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California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Orfalea College of Business

San Luis Obispo, CA

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Introduction | California Polytechnic State University: Orfalea College of Business

At the Orfalea College of Business, students become career-ready through Learn by Doing experiences. To ensure success in a modern global economy, seasoned faculty and staff give students hands-on access to advanced technical facilities, exceptional faculty members, and like-minded peers.

Earning a graduate degree is a big decision, but one with great career potential. With a reputation for top academics, unmatched hands-on experiences and a superior return on investment, Cal Poly’s graduate business programs provide a clear pathway to success in today’s fast-paced world of business.

Key Facts and Overview | California Polytechnic State University: Orfalea College of Business

The Orfalea College of Business opens the door for students and graduates. Orfalea is student centric; students always come first, class sizes are small, and professors are enthusiastic about helping students succeed. 

The Orfalea College of Business offers a challenging, in-demand curriculum such as Business Analytics and an accelerated MBA program. The school is named after Paul J. Orfalea, the founder of Kinko’s and alumni of the Orfalea College of Business. 

The Orfalea College of Business offers six diverse graduate programs. Students gain access to vast resources in business, technology, and design, as well as the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which was created by Cal Poly graduates and business leaders with the goal of conducting research and innovating public policies and processes.

California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) fosters scholarship, service, and teaching in a Learn by Doing environment. The application of theory to practice, active-learning methods, and field and laboratory work form the core of this academic approach. Established in 1901, Cal Poly is a public, coeducational university located in San Luis Obispo, California in the western region of the United States. According to Colleges in California, its campus is one of the most beautiful in the state. The university is situated in an area known for its mild climate, natural beauty, and outdoor recreational options.

Majors and Degrees | California Polytechnic State University: Orfalea College of Business

Cal Poly’s graduate business programs provide a clear pathway to success in today’s fast-paced world of business.


The Master of Business Administration degree offered by Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business includes a full array of core courses, elective courses to prepare students with the technical training to make sound business decisions. The in-class experiences include numerous simulations of management decision-making scenarios, case studies, team exercises, extensive interaction with faculty and other students, and personal communication and presentation skills. 

M.S. in Accounting 

Cal Poly’s M.S. degree in accounting is a rigorous, high-quality program intended to prepare students for entry into the accounting profession. The program prepares candidates for careers with international public accounting firms, regional and local CPA firms, and industry and government agencies. 

M.S. in Business Analytics 

The M.S. degree in business analytics program encompasses data analysis in economics, finance, accounting, marketing and information systems. Students will have the opportunity to work with industry partners and use real data to synthesize ideas and techniques learned in the program. With exposure to analytics in a business setting, graduates will also be able to serve as a critical link among senior management, data scientists, and clients. 

M.S. in Packaging Value Chain 

Cal Poly’s completely online M.S. degree in packaging value chain can be completed in 12-15 months. Working professionals are provided with opportunities to assume leadership roles and advance their careers by developing competencies in the areas of substantive packaging and related business practices that can be directly applied in the workplace. Students will gain valuable expertise in packaging’s interface with data analytics, design, marketing, finance, supply chain, operations and statistics. 

M.S. in Quantitative Economics 

The M.S. degree in quantitative economics is designed to provide advanced preparation for individuals desiring careers as economists in the business, financial, academic and governmental sectors. It is comprised of a core curriculum of quantitative coursework that emphasizes a methodological approach to the analysis of market data through the application of calculus and statistical techniques. Students will learn about applied microeconomic theory, applied econometrics, numerical methods, and simulation. 

M.S. in Taxation 

The M.S. degree in taxation prepares graduates for careers in public accounting, industry and government. The program’s curriculum covers a broad spectrum of taxation, including research, corporate, partnership, international, state, local, estate and gift. Students enrolled in the program also apply their knowledge in a winter internship, for which they receive academic credit and put their tax skills to work.

Admissions | California Polytechnic State University: Orfalea College of Business

Admission to a graduate program at Cal Poly is centralized through the Cal Poly Admission Office, in direct collaboration with coordinators in each of the graduate programs.  Applicants to Cal Poly will follow the official process as described through Cal State Apply, selecting Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, which is one of 23 campuses of the California State University system.

Cal Poly recommends that applicants investigate the program of interest, and research any curriculum questions related to the program.  Program overview information can be found in the Graduate Education Programs Catalog on the Graduate Education website.  Each program has a Faculty Graduate Coordinator who can provide answers about curriculum and professional opportunities.  A list of Graduate Coordinators by program can be found on the Cal Poly Graduate Education website. 

Cal Poly also recommends that applicants familiarize themselves with the graduate admission information outlined on the Office of Admissions website, as well as with information provided on the Graduate Education website.  In addition to these resources, applicants should consult the program for additional program-specific requirements, if any.

General Requirements to be considered for admission to Cal Poly:

    • - Have completed a four-year college course of study at an accredited institution. 
    • - Be in good standing at the previous institution attended. 
    • - Provide official transcripts from the undergraduate degree granting institution to the Cal Poly Admissions Office by the appropriate deadline. 
    • - A GPA from the bachelor degree granting institution of 3.0 of better. A GRE score demonstrating a 50th percentile or higher in each of the 3 categories may allow an application with a GPA of 2.5 or below to be considered. 
    • - Some programs require GRE scores for all applicants. Refer to the Admissions Office and program as there are some exceptions. If your program requires GRE scores, official scores must be reported to the Cal Poly Admissions Office by the deadline. 
    • - Letters of Recommendation as required by the program on interest. 
    • - All graduate and post-baccalaureate applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose native language is not English and whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English must demonstrate competence in English. Those who do not possess a bachelor's degree from a post-secondary institution where English in the principal language of instruction must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of 80 or better, or the International English Language Testing system (IELTS) exam with a score of 6.5 or better. 

International applicant admission to Cal Poly:  

The CSU must assess the academic preparation of international students. For this purpose, international students include those who hold U.S. temporary visas as students, exchange visitors, or in other non-immigrant classifications. The CSU uses separate requirements and application filing dates in the admission of international students. The process for filing an international application can be found on the Cal Poly Admissions website.

Cost, Financial Aid, and Tuition | California Polytechnic State University: Orfalea College of Business

Cal Poly ranked 37th in the U.S. in PayScale’s 2018 “College ROI Report,” which ranked 1,878 colleges and universities. According to PayScale’s projections, Cal Poly has a 20-year net return on investment of $699,000. This ROI is the 2nd highest in the California State University system and is higher than all of the University of California schools.

For the accelerated (10-mo) MBA program, estimated tuition and fees are $26,576 (CA residents) and $39,248 (non-CA residents). Estimated fees for MS Accounting and MS Tax are $25,470. Estimated fees for MS Business Analytics are $32,070. Estimated fees for the MS Quantitative Economics are $27,120. Estimated fees for the MS Packaging Value Chain, our online program, are $24,888. Additional information about living expenses, supplies and transportation can be found here.

For students in the MBA program, Cal Poly provides several opportunities to reduce tuition and fees, including resident tuition waivers, non-resident tuition waivers, and State University Grants. Applicants can apply for Resident and Non-Resident Tuition Waivers here. State University Grants are need-based financial aid. Students interested in need-based financial aid should submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) or the California Dream Act Application if they are not eligible for federal financial aid. Students who complete one of these applications are automatically considered for need-based grant programs. Graduate Education also oversees the Graduate Equity Fellowship, which provides support students with demonstrated financial need.  Graduate Education also provides Graduate Assistant positions to support the professional development and mastery of your chosen field.

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Master of Science (MS)
Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Degrees Awarded

Degree Number Awarded
Master's Degrees 118

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? No
Evening/weekend programs available? No
Distance learning programs available? No
Terminal master's degree available? No

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirement
Master's Degrees Entrance Exam GMAT Required for some
Comp Exam Required for some
Project Required for some


Acceptance Rate



Application Fee - Domestic
applications accepted?
Applications processed
on a rolling basis?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline June 1st April 1st No

Entrance Requirements

Exam Details
Project Master's Degree Exam GMAT required for some

International Students

Exam Details
TOEFL: Required TOEFL IBT score: 80

Tuition & Fees

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Financial Support

Financial award applicants must submit: FAFSA or California Dream Act Application 
Application deadlines for financial awards March 1 or June 1
Types of financial support available Tuition Waivers 
Scholarship and/or Loans
Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Hispanic/Latino 16.88%
Black or African American 0%
White or Caucasian 51%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 10.39%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 5.84%
Unknown 3.9%


Male (56%)
Female (43%)


Total faculty
Full-time - 5
Part-time - 0
Male (4)
Female (1)


Focus of faculty research: Management of high-tech firms, capital market structures, economics of environmental policy, marketing of services
Externally sponsored research expenditures last year: 0

Location & Contact

Address 1 Grand Avenue
San Luis Obispo, CA  93407
United States
Contact Dr. Stern Neill
Associate Dean
Phone: 805-756-0276

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California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Update my info
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