Christian Peralta is a first-generation Filipino American graduating this spring from The Paul Merage School of Business’ two-year executive MBA program. He’s a U.S. Army Ranger-qualified infantry officer who has served 15 years in the U.S. military – including time with the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps while an undergraduate at UCI. Now transitioning to civilian life, and with his family settled in Eastvale, Peralta decided to return to his alma mater – where he earned a B.A. in criminology, law and society in 2011 – to study business in 2020.
What is your favorite memory at UCI?
As an undergraduate, meeting my wife, who’s also an alum. In the executive MBA program, it was getting to know some of my classmates at a deeper level. I also took a federal healthcare policy course, and we were able to travel to Washington, D.C. That was really eye-opening, because I got to see how the intersection of business and policy or politics works.
What are your plans after graduation?
Literally a week after I graduate, I start Amazon’s Military Pathways program, and I’m going to fight really hard to stay in it. I’m pretty focused and intend to become an executive leader in the private sector.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Amazon’s Military Pathways program is a specialized five-year track in which you start as a mid-level manager and progress by the end to a director-level position, like a general manager. So it’s a very fast track. Allegedly, it’s also very intense and competitive. So we’ll see if I make it, but I’m willing to bet, given my formative experience in the Army, that I’ll be okay.
“Christian Peralta was a model student in our operational excellence class during the fall quarter of 2021: always attentive, always engaged and willing to share his experience, and – importantly – always willing to listen to others as we discussed management challenges in operations. Throughout the course, he demonstrated that he has great leadership potential and the intellect to excel in the future, and thus, I am highly confident in his future success.”
– Ken Murphy, assistant professor of teaching in The Paul Merage School of Business
Who was your biggest influence at UCI?
As an undergraduate, my professor of military science, Maj. Victor Stephenson. He taught all the cadets and students the fundamental basics of leadership. The lessons I learned from him have echoed throughout my entire career.
In the executive MBA program, my classmates. As cliche as it is, my cohort is truly a community of unique perspectives and backgrounds, which allowed me to understand different views and made me reflect on how I view and react to different situations in the business world.
As far as the faculty, I would say that the most influential professor was Ken Murphy, who taught operational excellence, or operations management. From him conducting calculations on an Excel spreadsheet to giving us case studies involving operations and organizational leadership, it was very formative. He was the one who recommended probably my favorite book out of this entire MBA experience: The Goal, by Eli Goldratt.
What do you know now that you wish you had known before coming to UCI?
That the experiences I had in the Army are very applicable and relevant. It’s just a matter of being able to elegantly translate those experiences from a military context to a business-civilian context.