Introducing Eric Duarte-McDermott, New UC Davis MSBA Executive Director

My Q&A with former QS executive and leader at Pepperdine, UC Irvine

We are excited to welcome Eric Duarte-McDermott, the new executive director for the UC Davis Master of Science in Business Analytics program. He brings extensive admissions experience including starting up the MSBA program at the University of California, Irvine.

I recently had the chance to sit down with Eric and speak to him about his background and vision for our Master of Science in Business Analytics Program. 

What attracted you to UC Davis and the MSBA program?

I enjoyed my time at QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) and working with business school admission teams but what I came to realize was how much I missed working with students. The MSBA program is a strong program that gives its students the skills and resources to be successful inside and outside the classroom which is reflected in the program’s career outcomes. In addition to its Bay Area location, the opportunity to work with a great team and group of students is what attracted me to the UC Davis MSBA program.

How has your previous experience (degree, jobs) prepared you for this role?

I launched the MSBA programs at the University of Miami and UC Irvine, and have worked in business school admission roles across various programs for about 10 years. I was most recently the assistant dean of admissions and program relations for Pepperdine School of Public Policy during Covid and what I have learned is that there will always be challenges.

What my experience has taught me is to always have a plan to ensure what is best for the program, including its students, faculty and staff but to also to be flexible enough and pivot to when it’s needed.

Another thing I keep in mind is that people may not remember what you say to them, but they will always remember how you made them feel so it’s important to me that I continue to build onto what is already a great community and MSBA family.  

What drew you in for this role specifically?

The opportunity to work with a great team and to work specifically with MSBA students. I feel we are at an exciting time in terms of technology and its effect on our daily lives. I was reading the other day that data has now arguably become more valuable than oil so the work that our MSBA faculty, students and alumni are doing in the classroom and in their roles is both fascinating and important as we push forward with technological advances.

As executive director of the MSBA program, what are you looking to explore within your role?

To continue the success of the program and building relationships with our alumni. Our alumni are great, and I am excited to get to know them and make sure that even though they are not currently in the program, they are still very much an important part of the UC Davis MSBA family.

What are some hobbies/interests you have outside of work?

I am a huge foodie that loves to travel. I caught the travel bug after studying abroad in London. I love to explore new places and find good local spots I have been extremely fortunate to travel to countries I never thought I would ever visit so I am always game for a good trip and good food.