January 31, 2019 • By Christine Byrd
Megan Hakes was a top MBA recruit: high GMAT scores, excellent undergraduate grades, three years of valuable work experience at major healthcare companies in San Diego — and a drive to lead the digital revolution in healthcare marketing.
By spring 2018, three of five MBA programs she applied to had already offered her full scholarships. In the running was the UCI Paul Merage School of Business, which resonated most with Hakes because of its culture and digital focus.
But like 70 percent of prospective business school students, Hakes considered financial assistance to be a major factor in choosing a program, especially since she had been laid off in a corporate downsizing the same week that she applied to the MBA programs.
For Hakes, a highly sought-after applicant, the decision came down to the right combination of school culture and a scholarship.
“I want to be at the forefront of merging humanity with technological innovation to ensure the interaction that patients or customers have with a brand remains relevant and personal. That’s why the Merage School’s focus on developing digital leaders really resonated with me. I’m excited to use my MBA, experience and skills to make a positive impact on the world.”
In March, Hakes was notified of her selection as a Merage Fellow, accompanied by a full-tuition scholarship. Merage Fellowships are made possible by donations from alumni and supporters who invest in Merage School students.
“It was life changing for me,” says Hakes, now an MBA candidate ’20 and the vice president of alumni and corporate relations for the Merage Business and Technology Association. “More than just the financial support, knowing that people believe so strongly in the Merage School and its students is profoundly impactful. It means a lot to me, knowing there are people out there who choose to support students on the path to becoming the next generation of leaders.”