Graduate & Executive Programs Admissions FAQs

What is the difference between the Sonoma Executive MBA and the Sonoma Professional MBA?

These programs differ in many ways regarding curriculum, admissions requirements, and schedules. Students in the Sonoma Professional MBA will gain technical business skills with a management focus. We recommended that students have at least two years of full-time work experience prior to the start of the program, as well as complete a series of business prerequisite courses. The GMAT/GRE exam is optional. Students in this program will be in class two nights per week (7pm-9:45pm) for about 2 years. The schedule is flexible and students may take more or fewer classes depending on their work schedule. (Students who wish to attend full-time may do so with approval from the Executive Director, Soo Haylett.)

Students in one of our Executive MBA programs will gain leadership development and strategic management skills during the course of the program. They will need at least eight years of professional, progressive work experience prior to the start of the program. Applicants for this program are not required to take business prerequisite courses or the GMAT exam, if they meet the minimum work experience requirement and have at least a 2.5 GPA as an undergraduate. The schedule is not flexible, and the program is a cohort model, where all students take the same classes together for the entirety of the program. 

I want to apply for the Sonoma Professional Wine MBA or the Sonoma Executive Wine MBA program, but I don’t have direct wine industry work experience. Can I still apply?

Applicants of our Wine MBA programs are required to have at least two years of wine industry experience. Those who do not have the minimum years required can enroll in the Wine Business Institute's Online Certificate in Wine Business Management. Successful completion of the Foundation and Intermediate courses fulfills the two-year industry experience requirement.

Can I work full time while enrolled in any of your MBA programs?

Yes. In fact, we prefer that you are working so that you have context for the information you learn in the classroom. We focus on engaged, hands-on learning in all of our MBA programs. The skills you are practicing in the classroom should be directly applicable to your real-life work.

Do you offer any concentrations in your MBA programs (accounting, marketing, healthcare, etc.)?

Currently, we offer a wine-focused MBA program in three formats:

How do I know if I need to take any business prerequisite courses for the Sonoma Professional MBA?

You can send your unofficial transcripts to for review. If you studied business as an undergraduate, you most likely have completed all of these courses. Courses include Micro and Macro Economics, Financial and Managerial Accounting, Statistics, and Finance.

I know that I haven’t completed the prerequisites. Can I apply before these are completed and how do I complete them?

MBA applicants can complete their applications before they finish the prerequisites with the opportunity to be selected for “conditional” admission.

You may email your unofficial transcript or use our department form to upload a copy. Our admissions team will complete a prerequisite review for you and can offer some convenient online options to allow you to complete any missing courses before the August cohort begins.

How much do the programs cost?

The Sonoma Executive MBA and the Sonoma Executive Wine MBA programs cost $49,500 – all-inclusive. Tuition, books, parking passes, and costs for the travel are included in that cost. 

The Global Executive Wine MBA program costs $49,500. This price includes tuition, all course materials, all in-country transportation, and food. It does not include the cost of lodging and flights.

The Sonoma Professional MBA and the Sonoma Professional Wine MBA programs are priced per unit. The average cost for in-state tuition for either program is $25,000. Out of state tuition is around $35,000. You can view the fee structures on each program page. 

Do you offer scholarships?

Scholarships for the Wine MBA programs are available through the Wine Business Institute. View available scholarships here

Scholarships for non-wine MBA programs may be available through the University Scholarships Office.

How do I apply for Financial Aid?

The majority of our students utilize FAFSA loans. Visit the official website

Our Financial Aid Office on campus can help you once you have been accepted into a program.

Can I speak with an alumni from one of your programs?

Absolutely! We have a wonderful network of alumni and are happy to introduce prospective students. Send your resume and some information on which program you are interested in to with the subject line “Meet an Alumni” to set up a time.

Where is the Sonoma Executive Wine MBA cohort held?

The Sonoma Executive Wine MBA classes are held online on Wednesday evenings from 7-9 pm and in person at the Wine Spectator Learning Center at Sonoma State University every other Saturday from 8-5. New cohorts begin each January.

Where do I apply and what are the deadlines?

All applications go through our Department Graduate Application. 

Application windows:

  • Sonoma Professional MBA: October 1st – April 30th
  • Sonoma Professional Wine MBA: October 1st – April 30th
  • Global Wine Executive MBA: October 1st – June 30th 
  • Sonoma Executive MBA – August 1st – September 30th
  • Sonoma Wine Executive MBA: August 1st – September 30th


Sonoma Executive MBA Programs Application Process

Sonoma Professional MBA Programs Application Process

Who can I talk to if I have questions about applying to any of your MBA programs?

If you have questions or want to schedule an appointment, please use this Calendly Link to find a time that fits your schedule. Our admissions team can help you decide which program is best for you, and answer any questions about pending applications. 

Sonoma State University
1801 East Cotati Avenue
School of Business and Economics
Graduate and Executive Programs
Wine Spectator Learning Center
Rohnert Park, CA 94928 | 707-664-3501