Frequently Asked Questions

Who should consider an MBA?

A Master's of Business Administration, or MBA, is a professional graduate degree designed to provide higher-level practical and theoretical knowledge to those who will manage and lead within existing organizations or establish and operate new firms. Created over 100 years ago in the United States, the MBA has become one of the most valuable and recognized professional credentials in the world.

Why an MBA at CLU?

CLU is a highly-ranked university in Southern California, which has developed and maintains a substantial and respected MBA program including both domestic and international students, who take classes together. Admission standards are high, but flexible, and MBA graduates are successful in careers in organizations of all types, sizes, locations, and industries.

How long is the MBA program?

CLU provides substantial flexibility to students who enroll in the MBA program. By compressing academic terms and offering accelerated courses, the MBA can be completed in as few as 12 months of intense study at CLU, though students can take longer, if they choose. CLU operates the equivalent of four semesters during an intensive12-month academic year. Though most students complete their MBA in 12 months, students can choose to take 15, 18, 21, or 24 months to complete their MBA.

Is work experience required?

International students are not required to have work experience to apply to the MBA at CLU.

Is the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) required?

CLU often waives the GMAT, if the applicant's bachelor academic record demonstrates strong academic accomplishment.

Are scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) required for international applicants?

Students can demonstrate English proficiency by providing acceptable scores from the TOEFL or IELTS exams, or they can demonstrate their English ability through successful completion of an intensive English program in the U.S. that is recognized by CLU.

Is conditional admission possible?

CLU grants conditional admission to students who will attend an intensive English language program in the U.S. that is recognized by CLU. Most applicants who seek conditional admission at CLU plan to attend an ELS Language Center. There are more than 50 ELS Language Centers in the U.S., including one on the CLU campus:

Students who successfully complete Level 112 of the intensive English English for Academic Purposes program at ELS will receive a TOEFL waiver and then enroll in the MBA at CLU, having already been conditionally admitted.

What if my bachelor's degree is not in business?

CLU offers a 3-month Business Foundation Program. A student whose bachelor's degree is in an area other than business is usually required to complete 3 or 4 foundations courses (depending upon their academic background) during that 3-month period (prior to enrolling in the rest of the MBA courses). Students who are admitted to the foundations program are fully-admitted MBA students. The only difference is that their MBA program will require three additional months of study and that they will be charged tuition for 3-4 additional (foundations) courses.

When does the MBA program begin?

There are four entry points per year: Fall (late August); Winter (mid November); Spring (late February); and Summer (late May). MBA students (including students in the Business Foundations Program) can begin their MBA at any of these terms.

What classes are offered in the MBA?

The MBA consists of 15 courses (foundations students complete 18 or 19 courses, depending upon their academic background). There are 12 core courses and 3 electives. Core courses include Financial Principles, Marketing, Managerial Economics, Behavioral Science, Concepts of Information Technology, Business Law, Ethics for Managers, Managerial Accounting, Organization Theory, Statistics for Managers, Quantitative Methods, and Strategic Management (the MBA capstone course). Students select 3 elective courses to complete their MBA.

It is possible to have a major (or concentration or emphasis) in the MBA?

Students can choose a General MBA or an MBA with a specialization, choosing from among several emphasis areas. These include: Finance, Marketing, International Business, Entrepreneurship, Management/ Organizational Behavior, Information Technology, and Sustainability. While not all electives are offered every term, during the period in the program that students complete their electives, there are several electives offered in each emphasis area.

What are the qualifications of the MBA faculty at CLU?

Courses in the MBA program include instruction by full-time faculty, who are recognized as leaders in their fields. All members of the MBA faculty possess significant industry and professional experience. In addition, CLU offers MBA courses taught by practicing business professionals and visiting international faculty, each with substantial professional experience. All CLU faculty members maintain impressive academic credentials, and 90% of the full-time faculty at CLU have earned doctoral or equivalent degrees. CLU is known for its teaching excellence, and the members of the graduate business faculty are among "the best of the best."

Is CLU accredited?

The CLU School of Management, as part of California Lutheran University, is fully-accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), the designated accrediting agency for its region (there is no national accrediting agency in the U.S. – all accreditation is done regionally). There are over 30 ranking organizations in the U.S., and CLU is ranked prominently in all of them. Among the most recognized is the publication "US News & World Report" which ranks CLU in the Top Tier (currently in the Top 20) of universities in the Western United States.

Where is CLU?

CLU is located in Southern California on a 200+ acre (100+ hectare) park-like campus half-way between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara (about an hour from each) in the city of Thousand Oaks. Situated about a half hour inland from the Pacific Ocean, the area is known for near-perfect year-round weather, and the U.S. government consistently ranks Thousand Oaks as one of the safest cities in the United States.

What is the campus like?

As a traditional suburban university, the CLU campus is functional and beautiful. Facilities include classrooms, a library, numerous computer labs, sports and fitness facilities, a performing arts center, a student store, as well as rolling lawns, a tranquil creek, and thousands of trees and plants that bloom year-round. It is an ideal living and learning environment.

What about Information Technology at CLU?

The CLU campus has received awards for excellence in information technology. All buildings and most outdoor areas are fully-functional and accessible via high-speed wireless or fiber optic connections. Information gateways, thousands of databases, and other information resources are readily available 24 hours a day 7 days a week from nearly anywhere on the campus (or remotely, via CLU's information technology gateway).

What are MBA classes like?

Using a combination of lecture, discussion, cases, individual and group projects, research components, in-class activities and more, MBA classes at CLU are highly interactive, extremely demanding, and thoroughly challenging. Classes include international and domestic students, and the average MBA class has fewer than 20 students (never more than 25).

What other professional opportunities are available?

In addition to the courses, MBA students at CLU complete professional development workshops and seminars in many relevant topics, including research skills, creativity development, negotiation, project management, formal presentations, cross-cultural management, and more. In additional, numerous visits to professional organizations are available throughout the year, and many executives from leading industries come to the CLU campus to meet with MBA students in a variety of settings.

Are internships available?

Due to the compressed nature and for other reasons, no internships are available during the academic portion of the program. After a student graduates, it is possible for the student to obtain an internship, which the student locates (with the assistance of CLU) and for which the student is responsible. Students who are interested in finding an internship after graduation are encouraged to work closely with the Campus Career Center, their faculty, and others to locate a suitable internship. Current U.S. immigration law allows students to work in the U.S. for up to one year after graduation. Internships are not automatic, nor are they easily located. However, students who begin the process early in their MBA program and work with the offices and systems available through CLU have an increased probability of participating in an internship after graduation.

Where do full-time students live?

Many MBA students live in apartment-like university residence facility on the CLU campus. Many others live off campus in the city of Thousand Oaks. Other MBA students have access to cars and live in other cities nearby. Upon acceptance, students are directed to the university housing authorities, who will provide descriptions of available options.

Who is eligible to apply?

Students who have completed bachelor's degrees from accredited institutions are eligible to apply. All applications are carefully reviewed and considered. Applicants must demonstrate the ability to complete the program, including academic preparedness, intellectual ability, English language skills, and certified availability of financial resources.

How and when should I apply?

Applications are considered year-round ("rolling admissions"), and there are 4 points of entry each year. Students are encouraged to apply at least 90 days prior to their intended term of entry, though exceptions can be made, if necessary, to expedite consideration for admission. The application process can be started on-line or with a paper application. Once CLU receives your application, you will be notified, and our admissions specialists will request any necessary additional documents or information.

I have specific questions; whom should I contact?

Please send all general inquiries by email to Be sure to include your full name, specific questions, and all other relevant information (including your email address). Your inquiry will be promptly forwarded to the appropriate official, who will respond directly to you.

CLU Graduate Admissions
Full-Time MBA
California Lutheran University
60 West Olsen Road, MC 2200
Thousand Oaks, California 91360 USA

Tel: +1 805 493 3511
Fax: +1 805 493 3861

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