Top MBA programs in the west are designed to prepare students to work in management and business. Typically requiring two years of full-time study, the graduate degree requires a substantial commitment of time and money from the student. Many MBA graduates find these investments worthwhile as top MBAs in the western U.S. equip them with strong teamwork and communication skills. Students also receive specialized knowledge required for positions in accounting, consulting, marketing, and entrepreneurship.
Best MBA Programs in the West
Graduate students ready for the challenges that a high-quality MBA offers through rigorous coursework in management and business are wise to consider a program featured at one of the best business schools located in the western United States. Some of these programs have been equipping business leaders for years and have stood the test of time. Colleges and universities throughout states like Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, California, and Washington are stocked full of high-quality professors capable of training tomorrow’s business leaders. Here are the best MBA programs in the west.
Our 2021 list of the best MBA programs in the west is a consensus ranking. It combines data from five top ranking systems: The Economist, The Financial Times, U.S. News and World Report, Forbes, and Bloomberg Businessweek. Top MBA programs for this western region ranking were considered in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Wyoming, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii. Each ranking data point was converted to a score on a 100-point scale, weighted equally, and averaged to discover each MBA’s Consensus Score. In the event of a tie, the MBA base tuition was used as the tie-breaking factor.
Stanford University delivers an excellent MBA through the Graduate School of Business. This two-year Stanford MBA is a full-time, residential course of study that is a perfect pathway to a general management degree while helping students develop their vision and the skills needed to achieve it. This degree offers a business education that will challenge MBA students to become better leaders and teach them how. Learners who are ready to discover new ways of thinking about their careers and their lives will thrive as part of a community of leaders reimagining their industries and influencing the world. Innovation and collaboration are in Stanford’s DNA. MBA students glean the latest business and leadership concepts from faculty members who exist as experts in their fields, accomplished classmates from every corner of the world, and industry leaders. The ideas sparked and doors opened by this Stanford MBA will equip graduate students to make an impact — wherever their paths take them.
The University of California, Berkeley delivers one of the best MBA programs in the West at the Haas School of Business. At Berkeley Haas, graduate students build a fluency in business fundamentals that informs their future confident leadership decisions. Enrolled students can expect to hone values that give their decisions a larger context as they learn how to move teams and enterprises from vision to reality. With a Berkeley MBA degree, professionals develop as leaders who see not just what is, but what will be. Everything done within the MBA program has one goal: to help students develop as leaders capable of transforming innovation into impact. The program’s rigorous curriculum takes an interdisciplinary perspective on business fundamentals so that MBA students can move seamlessly from here to there. It has been designed to steep them in different ways of thinking and an array of perspectives. It is no wonder this program that reinforces one’s growing knowledge with innovative and experiential learning opportunities also happens to be one of the best MBAs in the West.
The Anderson School of Management, hailing from the University of California, Los Angeles, offers an MBA rated one of the best in the West. UCLA Anderson is in the business of preparing the brightest aspiring MBA students in the nation to become leaders in the business world. It is no wonder that recruiters from some of the U.S.’s top brands, like BCG, Goldman Sachs, and Google, work with the business school each year. Within this top-notch MBA, students will gain an advanced tool kit and access to an alumni network of 40,000 professionals to start their careers and the lives they have always wanted. MBA students at UCLA Anderson will find that its alumni network ranges from powerful lectures taught by global leaders to coffee chats with new alumni who work in the same places current graduate students want to go. Marshall connects students to people at the top and accessible points of entry. Admissions Ambassador Corps (AAC) is a team of diverse student leaders who can guide business school students through life at UCLA Anderson and answer specific questions about their experiences. UCLA’s MBA has so much going for it.
An MBA is offered at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. Marshall utilizes a holistic academic-career model. It has aligned and tightly integrated the programmatic, academic, and career development of this MBA program. Core courses at the beginning of the MBA Core include Communication for Management, Structured Analysis for Unstructured Problems, and Foundations for Your Professional Value. Courses like these explore business topics like communication, self-awareness, leadership, and value-creation. Throughout the program, students can identify their personal interests and value in the global marketplace. The MBA program’s curriculum help graduate students fully interact with the Graduate Career Services’ Career Insights Seminars and gain direct access and exposure to potential career pathways that best align with their goals. The business school makes meeting and networking with professionals in industry a priority. Marshall’s Academic Career Roadmaps guide students as they identify and navigate toward their career objectives, take the relevant courses required, and get involved in various case competitions and career clubs that help achieve professional goals. This MBA at USC is one of the very best degrees of its kind in the West.
The McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin provides an exemplary MBA. This exemplary MBA is a veritable case study in professional and personal transformation. Students enrolled in this program for two years enjoy boundless opportunities to discover new passions and pursue curiosities. They will supercharge their careers, expand their professional networks, and sharpen their skills on their way to becoming influential leaders. When students graduate, they will have the Texas-sized knowledge and skills to do anything they can dream up. There is a cohort-based curriculum with over twenty specializations to choose from. Classes are held from Monday through Thursday in the daytime, and the program takes two years to complete. McCombs School of Business’ core curriculum prepares MBA students to build, lead, and manage enterprises that create value. And it all happens in Austin, Texas–known by many as the most entrepreneurial city in the United States.
One of the West’s best MBA degrees is available at the Michael G. Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. Program candidates are challenged to take their careers to the next level with this Foster Full-time MBA. The two-year Full-time MBA Program experience in Seattle gives graduate students the curriculum, network, faculty, and career support that will shape their futures. The projected ROI of a Foster MBA goes well beyond financial and career outcomes, shaping professionals’ long-term outlook on how to have their most significant impact. Students have the power to build the Foster Full-time MBA curriculum uniquely suited to their career goals. They may also develop their professional experience with the correct blend of courses, project and internship experience, independent study, international activities, and research projects. With small class sizes, access to world-class instructors is unparalleled, letting MBA students explore their interests in greater detail while providing insight from current business research. This Foster School of Business is one of the best MBA programs in the West.
An exemplary MBA is offered at Rice University’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business. No matter what their journeys are, Rice’s business school has built a program that will meet students’ needs. This Full-Time MBA program was specifically designed for professionals looking for a significant transition. MBA students develop the quantitative chops, workplace knowledge, and skills employers desire today in business. The Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business has obtained STEM designation for all its MBA programs. STEM designation is a direct result of the data-driven business environment, student interest, and employer needs. Rice MBA graduates are known globally for their broad problem-solving skills that reflect a curriculum grounded in data-analytic and quantitative methodologies across all business disciplines. Graduate students are invited to join this program on its campus in the heart of Houston. MBA students can take part in clubs, networking events, and extracurricular activities. This MBA at Rice has so much to offer.
An MBA is currently available at the Marriott School of Business at Brigham Young University. Marriott MBA students have exemplary academic track records, including high GPAs and GMAT scores. However, the value not measured in these scores is the work and life experiences BYU students bring with them. They have prior service and work experience and know precisely what it takes to achieve success in life and work. Ethics, community, and a sense of internal responsibility run deep in business school students. BYU Marriott MBA students will not only learn from and collaborate with these stellar individuals, but they will also contribute and mentor others within the MBA community. Graduates of this MBA degree become the kind of leaders that agile, lean organizations demand. Teamwork is the fundamental need of every organization. The business school’s relevant, rigorous, and real-world meetings intentionally give students more than they ever could do alone.
The Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University offers one of the West’s best MBA programs. This degree is the perfect fit for professionals heading for success in their current career — but want to get there faster. Cox’s full-time, twelve-month, One-Year MBA at SMU is tailored for early-career professionals wanting a rigorous, personalized experience within an intimate smaller-school setting. MB students learn in small classes from award-winning instructors with open doors. Students can connect with dynamic business leaders from Dallas’s Fortune 500 companies and other MBA students worldwide. Graduates of this program will be ready to use their skills, confidence, and global alumni network to take their careers to the next level. The One-Year MBA program at Cox builds on the knowledge and skills students bring, giving them the advantages of a two-year MBA program in half the time. The streamlined, modular curriculum allows students to tailor their learning to their specific career focus.
The University of California, Irvine, provides one of the West’s best MBA at the Paul Merage School of Business. The business school has recently redesigned its curricula, co-curricular programs, course content, and delivery modes to create unparalleled education experiences with a single goal: to prepare MBA students to propel their careers and lead their organizations to succeed in today’s digitally driven world. UC Irvine’s FTMBA degree is now 100% STEM-designated and dedicated to deepening graduate students’ knowledge and leadership in Quantitative Methods and Management Science. Paul Merage School of Business leaders are also proud to announce a new Analytics in Digital Leadership specialization, built to be directly aligned with particular managerial operations in data analytics, business intelligence and strategy, and data science. Nestled in the heart of Orange County’s Tech Coast, MBA students are surrounded by a network of modern tech businesses, including Western Digital, Amazon, and Google. This best of the West MBA degree has a lot to offer.
The W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University provides an MBA. With its recent $15 million investment in career management resources coupled with a one-to-one career coaching system that helps every step of the way, MBA students will be prepared for their next great challenge. An innovative curriculum has been designed to reflect where economies, industry, and the world is headed. Graduates of this degree become leaders who see the big picture and embrace change. This Full-time MBA is a STEM-designated degree. It allows eligible graduates on student visas to access an Optional Practical Training extension for up to three years. This helps international students gain additional real-world equipping and experience in the United States. MBA students at Arizona State unlock their leadership and discover a broad range of tools that help them steer organizations — and their careers — through ambiguity. The W. P. Carey on-campus MBA at Arizona State is one of the best in the West.
The Naveen Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas currently features an MBA program. Program designers understand that MBA students’ time is valuable. UT Dallas’ Full-Time MBA program is focused on the career search and academic learning of its enrolled students. All MBA students are paired with executive mentors and career coaches to assist them in their professional and personal development. The small program size of 50 and a dedicated team of professionals allow the business school to cater to students’ needs, ensuring their success in a fast-paced 18-month duration. Applicants are encouraged to come to a program where faculty and staff believe in them. This degree will prove to be the most intense, transitional, challenging, and bonding time of a professional business leader’s life. The 53 credit-hour program features a full-time core curriculum that graduate students complete in 18 months. There is an optional extra semester that makes it a 21-month program.
Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School provides one of the West’s best MBA degrees. Mays Full-Time MBA students undergo personal and professional transformations. This on-campus program excels at providing all learners with an individualized experience that focuses on leadership. Faculty and staff are dedicated to knowing who MBA students are, where they have been, and where they want to go professionally. Instructors will mentor enrolled students to confidently assume a leadership role in all areas of life – career, family, and community. This intensive 18-month program also provides practical, hands-on experiences in managing time, resources, and challenges. Mays Business School’s intimate cohorts allow students to make meaningful connections with program leadership, peers, faculty, and career coaches. Graduates emerge from this program with enhanced self-esteem, cutting-edge professional skills and knowledge, and the chance to immediately assume a leadership position. This Full-Time MBA program is one of the best in the West.
The University of California, Davis’ Graduate School of Management provides an MBA. This stellar program fosters a vibe unlike any other. Enrolled students immerse themselves in a close-knit community designed to inspire others to achieve, help others succeed, build trust, and challenge students in their roles as collaborative leaders. The Davis campus lies near Northern California’s booming business regions and research communities. Students are connected to valuable networks and extraordinary opportunities. MBA students can build their leadership capacity through this pioneering program modeled on global organizations’ approaches for their executives. Included team consulting projects mean that students work collectively to solve pressing business problems posed by startups and top companies. The close-knit community that makes up the Graduate School of Management results in students collaborating with faculty, executives, and alumni from all over the world who will challenge MBA students to be their best selves. This top-notch program is one of the best in the West.
The University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business provides one of the West’s best MBA degrees. This MBA from Utah is unlike any other. It is the perfect fit for students with at least one year of post-undergraduate work experience. The curriculum is experiential, immersive, and cohort-oriented, connecting MBA students to high-impact networks and careers. David Eccles School of Business’ world-class faculty, hands-on career services, and cutting-edge curriculum will give learners what they need to achieve their career goals. Utah’s Career Management Center that all Full-Time MBA students work with is one of the most engaging, personalized, and high touch out there. Whether they seek an internship or a post-graduation career, career coaches can help graduate students achieve their goals. Nearly 95% of incoming students qualify for merit-based scholarship awards to help them with program expenses. The University of Utah MBA is a sound investment worth making.
The Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University provides an MBA. This business degree offers students with connections and standout skills. The business school’s globally recognized program gives MBA students hands-on experience solving real business issues. It introduces them to countless leaders from organizations across the country and around the world. TCU MBA students have a voice in every discussion. They also have a personal interaction with respected instructors and motivated classmates who help bring out their personal best while becoming lifelong friends and business connections. Neeley students have the chance to compete with other MBA teams across the country in case competitions. Students can also pit their curriculum into practice by consulting on projects for corporate clients. Neeley & Associates Consulting allows exceptional students to work on real consulting projects for clients like Alcon, Nike, and PepsiCo. This excellent MBA has value and quality throughout and is one the discerning potential MBA student should consider.
The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona provides an MBA program. This degree offers students a tight-knit community and wide-open possibilities for future business leaders. Choosing this full-time MBA program is the first of many excellent choices awaiting MBA students within the Eller College of Management. From here, they select a concentration or a dual degree that will take their potential and influence even further. Dual degrees within Eller are available with no extra time added. Their options outside of the business school can be taken anywhere from one added semester to one additional year. The program’s curriculum is a process fine-tuned by instructors who know just how the business world works. MBA students at the University of Arizona spend their first year building skills and knowledge in foundational areas like finance, marketing, leadership, accounting, management, and communication. In year two, students choose one of 24 dual-degree options, spend their final semesters rounding out requirements, and prepare for the job offers that make it all worth it.
An MBA degree is currently available at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder. This on-campus program equips students with the knowledge, network, experience, and mentorship they need to transform their careers as they look at their professional future and the future of business on the global stage. The Leeds Full-Time MBA is delivered in Boulder, CO. In this entrepreneurial and innovative business environment, the business school’s acclaimed faculty and programming build business expertise and the confidence to support students’ long-term career goals. The pursuit of an MBA degree begins in early August with pre-term intensive statistics and team management courses to prepare for a first-year emphasis on core business functional areas. Accounting, finance, strategy, marketing, and management are all included in this curriculum. Career Management and Professional Development programs prepare MBA students for internships during their first summer term. MBA students within this program at the University of Colorado Boulder graduate with the tools they need for competent business leadership.
The University of California San Diego offers one of the West’s best MBA programs at the Rady School of Management. Rady leaders focus on MBA students’ careers beginning on day one. Starting on their first day on campus, the Graduate Career Management Center provides a network of support to help graduate students define their career goals, establish professional connections, and pursue their passions. Enrolled students are encouraged to enter with an idea and graduate with a business. An entrepreneurial signature Lab to Market course is required of all Rady MBA students. This sequence puts the core curriculum and electives knowledge to work. Free resources for early-stage companies are also available to MBA students. California Institute for Innovation and Development (CIID) houses multiple business incubators under its StartR brand. Students are encouraged to explore the many sides of entrepreneurship and innovation throughout this degree. Veterans and military personnel also special programs and opportunities within this best of the West MBA degree.
The Graziadio Business School at Pepperdine University features an MBA. Pepperdine’s full-time MBA helps its students develop ethical leadership abilities through an experience-driven education offered at a truly inspiring location in Malibu, California. The Two-Year Full-Time MBA is completed in five terms and includes 55 units of coursework, 60 credit hours of co-curricular activities, and a business internship. Graduate students in this program often lack previous course work and sufficient work experience needed to qualify for the 12- and 15-Month programs. On-campus MBA students may personalize their curriculum to complement their educational background and work experience by selecting an area of specialization. The program’s co-curricular activities are designed to enrich student learning in values and ethics, communication skills, critical thinking, job placement, integration and application, and career development. Students are required to complete 60 hours of co-curricular activities. MBA students looking for one of the best in the nation will want to give this one a second look.
Baylor University provides a stellar MBA at the Hankamer School of Business. At BU, earning a high-quality MBA degree is not the end goal. It is just the beginning. This program stands with a solid base of rigorous coursework, a dynamic experiential classroom setting, and engaging instructors to challenge and support MBA students along the way. The Hankamer School of Business’ ultimate goal is to help professionals build their business understanding so they can take their careers to the next level. All MBA students begin their studies with foundational business courses over the summer on Baylor’s main campus in Waco, Texas. When the fall semester begins, cohorts are prepared to embark on the challenging core curriculum. Elective courses enable MBA students to understand specific business functions that support future career aspirations. MBA students can take various electives for a general overview of business, or they can pursue a specialization that certifies proficiency in a specific business area. Either way, students graduate prepared to maximize their leadership potential in an ever-evolving marketplace.
An excellent MBA is featured at the University of Oklahoma’s Michael F. Price College of Business. OU’s MBA is located in the heart of Oklahoma City’s thriving Innovation District. This program is surrounded by global leaders in tech, energy, healthcare, entrepreneurship, and finance. The Michael F. Price College of Business’ current 27,000 square foot state-of-the-art building makes collaborating seamlessly collaborate across these industries. Oklahoma’s campus includes adaptive and diverse spaces for collaboration and study, along with convenient amenities. This 48-hour Full-time MBA is designed in a modular format, while each term is broken into two eight-week modules. The structure allows MBA students to begin specialized elective coursework before their summer internship. It also helps create an accelerated program so that graduate students can complete their MBA in 16 months instead of the typical two-year format. Core courses include essential managerial competencies and fundamental business knowledge with a focus on the global business perspective. Study topics include accounting, marketing, data analytics, financial analysis, business strategy, human resources, and operations management. This degree is one of the best MBAs in the West.
One of the West’s best MBA degrees is delivered at Willamette University’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management. As a leader in experiential business education, the Willamette MBA prepares graduate students for their first working position, career change or advancement in business, and not-for-profit and government organizations. At Willamette MBA, students will acquire a wealth of new knowledge and the opportunity to apply what they learn to real not-for-profit clients in their first year through the business school’s signature PACE core course. Enrolled students can also expect to build their professional experience through internships, class consulting projects, and innovative experiential courses. Both U.S. and international students have the opportunity to do up to three semesters of internships for credit. Nearly all of Willamette MBA students acquire a summer internship. Most MBA students get employed in two years as over 80% of international students, and almost 85% of U.S. students receive a job offer within three months of graduating. Forbes ranks the Willamette MBA as one of the best U.S. MBA degrees for return on investment. These are just a few reasons why this program is one of the best MBA programs in the West.
The School of Business within the University of San Diego provides one of the West’s best MBA degrees. There are many perks to pursuing a USD MBA, from connections and friendships to professional growth and career planning. An intimate cohort structure for core classes and small class sizes allow students to build lifelong personal and professional relationships with instructors and classmates. MBA students can tailor their curriculum by choosing program length, area of focus, and international options. By completing coursework approved by corporate partners and a comprehensive professional development program, students will acquire the advanced and foundational skills employers want from MBA-level hires. MBA students work on real client projects throughout the program. The curriculum includes a semester-long consulting project for a local San Diego firm or an international consulting engagement. Students advise small organizations and businesses in countries as diverse as Germany, China, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and beyond. The USD MBA will help professionals become agents for change and respectable, inspiring business leaders.
An MBA is currently available at the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver. This intensive, full-time 21-month program is a game-changer. It is based on challenge-driven graduate education. That means students can create a startup business, incubate a social project, and solve business problems for domestic and international corporate partners—all while getting a unique and high-quality in-classroom business education. Graduates of this program report a 100% job placement rate six months after graduation. Significant merit scholarships are available to highly qualified candidates, including Colorado residents. Every MBA student gets customized, ongoing team and one on one coaching throughout the program. Small class sizes guarantee personalized instruction. Program tuition includes a trip abroad to work alongside international organizations on their business problems. This degree has been recognized as 2019’s #2 for Best Green MBA by Princeton Review. Denver’s MBA is one of the best degrees a graduate student in business can pursue.
Pursuing a degree as a graduate student is a big decision, so it makes perfect sense to explore all the substantial reasons for earning an MBA degree. An MBA can put professionals on the path to getting hired, enhance their personal and professional life, and accelerate their career trajectories. It is no secret that there are some excellent colleges and universities within the United States’ western region. States like Texas, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, and California have some of the best Master of Business Administration programs in the nation.
While comparing and contrasting different programs, it is essential to look at factors that will make some programs better than others in the west. For example, a business school in California may have an incredible reputation and accreditation. Still, a graduate student may have difficulty living near the program’s campus with a higher cost of living in the area. In contrast, the same candidate may find a low cost of living just outside of Oklahoma City but may sacrifice accreditation and program rigor in doing so.
As there are many factors involved when considering a top MBA program in the west, we have put together some crucial questions that are worth answering:
Will an MBA in the West Sharpen My Business Knowledge?
Every active working professional worth their salt has an intrinsic goal to be one of their organization’s best workers. If succeeding in the business world is your top priority, earning your MBA will take you to that all-important next level of expertise. MBA students gain a well-rounded business degree that focuses on technology and quantitative tools to make students job-ready and capable of competing effectively in today’s global economy.
Do top MBA Programs in the West Provide a Well-Rounded Foundation in Business?
MBA programs available on campus in the west target precisely what you need to stand out amongst the competition in today’s business world. Programs in states like California and Texas offer some of the most extensive MBA programs in the United States’ western region. These programs provide a variety of courses in all of the functional areas of business.
As an MBA student, you can depend on excellent advising support and dedicated instructors who want you to succeed. Courses are designed to combine academic theory and practical experience to apply what they learn immediately. Business school candidates should also be prepared to explore a broad array of career options and advance into employment opportunities in the future. While most programs feature a two-year completion time, accelerated programs allow students to complete their MBA in as little as one year.
What Kind of Emphases Can Be Chosen as Concentrations?
Depending on the business school, MBA students can choose from many concentrations, including business topics like marketing, real estate, business analytics, nonprofit management, healthcare management, sales management, IT, and entrepreneurship. The list goes on and on. Some programs even offer niche emphases like sports management, entertainment agency, and ministry management.
What if I Want to Take a Dual Path with my Business Degree?
Recognizing the rapidly changing business world, many business schools offer dual degree programs for business leaders wanting to learn more about and work in law, healthcare, and technology innovation. One example would be a university that offers dual degrees to train nurse leaders. This program would allow students to choose an MSN-MBA dual degree or perhaps an MBA-Nursing Administration and Leadership program. A degree like the MSN-MBA could enable a working nurse professional to learn the healthcare business while gaining a broad perspective on medical settings’ business issues. The MBA portion of that dual degree would even prepare nurse leaders for a wide range of future roles like chief nurse officers or healthcare administrators.
Are top MBA Programs in the West Flexible and Affordable for Working Professionals?
There are many benefits to pursuing an MBA in the west. Some of them are found in convenience and flexibility. Many MBA students are just like you: working full time, juggling personal and family responsibilities, and all the while eager to move forward in their lives and careers. Some of the best MBA programs in the west provide coursework options that are flexible enough that students can fit in classes around their professional and personal commitments. This may mean weekend and evening course offerings or the chance for students to take some courses online. Distance learning allows MBA students to experience course work in a top-quality degree anytime and anywhere.
As the adage goes, “you get what you pay for.” When it comes to MBA programs in the west, you may find that you get more than you pay for. Many affordable MBA degrees in the region feature low tuition rates, scholarship opportunities, and advisors who can help students find financial aid.
Will an MBA Program Help me Find my Niche in Business?
If your dream is to start or own your own business, choosing an MBA degree concentration in entrepreneurship may be an excellent option for you. In fact, chances are within the many programs offered within the western states; you will find a specialization that will teach you the concepts that cover any business area that motivates you. Specialized MBAs equip students with the latest tools and strategies to help launch them into the business realm of their choice. MBA graduates can prepare to pursue career opportunities in management, fundraising, business consulting, research and development, and more. Top MBA programs in the west offer a curriculum designed to prepare students to grow as agents of change in commerce in the western region of the U.S. and beyond.
Based on the quick answers to these questions, it is clear to see that an MBA in the west is a great career choice for all professionals interested in taking their careers to the next level.
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