Posted on March 16, 2020

Case Study #2- Full Time MBA From UNC at 38 – A Dream Fulfilled


Every applicant has certain apprehensions and questions about their prospects of admission to top business schools. At MER, we have been addressing clients’ queries and doubts successfully. Sherzod, a 38-years old applicant from Uzbekistan, was under tremendous stress regarding his chances of admission to the schools of his choice. Since older applicants are generally considered to be the best fit for Executive or part-time MBA programs, it was a challenge for us to justify the candidacy of this older applicant for a full-time MBA. Sherzod’s diligence and determination, combined with patient mentoring and guidance from MER, helped him secure a seat at the UNC Kenan Flagler School of Business.

And now presenting Sherzod’s journey to UNC:

Name: Sherzod

Age: 38

Country: Uzbekistan

Academic: Bachelors in Business Administration

Institute: Tashkent State University of Economics

Industry: Financial services, oil and gas

GMAT: 710 (34/51)

Work Experience: Sherzod had a vast and productive work experience of 13 years. He began his career as a marketing executive in the hospitality industry but soon changed gears and joined the financial services industry. Later, he switched to the oil and gas industry and steadily progressed in the companies he worked for. As an executive employee, he excelled in the Accounting and Finance department. Sherzod had excellent analytical capabilities and strong leadership skills. The key attributes that set him apart from the others were his willingness to take initiatives and the ability to work effectively with different people. His strong communication skills made him an effective executive on many projects.

Extra-Curricular Activities: A football lover, Sherzod was a team member of the LUOK soccer team which won second place in mini-football tournaments. He was awarded LUOK best analytics cup for analyzing the results of the soccer teams during the EURO 2016 soccer tournament. He donated blood every year for six years on World Blood Donors Day. He enjoyed singing and played many local carrom tournaments.

Career Goal: Sherzod’s short-term goal was to make a transition to a consultant manager’s role in one of the big four audit and management consulting companies such as Deloitte or PWC. His long-term goal was to launch his own travel company in native Uzbekistan to pursue his original passion for interacting with diverse visitors to Uzbekistan.

MER’S Approach:To gain an in-depth understanding of his profile, we first administered a questionnaire of 20 questions about his background, values, professional career, accomplishments, leadership stories, career goals, extra-curricular activities, and interests. After analyzing all his personal and professional stories, we started working together on his application to showcase his candidacy for some top business schools including UNC.

Some of the key highlights of our work together are:

  • The biggest challenge with his application was to justify his candidacy for a full-time MBA as Sherzod was 38 years at the time of applying. We guided him to address this part in optional and goals essay by highlighting his career journey, short-term goals, and long-standing aspiration of starting his own business. Together, we highlighted personal and professional reasons that were responsible for his delayed MBA and convincingly explained why NOW was the right time for him to pursue management education.

  • We assisted him in selecting relevant stories to showcase his leadership qualities, interpersonal skills, and team-working skills that demonstrated his ‘fit’ with the school’s criteria.

  • We worked together to convey his passion for football and his ability and desire to contribute to the target program through student clubs.

  • We also advised him to attend admission events and connect with current students and alumni to gain additional insights into the program and its culture and share those insights in the essays.

  • We helped him create a concise stellar one-page résumé that provided a snapshot of his skills, experience, and extracurricular activities.

  • Though he had signed up for 16 essays and résumé, we also answered his questions about school selection. Most importantly, we provided him moral support- the hallmark of our services.


Sherzod was interviewed by Cornell, UNC, Kelley, and McCombs, waitlisted by Tuck and was accepted into UNC Kenan-Flagler business school, one of his top choices. UNC seemed to be the right choice for Sherzod because of his leadership qualities, interpersonal skills, and desire to excel- the values cherished by UNC.

MER’s Views:

Sherzod came across as a person with strong technical knowledge and interpersonal skills. He respected our advice and guidance and wholeheartedly cooperated with us with timelines and essay reverts. He did thorough research of all of his target schools. However, Sherzod was under tremendous stress regarding his candidacy for a full-time MBA, so we guided him as a friend and a mentor. We are delighted that what was once a challenge, is now a story of success. We wish Sherzod all the best for his future endeavors and hope his journey will inspire many other older applicants.

For Sherzod’s feedback on MER services, click here.

Free Resources:

10 Key Essay Tips with Examples

Essay Analysis of  Top Programs- 2019-20

25 Success Stories of MER Students 

Case Study - Indian Chartered Accountant’s Journey to Tuck

Since 2011, MER (myEssayReview)  has helped many applicants get accepted into top 20 MBA programs. (Poonam is  one of the top 5 most reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club.)

You may email Poonam at with questions about your application for the 2020-21 admission cycle.