Ceci Cao and Brendan O'Rourke
Ceci Cao and Brendan O'Rourke

Career solutions through UF MBA scholarships

Early on in their careers, Cecilia “Ceci” Cao (BS ‘12, MBA ’16) and Brendan O’Rourke (BSBA ’15, MBA ’18) knew that an MBA from the University of Florida Warrington College of Business was the solution to their career challenges.

Ceci’s degree in chemistry from UF prepared her extensively to test, build and manufacture biomedical devices, but marketing those products was another story.

Brendan was able to help clients with their personal finances at the credit union he worked for with the business education he received from UF, but career growth was difficult without having several years of experience.

While both knew that a UF MBA would give them the additional skills and ability to stand out as strong business leaders, the larger problem they faced was the cost of the program.

“I was worried about leaving my job and the financial burden,” Brendan said. “I knew I wouldn’t be able to complete the UF MBA program without receiving financial aid.”

The UF MBA program once again had a solution for them – each received a scholarship to pursue their degrees in the Full-Time program.

“I thought my dreams were too far out of reach,” Ceci said. “I wanted to work for the best biomedical device company in the world, and ultimately, I received a spot at DePuy Synthes, of Johnson & Johnson, because of the UF MBA program.”

Starting with the 2018 application cycle, the UF MBA Full-Time program will be able to help more students like Ceci and Brendan by offering 100% tuition scholarships.*

“Receiving your MBA can be a financial burden for students, and our goal is to relieve that stress as much as possible,” UF MBA Assistant Dean and Director John Gresley said. “We hope to give interested students who might not have been able to receive their MBA a chance to do so with these scholarships.”

In addition to the 100% tuition scholarship, the UF MBA Full-Time program boasts a No. 2 ranking in ROI for graduates earning $100,000+ and is ranked in the top 20 among public universities by U.S. News & World Report. It is also ranked as the No. 5 program among U.S. publics by The Economist in 2017, along with a No. 1 “Open New Career Opportunities” and “Alumnus Rating of Career Services” ranking.

Ceci and Brendan both credit the one-on-one attention, access to the extensive Gator network, career services team and rigorous academics they received in the UF MBA Full-Time program with helping them succeed in their respective fields.

“You get personalized attention at UF that you wouldn’t get at other programs,” Brendan said. “They get you in front of employers, do great interview prep, and the career services experience is unique. I wouldn’t have been able to connect with my dream employers otherwise.”

Ceci added, “You get a boutique experience at a major university. The experience is tailored to you, and how you can build upon your skills to achieve your personal and professional goals.”

The tailored experience Ceci received in the UF MBA Full-Time program allowed her to not only get a job at her dream company, but also pursue her passion of helping others. As part of her position in Johnson & Johnson’s Marketing Leadership Development program, Ceci is supporting surgeons in operating rooms by helping them use the equipment they need to save patient’s lives.

“The products that I’m marketing are actually improving people’s lives and helping people’s lives,” she said.

Brendan will also be pursuing his passion at his dream company, Anheuser-Busch InBev. A self-proclaimed “beer geek,” he will be working in procurement upon graduation, purchasing everything AB InBev needs to sell their products, including raw materials, packaging and logistics.

Choosing the UF MBA program was an easy decision for Ceci and Brendan, not only because of its quality rankings, personalized approach and tailored career services, but also for a more aesthetic reason.

“Everyone looks great in Gator blue,” Ceci said.


*Scholarships will be awarded to cover tuition and fees for in-state and out-of-state qualified students admitted to the full-time program. Students who are interested can learn more and apply at UF MBA.