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The Paul Merage School of Business – University of California, Irvine

The University of California, Irvine, Paul Merage School of Business is located in California’s second largest county, Orange County, about an hour South of Los Angeles and an hour North of San Diego.  It is considered the center of Southern California’s Tech Coast, and is home to such industry giants as Google, Disney and Oakley.  The Merage School of Business offers a full-time MBA, Fully Employed MBA, Executive MBA and Healthcare Executive MBA. Hallmarks of the full-time MBA program include its close-knit community with the advantages of larger university facilities, location in an entrepreneurial environment and global exposure.

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Merage’s faculty span eight departments, including accounting, economics/public policy, finance, information systems, marketing, operations and decision technologies, organization and management, and strategy.  Nearly 60 professors are distributed across the eight disciplines with over a 100 additional visiting and affiliated faculty and researchers. In addition to teaching, professors contribute regularly to prominent publications including Management Science, International Journal of Research and Marketing, and Strategic Management Journal. Faculty members also participate in the Research Colloquium, a series of open forums that include presentations from the Merage and other university faculty.


The full-time MBA program at Merage requires 92 credits to complete.  The two years of study are broken down into a quarter system and typically span early-September to mid-June. Merage faculty blend lectures, case studies and team projects in their teaching style.   Faculty may allow waivers of core courses, but students must still complete 92 credits to graduate.

Prior to arriving on campus, students may participate in summer webinars with the Program Office, Health Center, International Center and Career Center for program on-boarding and optional MBA math prep. First-year students officially start the school year with an intensive two-week orientation designed to prepare them for the rest of their MBA studies. During orientation, students complete the first four units of the program in a four-day long class.

During the remainder of the first year, MBA students take 10 four-unit core courses across eight academic areas and may begin to take electives.  Select core courses include Managerial Accounting for Management, Information Technology for Management and Business and Government. The core accounting course may be waived if a student has a CPA. Between the first and second year, students complete summer internships.

The entire second year is occupied by electives, of which EDGE in the Information Systems academic area is most popular. The capstone course welcomes business experts to class to discuss and work on case studies and research focused on the influences of technology and globalization.  Second-year students also have the opportunity to spend a quarter abroad at one of the university’s 12 partner schools, which span South America, Asia and Europe, as well as a week-long travel course to destinations such as Cuba, Vietnam and Japan. Second-year students may also partake in the MBA Applied Consulting Project, which lasts 10 weeks.  Participants in the project work in teams and collaborate with a faculty expert to advise a major company on a real-world business issue.

In conjunction with the full-time MBA, students may obtain a specialized MBA certificate; there are no majors or specializations to officially declare.  In partnership with the Centers of Excellence, the following are offered: Certificate in Digital Transformation, Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Certificate in Real Estate and Urban Development, and Certificate in Health Care Policy and Management.

Other MBA Degree Options

In addition to the full-time MBA program, Merage offers a Fully Employed MBA and Executive MBA.  The Fully Employed MBA (FEMBA) takes 27 to 33 months to complete, depending on entry and scheduling, and is designed for working professionals, as courses are held on evenings and Saturdays.  The curriculum breaks down to nine core courses, nine electives and three experiential residencies, one of which is international, for a total of 21 courses.

The Executive MBA is designed for professionals with at least eight years of work experience, though class cohorts typically average 15 years of work experience.  The program lasts 21 months and there is only one intake; classes are held every other weekend.  To complete the program, 17 courses are required, including three offsite residence experiences.

Academic Areas

  • Accounting
  • Economics/Public Policy
  • Finance
  • Information Systems
  • Marketing
  • Operations and Decision Technology
  • Organization and Management
  • Strategy

Other MBA Degree Options

Full-time MBA

Fully Employed MBA

Executive MBA


Joint Degrees
Biotechnology Management

Engineering Management

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Clubs, Conferences & Competitions

Merage MBA students have several opportunities to get involved with the school community. Every enrolled student is automatically a member of the Merage Student Association (MSA), which organizes and promotes club and activity experiences outside of the classroom.  Merage’s 19 clubs span professional and social interests.  For example, the Merage Entrepreneur Association is the largest student club on campus and supports those interested in the field with panels, conferences, competitions and workshops. Students may also find support for their soft skills in the Merage Speech & Presentation Association.  Meanwhile, the Merage Challenge for Charity (C4C) unites students, administration, and faculty to raise money for various charities (Special Olympics, Junior Achievement, and Project Echo), perform philanthropy, and participate in the C4C Weekend up at Stanford in April. C4C is considered a guiding force in the effort to develop a close-knit family culture at the small program. Finally, because technology is a major business enabler, the Merage Business & Technology Association focuses on increasing the percentage of MBA graduates recruited into tech leadership regardless of the industry.

The UC Irvine business school also hosts and supports a variety of conferences that incorporate faculty, students and business professionals.  For example, the Distinguished Speaker Series, hosted by the Center for Global Leadership, welcomes business professionals to campus to discuss a range of topics, including leadership, ethics and other issues pertaining to business.  In 2017, Merage hosted David Pyott, former CEO of Allergan.  Other issues, including healthcare in relation to economics and politics, are discussed during the national Health Care Forecast Conference.  The Net Impact Conference and MBA Student Government Leadership Summit are also popular.

The Beall Center for Entrepreneurship hosts annual business plan competitions and revamped it in 2016 to be known as the Beall New Venture Competition.  In 2017, 41 teams will compete for more than $100,000 in cash and awards to fund their startup ideas. Past winners have addressed autism, dental insurance claims, recycling and consulting opportunities, among other business issues.  The competitions are broken down into four categories, including consumer products, consumer services, business products/services, and life sciences. Students may also participate in the Hult Prize, ACG Cup, and Nespresso Sustainability MBA Challenge.

Campus Spaces

A 78,000 square foot state-of-the-art teaching, meeting, dining, and learning space serves as the gateway to The Paul Merage School of Business. The Colloquia Room, an inviting space for executive briefings, board meetings, research colloquia and various events showcasing the school and its corporate and research partners, includes a flexible table seating up to 54, or rows of chairs for up to 78.  The Executive Terrace, adjacent to the Dean’s Suite, is used for high profile business executives as well as to showcase faculty research and student initiatives. Students can make use of five case study rooms, five flexible classrooms, 21 team rooms, a trading lab and more.

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Career Services

The Merage MBA Career Center offers a program called Career Visioning, which includes self-evaluation of one’s strengths and weaknesses and analysis of one’s career interests and opportunities.  The Merage School MBA Career Center partners with students to find internship opportunities with companies ranging from large global firms to start-ups. The Merage School MBA Career Center supports career development and job search by providing resources such as: Career Days and Fairs, Company Presentations, Internship and Full-Time Job Databases, On- and Off-Campus Interviews, Access to Online Resources (CareerSearch, Vault, Wetfeet), UC Business Research Library, Web-based Career Training Modules, Corporate Contacts Database.

Career Statistics

By graduation, roughly 60% of the Class of 2017 had received job offers and within three months of graduation the percentage rose to over 90. The median starting salary for Merage MBA graduates was $97,808.

The most popular industry of the Class of 2017 was technology, which a quarter of the class chose. Consumer products followed at 19%. Consulting and healthcare/pharma/biotech each claimed 15% of the group of graduates. Financial services (8%) were the fifth choice of Merage graduates—though that industry typically ranks highest among MBA graduates. Real estate and energy/utilities each welcomed 4% of the class. Media and entertainment were popular, relative to the business school community, as 6% of Merage’s Class of 2017 entered the sectors.

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The Class Profile

The Class of 2020 is comprised of 74 students, with an average age of 28 and five years of work experience.  Thirty-seven percent of the class are women and 45% are international.  The students’ average undergraduate GPA was 3.51 and average GMAT was 667.  Just over a quarter of the class had majored in engineering in undergrad.  Science was the next most popular major, claiming a fifth of students.  Eighteen percent had studied the humanities/social sciences and 16% came from a business/commerce major.  Another 14% pursued economics in college.

Application Procedures

Merage has five rounds of target deadlines from November to June; however, applications are reviewed and processed on a rolling basis.  International applicants are encouraged to apply early in order to obtain a student visa. The school notes that candidates can expect final decisions within 2-4 weeks of their interview, which is required and by invitation only.  Interviews are conducted by Recruitment and Admissions Staff.  While the adcom prefers candidates to travel to campus, they understand that this may not always be possible.  In such instances, Skype interviews are conducted.

Applicants to the MBA program typically have five years of work experience; however, work experience is not required for admission.  While two recommendations are required—ideally from direct supervisors—applicants are allowed to submit up to three.  If applicants cannot obtain recommendations from direct supervisors, clients, former supervisors or other professional contacts are allowed.  Professors should only be used as recommenders in the event that a candidate has not been out of school for more than two years or has conducted extensive research with the recommender.

Re-applicants, i.e. those who submitted an application to Merage within two years, need to submit one new recommendation, the re-applicant essay, an updated résumé, new test scores, if applicable, and the application fee.

Application Checklist

  • Online Application Form
  • Transcripts
  • Official GMAT/GRE Score
  • Official TOEFL Score (International applicants only)
  • Two Recommendations
  • Essays
  • Employment History/Résumé
  • $150 Application Fee
  • Interview (Invitation only)

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For the 2018-2019 academic year, residents of California have a mandatory student fee of $45,267.63 whereas non-residents pay closer to $53,000. On-campus living is estimated to cost $13,829, whereas off-campus costs upwards of $23,000. Other expenses include books & supplies, a laptop, transportation and other personal costs, and total $9,933. California residents can expect to spend $69,000-$80,000, depending on housing options. Non-California residents can expect a total of $76,377-$86,505, depending on housing.

Further, residents of California are guaranteed at least a $10,000 fellowship.  Other international and U.S. applicants are automatically considered for merit-based fellowships, criteria for which are academic performance, leadership and work experience.  Students may apply for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, Federal Direct Graduate Plus Loan Program, and private educational loans.  Teaching assistantships are also available to defer costs.

Estimated Cost of Attendance

  • In-state tuition & fees: $45,267.63
  • Out-of-state tuition & fees: $52,688.63

Other Expenses:

  • Estimated Room & Board: $13,786-$23,884
  • Books & Supplies: $2,400
  • Laptop: $1,800
  • Transportation: $2,936
  • Personal: $2,797


  • CA Resident: $69,000-$80,000
  • Non-resident: $76,377-$86,505

  Get all of this info to read on the go! Download the UCI Merage School Snapshot PDF.

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Class Size74
Mean GMAT667
Mean GPA3.51

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Mailing Address:
The Paul Merage School of Business
UC Irvine
Full-Time MBA Recruitment and Admissions
4293 Pereira Drive, Suite 4500
Irvine, CA 92697-3125
Phone: (949) 824-4622
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @UCIrvine_MBA

MBA LiveWire for UCI Merage

Application results in real time, submitted by site visitors.
January 15, 2019 7:34pm
Interview Invite via email.
GPA: 3.91. GMAT: 740.
December 22, 2017 6:02pm
Accepted via phone.
GPA: 3.85. GMAT: 640. Los Angeles.
March 6, 2017 1:45pm
Accepted via phone.
February 15, 2017 6:31pm
Interview Invite via email.
GPA: 3.15. GMAT: 680. Los Angeles.
December 2, 2016 9:34am
Accepted via email.
GMAT: 670. Kota, India.

DecisionWire for UCI Merage

Enrolled: Undecided
Admitted: UCI Merage, UCLA Anderson, USC / Marshall, Yale SOM
GMAT: 740 GPA: 3.9
Post-MBA Career: Consulting
Enrolled: Undecided
Admitted: UCI Merage, UCLA Anderson
GMAT: 740 GPA: 3.91
Post-MBA Career: Media
Enrolled: Undecided
Admitted: UCI Merage
GMAT: 570 GPA: 2.9
Post-MBA Career: Technology
Enrolled: U. Washington / Foster
Admitted: UCI Merage, U. Washington / Foster
GMAT: 710 GPA: 3.2
Post-MBA Career: Technology

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