Researching Business School Q&A: UCI Paul Merage School of Business

Researching Business School Q&A: UCI Paul Merage School of Business main image

To find out about UCI Paul Merage School of Business’ admissions process, and what the business school is really looking for, we spoke to Eric Duarte, associate director of recruitment and admissions for the full-time MBA and assists with Admissions and Recruitment for the Masters of Biotechnology Management and Engineering Management programs  at University of California, Irvine -The Paul Merage School of Business.

Duarte joined Merage School in March 2017 to help with the launch of the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) and Master of Finance (MFin).

What should applicants look for when they start researching schools?

When starting their research, applicants should think about what a “good fit” means to them. For example; location, curriculum, career outcomes, scholarship opportunities and which of these factors are more important than the others.

Eric Duarte, Merage Business SchoolShould the applicants be looking at schools based on where they want to live long term?

Location is one factor an applicant should consider, however, just because a school is located in an area the applicant may want to live long term, doesn’t mean the program will have the curriculum and specific job outcomes that will allow the applicant to find a job there. Therefore, it’s important to take a holistic approach when finding the right fit.

Are campus visits necessary?

Yes, campus visits are necessary because they give the applicant the opportunity to get a feel for what the program and campus life is like. It also allows admissions staff to get to know the applicant personally while they are going through the admission process.

Is it necessary for applicants to have their program and concentration decided on prior to starting their research?

While an applicant doesn’t have to have a program or concentration decided on before they begin their research, they should be thinking about their career goals, as well as potential concentrations or areas of study so they can have an idea of where to start. 

How do you choose which program and concentration to pursue?

The best advice was given to me by my mentor. She said when deciding on a program and concentration, you should think about the company and role you want to pursue after you graduate and work your way backwards to find a program that will help put you in the best position to obtain it.

What are some of the most important things applicants should consider if considering studying outside of their country?

Some of the most important factors to consider should be cost, location, curriculum and job outcomes for international students. More specifically, regarding job outcomes, international students should think about whether their goal is to work in the country where they pursue their MBA, or if they will return to their home country. If applicants wish to work outside of their home country, then they should think about the employment statistics for international students at each program they are considering.

How early should I start looking at different programs?

Applicants should start looking at least a year before they are planning to apply to an MBA program. This will ensure applicants have given themselves enough time to research things like campus visits, prepare and take the GMAT/GRE exam and make their application as strong as possible.

How do I research employment or internship options at various schools?

Most, if not all programs will have employment/internship data on their website including employment statistics and examples of companies that have hired their students. I also highly encourage applicants reach out and speak with admissions representatives. We will have employment data and may be able to connect you with either a student or alumni working for or interning at a company the applicant is targeting.

What are the essential key elements when choosing the right MBA program?

The key elements essential to decide on the right MBA program include, curriculum, job and internship outcomes, scholarship opportunities, location, cost and ROI. All of these elements should be viewed holistically to determine what program is the best fit for the applicant.

Lead image: Allyunion via Wikimedia Commons

Written by Niamh Ollerton

Niamh is Assistant Editor of TopMBA.com, creating and editing content for an international MBA student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of the business world.  

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