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A last minute application changed my life

Don’t wait until May 17 to apply for Emerging Scholars. If you’re an incoming MBA student who will be studying in the US, learn from Josh and apply today.

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I love talking to people about the Emerging Scholars program because it completely changed my path – and my life.

Before business school, I oversaw management and marketing for clients in the music business. I started in the entertainment industry straight out of undergrad because I was really excited about the work. Over time, my interests drifted, and I found myself far more interested in the brand strategy and marketing I was executing for my clients than I was in the music business itself. Seeking a pivot toward something more fulfilling, I applied to Columbia Business School. As I was preparing to start, I received an email from the admissions office about Emerging Scholars.

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Trying to figure out how to pay for business school and provide for our three kids, my wife and I had been scouring the earth for scholarships. I didn’t know much about McKinsey or management consulting, but I showed Kristen the email on Emerging Scholars anyway. Taking one glance – and noticing that applications were due the next day – she said, “It’s free money – go for it.” A few surprising emails and interviews later, I was shocked to learn I had been selected as a winner.

Emerging Scholars gave me an entry point to McKinsey. The firm flew me to Chicago for a celebration weekend with the rest of the winners. It was so powerful to be around such an amazing group of humble people who were each shaped by their own incredible experiences.

Getting to know Emerging Scholars from other schools helped me build an early community with whom I continued to connect even after I started at CBS. One of the other Emerging Scholars created a Facebook group in which we shared early MBA stories and case prep tips. Once I returned to New York, I got to engage with McKinsey’s highly collaborative community. I was paired with a McKinsey Mentor, Jeff, an engagement manager in New Jersey, who guided me as I considered my career options and gave me some early coaching for my interviews in January.

If I had arrived on campus without any exposure to McKinsey, I probably would’ve seen 200 classmates who were amped about consulting and turned away from the process, convinced that their higher interest meant McKinsey was a better fit for them than it was for me. Instead, because of Emerging Scholars, I spent my summer as part of the Marketing & Sales practice, engaging with clients to build sales capabilities for an advanced industries client – work that included the opportunity to fly all over the country and deliver workshops coaching the sales reps. Even better, I spent my summer surrounded by amazing people from the New York office, many of whom are now my best friends.

Now that I have returned to McKinsey full-time, I consider myself incredibly lucky to have stumbled upon Emerging Scholars and charted McKinsey as my new path – all because I took an eleventh-hour chance on the application.

If you’re preparing to enter business school at a university in the US this fall, check out the Emerging Scholars website to learn more and apply by May 17.

More about Josh

Josh originally hails from the Detroit, Michigan area, and has lived everywhere from Rhode Island to California. He graduated in 2017 with an MBA from Columbia Business School, where he focused on marketing and strategy, and holds a BA in Urban Studies from Brown University.

Prior to joining McKinsey, Josh held leadership roles at entertainment companies, focusing on marketing, content creation, and general management. In his spare time, Josh enjoys cooking, running, building things, and watching the Boston Red Sox (hello, New York!). He is continually inspired by his wife, Kristen, and their three kids: Alden, 10; Violet, 7; and Leland, 4.

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