MBA@UNC Graduate: Brian McGrath

“When I was in consulting, the path forward was very clear,” says Brian McGrath. “It’s an up-and-out model. When I switched to a different industry, I realized that if you want to advance you can — or if you want to stay where you are, you can.” McGrath wanted to advance. A highly accomplished IT program manager with a background in global, multi-million dollar technology project leadership and IT business management, he believed an MBA would help keep him motivated and moving forward. “I knew I wanted to go to a top-20 school, but I had no thought or consideration of doing it online. I approached it with skeptical optimism,” he says. “After talking to executive director Susan Cates, I had the feeling that she would run an outstanding program,” he says. “But it also seemed to be an unusual way to earn an MBA.” He decided to give it a shot. In less than two weeks, he knew he was in the right place.

“The people, the curriculum, the professors — it was exactly what I was looking for.”

“Compared to classes on campus, especially in New York, the virtual classroom is incredibly small,” he says. “I liked that I got a lot of one-on-one time with my professors and the other people in my program. I developed crazy-strong relationships with these people. I’m not sure I would have gotten that from any other part-time program.” “The coursework was intense,” he adds. “I was really challenged, more so than I thought I was going to be.” McGrath says that MBA@UNC gave him what he needed to round out his education.

“A lot of the skills I learned have helped me be more successful and advance in my current role. I have been able to apply something I learned from every class.”

Another aspect of the program that he really enjoyed were the Global Immersions. “Every one that I have attended has been fantastic,” he says. “In San Francisco, we spent half a day at Google. In Brazil, we did this exercise where the president of Procter & Gamble, Brazil came to judge our case. The programs are well thought out and a really nice complement to the online format.” McGrath recalls when he first met his classmates in person. “The first time I met everyone at the first immersion, I gave each of them a real, honest-to-goodness hug. Having already met each other online, I felt like I already knew them. There was such a deep connection.”