Of the 593 students enrolled in MBA and specialty master’s programs at The UCI Paul Merage School of Business, 297 are women. • Jeanine Hill/UCI

The Merage School Reaches Gender Parity in Master’s Programs: 50% of Students are Women

March 06, 2020 • By Sydney Charles

The UCI Paul Merage School of Business has officially reached gender parity throughout its master’s programs–50% of master’s students are women–for the 2019-2020 school year. Of the 593 students enrolled in MBA and specialty master’s programs, 297 are women. Notably, 51% of Master of Finance (MFIN) students an 72% of Master of Public Accountancy students are women. In addition, according to an article in the Financial Times, the Merage School has nearly reached the same milestone within faculty; about 47% of full-time faculty members are female. The Financial Times ranks the Merage School as #1 in number of female faculty.

According to Associate Dean of Master’s Programs and Professor of Accounting Joanna Ho, these statistics are indicative of the School’s proven dedication to diversity and inclusion. 

She said, “I joined the faculty back in 1986, when we only had 23 faculty members. Even then, about a quarter of the faculty were female—a significant achievement. Over the past 34 years, we’ve increased to almost 50% female faculty, something we should all be very proud of.”

Reaching gender parity sends an important signal to the academic community and the business community at large.

Burt Slusher, director of recruitment and admissions of business specialty master’s programs, explained, “Gender parity helps us shape our vision for where the school and our students are going. This is going to impact the future of business leaders that will graduate from our School, and we are committed to not just reaching but also maintaining gender parity across our programs.”

A commitment to diversity ensures that women feel welcome at the School.

“It’s inspiring for me to learn alongside other female entrepreneurs,” said MIE student Alaina Mcclue. “The business community is a diverse place and I think the Merage School reflects this reality”.

“I appreciate being a part of an environment that promotes diversity of thought,” said Alaina Mcclue, MIE ’20. The female entrepreneurs in my cohort are inspiring forces that will move mountains in the future. I look forward to seeing all the great heights the women of the Merage School will reach in the coming years.

Representation of women and other underrepresented minorities in business is fundamental for the success of the Merage School.

“Women need female role models,” said Ho. It lets them know that they can take on leadership roles in their career and that powerful women are the norm, not the exception. This is true for both men and women that study at the Merage School.”

“When you have a more diverse group in a class, you have different ideas, backgrounds and cultures,” agreed Slusher. It’s important to have a lot of seats at the table to represent diverse backgrounds.”