As our lives become more digitally mediated, we must adapt both ourselves and our businesses for the disruption inherent in the digital environment. With this vision in mind, The Paul Merage School of Business has completely reframed its curricula to give students the high-caliber, holistic preparation they need to become effective leaders in a digitally-driven world.
Top industry executives continually provide the Merage School input on how they see their respective industries changing through the impact of technology. Our transformed curricula reflect new business needs in the contemporary world, focusing on actionable ideas and building a new set of competencies suited to the digital age. Experience-based decision-making skills are integrated into the curriculum with data-driven decision-making at the forefront. Experiential learning components continue to provide real-world education, allowing teams of students to immerse themselves in valuable projects with area companies.
Located in the heart of Orange County’s “Tech Coast,“ the Merage School is surrounded by a network of cutting-edge businesses in an evolving ecosystem of tech firms including Amazon, Google, and Western Digital, plus digitally-savvy firms including Capital Group, Disney, Experian, Hyundai, Pacific Life, and Taco Bell. It is in this environment that the Merage School prepares students for the disruptive technology forces they will encounter as future business leaders.
Paul Merage is a philanthropist, an innovative and successful entrepreneur, and a champion of education.
Paul was born in Iran during World War II. In the early 1960s, his father sent him to the United States so that he might have a better future. He arrived alone and could barely speak English. However, he soon enrolled at Hope College in Michigan where he excelled as a top student, giving him the academic accomplishments necessary to transfer to UC Berkeley. By the time he was 22, he had earned both his bachelor’s degree and his MBA.
Paul planned his career carefully. He researched the restaurant industry to find out what owners and customers needed most and eventually used this information to found Chef America. With an eye for change, Paul recognized the demographic and social shifts in America — more working parents, less time to prepare meals for families and an array of advances made possible with the expanding use of the microwave oven. Paul seized this opportunity and created HOT POCKETS® as an innovative answer to societal trends. His new product ensured that Chef America was a great success, and it was eventually purchased by Nestlé.
Now Paul is leaving a different legacy — giving back to the community. In addition to his namesake donation to The Paul Merage School of Business, he maintains involvement with organizations that reflect his own immigrant background and his passion for America. These charitable organizations expand educational opportunities for families with low to moderate income levels. The Merage Institute for the American Dream offers major fellowships to outstanding immigrant college students “to help them pursue their American Dream.” And through the Children First Foundation, needy children are provided with educational, developmental and mentorship opportunities.
We applaud Paul Merage for his innovation, his inspiration and his drive. “America is a noble society,” he says, “and it inspires you to be noble.” His background in entrepreneurship, sustained business growth and social responsibility serve as an inspiration for all of the programs at the Merage School.