2015 MBA To Watch: Adam Coleman

Adam Coleman

Adam Coleman


University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School

How will Adam Coleman spend his first paycheck from Morgan Stanley? Chances are, it’ll be for a trophy case. The two-time winner of Kenan-Flagler’s Excellence Core Value Award for academic performance, Coleman astutely led teams that earned first place finishes at the UNC Real Estate Development Case Competition and the UNC Kenan-Flagler/Fuqua First Year Investment Banking Case Competition. His teams were also finalists for the Credit Suisse National Investment Banking Case Competition and the University of Texas Real Estate Case Competition. In addition, he served as the student manager for the KFBSF Real Estate Private Equity Fund the vice president of communications for the Investment Banking Club.

Age: 28

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Undergraduate School: University of Michigan (Ross School of Business)

Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? LaSalle Investment Management – Senior Financial Analyst

Where did you intern during the summer of 2014? Morgan Stanley – Real Estate Investment Banking Group, New York

Where will you be working after graduation? Morgan Stanley – Real Estate Investment Banking Group, New York

Favorite Courses: Real Estate Process, Mergers & Acquisitions, Investment Banking

Which academic or professional achievements are you most proud of? Receiving the Excellence Core Value award, a student-nominated award given to someone who signifies academic excellence among their peers

Who would you most want to thank for your success (and why)? My classmates. The amount that I have learned from my fellow classmates is astounding. Here at UNC Kenan-Flagler, I was able to meet people from all walks of life. Everyone of them provided me with unique perspectives because of their upbringings. I have created incredible friends during my two years in Chapel Hill, and I would not trade the times that I have shared with my classmates for anything

Why did you choose this business school? I choose UNC Kenan-Flagler for three reasons. The first is the strength of both the real estate and finance programs. Coming from a real estate background, I knew I was interested in staying in the industry and I felt that UNC Kenan-Flagler gave me the best environment to learn the most in both of those verticals. Second, the outside-the=classroom learning that UNC Kenan-Flagler offers cannot be matched at other top business schools. From the in-depth “Training the Street” offerings to the robust career clubs to the global learning opportunities, UNC Kenan-Flagler offers it all. But third, and most important to me, was the culture. From the second that I stepped foot on campus, everyone was willing to go the extra step to make sure I was able to be successful. Classmates, faculty, and alumni have all made my experience in Chapel Hill unforgettable

What did you enjoy most about business school? The thing I enjoyed most about business school was the chance to spend two years in Chapel Hill and the relationships I have made while down here. Being from Chicago, I had never spent much time in North Carolina, but from the day I arrived I was welcomed like an old friend. From the numerous college sporting events to hiking in the mountains to weekends at the beach to barbeque dinners, the past two years have been a whirlwind of incredible experiences

What is your most memorable moment from business school? Rushing the court after UNC beat Duke in basketball at the Dean Smith Center during my first year. The game had originally been delayed eight days due to a snowstorm but they finally cleared the roads and were able to play. After celebrating on the court, the party continued at the corner of Franklin and Columbia with thousands of students. It is definitely a memory I will never forget

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…           I didn’t get spring break my first year after graduating from undergrad at Michigan… kidding. I really knew I wanted to come back to get my MBA once a saw the success and personal growth that a few of my colleagues had after going back and getting their MBA degrees.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…in Chicago still. Coming back to school allowed me to get out of my comfort zone, experience life in a new city for a couple years, and make incredible friends. Also, coming back to school has put me on a career path that I am extremely happy with.”

What are your long-term professional goals? I see myself working in the real estate finance sector for a long time. I have identified an area of interest that continues to challenge and excite me. I will be going to work for Morgan Stanley in their real estate investment banking group because it give me the opportunity to work with large real estate organizations and help them strategically analyze different paths

Fun fact about yourself: As a Michigan undergrad, I traveled to watch the football team play in every Big 10 stadium. Now that the conference is expanding so much, I need to catch games at Maryland and Rutgers. My favorite stadium of all-time is the Rose Bowl in Pasadena (also helps that I was there in 1997 to see Michigan win the national championship).

Favorite book: The Great Gatsby or Catcher in the Rye. Two books every kid should read in high school.

Favorite movie: Not really a big movie guy but it would have to be one of the sports movies from when I was growing up like Remember the Titans.

Favorite musical performer: Don’t really have one but will listen to any type of country music whenever it is on

Favorite television show: True Detective or Game of Thrones

Favorite vacation spot: Being from the Midwest, anywhere with a beach and some sun is a welcomed sight when traveling. Hawaii is somewhere that I’ve been that fits that description nicely

What are your hobbies? Huge college football and college basketball fan (University of Michigan will always be my team, but I’ve made room for the Tar Heels in my heart), marathon running, binge watching television series (it’s my one true vice).

Twitter Handle: @adamecoleman

What made Adam such an invaluable addition to the class of 2015?

“Adam has distinguished himself as a leader amongst his peers at UNC Kenan-Flagler, yet he is an incredibly humble and approachable person. He is deeply respected by his classmates, and is a two-time recipient of the student-nominated Excellence Core Value award. He has taken on leadership roles in both his targeted academic areas, finance and real estate, as well as within the UNC Kenan-Flagler community, serving on the Leadership Team for UNC Kenan-Flagler Habitat for Humanity).

  • In terms of finance leadership, Adam served as a Teaching Assistant for two courses (Managerial Accounting and Investment Banking). He also served on the leadership team of the Investment Banking Club, which provides career guidance to more than 40 aspiring investment bankers.  
  • As a lead manager of our UNC Real Estate Private Equity Funds, Adam has played a key role in both deploying the remaining capital in our second fund and in raising our third and largest fund-to-date. His efforts with our funds were comprehensive in every regard, from expanding our investor relationships to sourcing new sponsor relationships to increasing the operational efficiency of our funds. 
  • Adam helped anchor two winning inter-school case competition teams, bringing home first place honors in the UNC Kenan-Flagler/Fuqua First-Year Investment Banking Case Competition and most recently at our 10th annual UNC Real Estate Development Challenge, where he and his three teammates bested 15 other teams from across the country. He is a terrific team player and adds great value to any team he is on. 
  • Adam never says “no” to anything we ever ask of him, from mentoring other UNC students (both formally as a “Career Mentor” to five first-year students and informally to many more) to interacting with prospective students and our alumni. What makes this truly amazing is his ability to deliver exceptional academic performance while being such a valued and active member of our UNC Kenan-Flagler community.

Adam represents the best of UNC Kenan-Flagler and demonstrates our core values of excellence, leadership, integrity, community and teamwork in everything he does. – Sridhar Balasubramanian, Associate Dean of the MBA Program and Professor of Marketing


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