biotechnology
  • Technology Finance (CFO for Technology)

And, we offer scholarships to candidates interested in these areas.

Leadership Development

Many business schools offer leadership development that generally give students tools to discover their strengths and weakness and make improvements.

In the UC Davis MBA programs, we take it to the next level in our Collaborative Leadership Program. We help you become a leader who both knows their strengths and relies on collaborating with others to successfully work in teams toward shared goals. A collaborative leader builds coalitions across stakeholders, accepts responsibility and demonstrates values-based leadership.

At the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, students learn to become collaborative leaders who:

  • Inspire others to achieve
  • Help others to succeed
  • Build trust and bring positive energy
  • Is humble and is willing to learn from others


University and business school rankings vary widely in methodologies and ratings approaches. That said, they certainly can be relevant guideposts and quality measures to consider when choosing a program.

USNews ROI top 12 ranking graphic

At the university level, UC Davis has been ranked among the top five public universities in the U.S., rooted in a land-grant mission of learning, teaching, research, and public service. It’s one of the most comprehensive tier-one research universities in the world and consistently ranked among the top for sustainability, value, social mobility and diversity.

The UC Davis Graduate School of Management’s MBA programs are consistently recognized among the top programs nationally and internationally. For example:

  • The UC Davis Full-Time MBA is ranked among the top 30 overall by Fortune.
  • Among the top 12 U.S. full-time MBA programs with the highest return on investment for recent graduates earning more than $100,000, according to U.S. News & World Report data.
  • In the top 10 full-time MBA programs for diversity in Bloomberg BusinessWeek's Best Business School rankings. 
  • Our Part-Time MBA program in Sacramento and Bay Area is ranked among the top 20 at U.S. public universities in U.S News & World Report rankings.
  • Our MBA faculty, who get to know you by your first name, are ranked No. 2 globally by The Economist.

I took all of these factors into consideration when I was a prospective student and chose the UC Davis as the place where I wanted to pursue my MBA. Not only was it the right fit for my education, but also my career. I hope you find the right fit for you, as well.