Exceptional Faculty Teaching Exceptional Students

An interview with Jone L. Pearce

Dean, Graduate School of Management, University of California, Irvine

 

What are the characteristics of your MBA program?

The UCI Graduate School of Management is characterized by our outstanding faculty, a curriculum that prepares student to lead and succeed in a technology-driven society and an environment that fosters a strong sense of community among students, faculty and staff.

Who are the participants in your MBA program?

If you look at the raw data, our students are similar to those who attend schools that are traditionally ranked in the Top 20. We attract a high caliber of student, who is well- rounded, focused on success and willing to be an active participant in his or her education. Someone who wants to engage in a broad and in-depth discussion of management issues in the classroom and invests the time to understand the complexities of management from a faculty steeped in research. That being said, we seem to always get students who embrace the social nature of an MBA program and wish to take advantage of the networking and co-curricular opportunities GSM offers.

How does your program differ from a traditional MBA program?

On a couple of fronts. First, we offer a curriculum that emphasizes the importance of Information Technology for Management (ITM). In addition to training in the fundamentals, our courses and program provide a fundamental understanding of the role the information plays in today's management decisions and how and when technology is a driver in managing and in marketing. We accomplish this through a required ITM curriculum woven within the core, specialized electives and hands on labs. Secondly, we have the advantage of faculty who work at an institution devoted to expanding the knowledge in their chosen field and by applying concepts in practical ways. They are constantly looking for ways to push the envelope educationally.

What is the philosophy of your MBA program?

At the Graduate School of Management, we believe it is imperative to develop managers and leaders who can envision the future and then effectively execute their vision with the speed and excellence to succeed. This takes a program that is forward thinking yet grounded in the time tested foundations of management education. We believe, having exceptional faculty teaching exceptional students, you will create exceptional opportunity.

What can you tell us about your school's success in finding its graduates employment?

We have a dedicated MBA Career Center staffed by professionals who understand the dynamic nature of MBA employment and have been working with MBA students and recruiters for years. Like most schools within California, we have been impacted by a challenging state economy. Nevertheless, it has been our philosophy that a solid, well prepared and motivated MBA graduate be successful in any environment. We prepare our MBA students for the job search even before they begin their first class. It is a partnership and collaborative effort that brings a successful offer. Being in one of the country's most solid and innovative business areas is certainly a plus.

What advice do you have for MBA students?

Keep your options open. Look for programs that provide the best fit for you personally. Don't always go with the big name if it doesn't offer what you want educationally. It should always be about the education that works for you. I have seen students who, in their first year, were certain about what they wanted out of the MBA, only to radically shift their directions as they moved through the program. While we are fortunate to rank as a Top-50 business school, and for good reason, we have always felt we had a solid program even before the rankings put us on the map.

What is your school doing to remain at the forefront of business and management thinking?

Recently, our faculty was ranked fifth in the nation in a publication devoted to business schools and academia. This truly acknowledged what we at the school already knew: that the UCI Graduate School of Management has world-class faculty committed to education. They find finance solutions to the problems in Hong Kong, Argentina and Japan, research the different salary negotiation styles of men and women, and address the issues of forecasting risk and return in international markets to cite just a few of the areas where our faculty develop new solutions to practical problems. The need to continue to learn and grow and stay ahead of the curve is an ingrained aspect of GSM faculty life.

About Jone L. Pearce

Jone L. Pearce is Professor of Organization and Strategy and Interim Dean of the Graduate School of Management, University of California, Irvine. Her field is organizational behavior and she conducts research on workplace interpersonal processes, such as trust, and how these processes may be affected by political structures, economics conditions and organizational policies and practices. Her work has appeared in over seventy scholarly articles, and she has edited several volumes and written two scholarly books. Professor Pearce is a Fellow of the Academy of Management; her honors include a number of research grants and several teaching excellence awards.



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