Master of Business Administration

Lam Family College of Business

Dean: Dr. Eugene Sivadas

General Information

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

160 Spear Street, Suite 1230
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 817-4300

The Lam Family College of Business offers three programs at the graduate level: Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA), and Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA).    

General Guidelines for Graduate Programs

All students planning to complete a master’s degree in business must complete all requirements, including professional development workshops, the program prerequisite classes, and the advanced required courses.

Registration in graduate business courses (700-899) is limited to graduate business students or students in a graduate business certificate program. SF State graduate students in other programs may enroll on a space-available basis with the consent of the Faculty Director of Graduate Business Programs. 

Registration in a graduate business culminating experience course is limited to classified graduate business students.

Grade Deficiency

A graduate business student whose coursework drops below a 3.0-grade point average will receive a notification of being placed on academic notice. If the grade point deficiency is not made up within two semesters, the student may be disqualified from the graduate program. In such situations, the student will not be allowed to enroll in graduate-level business courses at the program prerequisite and advanced requirement level.

Any student who becomes disqualified under the above provisions and wishes to appeal such disqualification must file a formal appeal within ten days of the date of the notice of disqualification. Such appeal must be filed with the Faculty Director of Graduate Business Programs.

The specified course requirements and 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 coursework is attempted and must be approved by the Faculty Director of Graduate Business Programs. 

Contact Information

Programs Contact Telephone
Faculty Director of Graduate Business Programs Dr. Lutfus Sayeed 817-4366
Director of Admissions, Recruitment and External Relations Manuel Maranan 817-4323
Program Coordinator Kristine Raton 817-4350
Graduate Student Advisor Christopher Kingston 817-4322

Master of Business Administration

The M.B.A. 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 an interest in continuous learning throughout life; and to apply business skills to all types of endeavors.


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


U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and international students may apply for fall or spring admissions according to the following schedule:

  • Fall semester filing period: October 1 through May 1. 
  • Spring semester filing period: August 1 through October 1.

There are three rounds of application deadlines in the Fall semester filing period (for the Spring semester filing period, there is only one). The above dates are subject to change. Check the Graduate Business Program’s website for the latest dates.

Application Process

Each applicant to the M.B.A. program must submit the following documents:

  • California State University Application for Graduate Admission plus an application fee of $70
  • One official transcript from every college or university attended
  • GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) or GRE (Graduate Record Examination) test results. The deadline to take the GMAT or GRE is May 1 for Fall admission and October 1 of the prior year for Spring admission. 
  • A statement of purpose showing how the desired graduate business program is related to the applicant’s career and future goals. Please refer to the Lam Family College of Business website for a list of questions that should be addressed in the statement of purpose. 
  • TOEFL, IELTS, or Pearson Test of English is required for admission from all applicants who have completed their undergraduate degree in a non-English speaking country.
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • International applicants will need to file the Financial Affidavit form to obtain an 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 Lam Family College of Business admissions committee reviews an applicant’s file using a holistic approach 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.
  • GMAT exam including total score, verbal, quantitative, writing scores, and integrated reasoning scores or the GRE test verbal, quantitative, and writing scores. A GMAT AWA score of 5.0 or a GRE AWA score of 4.5 or higher is required for classified admission. A lower AWA score may be accepted, however, the student would be conditionally admitted and required to complete the approved Lam Family College of Business writing course.
  • Quality of statement of purpose using guidelines stated on the Lam Family College of Business website
  • Two supportive letters of recommendation from workplace supervisors or faculty members
  • Qualifications on résumé
  • TOEFL score of at least 88 (or 570 PBT), IELTS score of at least 6.5 or PTE score of at least 59. The TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE must have been taken within the past two years and is a requirement of all applicants who have earned their undergraduate degree from a country where the official language is not English. 
  • MBA applicants may waive the GMAT/GRE test if at least one of the following conditions is met (applicants will instead be invited in for an interview and a 45-minute writing examination): Completed doctoral or master's degree from a recognized/accredited program; Minimum 3.0 GPA with five or more years of full-time, professional work experience; Completed an undergraduate degree in business from an AACSB-accredited school with a cumulative 3.0 (or higher) GPA.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Functional and enterprise knowledge – Each student will demonstrate competence in each of the major business disciplines as well as an understanding of:
    1. The enterprise as a whole.
    2. The interrelationships of the disciplines within a strategic business framework.
    3. Emerging knowledge in business disciplines, technologies, and markets.
  2. Ethical, global, and social awareness – Each student will be aware of ethical, global, and social issues surrounding key business decisions, act responsibly, and:
    1. Identify, articulate, and disseminate the core organizational values.
    2. Evaluate the ethical, global, and social issues of each business option for every stakeholder group.
    3. Make business decisions consistent with stakeholder needs and organizational values.
  3. Problem-solving and critical thinking skills – Each student will demonstrate effective use of the following skills in business situations:
    1. Master qualitative and quantitative techniques to gather and analyze relevant data and derive appropriate conclusions.
    2. Exhibit critical thinking and analytical ability in solving problems within and across organizations.
    3. Apply current and emerging business knowledge and technology to make strategic decisions in complex and changing environments.
  4. People skills – Each student will be able to demonstrate effective intra- and interpersonal skills, especially in dealing with diversity of thought and opinion, and:
    1. Exhibit leadership when appropriate.
    2. Demonstrate the ability to work effectively in teams.
    3. Understand the perspective of others and treat them in a culturally appropriate and respectful manner.
  5. Communication skills – Each student will demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills. In particular, each student will be able to:
    1. Create and deliver effective business presentations to diverse audiences.
    2. Organize and write professional documents appropriate for the audience.

Program Requirements

Orientation and Professional Development Workshops

Admitted students are expected to attend the required orientation prior to the start of their first semester.  The Graduate Business Programs orientation helps students prepare for the academic program and also includes professional development workshops. 

Master of Business Administration — 30–57 Units

Program prerequisite and advanced requirement courses must be taken on the basis of letter grading (+/- letter grade only). CR/NC grading is not allowed.

Prerequisite Courses

Prerequisite courses offer students, without a recent Business undergraduate degree, the opportunity to learn or refresh knowledge in the basic elements of business. Depending upon a student's previous academic background, the prerequisite courses may range from 0 to 24 units. The program requirements are met by taking the eight business prerequisite courses below or by waivers of individual courses based on previous equivalent coursework.

Students who have earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration within the past seven years from an Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)-accredited university, with a 3.0 GPA or better in the last 60 semester units or 90 quarter units of coursework, are eligible to waive all M.B.A. program prerequisite 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 coursework equivalent to any of the prerequisite courses at other institutions within the last five to seven years may be able to waive individual prerequisite 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 program prerequisite courses offer an opportunity to refresh their knowledge and catch up on advances that have taken place in the different disciplines.

Prerequisite for Conditional Admits (0-3 Units)

BUS 714Elements of Graduate Business Writing3

Prerequisite Courses for M.B.A. Program (0–24 Units)

ACCT 780Financial Accounting3
DS 776Data Analysis for Managers3
DS 786Operations Analysis3
ECON 783Economics for Managers3
ISYS 782Information Systems for Management3
FIN 785Financial Management3
MGMT 788Management Principles and Organizational Behavior3
MKTG 787Marketing Management3

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

Select one course from each category:

Accounting/Quantitative Methods3
Financial Statement Analysis
Financial Analysis and Management
Business Ethics, Society, and Sustainability
Seminar in Organization Design and Change
Business Decision-Making3
Managerial Decision-Making
Information Systems for Strategic Advantage
Strategic Marketing
Seminar in International Business

Electives (15 Units)

Advisor-approved electives (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.) A maximum of two prerequisite courses taken at SF State (ACCT 780, DS 776, DS 786, ECON 783, ISYS 782, FIN 785, MGMT 788, MKTG 787) may count as electives.

Culminating Experience (3 Units)

BUS 890
Strategic Management
and Culminating Experience Examination

Advancement to Candidacy

Before being considered for Advancement to Candidacy, the applicant must meet all general University requirements, attend all professional development workshops at orientation, satisfy all prerequisite courses, earn an overall SF State GPA of 3.0 or better, and complete at least 12 units of College of Business advanced requirement courses.

When requirements have been satisfied, the graduate advisor may recommend to the Dean of the Division of Graduate Studies that the applicant be advanced to candidacy for the degree by filing the Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) form.

Elective Areas


Graduate Advisors: Hammond, Hetherington, Hsieh, Kim, Sopt

Decision Sciences/Operations Research

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


Graduate Advisors: Feldman, M. Li, Liu

International Business

Graduate Advisors: Heiman, Yang

Hospitality and Tourism Management

Graduate Advisors: Johnson, Roe, Yang

Information Systems

Graduate Advisor: Sayeed


Graduate Advisors: Baack, Desa, Stewart


Graduate Advisors: Bhat, Hussain, Sengupta, Sinapuelas