Written by TopManagementDegrees.com Staff
Last Updated: October 5, 2020
California is the most populous U.S. state, with an economy that would rank as the world's fifth-largest if the state were a sovereign nation. The California State University system, which comprises 23 campuses and eight off-campus centers, is the largest system of four-year universities in the nation. As such, California offers prospective students — including those pursuing MBAs — plentiful education options and career opportunities.
MBA programs prepare students to work in business and management. Typically taking two years of full-time study, the degree requires large investments of time and money. Still, many graduates find these investments worthwhile; MBAs equip students with strong communication and teamwork skills, along with specialized knowledge required for jobs in accounting, consulting, and entrepreneurship.
A 2019 recruiters survey from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) found that U.S. companies offered new MBA hires a mean annual base starting salary of $115,000. This data — combined with California's fifth-place rank for U.S. states with the highest average household incomes — indicates that MBA programs in California could pay off with lucrative, dependable careers.
With so many options available to them, aspiring business administration students might narrow down their choices by comparing the best MBA programs in California. Read on for our list of the state's 10 best schools for MBAs, plus details on what to expect from an MBA program.
California's 10 Best MBA Programs
|1.||University of California, Berkeley||Berkeley, CA|
|2.||Stanford University||Stanford, CA|
|3.||University of California, Los Angeles||Los Angeles, CA|
|4.||University of California, Davis||Davis, CA|
|5.||University of California, Irvine||Irvine, CA|
|6.||California State Polytechnic University, Pomona||Pomona, CA|
|7.||University of Southern California||Los Angeles, CA|
|8.||San Diego State University||San Diego, CA|
|9.||California State University East Bay||Hayward, CA|
|10.||Pepperdine University||Malibu, CA|
Why Get an MBA in California?
MBAs rank among the most expensive master's degrees, with some costing upward of $100,000. Even so, MBA graduates entering business management positions — such as those in human resources management or training and development — often earn annual salaries exceeding $100,000, meaning their MBAs could pay for themselves in a matter of years. Other benefits of earning an MBA may include those listed below.
- Credibility: MBA degrees establish credibility in the business world. The 2019 GMAC survey indicated that companies most often hire MBA-holders for roles requiring skills in strategy and innovation, finance, and marketing.
- Earning Potential: The median annual salary for new MBA hires in 2019 nearly doubled that for new hires with only bachelor's degrees, according to GMAC survey data. This demonstrates how earning potential spikes for MBA graduates specifically.
- Versatility: MBA students build a toolkit of highly transferable skills. This plays out in the variance among top-hiring industries for MBA-holders; the energy and utilities, healthcare, and technology sectors all show strong demand for MBAs.
Popular occupations for MBA graduates include human resources manager and training and development manager, both of which thrive in California.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for all California occupations was $61,290 as of May 2019. Human resources managers in California made more than twice that at $145,710 per year, as did training and development managers in the state, who earned a mean salary of $138,500.
Overall, MBA programs in California are a great way for professionals to advance their careers to take on lucrative new positions.
Best MBA Programs in California Rankings
Each learner starts their school selection process with a unique set of needs, priorities, and goals for their education and career. And in a state like California — home to 34 public universities, according to the National Center for Education Statistics — applicants may struggle to sift through all the available schools and pick out the best ones.
The list below details the 10 best MBA programs in California, including program offerings, required courses, program length, and application instructions for each. Prospective students beginning their search for online MBA programs in California can use our rankings to compare and contrast schools and ultimately narrow down their options.
Public university in Berkeley, CA, accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Founded in 1868 as the original University of California campus, Berkeley now enrolls more than 43,200 students across 350 degree programs. The school consistently ranks among the best universities in the world.
Berkeley Haas offers three MBA programs, each of which develops students into business leaders. All take place on campus in Berkeley, combining core and elective coursework to equip students with skills in leadership, entrepreneurship, strategy, and finance. Graduates leave prepared to advance within their organization, change their career, or start their own business.
Berkeley's MBA students can complete their degrees in 19 months to three years. Learners pay $127,500-$149,060 to earn an MBA from Berkeley, depending on state residency status and program of choice. Available courses include leadership communication, ethics and responsibility in business, macroeconomics in the global economy, and fundamentals of design thinking.
Berkeley's MBA Options
Full-Time MBA | Evening and Weekend MBA | MBA for Executives
Private research university in Stanford, CA, accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Founded in 1885, Stanford has since grown into one of the top-ranked universities in the world. This private school enrolls more than 17,200 students. Graduate-level learners pursue dozens of degrees, including the MBA, across several departments within Stanford.
Stanford's two-year MBA is a full-time, on-campus program. Students work to develop a vision — and the means to achieve that vision — as they pursue this general management degree.
MBA students at Stanford learn through lectures, case studies, simulations, small-group seminars, role-playing scenarios, prototyping, project-based courses, multifunctional teams, and hands-on experiences. The program centers around collaboration and innovation.
This MBA's general management curriculum focuses on social science principles and management functions, weaving in themes of critical and analytical thinking, personal leadership development, and creativity and innovation. Moreover, all Stanford MBA students complete global experiences, which directly expose them to the international world of business.
Stanford's MBA Options
Full-Time MBA | MBA/MA in Education | MBA/MS in Computer Science | MBA/MS in Electrical Engineering | MBA/Juris Doctor | MBA/Master of Public Policy | MBA/MS in Environment and Resources | MBA and Doctor of Medicine (dual-degree program) | MBA and MA in International Policy Studies (dual-degree program)
Public research university in Los Angeles, CA, accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Founded in 1927, UCLA is the second-oldest University of California institution and hosts more than 45,740 students. This "public Ivy" sits just five miles from the Pacific Ocean and ranks as the best public school in the United States.
Learners pursuing UCLA's MBA can choose from three degree programs: the full-time MBA, the fully employed MBA (FEMBA), and the executive MBA (EMBA). These programs take 2-3 years to complete and prepare participants to lead in the business world. All are traditionally campus-based.
Recruiters from Google, Goldman Sachs, and BCG hire every year from UCLA's MBA graduates, who can also connect to an alumni network of 39,000 professionals as they advance in their careers.
UCLA's MBA learners complete a real-world master's thesis where they gain hands-on client experience by researching and recommending strategic solutions for some of the world's largest companies. This thesis splits into two options: an applied research management program and a business creation option. Students also fulfill a global requirement through global immersion courses, global management electives, and/or applied management research.
UCLA's MBA Options
Full-Time MBA | FEMBA | EMBA
Public research university in Davis, CA, accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
UC Davis became the seventh University of California campus in 1959. Its student body exceeds 38,000. More than 4,500 individuals study in UC Davis' graduate academic programs, including those within the graduate school of management.
UC Davis offers four variations of an MBA degree: a full-time degree for traditional on-campus learners, two part-time options in Sacramento and the Bay Area, and a fully online degree. UC Davis maintains a corporate partner network, allowing MBA students to immerse themselves in the food and agriculture, sustainable energy, and biotechnology industries.
UC Davis' MBA graduates secure an average annual salary of $103,000 within six months of graduation, and they boast a 100% job placement rate.
UC Davis employs a curriculum called "integrated management project and articulation and critical thinking" (IMPACT). The IMPACT curriculum entails teaming up to create strategic solutions for clients, which include Fortune 500 firms and Silicon Valley startups; building a strong knowledge and skill base; and sharpening abilities in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.
UC Davis' MBA Options
Full-Time MBA | Part-Time MBA (Bay Area) | Part-Time MBA (Sacramento) | Online MBA
Public research university in Irvine, CA, accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Situated in the heart of California's famous Orange County, UCI educates more than 11,500 students, including about 100 MBA learners. Like several other schools on this list, UCI has been called a "public Ivy."
UCI offers MBA options for full-time students; fully employed students, who prefer to learn part-time with the option of a hybrid program; and managers, directors, and executives, who should hold at least eight years of professional experience and want to become leaders. The business school prepares students to thrive in a digitally driven world, equipping them with skills in critical thinking and creative problem-solving.
MBA students at UCI can look forward to high-quality faculty and a culture of collaboration. The business school in particular offers a strong network of alumni, students, and community businesses. Learners pursuing UCI's MBA can choose from specializations in entrepreneurship, digital transformation, and real estate.
UCI's MBA Options
Full-Time MBA | Fully Employed MBA | Executive MBA | MBA in Entrepreneurship | MBA in Digital Transformation | MBA in Real Estate
Public polytechnic university in Pomona, CA, accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Cal Poly Pomona is one of just two polytechnic universities in the California State University system. Polytechnic universities focus primarily on the technical arts and applied sciences, but Cal Poly Pomona also offers an MBA program.
Cal Poly Pomona's MBA program serves working professionals who aim to expand their knowledge and advance their careers while sustaining their current employment. Coursework follows a hybrid format, combining online learning with on-campus requirements, and lectures take place in the evenings and on weekends. Graduates can leverage a network of 40,000 business administration alumni.
MBA students may study full time, taking three classes per term — including electives — for two years. Part-time learners, on the other hand, take just 3-6 credits each term, focusing only on core courses. General MBA core courses include data analytics and modeling, accounting and managerial decisions, and organizational behavior.
All MBA students must complete either a comprehensive exam or a business research project to graduate.
Cal Poly Pomona's MBA Options
Full-Time MBA | Part-Time MBA
Private research university in Los Angeles, CA, accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
California's oldest private research university, USC educates around 48,500 students, including 28,000 graduate and professional learners. The university is Los Angeles' largest private employer, generating $8 billion in economic activity each year.
USC's portfolio of MBA programs caters to all types of students, including traditional, full-time learners; senior managers; fully employed professionals and managers; midcareer professionals seeking advanced education in general management; and students who prefer the online learning experience. Most of USC's MBA programs, with the exception of the online MBA, meet in person at the University Park campus in Los Angeles.
The MBAs at USC draw students from around the world by offering a hands-on graduate education in business. These programs propel their graduates toward professional success while catering to their individual schedules, professional goals, and learning styles.
USC's MBA Options
Full-Time MBA | Executive MBA | MBA for Professionals and Managers | IBEAR MBA | Online MBA
Public research university in San Diego, CA, accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
SDSU is the third-oldest university in the California State University system and ranks among the most competitive of California's state schools. The university ranks first in the nation for graduation rate performance and enrolls nearly 34,000 students — including more than 29,500 undergraduate learners and 4,375 students pursuing graduate degrees.
SDSU's MBA offers part-time and full-time enrollment options, which respectively rank 34th and 44th in the nation among public schools. MBA learners at SDSU can choose from a variety of optional specializations, each of which requires at least four classes in the chosen area of emphasis.
MBA graduates from SDSU have gone on to work for HP, Bank of America, and San Diego Gas & Electric. Learners can also earn SDSU's MBA concurrently with a selection of other degrees.
SDSU's MBA Options
Full-Time MBA | Part-Time MBA | MBA/Juris Doctor (joint degree) | MBA/MA in Latin American Studies (joint degree) | Sports MBA | MBA in Accounting | MBA in Entrepreneurship | MBA in Finance | MBA in Health Services | MBA in Information Systems | MBA in International Business | MBA in Management | MBA in Marketing | MBA in Project Management | MBA in Supply Chain Management
Public university in Hayward, CA, accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Cal State East Bay sits across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco, featuring an online campus and satellite campuses in Oakland and Concord in addition to the flagship Hayward campus. The university joined the California State University system more than 60 years ago.
MBA students at Cal State East Bay can pursue any of three MBA programs: a one-year MBA, an MBA for global innovators, and an MBA with concentrations. Each program takes place at a different campus and follows a unique schedule. However, applicants to any of Cal State East Bay's MBA programs must hold a four-year undergraduate degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA. International students must also earn minimum scores on the TOEFL or IELTS.
Applicants may also have to complete the GMAT, depending on their work experience and MBA program of choice. All programs ultimately award the Cal State East Bay MBA degree.
Cal State East Bay's MBA Options
One-Year MBA | General MBA | MBA for Global Innovators | MBA in Finance | MBA in Human Resources and Organizational Behavior | MBA in Analytics for Managers | MBA in Marketing | MBA in Operations and Supply Chain Management | MBA in Strategy and Innovation
Private research university in Malibu, CA, accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Students at southern California's Pepperdine disperse among five graduate and undergraduate schools, pursuing 73 degree programs. Pepperdine features a student-to-teacher ratio of nearly 12-to-1, meaning learners at the university enjoy relatively small class sizes and plenty of individualized attention from faculty.
Pepperdine offers a smattering of part-time and full-time MBA programs, catering to all levels of professionals. MBA learners can choose from on-campus, hybrid, and online study options, depending on their specific program of choice. The faculty includes world-class entrepreneurs and experienced leaders in business.
Options for students pursuing Pepperdine's MBA include a part-time program, a joint bachelor's and MBA program, a full-time program, several joint MBA options, and an executive MBA. Some rank among the top MBA programs in the nation, and each equips students with the skills and knowledge to tackle a high-level career in management.
Pepperdine's MBA Options
Presidents and Key Executives MBA | Executive MBA | Fully Employed MBA | Online MBA | Full-Time MBA | International MBA | Juris Doctor/MBA | Master of Public Policy/MBA
What California's Best Schools Have in Common
There's a lot of variety in our ranking of the best MBA programs in California: private and public universities, school big and small, programs with general focus and programs with specialized concentrations. However, all of the schools on our list share a few commonalities. We compiled our ranking based on the following metrics.
- Accreditation: Each institution on our list holds regional accreditation, and each business school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Accreditation verifies the quality of a degree and helps students transfer their credits and secure employment.
- Affordability: Some schools on our list, such as USC, hold reputations for high tuition rates. Even so, all of the institutions included here offer financial aid options and/or payment plans to help learners afford their degree.
- Average Salary: Graduates from the best MBA programs in California tend to secure high-paying jobs after earning their degree, often because they can leverage strong alumni networks and credentials from reputable institutions.
- Prestige: Reputation isn't everything, but it can help students land lucrative jobs after graduation. The schools on our list carry brand recognition, as do their business departments.
What to Expect From California MBA Programs
Most traditional, full-time MBA programs take about two years to finish, requiring 45-55 credits. These degrees focus on general management, and many offer specialization options in subjects like international business, entrepreneurship, management science, and accounting. Core courses typically cover subjects such as data analytics, operations and supply chain management, and finance.
Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree, and most must complete the GMAT as well. Many MBA programs admit only learners who meet minimum GMAT score and GPA requirements. It's also common for MBAs to impose minimum requirements for professional experience — typically 1-2 years, though fully employed and executive MBAs tend to prefer more extensive experience.
Accelerated MBAs may take only a year to complete, though they usually call for about a decade of professional experience. Part-time MBAs may run for 2-3 years. Even some full-time MBAs serve working professionals, with classes taking place in the evenings and on weekends.
In all cases, MBA applicants should focus on curating high-quality essays, recommendations, and interviews. Excelling in these areas is always important, especially for learners aiming to provide context for low GPAs or GMAT scores.
Learners who know how they'd like to apply their MBA in their future career might specialize their studies. Specialization offerings often depend on faculty members' areas of expertise, but common options include finance, health services, information systems, management, and marketing. Some programs even offer MBAs specific to sports and international business.
Students who'd like to become certified public accountants or work in other high-level financial positions might pursue an MBA with a specialization in accounting. Those aiming to work in hospital administration, on the other hand, would benefit more from a health services concentration. MBA students planning to apply their knowledge in the tech world may specialize their degree in information systems.
MBA learners who concentrate their degree must usually dedicate their elective credits to their chosen concentrations. Those pursuing a general management degree might have more freedom with their electives, but they receive a less-specialized education overall.
Popular MBA Program Courses
Traditional MBA programs typically start out with rigid, foundational curricula, which eventually unfold into more flexible, customizable schedules. Many programs also include internship and/or capstone requirements.
Pepperdine University's two-year, full-time MBA, for example, begins in the fall term with 16 credits of core coursework in accounting; personal and leadership development; prices, profits, and the market economy; technology and operations management; and marketing management, plus a career seminar.
By spring, these MBA learners can take four credits of electives. This allowance increases incrementally until the spring term of their second year, in which they can take 11 credits of electives. A summer internship bridges years one and two.
Common MBA courses may include those listed below.
- Personal and Career Development for Leaders: Students in this course critically reflect on their personal skills and values while they learn to work and communicate with their peers. They sharpen their leadership skills through lessons in goal-setting, career concepts, emotional intelligence, and relationship-building. Students may take this course concurrently with a personal and leadership development workshop.
- Accounting: This class merges financial and managerial accounting concepts, helping learners build a comprehensive foundation in accounting. Students learn how to effectively apply accounting concepts and tools, understand and interpret these tools through critical analysis, and formulate defensible business decisions. They also work to understand planning operations, controlling activities, and decision-making as they apply to corporate accounting and finance.
- Applied Data Analytics: Students in this course learn the basic techniques of applied statistical analysis. They begin by exploring the meaning of data, including data description on individual variables and how variables relate to each other. Coursework goes over sampling, probability, estimation, tests of mean differences, regression, and differences in distributions.
- Strategic Management: As an advanced course, this class may build on any previous coursework in formulating, executing, and controlling strategies for success across an enterprise. Learners understand how to formulate and implement management strategies, paying special attention to technology, sourcing, globalization, and other considerations that may impact strategic management for a firm. They also cover top executives' ethics and responsibilities.
The MBA Capstone or Thesis
Most MBA programs culminate with a capstone or thesis requirement. Capstone courses are typically intensive and hands-on, challenging students to apply the knowledge they've built since starting their MBA. MBA thesis options are usually project-based, requiring learners to work in teams to apply their business and management skills in real-world situations.
For example, USC's IBEAR MBA program culminates in a five-credit international business capstone project. This course spans two terms, during which students take on a four-month business consulting task. Learners work in teams to build strategies and create solutions for clients' business issues.
UCLA offers two options for the thesis/capstone requirement: an applied research management study and a business creation option. In the former, students work in teams to address challenges for their client organizations, similarly to USC's capstone requirement. Learners who take the applied management research option delve into research and ultimately present insights and recommendations to their clients.
Students tackling the business creation option for UCLA's MBA must demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit. In this track, learners work in teams to launch their own businesses.
What Jobs Can an MBA Get You?
MBA graduates usually go into high-level management positions, overseeing teams of employees, production, and finances across industries. According to the BLS, many of the most common careers for MBA-holders — including computer and information systems manager, financial manager, human resources manager, and industrial production manager — don't technically require master's degrees. However, hiring managers for these occupations often prefer candidates with an MBA.
It's also important to note that MBA credentials often lead to higher earning potential for professionals in these positions.
New MBA hires in 2019 made a median annual salary of $115,000 — nearly double the median starting salary for new hires with just a bachelor's degree, according to the 2019 GMAC report.
Moreover, managers with an MBA enjoy more room for advancement in their career. Coupled with extensive managerial experience, these professionals qualify to take on positions as top executives in even the largest corporations.
Computer and Information Systems Managers
Also known as information technology managers or IT project managers, these professionals plan, coordinate, and run computer-related activities in their organizations. They also determine their organization's IT goals and implement systems to achieve those goals.
- Required Education: Bachelor's in computer- or information science-related field; MBA often preferred
- Job Outlook: +10% (2019-29)
- Median Annual Salary: $146,360
Professionals in this role take charge of their organization's financial health. They develop financial reports, take on investment activities, and create plans for their organization's long-term financial goals.
- Required Education: Bachelor's in finance, accounting, economics, or business administration; MBA often preferred
- Job Outlook: +15% (2019-29)
- Median Annual Salary: $129,890
Human Resources Managers
These managers plan and coordinate their organization's administrative functions. They typically direct and oversee how new staff are recruited, interviewed, and hired. They may also consult with top executives and link management with employees.
- Required Education: Bachelor's in human resources, business management, education, or IT; MBA or master's in human resources or labor relations sometimes required
- Job Outlook: +6% (2019-29)
- Median Annual Salary: $116,720
Industrial Production Managers
Managers in this position take charge of daily operations in manufacturing plants and related organizations. They coordinate, plan, and direct the functions that create an array of goods, which may include cars, paper products, or equipment for computers.
- Required Education: Bachelor's, preferably in business administration or industrial engineering; MBA often preferred at large plants
- Job Outlook: +1% (2019-29)
- Median Annual Salary: $105,480
These professionals make sure their organization meets goals by planning strategies and policies and coordinating and directing work activities. They typically oversee their company's finances and budgets and consult with other executives, staff, and board members regarding general operations. Top executives may appoint department heads and managers, as well.
- Required Education: MBA mandated for large corporations
- Job Outlook: +4% (2019-29)
- Median Annual Salary: $104,690
Selecting Your California MBA Program
Prospective MBA students can get a jump on their school search by consulting rankings, which provide a general overview of what the best MBA programs in California can offer. However, that's just the start of the process — applicants must take into account a vast array of factors that might impact their decision. Such considerations may include those listed below.
- School Size: Larger schools might offer more robust alumni networks and more faculty, but smaller colleges and universities may feature tighter-knit communities and plenty of face-to-face time with professors.
- Location: It might pay off to attend school near home, even for learners completing online programs. Close proximity cuts down on commuting expenses for on-campus classes and/or residencies, and many business schools maintain close relationships with the businesses in their areas.
- University Resources/Career Services: School experiences extend beyond the classroom. The best schools help their students kick-start their careers with student services, such as career counseling.
- Required Admission Materials/Test Scores: Not all MBA programs require standardized test scores, but those that do may ask applicants to take the GMAT or the GRE.
Should You Consider Online MBA Programs in California?
Some of the most prestigious schools on the West Coast offer the best online MBA programs in California, with hybrid and distance learning options growing and improving each year. Online learning appeals to many MBA candidates, since these students often pursue their degrees alongside their day jobs. Online coursework is typically more flexible and customizable than on-campus coursework, making it easier to manage concurrently with full-time work or other extracurricular responsibilities.
Even out-of-state students might consider online MBA programs in California, as California's best schools often rank among the best in the nation — and even the world. UC Berkeley, Stanford, and UCLA, for example, make U.S. News & World Report's ranking of the best universities across the globe.
Typically, nonresidents face significant tuition spikes for out-of-state public schools, because U.S. residents receive state-subsidized higher education only in their state of residence. However, residents and nonresidents pay the same tuition rates at private online MBA programs in California, including those for USC, Stanford, and Pepperdine.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does an MBA cost in California?
The cost of an MBA varies depending on institution and program type. Private schools tend to charge higher tuition rates. For example, single, first-year MBA students at Stanford pay $118,644 per academic year; in contrast, Cal Poly Pomona's entire two-year MBA costs $26,924 for California residents. Moreover, students in expedited programs tend to pay less overall than those in longer, part-time programs.
Do all MBA programs require the GMAT?
Many do. Traditional MBA programs require GMAT or GRE scores, with most preferring the GMAT, but some programs waive these requirements for applicants who have enough professional experience. Executive MBA programs rarely require GMAT scores.
Are online MBAs respected?
It depends on the school. Students should seek only accredited online MBA programs in California. The best options hold programmatic accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Employers respect online MBAs from properly accredited schools.
Is it worth getting an MBA?
Most graduates would say so. Recent hires with MBA degrees tend to score significantly higher starting salaries than those with just their bachelor's. Though MBA programs are typically costly, the degree usually pays for itself in a matter of years.
Which type of MBA has the highest salary?
MBA students who concentrate their degree in information systems and go on to work in IT management may earn the highest salaries. The BLS reports that computer and information systems managers earned a median annual wage approaching $150,000 as of May 2019.