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When considering an MBA program, it becomes apparent that many schools view MBAs as a profit driver, simply pushing students through a process where at the end they're awarded a degree. That is not the case at the Merage school. I felt a very personal approach in every aspect of the process. The office staff, professors, and career center all make the student feel like they are a key member of the program. That feeling helps students strive for their best and feel like they have the backing of a very deep and strong network of professionals. Most schools simply do not offer this.
The course value was inconsistent. Some courses and instructors were extraordinary. I learned a great deal. A few courses were completely valueless because I did not learn anything and wasted a great deal of time trying to figure out how to do well in the class rather than gaining from the material.
It was great to have meals included in tuition as a fully employed student. It allowed an opportunity to socialize with classmates before class and removed the stress of worrying about getting a meal before class. It was also really nice to have everything included in the tuition like parking, meals and books. The international residential was an excellent opportunity to apply global business course information and concepts. The program offered three separate residentials, one that opened the program and acclimated students to "student" life again, the international residential mid way through the program and then a closing residential that brought together concepts learned throughout the program and offered students an opportunity to reflect on what they had learned and how they would use/apply it in their personal and professional life.
Career services are skewed to helping full-time program (which makes sense), however for career changing part-time students dedicated staff should be mad available.
The most unique aspects were the way the UCI FEMBA staff helped students with logistics, and the program's three residentials. Each one helped us develop not only as students, but as adults as well. From our opening residential where we learned the value of teamwork, to our international residential in Beijing, to our closing residential which was truly amazing. These experiences truly added to the challenging classroom work we did, and is one of the big reasons I would easily recommend UCI to anyone considering an MBA program. Overall a GREAT experience and one I am truly grateful that I was able to experience.
The career services and mentorship program could use some improvement. Many people struggled with using career services to help change fields. Additionally, the mentorship program should be developed to encompass more students and fields.
The most unique aspects of the UCI part-time program include a three main elements. The first unique aspect is the faculty. The professors consistently relate the latest business insights and research to a student base who are motivated to drive strategic innovation within their respective organizations. The second aspect is the diverse and dynamic student base who drive lively discussions aimed at improving the educational environment and success each classmate. The final unique aspect is the UCI culture, which is akin to an open, collaborative, and supportive community. The UCI culture was reinforced through a number of on campus events, a classroom experience that promotes robust participation, various team activities, and three vigorous offsite residentials.
The main improvement to the program relates to tighter integration with the other MBA programs, and in particular the full time program. While our schedules do not facilitate integration other activities to integrate the programs would improve the overall learning and networking opportunities.
The program did a great job of taking care of the time consuming organizational issues and allowed us to focus on learning and networking. Everything from parking, meals, books and class materials, and dealing the the overall bureaucracy of a large university was handled by the great administrators of the part-time MBA school.
I think the largest obstacle / problem with the MBA program is the cost. The education system as a whole needs to reign in the ever increasing cost of an education. It is a burden to graduate with $100k in school loans and it is something that potential students need to consider when deciding on whether or not they are going to go back to school.
The cohort method of grouping students together in fixed groups for the core curriculum fostered close personal bonds, and created a supportive environment that encouraged students to get outside their comfort zone and develop leadership skills in themselves.
Many of the FEMBA mixers were organized after class (10pm), which was late for fully employed individuals. It would have been nice to have more of these on the weekend or on Fridays after work as a happy hour. There was high turnover in the FEMBA administration office, which made it challenging sometimes to keep up with changes in the program and what was going on. Less turnover would improve not only the quality of service but also the relationships with students and the school. A small improvement would be to have a designated meal area for FEMBAs to eat together. Another small improvement would be to continue providing additional services to FEMBAs like mailing parking permits and books to students' houses.
Employer data includes graduates and current students.
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