November 20, 2018 • By Aaron Orlowski
For the first time, more than 1,000 students have enrolled in master’s programs at the UCI Paul Merage School of Business.
The school’s specialty master’s programs, many of which are only a few years old, have led the growth by offering younger students shorter degree programs that quickly launch them on a well-marked career path.
“A lot of these students are just a couple years out of undergrad and aren’t sure how to proceed,” says Jon Kaplan, the assistant dean for MBA and specialty master’s programs at the Merage School. “Their undergraduate program may have prepared them for a graduate degree, but not the workplace. A specialty master’s degree gives them an in-depth educational experience that guides their next step and shows them how far they can go — and how to get there.”
Business schools, including the Merage School, used to focus almost exclusively on MBA students. But students today want more options.
“These specialty master’s degrees fill a niche in the business education marketplace,” Kaplan says. “So many students are seeking something other than an MBA, and this new demand in the marketplace has changed how we at the Merage School build our programs.”
The Merage School’s first specialty master’s program — the Master of Professional Accountancy — is now five years old. A small initial class has grown to an annual group of about 140 students who leverage their degrees to get positions in prominent public accounting firms.
Two other programs — the Master of Business Analytics and Master of Finance — are in their second years.
In addition, the Merage School offers two programs in conjunction with other schools on the UCI campus. The Master of Science in Biotechnology Management and the Master of Science in Engineering Management give students from other disciplines the business skills they need to advance in the leadership ranks in biotech and engineering firms.
The Merage School has also launched a brand-new program for business founders and innovators at established companies called the Master of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Applications are currently being accepted and the first class will start in fall 2019.