Why I Coach—Ethan Kessinger

Ethan K., an expert Leland coach and NYU Stern Tech MBA, outlines why he chooses to coach and what it means to him.

By Ethan K.

Posted August 22, 2022

“Why bother getting an MBA?” I was shocked to realize I didn’t have a solid answer when my friend asked me this seemingly simple question. As a result, although I had always planned on applying, I took the time to decide IF I should even get an MBA, what made sense for my career aspirations, and the timing that was right. Instead of blindly going after the classic top programs, I made a list of what I hoped to gain from the MBA experience:

(1) formalize the knowledge I was teaching myself at a startup, (2) round out my understanding of different aspects of a business, (3) meet people beyond my Stanford-centric bubble, (4) explore different industries, and (5) prepare to eventually start a company.

After making my list, instead of applying to a general two-year MBA, I found that NYU Stern had a new one-year Tech MBA program that seemed ideal. The early application deadline was approaching, and I had to quickly decide if I should use my current average GRE score, retake the GRE, or take the GMAT. This was a moment when I wished I had a coach – I didn’t have the information or experience to make an informed decision. I took a gamble with my GRE because there were stronger parts of my application and was thankfully admitted.

The Tech MBA program and Stern’s IQ+EQ culture was the perfect fit for me, even though I hadn’t even thought to apply when I first started down the MBA road. Two years after graduating, I am starting an EdTech company which I would not have the skills or confidence to do without this unique path.

When my friend asked me my “Why,” it ignited a process of deep self reflection that allowed me to be intentional about my MBA decision. With new clients, I always start with helping them understand their personal why. Pausing to reflect and clarify motivations is the most valuable part of the application process. Having a coach and comprehensive process for this makes sure you are looking deeply into yourself and asking yourself tough questions. Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax”; this is how we sharpen your ax.

With clear motivations and specific goals, the world opens up beyond applying to any top-tier business school. We will work together to discover what is best for you. There are specialty MBAs, dual-degree programs, locations, or clubs that will turn this experience into a meaningful part of your life instead of simply a degree at the end. By being thoughtful and strategic about choosing which schools to apply to, you are also starting a strong narrative of why they should pick you. That gives us a great head start to creating your application that stands out to the committee, a clear narrative for your interviews, and the confidence that you can make the most out of your experience.

I coach because I want to help applicants like you find the right program–one that will match your life and goals—and be there to provide support along the way. I coach because I care about you finding the perfect fit for you and your unique journey. I can’t wait to get started on Leland!

Interested in working together on your MBA application? Click here for my Leland coaching profile.

Browse hundreds of expert coaches

Leland coaches have helped thousands of people achieve their goals. A dedicated mentor can make all the difference.

Browse Related Articles