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Merage School CIWM Social Impact Investing


about the May 4th
Social Impact Investing: Strategies and Implications for the Future.

Leadership and Philosophy


Dean Message


In the last few years, we have experienced a paradigm shift in global business that transcends industries and borders. Digital transformation has drastically affected traditional business practices giving rise to new opportunities and destroying some companies in the process. The global economy has witnessed a transformation where emerging countries now produce a greater share of world GDP than the developed world. And, more change is still to come.  While we have started to adjust to these new dynamics, new business challenges will emerge, affecting how commerce functions and with it, how business is taught. With all of this change, how is The Paul Merage School of Business responding to these new realities?

At the Merage School, we are focused on providing an education that prepares graduates for all economic realities. Our approach has positioned the Merage School as a globally-recognized source for information on strategic innovation to power sustained business growth, no matter the sector and no matter the economic conditions:

  • Our acclaimed faculty researches and publishes timely information for both academic and business use on various aspects of the business cycle and which techniques and innovations produce successful business growth.  
  • Our relevant and timely curriculum teaches “just-in-time” strategic innovation by incorporating the newest and most compelling business strategies into coursework.  
  • Our MBA student consulting projects are providing solutions to complex business challenges at some of the region’s largest and most influential corporations.

Equally as important is the Merage School’s focus on bringing effective and innovative business strategies to bear on today’s most pressing and compelling social issues. No matter the strength of the global economy, the community surrounding our campus and the citizens we touch through our presence in the community remain an important priority to us. Together, we have achieved success as illustrated by all that we have accomplished this past decade:


  • Paul Merage, our namesake, provided the largest gift in the history of the University of California, Irvine to our School
  • We recently introduced four new master programs to provide education to students in specialized areas: Accounting, Biotechnology, Engineering and Law.
  • In 2008, we introduced the undergraduate business major, one of only three offered in the UC system, now one of the most popular majors (more than 8,000 applicants for 150 spots) with one of the highest retention rates at UC Irvine
  • Our expanded alumni network nears 9,000 with an 85% contact rate and increased engagement at more than 65 events per year
  • Our Dean’s Advisory Board – with 80 CEO and C-suite level members from the most prominent companies in Orange County and beyond -- meets regularly to help the School address the demands of today’s business environment
  • More than 200 active board members from the community help guide six Centers of Excellence, plus a collaborative institute with the Law School, that have collectively held events with more than 30,000 attendees over the past eight years and provided more than 100 scholarships for our students
  • New courses offered through our Executive Education Office have attracted individual and corporate involvement across a variety of industries
  • Our Dean’s Leadership Circle now has more than 300 members who have pledged more than $3 million dollars to name an endowed chair, a classroom, and the Auditorium in our new building
  • Our community and donor network have pledged more than $62 million over the last 9 years to support many critical initiatives here at the School
  • After five years of planning, our $50 million Building for the Future will open its doors in late 2014 or early 2015

Whether you are seeking to engage with us as a student, board member, corporate partner or community networker, we invite you to explore the multitude of opportunities available to help further your education, business, or personal and professional goals. Our MBA programs are ranked among the top 5% of accredited institutions in the U.S.; more than 6,000 participants have attended almost 100 annual events offered here at the School; and our robust community is anxiously awaiting the grand opening of our Building for the Future


Take a closer look at what the Merage School has to offer and contact us today to get involved. We look forward to working with you to help you achieve your professional or personal goals.

Best wishes,

Eric R. Spangenberg

The Paul Merage School of Business
University of California, Irvine


Associate Deans



Mission Statement


Vision, Mission and Shared Principles
The Paul Merage School of Business will be recognized among the top public university research-based business schools. The School will play a significant role in achieving the vision of the University of California, Irvine to be one of the best public research universities in the country by 2014.

The Paul Merage School of Business will enhance socially responsible and sustainable growth in the global economy through:

  • Strategic innovation
  • Analytic decision making
  • Informational technology
  • Collaborative execution

The School will be recognized among the top twenty five research-based business schools in the world.


Brand Promise

"Innovation to shape the world; personalization to shape you."

Shared Principles

We are committed in our teaching and research to the principles of strategic innovation, analytic decision-making information technology and collaborative execution as the drivers of sustainable growth.

We are dedicated to the discovery and dissemination of knowledge about management, innovation and strategic growth in a global economy through research, teaching and service to the community.

We will provide an innovative learning environment that challenges students to think creatively, anticipate change and lead sustainable growth in a competitive, technology-intensive global economy.

We are committed to playing a significant role in the growth of the community by providing entrepreneurs, businesses and other organizations with student and faculty expertise, and by creating value-added executive and other life-long learning programs.

We value diversity and are committed to maintaining an environment of integrity, mutual respect and civility and to attracting a diverse cohort of students, faculty and staff.

We are dedicated to the principle that all graduates from our programs will have the potential to make a significant contribution both to their profession and to society.


About Paul Merage

Paul MeragePaul Merage is a philanthropist, an innovative and successful entrepreneur, and a champion of education whose $30 million gift to UC Irvine’s business school was the most significant donation in the University’s history.

Paul Merage was born in Iran during World War II. In the early 1960s, his father sent him to the United States so that he might have a better future. He arrived alone and could barely speak English. However, he soon enrolled at Hope College in Michigan where he excelled as a top student, giving him the academic accomplishments necessary to transfer to UC Berkeley. By the time he was 22, he had earned both his bachelor’s degree and his MBA.

Paul planned his career carefully. He researched the restaurant industry to find out what owners and customers needed most and eventually used this information to found Chef America. With an eye for change, Paul recognized the demographic and social shifts in America — more working parents, less time to prepare meals for families and an array of advances made possible with the expanding use of the microwave oven. Paul seized this opportunity and created HOT POCKETS® as an innovative answer to societal trends. His new product ensured that Chef America was a great success, and it was eventually purchased by Nestlé.

Now Paul is leaving a different legacy — giving back to the community. In addition to his namesake donation to The Paul Merage School of Business, he maintains involvement with organizations that reflect his own immigrant background and his passion for America. These charitable organizations expand educational opportunities for families with low to moderate income levels. The Merage Institute for the American Dream offers major fellowships to outstanding immigrant college students “to help them pursue their American Dream.” And through the Children First Foundation, needy children are provided with educational, developmental and mentorship opportunities.

We applaud Paul Merage for his innovation, his inspiration and his drive. “America is a noble society,” he says, “and it inspires you to be noble.” His background in entrepreneurship, sustained business growth and social responsibility serve as an inspiration for all of the programs at the Merage School.