How to Apply

The Riordan MBA Fellows Program seeks talented individuals with strong academic backgrounds who demonstrate leadership skills and who have had limited exposure to graduate-level education.

APPLICATION INFORMATION: The application will open December 6, 2016 for the 2018 Riordan MBA Fellows Class.

Interested in attending an Outreach Event or Online Webinar Session? Register here

The applicant is responsible for completing Steps 1 and 2.
Applying to the program is a two-step process outlined below:

1. A Complete Riordan Fellows online application. You are able to save the online Application. However, all saved information must be viewed on the same computer. 

Application Checklist for Step 1:

  • Application
  • Resume
  • Unofficial Transcripts
  • 1  Recommendation Form: When the Riordan application is submitted, an automatic email will be sent directly to the reference person's email address you selected. This email will contain a link to the reference form. Please plan accordingly to give you recommender enough time to submit from when you complete your application.
  • Essays (2 Essays, 1 Optional)
    1. Please provide us with a summary of your personal and family background. Include information about your parents and siblings, where you grew up and perhaps a highlight or special memory of your youth. (500-word limit)
    2. Discuss your career goals and why you want an MBA, particularly at this point in your career. Why, specifically, are you applying to the Riordan Fellows Program? (500-word limit)
    3. (Optional) Is there any other information that you believe would be helpful to the Admissions Committee in considering your application? (If you feel the application already represents you well, do not feel obligated to answer this essay question.) (500-word limit)

2. Complete Step 2 of the Application includes the:

    • Payment of application fee
      Visit this link to pay application fee:

       Please note Step 2 payment must be submitted in order for your application to be considered complete.  

Application Deadline


Decision E-mailed by

February 24, 2017

By Invitation Only

May 26, 2017

May 12, 2017

By Invitation Only

August 4, 2017

Academic Year 2017-2018: Riordan MBA Fellows Program Session Tentative Dates*

Orientation - October 14, 15, 16 2017
Session #1 - November 4, 2017

Session #2 - December 9, 2017
Session #3 - January 27, 2018
Session #4 - February 24, 2018
Session #5 - March 24, 2018
Session #6 - April 28, 2018

Session #7- May 5, 2018

*Session attendance is mandatory. Dates subject to change. 

To be eligible, applicants should meet the following criteria:


  • On average, applicants are up to five years post graduate from an undergraduate college/university. 
  • Applicant’s cumulative grade point average must have at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Applicant should have substantial work experience (this can include summer internships, community volunteer experience). Must be fully employed and have at least one year of work experience.
  • Applicant must have demonstrated leadership skills and community service involvement

Admitted Riordan MBA Fellows are required to attend all monthly Saturday sessions. Riordan MBA Fellows are expected to exhibit a professional demeanor and actively participate in class discussions, community service projects, and all other program activities. Appropriate attire is required at all Riordan Programs functions.


If admitted into the Riordan MBA Fellows Program, a required GMAT Diagnostic test of 450 and official transcripts will be needed by September 2015. Please note we are not requiring the official GMAT, only the diagnostic.

There is an application fee of $50 for all professional applicants. For all admitted Riordan Fellows, tuition for the 2017-2018 program year is tentatively set at $850. Classroom supplies and materials are provided at the monthly Saturday sessions; parking and cost of books excluded.

 What qualifications does the Admissions Committee look for in an applicant?
The Admissions Committee evaluates applicants' prospects as leaders and their projected ability to succeed in, benefit from, and contribute to The Riordan MBA Fellows Program. Committee members carefully consider personal and academic background information, achievements, awards and honors, employment history, letters of recommendation, and college and community involvement, especially where candidates have served in leadership capacities. The Admissions Committee seeks to create a community of students who bring unique contributions from their diverse backgrounds and experiences and who will collectively enrich the educational experience.

What are the advantages to applying Round 1?
 Applicants are advised to apply for admission as early as possible. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to apply early on due to the admission process. Admissions decisions become limited by space and student mix. Late applicants run the risk of being denied. Applications are reviewed in the order they are received. Only complete applications will be reviewed.

What kind of work experience are you looking for?
There is no "cookie cutter" profile for who is admitted to The Riordan Fellows Program. We do not prefer applicants according to industry or job function; however, we are specifically interested in how you have contributed to your organization, and especially in what opportunities for leadership you have taken.

What are my chances of acceptance?
Each year The Riordan Programs admits an extraordinary group of students/professionals. We have carefully designed our review process to ensure quality and fairness. Admission into the Riordan Fellows MBA Program is highly selective and based on a comprehensive review of all applicants.

How can I verify that my application was received on time?
An email will be sent once your application is complete.

When will I receive notification of my decision?
All applicants will be notified by email of their admission decision by Round 1 May 26, 2017 and Round 2 August 4, 2017. 

What does it mean to be on the wait list?
The admissions committee has not yet reached a final decision. The committee seeks to continue to consider your application beyond the decision date. All wait list applicants will be notified of their acceptance by the second round deadline.

How much does the letter of recommendation, essays, transcripts, etc. matter?
Components of an application are not weighted - all of the factors are important aspects of the application and we do a comprehensive review and look at the total application.

Do I have to submit transcripts with my application?
Yes. Unofficial Transcripts must be submitted with the application. Official transcripts will be requested if accepted into the Riordan MBA Fellows Program.

May I submit more than one recommendation?
No. Please submit only one recommendation, preferably from supervisors or managers at your current place of employment.

Can one of my recommendations be from a professor?
Yes, however, ideally an academic recommender should know you beyond the classroom through research, internships, or other interactions.  

I cannot ask my boss for a recommendation because s/he does note know I plan to return to school. Who should I ask?
Think of another work-related source, such as a client or a manager from another department who knows your skills. Perhaps you could ask a former boss who has left the company. What we are looking for is a recommendation from someone who knows your work well, preferably from a supervisory perspective.

Can I turn in my application after the deadlines?
No. Applicants must submit their application by the deadline. Late submissions will not be accepted or reviewed.

Can I apply if I live outside of California? 
Yes, we welcome all applicants. All applicants are responsible for transportation.

What if I forgot to send an item in my application package (i.e. transcripts)?
Your status will be considered incomplete if you do not complete and send all parts of your application in one package by the deadline.

Can I email or fax my application or individual components?
No. We will not accept any faxed or emailed copies of applications or application components including: transcripts, letters of recommendation, essays, mentee profile, resume, and application fee.

Can I drop off my application in person?
No. All application packages must be completed online. 

What is the application process for international applications?
The admission process and deadlines are the same for all applicants.

What if my application is incomplete?
Only complete and on time applications will be reviewed.

How do I sign up for my admission interview?
Interviews will be held on an "as needed basis." Interview dates are tentatively scheduled on a rolling basis. Although not all applicants will be invited to interview, we ask that you set aside these dates in advance. Declining an invitation to interview is highly discouraged and will affect your admission into the program.

Can I call or email to check on my admission status?
We will not accept or return any calls nor respond to any emails regarding admission decisions. All applicants will be notified by email of their admission decision by Round 1 May 26, 2017 and Round 2 August 4, 2017. 

Is attendance to all Riordan Fellows sessions mandatory?
Yes, if accepted into the Riordan MBA Fellows Program, you must commit to attending every monthly Saturday session.

Who should I make the application fee payable to?
Once you complete Step 1 of your application you will be prompted to Step 2 which will direct you towards the payment link. 

Where can I find additional information?
Visit our web site at

When will I be notified that my application is complete?
After Step 2 of the Application process is complete a notice will be sent via email.

If I miss the application deadline, when is the next time I can apply?
You can apply during the next application period, which is set for Fall of 2018.

If I have been denied, may I appeal the decision?
No. We are well aware of the depth of investment our applicants make while participating in our selection process. Accordingly, the Admissions Committee reviews each candidacy with great care and thoughtful consideration. Our review process is extremely thorough, and all decisions are final. Thus, there is no process for appeal.

 If I have been denied admission, may I receive feedback on my candidacy?
Each candidacy is examined with an eye to individual strengths as well as a consideration of the pool as a whole and the balance we are seeking in each entering class. Our review process is exhaustive, and our decisions are made only after thoughtful deliberations. We know that being denied admission can be both unexpected and disappointing. The most difficult part of Admissions Committee membership is not being able to admit the vast majority of highly qualified and compelling candidates. At this time, feedback will not be provided to denied candidates.

If I am not admitted, can I reapply to the Program?
Yes. If you are not offered admission to The Riordan MBA Fellows Program, you are welcome to reapply. All re-applicants are required to complete a new application, including new academic transcripts, essays, recommendation letters, resume, and application fees. The admission decision will be based upon the new application materials received rather than previously submitted materials.