Business Graduate Programs

This is an archived copy of the 2016-2017 bulletin. To access the most recent version of the bulletin, please visit Any changes will appear on our errata page.

General Information

The College of Business Graduate Programs are located at San Francisco State University Downtown Campus.

835 Market Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94103

The College of Business offers three programs at the graduate level.

M.B.A. This is the flagship graduate business degree program. Courses are offered exclusively at the Downtown Campus. The program is designed to accommodate needs of both full-time and part-time students. The program allows for limited specialization in any of several functional areas of emphasis or concentration.

M.S.A. The MS in Accountancy program allows for substantial specialization in accounting. Courses for this program are primarily offered at the Downtown Campus and some elective courses are offered on the Main Campus for both full-time and part-time students.

Executive M.B.A. This is a fixed curriculum, cohort program for working professionals offered at the Downtown Campus. The General Guidelines later in this section do not apply; instead, refer to the specific EMBA program description that follows that section.

General Guidelines for Graduate Programs

All students planning to complete a master’s degree in business must complete on advisement, the applicable requirements including career and communication workshops, the Foundation level and the Advanced Requirement level courses.

Registration in graduate courses in business (700-899) is limited to graduate business students or students in the Ethics and Compliance Certificate program. Graduate students in other majors may enroll on a space available basis with the consent of the faculty director of graduate programs.

Registration in ACCT 890 and BUS 890 is limited to classified graduate business students.

Grading Policy

Foundation and advanced requirement courses must be taken on a basis of letter A, B, C, D, F grading. At the instructor’s discretion, pluses and minuses may be used. CR/NC grading is not allowed. The minimum grade for advanced requirement courses is C.

ACCT 890 and BUS 890 (Culminating Experience) courses must be completed with a B- or better grade.

Grade Deficiency

A classified graduate business student whose coursework drops below a 3.0 grade point average during a semester, will be notified by the University that s/he has been placed on probation. If the grade point deficiency is not made up, the student may be disqualified effective the beginning of the semester following the first probationary semester. In such situations, the student will not be allowed to enroll in graduate level business courses at the foundation and advanced requirement level.

Any student who becomes disqualified under the above provisions and who wishes to appeal such disqualification must file a formal appeal within ten days of the date of notice of disqualification. Such appeal must be filed with the College of Business faculty director of graduate programs.

Generally, the specified course requirements, including stipulated conditions for the graduate business programs may not be changed, substituted for, or altered in any way. Exceptions to this rule must be requested, in writing, before the course work is attempted and must be approved by the College of Business graduate curriculum committee.

Master of Business Administration

Sanjit Sengupta, Faculty Director, Graduate Business Programs
Christopher Kingston, Director, Graduate Student Advising
Manuel Maranan, Director of Admissions, Recruitment and External Relations
Armaan Moattari, Assistant Director, Admissions and Professional Development
Richard Ho, Program Coordinator for Admissions
Phone: 415-817-4300; E-mail:

General Information

The graduate business administration program is designed as a balanced preparation for managerial careers in business. Its purpose is to prepare students for responsible positions in a rapidly changing world; to develop an attitude of intellectual curiosity; to foster a program of continuous learning throughout life; and to study management as a unique function applicable to all types of endeavors which involve the coordination of people and material resources toward given objectives. Students may choose a concentration in sustainable business, or an emphasis in other areas (note that an emphasis does not appear on a student’s degree).


The MBA program is accredited by the most respected business accrediting association in the world, the AACSB, The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. San Francisco State University is also accredited by WASC, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. This ensures continuous improvement of faculty in teaching, research, and professional service.


U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and international students are accepted for both fall and spring admission according to the following schedule.

  • Fall semester filing period: October 1 through May 15, with rounds
  • Spring semester filing period: August 1 through November 1

The above dates are subject to change. Check the graduate business program’s website for the latest dates.

Application Process

Each applicant to the MBA must submit the following to the SF State Graduate Studies Office:

  • California State University Application for Graduate or International Admission on CSU Mentor available at plus an application fee of $55
  • One official transcript from each college attended
  • The score on the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) or GRE (Graduate Record Examination). Information regarding the GMAT exam can be obtained at and the GRE exam at The deadline to take the GMAT or GRE is May 15 for fall admission and November 1 of the prior year for spring admission.
  • A statement of purpose showing how the desired graduate program is related to the applicant’s career and future goals
  • TOEFL or IELTS or Pearson Test of English is required for admission by all applicants who have completed their undergraduate degree in a non-English speaking country. The TOEFL school/department code is 4683. Score reports can be sent to the SF State Graduate Studies office.
  • Résumé or Curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • International applicants will need to file the Financial Affidavit form at for I-20 Certificate of Eligibility.
  • The California State University Application for Admission may be submitted before other documents are submitted, but the admission decision is not made until all required materials are received.

Admission Criteria

The College of Business admissions committee reviews an applicant’s overall qualifications and takes the following requirements into consideration:

  • Completion of a degree equivalent to a four year U.S. bachelor’s degree from a recognized university.
  • A minimum 3.0 Grade Point Average overall, or in the last 60 semester units or 90 quarter units of university coursework completed (average incoming class GPA is 3.3)
  • GMAT exam including total score, verbal, quantitative, writing scores, and Integrated Reasoning scores (average incoming class total GMAT score is 570). Or the GRE test verbal, quantitative and writing scores. A GMAT AWA score of 5.0 or higher is required for classified admission or a GRE AWA score of 4.5 or higher. A GMAT AWA score of 4.5 or GRE AWA score of 4.0 is accepted, but as a conditional admission and student must complete an approved College of Business writing course.
  • Statement of purpose written using guidelines stated on department website
  • Two letters of recommendation from supervisors or faculty members
  • Résumé (Full time work experience recommended)
  • TOEFL score of at least 590/243/96 or IELTS score of at least 7.0, or PTE of at least 65, taken within the past two years, is required of all applicants who have earned their undergraduate degree from a country where the official language is not English.

The admissions committee also considers evidence of motivation, career maturity, and past success in making admission decisions.

Meeting minimum qualifications does not guarantee admission to the program.

Program Requirements

Orientation and Professional Development Workshops

The College of Business Graduate Programs orientation helps students prepare for the academic program and provides professional development opportunities. The workshops included during orientation are designed to enhance career prospects, professional communication style, leadership skills and teamwork. Students are expected to attend the required orientation days.

Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) program

General Information

The Executive MBA (EMBA) is a fixed curriculum, part-time cohort program designed to accelerate careers of mid-level managers into executive management. Students in the EMBA program attend courses on Fridays and Saturdays, every other week. There are a total of 12 courses required for the entire program.


The EMBA program is accredited by the most respected business accrediting association in the world, the AACSB, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. San Francisco State University is also accredited by WASC, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. This ensures continuous improvement of faculty in teaching, research, and professional service.

For information on the EMBA program Application process, admission criteria and program requirements, see the College of Business website: Executive MBA Program (EMBA)

Foundation Requirements

Foundation courses offer students without a business undergraduate degree the opportunity to learn the basic elements of business. Depending upon a student's previous academic background, the foundation courses may range from 0 to 24 units. The foundation requirements are met by taking the eight business foundation courses or by waivers of individual courses based on previous equivalent course work.

Students who have earned a bachelor's degree in business administration within the past seven years from an Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)-accredited university, with a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 semester units of coursework, can automatically waive all 700-level Foundation courses. An up-to-date listing of AACSB schools around the world can be found on the AACSB International website. Students who have taken and completed course work equivalent to any of the foundation courses at other institutions within the last five to seven years may be able to waive foundation courses. Each equivalency is determined by course content, grade received, and the amount of time elapsed since the course was completed.

For students who completed their undergraduate degree in business over seven years ago, the foundation courses offer an opportunity to refresh their knowledge and catch up on advances that have taken place in the different disciplines.

Master of Business Administration — 30 - 54 units

Prerequisite for Conditional Admits (3 units)

BUS 714Elements of Business Writing3

Foundation Courses for M.B.A. (24 units)

BUS 776Data Analysis for Managers3
BUS 780Financial Accounting3
BUS 782Information Systems for Management3
BUS 783Economics for Managers3
BUS 785Financial Management3
BUS 786Operations Analysis3
BUS 787Marketing Management3
BUS 788Management Principles and Organizational Behavior3

Advanced Program Requirements for M.B.A. (12 units)

Quantitative Track

Select two of the following:6
Financial Statement Analysis
Managerial Decision Making
Financial Analysis and Management
Information Systems for Strategic Advantage

Qualitative Track

Select two of the following:6
Seminar in International Business
Seminar in Organization Design and Change
Strategic Marketing
Business Ethics, Society and Sustainability

Electives (15 units)

Advisor approved electives in field of specialization (at least three must be 800-level courses offered by the College of Business, up to two may be graduate level courses within the University, with prior advisor approval.)

Culminating Experience (3 units)

BUS 890Culminating Experience in Strategic Management3

Sustainable Business Concentration

Graduate Advisor: Thomas

The concentration in sustainable business will provide students with an in-depth appreciation of the environmental and social dimensions of conducting business in a global market. Three aspects of sustainable business that improve a firm’s long-term performance will be emphasized: managing risks (regulatory, reputation, litigation, market, etc.), values-driven leadership, and recognizing market opportunities created by environmental and social challenges. Learning outcomes include how to articulate the business case for sustainability, develop and lead internal and external coalitions needed to drive organizational change, and implement metrics for measuring progress and providing accountability.

Students in the sustainable business concentration must complete MGMT 856 (Managing the Sustainable Business), BUS 857 (Business Management and Environmental Leadership), MGMT 858 (Sustainability and Business Opportunity) and two 800 level business electives on advisement.

Advancement to Candidacy

Before being considered for advancement to candidacy the student must meet all general university requirements, satisfy the Professional Development Workshop requirement, the Foundation Course requirements, earn an overall SF State Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.0, and complete at least 12 units in College of Business courses in the Advanced Requirement.

When requirements have been satisfied, an Advancement to Candidacy form (ATC) must be filed with the Division of Graduate Studies prior to enrolling in the culminating experience course.

Accounting Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Duke, Hammond, Hetherington, Hsieh

The primary objective of the accounting emphasis is to provide broad-based knowledge in accounting especially directed to managerial positions in the accounting profession and business organizations. The emphasis and elective graduate courses, all at the 800 level, should be selected upon advisement.

Decision Sciences/Operations Research Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Bollapragada, Cholette, Miyaoka, Saltzman, Soorapanth

The decision sciences/operations research emphasis focuses on the connection between real-world business applications and quantitative modeling and analysis techniques. This emphasis includes courses in forecasting, simulation, data analysis, project management, optimization, supply chain management, process improvement and quality management. In these courses, students apply analytical methods and computer based tools to problems in a wide variety of industries.

Ethics and Compliance Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Baack, Kleinrichert

The MBA emphasis in Ethics & Compliance focuses on emerging business needs for ethics and compliance professionals in growth industries such as healthcare, biotech, pharmaceutical, information technology services and products, finance and accounting, manufacturing and hospitality. Ethics and compliance specialists work to reduce the risk of unethical or illegal activities by individuals working in organizations by developing policies and practices to prevent these failures.

Finance Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Hsiao, M. Li, Liu

The primary objective of the finance emphasis is to provide broad management perspective as well as in-depth analytical skills and conceptual background in the various aspects of domestic and international financial management and decision-making. The courses offered are aimed at understanding, analyzing, and improving managerial decision-making process in the fields of corporate finance, financial markets and institutions, investment and portfolio analysis, financial data analysis, financial risk management and international finance.

The program is designed to prepare the students for employment positions in the field of finance, which require analytical skills and decision-making abilities. Students should carefully check prerequisites for all 800-series courses.

Global Business and Innovation Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Wong, Heiman

The MBA emphasis in Global Business and Innovation prepares students to operate effectively in a technological, global and interconnected world. The emphasis will provide a variety of options for cultural immersion experiences through virtual projects and travel-study experiences.

Health Care Administration Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Chaudhuri, Sengupta

This emphasis will provide students with knowledge and skills necessary to understand the health care industry and health policy in the United States.  The curriculum is designed to prepare students to apply business skills and succeed in supervisory or managerial positions in both for-profit as well as not-for-profit health care organizations.

Hospitality and Tourism Management Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Johnson, Roe, Walls, Yang

The hospitality and tourism management emphasis provide advanced, specific knowledge in important hospitality areas, especially directed to managerial positions in the hospitality profession and related service organizations.

Information Systems Emphasis

Graduate Advisor: Sayeed

The information systems emphasis offers a program in the development, use, management, and support of information systems in businesses and other organizations.

Leadership Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Baack, Marks

The emphasis in leadership focuses on the skills necessary to lead organizations in a complex and rapidly changing world.

Management Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Baack, Flatt, Marks

The management emphasis provides students with practical knowledge and skills in organizational development and change, organizational behavior and organization design. This emphasis is designed for students who wish to pursue general management careers or who wish to specialize in facilitating organizational development and change as consultants or change agents.

Marketing Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Bhat, Sengupta

The marketing emphasis prepares a student for career opportunities in business firms, non-profit organizations, or governmental agencies. The combination of graduate work and specific job experience can lead to staff or line positions in general marketing, sales, Internet marketing, advertising, new product development, retail management, and marketing research.

Nonprofit and Social Enterprise Emphasis

Graduate Advisor: Desa

This emphasis focuses on leadership of social purpose organizations in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. The emphasis provides opportunities for students to combine coursework in business with appropriate electives in public administration.

Social Innovation Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Paton, Heiman

This emphasis focuses on applying creativity and business innovation skills to address complex social problems. Special emphasis is placed on design thinking, systems thinking, and skills for collaboration across sectors.

Strategic Leadership in Emerging and Developing Markets Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Simeon, Ungson, Wong

This emphasis provides students knowledge of global trends and a substantive understanding of emerging opportunities and issues in a rapidly globalizing world. The courses will focus on, though not be confined, to study of emerging and developing markets.