The Merage School Experience
Your MBA experience at the Merage School will be centered around a top-notch location in a dynamic business community, a tight-knit and diverse student body, and an immersive experience like no other.
Take advantage of unique experiences that complement your in-class education both in southern California and worldwide. From the moment you step on campus, you are encouraged to make the experience your own.
Transform your view of business by collaborating with a diverse core study group in the first year, enhance your presentations skills, learn from executives and entrepreneurs, put your skills into practice with real world projects, and build your leadership skill-set through a myriad of opportunities available through clubs, competitions, speaker events, conferences and more. During your second year, you have the option to study abroad in a quarter-long international exchange or a week-long international study program providing a first-hand look at the global economy.
In addition to getting a first class education, you will develop meaningful relationships with your peers, alumni, faculty and staff that often last a lifetime.
- 37% Female Students
- 1 Irvine has a 95% jobs-to-population ratio
- 10+ global partnerships for study abroad and international residential opportunities
Apply What You Learn
- Core Groups - Collaborate with classmates and navigate your first-year core classes together with a focus on teamwork
- Presentation Skills Program - Personalized, specific feedback helps develop your presentation skills and improve your performance under pressure
- Real-World Projects - Put your skills to use with real-world projects, including the Merage Consulting Projects course and the New Venture Competition
- Centers of Excellence - Our seven Centers of Excellence provide networking opportunities and programs with executives and entrepreneurs
- Clubs & Organizations - The Merage Student Association is home to more than a dozen clubs with interest in the different business disciplines, as well as philanthropy
- Global Alumni Network - Connect with our alumni in California and around the world
Area of Interest: General Management
Vince Biondo is a first-year, Full-Time MBA Candidate focusing on General Management and Supply Chain Management. He is a native of Detroit, Michigan and a graduate of the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. He commissioned as an Army Officer through ROTC in May 2012. Through eight years of service as a Logistics Officer, he served in technologically complex combat units where he directly led support units, planned logistics operations, developed logistics strategies, advised senior military leaders, and earned the title of Demonstrated Senior Logistician. His tours include: one deployment to Kuwait in support of Operation Spartan Shield (Operation Enduring Freedom), one deployment to Puerto Rico in support of humanitarian operations during Hurricane Maria Relief where he earned the Humanitarian Service Medal, and one deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operations Freedom’s Sentinel and Resolute Support where he earned the Bronze Star.
Vince chose to pursue his MBA at the Merage School because of the small, personalized classes, the focus on leadership in the digital world, and the immense sense of family and community he felt from day one. He is excited to leverage all of the resources available in the Merage School Career Center to help him explore opportunities outside of the military.
When not in class, Vince enjoys hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, and brewing beer.
Area of Interest: Product Management/Product Marketing Management
Lucio Chen is a first year, Full-Time MBA candidate. He was born and raised in China. He was living and working in Singapore for 12 years and earned a degree in business administration with majors in marketing and finance from Singapore Management University.
Upon graduation, he started his career as an Industry Research Analyst in Canalys, a boutique market research firm. He focused on go-to-market research on technology products, and his research was quoted in major news outlets,including the WSJ and CNBC. Subsequently, Lucio landed in Boston Consulting Group, focusing on B2C growth, digital transformation and competitive landscape analysis. He leveraged on his industry knowledge and analytical skills to contribute to major cases in technology, media and telecommunication.
Lucio chose the Merage School of Business for its digitally focused curriculum and collaborative culture. At Merage, he hopes to develop his leadership skills and gain an in-depth understanding of product management in the technology industry.
In his free time, Lucio enjoy sports such as basketball and Muay Thai. He loves traveling and exploring different cultures.
Area of Interest: Marketing
Fiona Ciliotta is a first year, Full-Time MBA candidate focusing on marketing. She was born in Lima, Peru but spent much of her childhood in Miami, FL. She graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and journalism. After graduation, Fiona joined the sales team at Coca-Cola, where she led the profitable growth and development of the Venturing & Emerging Brands portfolio in Maryland and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.
Fiona chose UCI for her MBA because of the sense of community she experienced on campus and the personalized services offered at the Career Center. While at Merage, she hopes to strengthen her knowledge of core business concepts and elevate her leadership skills.
In her free time, Fiona enjoys swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving and exploring the beautiful beaches that Southern California has to offer.
Area of Interest: Marketing
Axel Eyer is a first year, Full-Time MBA candidate focusing on marketing and digital transformation. Axel was born and raised in San Diego, California and graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in communication. After graduation, he worked in Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s Management Trainee program and in software sales for Esri.
Axel chose the Merage School of Business for its curriculum focused on digital leadership, outstanding career services, and friendly student body.
When not in class, Axel enjoys working out, playing basketball, and cheering for the San Diego Padres and Chargers.
Area of Interest: Marketing
Sophia Fischer is a first year, full-time MBA candidate focusing on marketing. Sophia was raised in several different countries before returning to the United States for university. She graduated from University of California, Davis with a bachelor’s degree in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior and a minor in Technology Management. Combining her passion for science and business, Sophia worked in product marketing and medical education roles at Stryker, a world- wide leader in medical technology. She garnered experience across several divisions within Stryker, working in both San Jose, CA and Stryker’s headquarters in Kalamazoo, MI during her six years with the company.
Sophia chose UCI for her MBA because of the caliber of students and program staff and the many personalized experiences available due to the small class sizes. She is at the Merage School to hone her leadership and marketing strategy skills and transition into a portfolio management role within healthcare or CPG.
In her free time, Sophia loves to explore the gorgeous Southern California coastline, hike, and socialize with friends over dinner or drinks.
Area of Interest: Strategy, Product Management, Leadership
Sathyanarayana Ganta is a first year, Full-Time MBA candidate at Merage. Sathya was born and bought up in India. He graduated from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay) with a Bachelor of Technology degree in Civil Engineering. Upon graduation, his keen interest in solving business problems led him to choose a career in Management Consulting. In his last role, prior joining to Merage, he was a Manager in Strategy and Business Design service line of Strategy and Operations practice of Deloitte India. Diversity of consulting experience both in the corporate and in the public sector gave him the opportunity to work on challenging projects in fast paced environment. Through his work he interacted with CXOs, bureaucrats and client teams to drive tangible results.
Sathya was motivated to attend the Merage School because of its reputed faculty, personalized coursework and the innovative curriculum tailored to develop leaders in a digitally driven challenging world.
During his free time, you can find Sathya enjoying long outdoor runs/walks, watching sports, and reading books on topics ranging from fiction to business to spirituality.
Area of Interest: Marketing
Sara Safan is a first year, Full-Time MBA candidate focusing on Marketing in the hospitality/restaurant space. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and graduated from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s degree in medicine, health, and society and a minor in East Asian studies. After graduation, Sara moved back to Los Angeles to work as a technical consultant in analytical chemistry but soon realized her passion for the hospitality industry and made the switch into the restaurant tech sector. Prior to starting at Merage, she worked in partnership client relations for a SaaS company that builds software for restaurants, working specifically with US Foods- one of America’s leading food distributors. Post-MBA, Sara hopes to be a brand manager for a major restaurant chain.
Sara came to UCI for her MBA because of the excellent Career Center, small class size, and personalized experience. She is excited to explore the strong relationships Merage has with some of the top restaurant groups in Southern California.
In her free time, Sara enjoys exploring new restaurants, cooking, and running.
Area of Interest: Corporate Finance
Beeta Shahnazari is a first year, Full-Time MBA candidate focusing on corporate finance. She was born and raised in Huntington Beach, California and graduated from UC Irvine (zot zot!) with a bachelor’s degree in business economics and a minor in management. After graduation, she worked in Trade Compliance for an apparel manufacturing company and later in Marketing for a chemical manufacturing company.
Beeta chose the Merage School not only for its curriculum focused on digital transformation, but also for its intimate class size, welcoming student body and distinguished faculty.
In her free time, you can find Beeta flowing on her yoga mat, in the kitchen learning new recipes, or traveling the world to discover new countries!
Area of Interest: Marketing, Strategy
Constance Toulemonde is a first year, Full-Time MBA candidate focusing on marketing. She was born and raised in France but came to the US on a full ride athletic scholarship to swim and earn a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management at Oregon State University. After graduation, Constance joined Nike as a sports marketing recruiter and later as a brand design coordinator for the basketball category. She then went back to her home country and worked as a marketing and strategic storytelling consultant, where she helped executives build powerful brand stories and inspiring speeches.
Constance chose UCI for her MBA because the Merage School combines all the advantages of a smaller program while giving access to big opportunities. While at the Merage School, she hopes to strengthen her business acumen and dive deeper into crucial aspects of marketing: analytics and strategy.
In her free time, Constance enjoys running, skiing, surfing, and spending as much time as possible outdoors in the California sunshine.
Area of Interest: Marketing
Kelsey Van Hook is a first year, Full-Time MBA candidate focusing on marketing and healthcare management and policy. She was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ and graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Kelsey's professional career began with a desire to transform the healthcare industry from a business capacity and held impactful roles in healthcare consulting and medical device sales. Post-MBA, Kelsey aspires to becoming a product marketing manager or market access manager for a global medical device or biopharmaceutical company.
Kelsey chose the Merage School for her MBA due to its close proximity to healthcare companies, digitally focused curriculum, and small class size. At the Merage School, Kelsey aims to develop her leadership capabilities and sharpen her business acumen.
You can find Kelsey volunteering, walking her dog Ollie, cooking vegetarian recipes, and indoor cycling in her free time.
Area of Interest: Entrepreneurship, Marketing
Eric Williams is a first year, Full-Time MBA candidate at Merage focusing on entrepreneurship and marketing within the healthcare industry. He graduated from Northern Arizona University with two bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and exercise science. After graduation, he was a manager at Enterprise Rent-A-Car before holding several sales and marketing roles at a major Japanese pharmaceutical company. Post-MBA Eric aims to become a product or marketing manager for a biotechnology or medical device company and bring new and innovative treatments to patients. Eric was motivated to attend Merage because of its vision to create leaders for a digital future, the academically rewarding reputation of UC Irvine, and the intimate program setting.
A Southern California native, you can find Eric riding his bike and enjoying the sunshine most weekends. His passions include public speaking- where he has had the opportunity to serve as the Master of Ceremonies for a TEDx event- and cooking.