May 14, 2019
Eric Spangenberg, dean of the UCI Paul Merage School of Business, recently shared his story with Poets&Quants for Undergrads – plus some tips for business school aspirants.
In the blue collar town of Longview, Wash., where Spangenberg grew up, it was not assumed that young people would go to college. But he did. And that shaped his perspective.
“What gets me excited is that I came from a background where most people don’t get to end up in the positions I do. But I did, and that means I can create greater access for people who don’t have the opportunity to pursue higher education,” Spangenberg told Poets&Quants. “The American dream is to get a good job and pursue a fulfilling career where you can make a difference to your family and community, but you need access to tools. My work is to share this dream and vision of mine to emerging leaders and help them to develop and succeed.”
But college students today need to take a more proactive approach to their education, Spangenberg said. They need to make a plan.
"Ten years ago, people could just show up in college, do the work, and get out and look for a job. Today, it’s imperative and useful that students plan and be intentional about what they want their school experience to look like," Spangenberg said. "Plan for specialized masters programs, internships, international experiences, and more. They need to put together a timeline of what they think the next four or five years are going to look like and take a range of courses within business and other areas to develop an interdisciplinary understanding of the world."