MBA applicants can get carried away with rankings. In this series, we profile amazing programs at business schools that are typically ranked outside the top 15.
Thanks to its proximity to the Tech Coast, the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine, offers significant opportunities for students with an eye toward innovative business. “Whether it’s fashion, interactive entertainment, real estate, medical or biotech,” states the school’s site, “Orange County is where these industries flourish.” Indeed, an emphasis on innovation and business pioneering is built directly into what Merage calls its “visionary curriculum,” supplementing conventional business disciplines with three core, cross-disciplinary areas: Strategic Innovation, Information Technology and Analytic Decision Making.
In addition, several of Merage’s special course offerings and programs showcase the school’s commitment to putting students in contact with the rapidly shifting face of business. The recently inaugurated EDGE course, for example, which can be taken during students’ second year of study, offers a notable opportunity to gain cutting-edge insight into the relationship between business trends, globalization and technology. Similarly, through the school’s MBA Field Project, students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with current business practices by working directly with locally based global companies. Merage students can also participate each year in the university-wide Business Plan Competition, whose winner claims $15,000 in funding for his or her proposed start-up venture.