Young Executives Launch UCI’s MBA Program

Times Staff Writer

Thirty up-and-coming young executives completed an intensive, weeklong teach-in at south Orange County’s Coto de Caza resort on Friday, launching UC Irvine’s first executive MBA program.

Frank Largent, who is directing the program, said it is designed to give working people an opportunity to attain a graduate degree without interrupting their careers to return to school or spending many frustrating years taking part-time courses.

Similar programs have been proliferating throughout the nation in the last three to five years, said Largent, who previously ran Pepperdine University’s executive MBA program.

USC and Chapman Plans

This fall the University of Southern California also started an executive MBA program, and Chapman College plans to launch one early next year.

Largent said the biggest difference between the “executive” and regular MBA programs stems from the achievement level of the students, who range in age from their late 20s to early 40s. Most have risen quickly in the business world.


“They are winner-oriented people,” Largent said. “Whatever they do, they do well in.” Another measure of the students’ potential, he said, is that in the majority of cases their employers have agreed to pay the full tuition for the 21-month program, which will cost at least $20,400.

University officials said students enrolled in the UCI program are entrepreneurs who founded their own firms, as well as middle- and upper-management executives of large corporations and government agencies such as the Irvine Water District, TRW, Ford Motor Co. and Hughes Aircraft Co.

Standard Criteria

Of the 30 enrollees, 11 are women, and there is a scattering of Asians and Latinos, university officials said. They were selected from 68 applicants and had to meet the university’s standard academic criteria, including acceptable admission test scores and undergraduate grade-point levels.