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Monday, May 27, 2024

Moving the Needle Toward More Diverse, Inclusive MBA Programs

More women are seeking MBAs than ever before, according to a survey released earlier this year that found MBA programs are nearing the gender parity mark with more than 41 percent of women enrollment. Fortune magazine reported that this news is “timely” since the Fortune 500 “finally hit double-digit representation for women CEOs in 2022.”

The MBA program at CSUN’s David Nazarian College of Business and Economics is among those institutions seeing more gender parity. Women continue to be attracted to the Nazarian MBA program demonstrated by an increase in admissions from 43% in 2010 to 57% in fall 2023. In addition, Nazarian College’s program continues to see an increase in racial and ethnic composition of MBA students compared to a decade ago thanks to initiatives that have proven attractive to students considering an MBA.


Classes are held Monday through Thursday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and occasional Saturdays. Students typically take two courses per semester and complete MBA coursework in about 2.5 years. Elective offerings focus on providing timely and relevant topics that help differentiate a student in their workplace and add career value.

Nazarian College Marketing Professor Kristen Walker, who also serves as director of the college’s MBA program, says the program provides flexibility for students who need to reduce or accelerate their academic load commensurate with career and family demands.

“Obtaining an MBA can be challenging even under the most favorable situation,” Walker said. “But when you are working, raising a family and going to school for your MBA, it can be tasking. That’s why Nazarian College’s MBA program offers a flexible schedule format with evenings and weekends for its students.”


Nazarian College MBA students not only learn, but they also pay that knowledge forward by helping businesses as part of the culminating experience in the Nazarian College Small Business Consulting Program.

Through continued support from the Wells Fargo Foundation, MBA student teams consult with and address specific challenges or needs of small businesses and non-profits in the San Fernando Valley region. The teams dedicate up to 650 hours of consulting services for each client, resulting in a comprehensive report detailing their findings and recommendations. In addition to helping small businesses, the program assists students by providing them with highly marketable skills that increase their earning power and marketplace value.

“Students gain confidence and make greater personal connections by working directly with small business owners,” said Walker. “They see first-hand many of the challenges and opportunities, which is an incredibly valuable experience.”


Nazarian College MBA consulting teams are consistently recognized for producing quality, top-tier projects. Each year, Nazarian student teams compete in the Small Business Institute Project of the Year Program. With the guidance of university professors, teams across North America provide business consulting for actual companies. Top teams are recognized at the SBI’s annual conference.

For the second year in a row, two Nazarian College MBA teams were awarded first place in the 2023 Small Business Institute Project of the Year competition.

• Graduate Feasibility Study/Comprehensive marketing category: Under the advisement of Dr. Walker, a student team won first place for its work with client Ollivier Security Systems & Network Engineering and President and CEO Louis Boulgarides. The student team included Alma Angel, Brian Friedman, Romario Gonzalez, Leticia Meza-Guerrero, and Michael Shaffa.

• Graduate Consulting/Specialized category: Under the advisement of Dr. Deborah Cours, a student team won first place for its work with client Valley Economic Alliance and its President and CEO Sonya Blake. The student team included Armand Abellian, Fatima Contreras, Sona Mheryan, Linet Onanian, and Anabel Villalobos.


The college’s MBA program is regularly recognized by state and national rankings. This includes University HQ, which ranked it No. 18 on its list of “Best California MBA Schools and Programs.” The list included eight other CSU campuses. In addition, U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Nazarian College’s MBA program as:

• No. 2 for part-time CSU MBA programs

• No. 2 among 23 public universities in the California State University system

• No. 14 among MBA programs in California

Few MBA programs can equal CSUN Nazarian in graduating MBAs prepared to work and lead in a diverse and global business environment, said Walker.

“Our college takes pride in our MBA students and alumni who are accomplished professionals representing incredibly diverse backgrounds in a variety of industries in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles County and Ventura County regions,” she said. “Our graduate students view their MBA as a smart investment and have the desire to understand the business environment better to offer innovative insights.”

Learn more at mba.csun.edu.

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