Its location at the northernmost edge of California’s vast Central Valley means that the UC-Davis Graduate School of Managemet is a hub for the agricultural industry — indeed, its food and agriculture departments often top ranking lists for research. It’s also close enough to the Bay Area that students can benefit from the tech ecosystem; Apple and Hewlett Packard are Northern Californian neighbors, 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 state capital Sacramento is a short drive away.
Diversity is another feature at UC-Davis. Across the whole 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. On 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 programs, including doctoral students and participants in such courses as the Master in Accounting and MS in Business Analytics.
A key element of this MBA is the industry immersions, which ensure that MBAs get cutting-edge insight, highlighted by visits to businesses and classes taught by senior executives from the industry who look at live cases, so students are working on real, current problems. They can choose from immersions in several areas that are well represented in the region, including food/agriculture, clean energy, biotechnology, and fintech.
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 Cuba, Switzerland, China, and Turkey. A new curriculum around innovation in products and processes is being added to the MBA, as well as a six sigma greenbelt course sequence.
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 emphasizes the art of putting management theory into practice—turning ideas into action—within an interactive learning environment. 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. 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 a few select companies. Elective courses at the Graduate School of Management place an emphasis on real-world application of management principles through the use of executive guest speakers who present “live” case study analyses and actual “client” businesses for student projects.
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.