Students can now benefit from four STEM-certified master’s programs at The UCI Paul Merage School of Business.

STEM Certified: Merage School Prepares Students for Digital Transformation

April 13, 2020 • By Sydney Charles

The UCI Paul Merage School of Business now offers four STEM-certified master’s programs: Full-Time Master of Business Administration (FTMBA), Master of Finance (MFIN), Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAc) and Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA). Students will deepen their knowledge of management science and quantitative methods. The focal points of the STEM certification across the programs include data science, economics and operations research for problem-solving, and data-driven decision-making. 

The STEM certification will assist Merage School students long after graduation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for STEM jobs will grow by 13% by 2027, with higher wages than non-STEM jobs; the national average for STEM salaries is $87,570, while non-STEM jobs earn roughly half as much. 

Assistant Director of Recruitment and Admissions for FTMBA Lindsay Haberman said, “Many of our students chose the Merage School to join a company focused on digital transformation, big data and business analytics, and this certification will put them in the best position to do so. 

Completing a STEM-certified program can be a game changer for international students.  

Taylor Martini, executive director of the Full-Time MBA Program, explained that it gives international students additional time for their Optional Practical Training (OPT). OPT refers to the amount of time an individual can stay in the U.S legally for work eligibility post-graduation.  

Martini said, “There’s a lot of benefits for international students in choosing a STEM-designated program. For non-STEM programs, after they graduate, they only have one year to work in the U.S. With a STEM-designated degree, after that one year of eligibility, they can get an extension for another two years.”  

Not only do students get the opportunity to stay and seek employment, they also increase their chances of maintaining permanent residency by receiving an H1B Visa. 

Many students reached out to the School and requested STEM certification, and it’s clear that the Merage School supports students all the way,” explained Gautam Deept, MBA ’20. “This certification benefits both the personal and professional lives of Merage students and the School as a whole. This will surely attract high-caliber international talent to Merage which will contribute immensely to the community – both as students and as alumni.”  

“This is a skill-set that’s in high demand,” explained Martini. “We knew we wanted to provide those tools to our students and I’m proud that we were able to do so.  

The certification is also an achievement for the three specialty master’s programs.  

“The STEM designation of our Master of Professional Accountancy program reflects a recognition of the analytical and technical skills taught through our unique core curriculum,” said Jana Cheng, Associate Director, Recruitment and Admissions for MPAc. “With the addition of our specializations in Taxation and Data Analytics, students are learning the skill set needed to help address some of the complexities facing the world today and into the future.” 

Two years ago, the MPAc program recognized digital transformation in the field of accounting and responded by creating a three-course data analytics track in partnership with Deloitte. 

Merage School students will continue developing specialized skill sets uniquely suited to today's digitally driven world.