Thanks to its proximity to the Tech Coast, the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California (UC), Irvine, offers significant opportunities for students with an eye toward innovative business. Indeed, an emphasis on innovation and business pioneering is built directly into what Merage calls its “innovative curriculum,” supplementing conventional business disciplines with such areas as strategic innovation, information technology, analytic decision making, and collaborative execution. The school recently revamped its curriculum to “create unparalleled learning experiences with a single goal: preparing [the students] to propel [their] career[s] and lead [their] organization to success in our digitally driven world,” as the website describes. The updates include a new concentration in Analytics in Digital Leadership and a STEM designation for the entire program.
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 “EDGE” course, for example, offers the opportunity to gain cutting-edge insight into the relationship between business trends, globalization, and technology. Through the school’s practicum Consulting Projects, students gain hands-on experience with current business practices by working directly with locally based global companies over a ten-week period. Merage students can also participate each year in the university-wide New Venture Competition, whose winners collectively claim up to $100K in funding for their proposed start-up ventures.
At the UC Davis Graduate School of Management—under the same university umbrella but approximately an eight-hour drive from the Merage School of Business—the full-time MBA program focuses on preparing students to become innovative leaders. Leadership is woven into the curriculum in the form of core courses, a ten-week management capstone course, and the Collaborative Leadership Program, which offers first-year students leadership training via workshops, assessment exercises, a mentorship program, a Personal Leadership Development Plan, and the option of applying to the Advanced Collaborative Leadership Program in the second year.