New Dean’s Advisory Board leaders will make vital connections with business community

By The UCI Paul Merage School of Business

Irvine, CA - (October 26, 2023) -

Over the last several years, the Dean’s Advisory Board (DAB) has played an integral role in connecting the Merage School with the business community.

That progress will continue under the leadership of the 2023/2024 Chair Pamina Barkow and Vice Chair Reza Jahangiri. The UCI alums and Orange County executives are dedicated to supporting the Dean’s vision to elevate the Merage School’s approach towards research, teaching, community engagement and representation.

"Under the leadership of Pamina and Reza as Chair and Vice Chair of the Dean's Advisory Board, we are excited to continue our mission of strengthening the connections between the Paul Merage School of Business and local industry,” said Merage School Dean Ian O. Williamson. “We are confident in their ability to lead the DAB and make significant strides on our journey to create a thriving business ecosystem in Orange County."

The DAB recruits distinguished professionals, academics and thought leaders who are trusted to provide counsel to the Dean and serve as the main advisory board for the UCI Paul Merage School of Business. This year’s Board includes 42 members with an expansive reach across the financial, biomedical, real estate and technology sectors.

Through effective corporate partnerships, industry trend reporting, and program support, the DAB makes strategic and actionable moves to ensure the Merage School becomes a leading culture of inclusive excellence and incubator for the next generation of changemakers in a digitally driven world.


Supporting the Dean’s mission

Barkow and Jahangiri are excited to take the helm of the DAB so that they can implement Dean Williamson’s vision for the school. Both have served on the Board for several years and share a motivation to reinforce the school’s standing as a world-renowned institution through diverse advisement.

“The DAB is important as it serves as a voice for the community to the Dean,” Barkow said. “With members from all different types of industries, the perspective of this Board is critical in representing the needs of the business community and ensuring that the Merage School makes informed decisions that benefit all stakeholders.”

Barkow is the Co-Founder of PI Management, a management service organization dedicated to serving medical practices in the personal injury sector. She has a decorated background with UCI, earning a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and English Literature and an Executive MBA in 2016.

As an alum, Barkow has made strategic decisions as head of the Dean’s Leadership Circle (DLC) and served as a lecturer and consultant for the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute for six years. In 2023, she was elected to join the UCI Board of Trustees in recognition of her remarkable business acumen and philanthropic commitment to the university. This year she will lead as Chair of the DAB at the Merage School.

Jahangiri is the CEO of American Advisors Group (AAG) and past Co-Chair of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association. He graduated from UCI in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in Economics before earning his Juris Doctor from Loyola Marymount University in 2004.

In addition to his involvement with the DAB, Jahangiri has served as a guest speaker for the Leadership Experience and Development for Success (LEADS) program, which provides a select group of Merage School undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in professional development, mentoring workshops and alumni networking events.


Developing goals

Barkow and Jahangiri are currently working with Dean Williamson to determine the Board’s strategic outcomes for the 2023-2024 academic year. While those plans are developing, the DAB will continue working on increasing engagement with alumni and corporate partners. These connections benefit students by creating a network of competitive employers while providing businesses with access to the school’s exceptional talent pipeline.

“My role will be ensuring back-and-forth communication so that there’s an awareness for what the shareholders want and need as well as the goals of Dean Williamson and the people from inside of the Merage School,” Barkow said. “It’s my job to sit in the middle and help us push forward so that the decisions we are making benefit everybody.”

Barkow is a strong choice for Chair, with years of experience in leadership roles both professionally and through her volunteer positions. While running PI Medical Partners, Barkow remains dedicated to ensuring that patients receive the care they need. She noted that this aligns with her work at the Merage School, where she consistently advocates for student support.

“All of my roles have taught me different aspects of leadership,” she said. “I get to regularly communicate with so many different types of shareholders, whether it’s students, alumni, faculty, administrators, or corporate partners. The skill set I’ve developed at UCI over the years has led me to be a leader on the DAB.”

Jahangiri’s success as an entrepreneur makes him a powerful voice alongside Barkow. He is passionate about raising awareness of the Merage School’s cutting-edge resources so that more local leaders utilize UCI as a hub of thought leadership and research.

“The only way to maintain best-in-class education and to make sure we are integrated and cooperating with industry is to have a really high-functioning advisory board that’s actually a liaison to the community,” he said. “We need business leaders in the community to understand our capabilities and our assets at the Merage School.”

Together, Barkow and Jahangiri are determined to make a tremendous impact through the DAB. Considering their professional track records, the Board’s potential for advancing the school is limitless under their leadership.

About The Paul Merage School of Business

The Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine offers four dynamic MBA programs – plus PhD, specialty masters and undergraduate business degrees – that prepare business leaders for our digitally driven world. Through our programs, students acquire the exceptional ability to grow their organizations through strategic innovation, analytical decision-making, digital information technology and collaborative execution. While the Merage School is relatively young, it has quickly grown to rank consistently among the top five percent of all business programs worldwide through exceptional student recruitment, world-class faculty, a strong alumni network and close relationships with both individual business executives and global corporations. Additional information is available at