Adrian Muniz, a sophomore at the University of California-Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business, was always expected to be the first in his family to pursue higher education. Both his parents immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico at a young age. Due to both of their experiences as immigrants, Muniz’s parents instilled in him the value of a college degree at a young age.
“Higher education always seemed as a gateway of success in my family,” Muniz tells Poets&Quants for Undergrads. “As a kid, I remembered how heavily stressed it was by my parents that pursuing higher education would equate to a successful and secure future.”
When it came time to graduate high school, Muniz had two choices: pursue his love for professional cycling or pursue a college degree. He chose the latter.
FUTURE SECURITY & STABILITY
Muniz’s career as a junior professional cyclist has taken him around the world, where he’s represented the U.S. in races. For three years, he competed for Team VeloSport and consistently ranked in the top 10 worldwide. But Muniz’s decision to prioritize a college education over a professional cycling career came clear to him during a race when he almost lost something immensely valuable — his life. Earlier last year, as Muniz was finishing up his high school career, he was competing in a criterion race. A cyclist in front of him slid out, launching the bike into the air. Muniz was able to dodge the other cyclist, but not the bike. Muniz’s face broke his fall, which required multiple stitches and nearly caused him to lose his right eye.
It was that moment, he says, he realized that an athletic career could only last for so long. A college education, however, could offer him the means of future security and stability.
“I chose the latter, based off the fact that I wanted to explore and continue learning,” he says.
In the Fall of 2017, Muniz enrolled at UC-Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business, where he is currently studying for a degree in business administration with a minor in digital information systems.
B-SCHOOLS OPENING DOORS FOR FIRST-GENERATION STUDENTS
Muniz says he chose UCI’s Paul Merage School of Business because it’s one of the best undergraduate business programs in the nation. With 46% of its entering Fall 2018 class being the first in their family to pursue higher education, the B-school is also the leader in enrolling the most first-generation students among all other B-schools that reported their numbers in Poets&Quants‘ 2018 Best Undergraduate Business Schools.
Other B-schools that are opening the doors to higher education for first-generation students? The University of Houston’s C. T. Bauer College of Business had the second-most with 38%. Rutger’s Business School in Newark was next with 31%. And the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business and Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business tied for fourth, both with 28%.