Non-traditional MBA Applicant Wins Scholarships at UNC, Emory

Pete began his career in advertising and was eager to get into a great MBA program as a way to make a career transition into investment banking, and was able to win not only admission but scholarships at several top MBA programs.

Applicant Stats


  • Undergraduate Institution
    University of Oregon
  • Pre-MBA Industry: 
  • Career Goals: 
    Investment Banking
  • Admitted At:
    Emory Goizueta, UNC Kenan-Flagler, and Georgetown McDonough
  • Coach:

Post-MBA Career Goal: Investment Banking

Because Pete worked in the advertising industry, and his undergraduate program is not a target school for investment banks, the investment banking industry was new to him. Pete knew he’d need some help to explore his career goals and express them properly in the MBA application.

We started by encouraging Pete to do informational interviews with several current investment bankers. He did a great job with this, identifying numerous bankers attending his target MBA programs who were willing to get on the phone and share information about their schools and investment banking recruitment generally.

We also mapped Pete’s transferable skills. Although advertising is not a typical career path leading to investment banking roles, we discovered that Pete’s role included several very relatable tasks:

Seen in this light, Pete’s current role was almost exactly in line with what an investment banking Associate would do.

Second, we helped Pete to identify specific banks where his industry experience would be valuable — middle market banks covering the advertising industry. Coverage roles at those banks would make great use of Pete’s industry knowledge and contacts.

These initial steps ultimately prepared Pete for both writing clear essays and interviewing successfully, confident about connecting his background with his desired career path and knowing how the MBA fit into the puzzle.

MBA Scholarships at UNC Kenan-Flagler and Emory Goizueta

Based on the strength of Pete’s core MBA application, he received a significant scholarship award immediately from Emory Goizueta (as well as admissions offers from UNC Kenan-Flagler and Georgetown McDonough).

But this wasn’t the end of the story, and Pete was able to double the initial offer through clever negotiation — which happened at the last minute, even after Pete shot this video interview with us.

After Pete declined the admissions offer at UNC Kenan-Flagler, they countered with a scholarship proposal that was double what Emory had offered. Emory was still a better school for Pete’s target banks, and a better location for his family, but he wanted to make the best use of this situation.

By presenting this in the right way to Emory Goizueta, Pete secured a 100% match on the UNC Kenan-Flagler offer, raising the offer almost into the six figures, and achieving a 6X return on investment on the fees paid to Menlo Coaching.

Pete enrolled at Emory Goizueta due to its small class size, great culture and, most importantly, for its excellent ties to opportunities in investment banking, and looks forward to the next steps in his career.

Want to hear more admissions case studies from real MBA candidates? Check out our collection of Applicant Stories.

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