The Merage School Experience
Your MBA experience at the Merage School is 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.
Diversity and Inclusion
We are committed to breaking down barriers to higher education while celebrating the contributions and achievements of all students—regardless of culture, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion or nationality. We believe that as a world-class business school, we have a duty to help dismantle systemic racism and discrimination and promote diversity in the business world.Learn More
Area of Interest: Strategy and Management Consulting
Summer internship: Finance Products Intern, Toyota Financial Services at Toyota North America
Patrick Nassar is a second-year, full-time MBA candidate focusing on strategy and management consulting. He graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a Bachelors in Business Economics and a minor in Applied Statistics. As a Southern California native accustomed to congested city streets, Patrick was interested in technology transportation issues after completing his undergraduate degree. He became a part of the operations team at Bird, a scooter sharing start-up, where he worked to retain and support gig economy contractors. A continuation of his journey took place at Virgin Hyperloop where he built and implemented process improvements for strategic execution on certifying this futuristic, high-speed mass transportation system. In these roles, he enjoyed working in ambiguity and having high-level impact for social good companies.
Having a passion to drive business value and growth, Patrick decided to pursue his MBA to pivot into management consulting. Through Merage's curriculum, he aims to expand his technical skills, entrepreneurial mindset, and knowledge to advance global innovation. Patrick chose Merage for its small cohort size, 1:1 student/faculty relationships, and diverse local network.
In his free time, Patrick enjoys playing tennis and hiking, reading all kinds of books, and spending time with family and friends.
Area of Interest: Marketing and Product Management
Summer internship: Commercial Leadership Program Intern at AbbVie
Jessica Gonsalves is a second-year, full-time MBA candidate focusing on Marketing and Product Management. Prior to joining Merage, she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from San Diego State University. After graduating from SDSU, she joined 3M Company where she worked as an Outside Sales Representative for their industrial division in Southern California. Jessica was focused on growing 3M’s business with local manufacturers, developing solutions to her customer’s problems, and managing the local channel partners. She plans to take all the skills she learned successfully selling for a Fortune 500 company to transition to a Marketing or Product Management role.
Jessica chose UCI’s Paul Merage School of Business because of their location, personalized approach to learning, and emphasis on digital transformation.
In her free time, you can find Jessica swimming, exploring Southern California, on the beach in Newport, or eating the amazing sushi and poke that is all over Orange County.
Area of Interest: Project Management
Summer internship: GTO Information Security MBA Intern at Mattel Inc.
Chinwendu Esedebe is a second-year, full-time MBA candidate focusing on Program/Project Management. She was born and raised in Nigeria and graduated from Lincoln University, Pennsylvania in 2019 with a double major in Computer Science and Accounting. Prior to joining Merage, Chinwendu worked for three years at Deloitte as a Cybersecurity Consultant where she engaged large corporations in developing strategies to protect their assets and achieve security compliance. This experience stimulated her interest in the tech industry and excitement to collaborate with diverse teams on developing and implementing solutions to complex problems.
Chinwendu chose Merage school because of the impressive suite of career and personal resources available to students, the close-knit community, and the location!
In her free time, Chinwendu enjoys gaming, reading, and exploring the wide variety of delicious food spots within Orange County.
Area of Interest: Consulting
Summer internship: Senior Research Analyst at Rondure Global Advisors
Harshitha Neelakanta is a second-year, full-time MBA candidate focusing on Consulting at the Paul Merage School of Business. Born and raised in India, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Information Science and Engineering from BMS Institute of Technology, India. After graduation, Harshitha spent four years as a Cybersecurity Consultant at PwC and KPMG implementing Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions for clients in the North America and Canada regions. As an Associate Consultant, she worked with cross functional teams to recommend and implement designs to provide identity governance and to enhance security and data management for organizations.
Harshitha chose the Merage School for their small class size, curriculum for a digitally driven world and the amazing location.
In her free time, Harshitha loves traveling and exploring new places, playing soccer or badminton and baking cakes. Fun fact - she had a small business specializing in custom cakes during her undergrad.
Area of Interest: Product Management
Summer internship: Product Manager Intern, Cloud Data Infrastructure at Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Nikhil Dawra is a second-year, full-time MBA candidate focusing on Product Management at the Paul Merage School of Business. Born and brought up in Allahabad, India, Nikhil pursued Computer Science Engineering in his undergraduate from Vellore Institute of Technology, India. Before starting his MBA, Nikhil worked with BlackRock in their Aladdin Product Group for 4.5 years. As a developer turned Product Owner, he collaborated with cross-functional teams, users, and product managers to understand clients’ requirements and then broke them down into action points to lead the engineering team to build value-accretive products. He used to partner with the technology and design team to build features and develop scalable software to further enhance the Aladdin, portfolio management software.
Nikhil chose Merage because of the personalized digitally driven curriculum and second to none faculty body, providing the skillset to thrive as a distinguished leader in the digitally driven economy. Secondly, the diverse close-knit community and location of Orange County serve a variety of national and global corporations and proximity to LA and Bay area makes it easier to network and explore opportunities.
Nikhil is a vivid lover of photography, and he believes that photographs have the potential to speak volumes and create an impact. Nikhil is a water animal and does not miss a chance to get by the beach, and he also likes to hike, at least once a month.
Area of Interest: Real Estate
Summer internship: Acquisition Intern at IRA Capital
Alec Shaul is a second-year, full-time MBA candidate focusing on Real Estate and Finance. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Alec completed his undergraduate degree at Boston University with a concentration in Accounting and Business Law. Alec’s professional career began in private accounting at CBRE Group, Inc. in the Greater Boston Area, where his interest in Real Estate operations and investment grew. He transitioned into residential real estate specifically in development, accounting for several luxury apartment and condo complexes. In 2019, Alec moved back to Los Angeles from the east coast to be close to family and to grow his real estate network in Southern California. He worked for a real estate investment firm in the Westwood area focused on grocery store anchored strip malls before deciding to pursue higher education.
Alec chose to pursue his MBA at the Paul Merage School of Business because of the school’s intimate class size and innovative curriculum allowing its students to specialize their learnings in targeted areas of interest, while also being developed as digitally driven leaders.
In his free-time, Alec enjoys playing sports such as golf and basketball. He also enjoys finding local hiking trails and reading non-fiction books.
- 37% Female Students
- 25+ graduate student led clubs
- 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 Program 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