Its Davis location at the northernmost edge of California’s vast Central Valley means that the UC-Davis Graduate School of Management is an economic driver for the dynamic growth of the region and a hub for the agricultural industry — indeed, the university’s agriculture and environmental sciences college often tops ranking lists for research.
It’s also close enough to the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley so that students can benefit from the tech ecosystem; and Apple, Intel and Hewlett Packard are Northern Californian neighbors with operations in the Sacramento region, after all. Add this together and you get one of the world’s centers for agritech. Proximity to Napa is also boon for those with a taste for the wine biz, while the state capital Sacramento is a short drive away.
Diversity is another feature at UC-Davis. Across the school 46% of students are women, while 45% of faculty are from ethnic minorities. A third are from outside the U.S., and 43% are women. In the full-time MBA, 25% of students are international.
The melting-pot philosophy is embedded in the MBA, as candidates work in carefully selected multidisciplinary teams. Given that collaboration is a key skill for Davis MBAs, they are also encouraged to mix with students from other schools and colleges, including doctoral and graduate students across UC-Davis as well as students in the Graduate School of Management’s Master of Professional Accountancy and MS in Business Analytics. The school also offers part-time MBA programs in the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento.
A key element of this MBA are five Industry Immersions, which ensure that MBAs get cutting-edge insight through live case studies presented by senior executives. MBA and graduate students from other disciplines collaborate to develop compelling solutions to the problems posed by the executives. Students can choose from immersions in several areas that are well represented in the region and draw on UC-Davis’ research leadership, including food/agriculture, sustainable energy, biotechnology, business analytics and technology finance.
This is not just a locally focused MBA, though, and students can take a two-week study trip abroad which includes site visits and executive meetings; recent destinations have included Japan, Cuba, Switzerland, China and Turkey. An expanded, year-long collaborative leadership program is being added to the MBA, drawing on the distinctive strengths of the school to better prepare graduates to effectively manage and lead global teams.
Yuan Jonathan Cheng, MBA 2020
I want to move into agriculture because I feel it is an industry where you can have an impact on a global scale in both developing and developed countries. The Industry Immersion programs at UC-Davis mean you really get to know a sector, with visits to food and agriculture companies like growers and packing companies, seed-breeders, and Coca-Cola distributors, to see the challenges they deal with. And working on interdisciplinary case studies with lawyers and food scientists helps to understand the interconnectedness of this vast value chain.
Rao Unnava, Dean, Graduate School of Management
We believe MBA graduates will add significant value to any company if they apply their learnings from the MBA program to an industry for which they have passion. Such passion complements their IQ with EQ and makes them relate to the mission of the organization readily and easily. While all MBA programs teach analytical and problem-solving skills, those skills have to be applied in a certain context; having prior exposure and preference for the context enhances the quality of decision making.
The UC Davis approach to teaching prepares students to be collaborative leaders and make a positive difference in the world. The school’s general management education aims to provide a strong foundation, perspective, and balance to be an effective manager.
Students spend the first phase of the program building a foundation, anchored by the IMPACT experience. The required core curriculum is designed to provide a foundation in the functional areas of business—accounting, economics, finance, marketing, organizational behavior and statistics. These management disciplines are examined through the use of case studies, lectures and the analysis of select companies. In the capstone course sequence, Integrated Management Project and Articulation and Critical Thinking (IMPACT), students team up on a quarter-long strategic consulting project for a client company and present their solution to top executives. Elective courses at the Graduate School of Management place an emphasis on real-world application of management principles through executive guest speakers who present “live” case study analyses, such as the Industry Immersions, and other hands-on, experiential activities.
To earn the MBA, students must successfully complete 72 hours of credit with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better.
Davis has not published in its employment report its top employers, preferring to list all of the firms that hired the school’s graduates.