Sports MBA - MBA in Sports Management


Program Description


San Diego State University Strong Assets In choosing the right graduate program to study sports business, there are a number of factors to consider. Below are the principle reasons why we believe that SDSU Sports MBA is the ideal place to pursue an MBA focused on sports. We believe that our recent ranking of #4 globally in Sports Business International, the leading ranking for Postgraduate Sports Business programs, reflects the work we and our alumni have put in to make this a top choice for ambitious students. Furthermore, the Fowler College of Business is ranked in the TOP 50 US Public Business Schools.

Academics: The first and most important factor in selecting a graduate program in the sports business is the quality of the education. Sports is a business, and this program prepares you to enter this business with an MBA degree from the San Diego State University Fowler College of Business. While many universities offer master’s degrees that focus on sports management or require you to complete two degrees in order to get an MBA, this program provides students with a business degree in which all classes are sports-focused. Beyond the type of degree, the course in the Sports MBA program is taught by SDSU’s top faculty members, are exceptionally rigorous, and focus on developing an MBA toolkit of skills required of successful sports executives.

Location: San Diego, California is quite possibly the ideal location to study the business of sports. We’re home to two professional teams, several NCAA athletic departments, including the surging Aztec Athletics on our own campus, a regional sports network, and a US Olympic Training Center. This is an active city that loves its sports, and it’s home to hundreds of sports organizations that span the industry, including endurance sports, action sports, apparel, MMA, golf, equipment, memorabilia, and more. We have an emerging and vibrant sports startup scene that includes a number of technology companies focused on sports. Beyond county lines, we’re just two hours from Los Angeles, and we border the emerging soccer and baseball market in Tijuana to the south. This exceptional location affords our students the opportunity to intern several days per week and gain essential industry experience while completing classes. Our campus is not in a college town with limited professional prospects; the San Diego area presents SDSU Sports MBA students with myriad opportunities. Simply put, this is a place where students can build a network and start a successful and rewarding career in sports business.

There’s a sports event in San Diego every weekend. In fact, the program kicks off each year with the students working all five days of a PGA Tour event, the Farmers Insurance Open, for both the event organizers, the Century Club of San Diego, and the title sponsor, Farmers Insurance.

This year alone, students have spent hundreds of hours volunteering on the weekends for nearby events such as the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the Dew Tour, the Special Olympics, the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon, the ESPYs, SurfGirl, Sports Business Journal Conferences, the SEAT Conference, the Sweet 16, the Mountain West Conference basketball championships, Ironman events, the Amgen Tour of California, the IMG Academy World Junior Golf Tournament, an AVP event, and SDSU Athletic events, among others.

Accelerated Timeframe: Most MBA programs require a two-year commitment from students, but our intensive 18-month calendar (12 months on campus and 6 months in the workforce) uses consecutive terms with no summer break to condense a typical two-year MBA and allow for an internship in 18 months. The program starts in January. The application period runs from August to the end of October of the previous year.

Alumni: Our dedicated network of alumni in the sports industry totals over 300 executives, and they are far more actively involved than most graduate school alumni networks you may encounter. Beginning with the admissions process, in which they interview applicants and help make acceptance decisions, our alumni are involved in the educational process at every turn. SDSU Sports MBA alumni are constantly returning to campus to give classes, demonstrate software programs, host workshops, work with faculty, and hire students. Beyond their work with current students, our alumni are working in important positions with top organizations in sports throughout the world, and as such are exceptionally valuable professional resources for one another. The university has over 300,000 alumni throughout the world.

Miscellaneous: Perhaps the most important distinction that the SDSU program offers over our competitors is that it is a truly boutique program in which every student is expected to perform at a high level and contribute to the experience for his or her classmates. This program is internationally focused, with a globally focused curriculum, geographically diverse student body, and an immersive international experience included in the curriculum. We are constantly evolving, and place heavy emphasis on emerging technology and practical software competency. Students willfully participate in a number of extra class sessions each week, beyond the academic curriculum, in which students teach one another, Skype with authors, host guest speakers, and develop industry-specific knowledge. We prefer long days in the classroom and take on extra projects outside of it because we love what we study and look forward to each day with our fellow students and faculty.

A Fast Growing, Exciting Industry The multi-billion dollar business of sports is constantly evolving, and the industry shows no signs of slowing its rapid growth, both in the U.S. and abroad. A specialized degree in this sector is a valuable investment for prospective students, considering the ever-increasing influence of the sports world. Beyond this rational choice to pursue a degree in this growth industry, our students are also making a passionate choice. Our students and alumni love what they do.

The Investment in the Degree Whether you have previous full-time sports industry or not, the value of adding an MBA to your credentials cannot be overstated. Your time at San Diego State will broaden your business skill set, and our emphasis on quantitative coursework will prepare you for a data-driven sports industry. Simply put, an MBA is a respected degree in most industries, and as the sports world continues to stress analytical decision-making in the management ranks, graduates with MBA degrees are in even higher demand.

What’s the difference between an MBA and a Sports Management Degree? Many sports-related graduate programs offer degrees in sports administration, sports management, and only offer an MBA as a dual degree option with one of these master’s degrees. As sports organizations at all levels continue to grow and foster innovation, the skills of MBA graduates are increasingly in demand. Further, graduates with an MBA degree have higher professional flexibility should their careers take them out of the sports industry; an MBA is applicable across sectors, whereas a sports management degree isn’t.

Do I Need Prior Sports Experience or Business Courses? Many of our students join us without prior coursework in disciplines such as Statistics, Finance, or Analytics, but quickly learn the material and work collaboratively with their peers who have taken such courses.

There are many reasons to choose a graduate program in sports business, and we hope that some of the above merits of the SDSU Sports MBA program appeal to you. To learn more about some of the additional features of the program that relate to you and your specific career interests, please contact us @

Last updated Dec 2017

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About the School

For nearly 60 years, the College of Business Administration at San Diego State University has established itself as a leader and innovator in business education. With an impressive list of alumni, wid ... Read More

For nearly 60 years, the College of Business Administration at San Diego State University has established itself as a leader and innovator in business education. With an impressive list of alumni, widely respected faculty and a ground-breaking curriculum, the college continues to educate talented leaders who are equipped with theoretical knowledge and real world experience. Read less