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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Allie Cocco

MBA/MHA 2022

What made you pursue a dual degree, and how has your education at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health complemented your experience at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, and vice versa?
Pursuing a dual degree was a very intentional choice. After graduating college, I worked in biochemical research in a lab, where I found a passion for patient advocacy and innovation in diagnostics and care. I realized that a public health degree would provide the important patient-centered perspective, but I also knew that a business degree would provide expertise in strategy and implementation. At the time I was considering healthcare consulting and knew the MBA would be a good choice for that path. Overall, I wanted both the business and financial focus from the MBA and the health focus from the MHA. While both degrees alone provide some insight to both areas, I have really enjoyed learning about other industries at Kenan-Flagler and applying knowledge to the healthcare industry. On the MHA side, I was able to learn a lot about social drivers of health and other incredibly important health topics, and then bring this knowledge into discussions in my healthcare classes in the MBA. They have both complemented each other and given me a very well-rounded, holistic experience!

What made you choose UNC for your education?
A few things: the access to healthcare generally, the community and people, and the alumni connections! Being in the Research Triangle area, and with UNC Health so prominent in the surrounding community, I knew there would be many healthcare professionals in the area. I was impressed by Gillings on my interview day, getting to meet faculty, current students, and alumni. I also was able to meet other dual-degree students that day who spoke so highly about their experience. It was great to know that there was a whole group of dual degree students to navigate the process with also. Further, everyone in Kenan-Flagler admissions was so welcoming! I could tell the collaboration aspect of both programs was a huge focus put into action, and neither would be cutthroat or overly competitive among my other classmates. Of course, the access to UNC alumni is a huge draw to the school! Coming from a small college for undergrad, I found this impressive and knew that the alumni network would be a huge help for recruiting and working on my networking skills. This has all proven to be true!

What has been your most memorable experience during your time so far as a student?
It’s hard to choose just one, especially considering we were mostly virtual this past year. I would say my involvement in student clubs in both programs, but particularly in Carolina Women in Business (CWIB). During my first year in the MHA I got to attend the CWIB conference in-person and hear from so many wonderful and successful women and allies. I am passionate about women’s issues and was on the Executive Board for Women in Healthcare Leadership through the MHA this past year as well. Now I am an Executive Vice President for CWIB, which has brought so many incredible women and allies into my life. CWIB has been a huge support for me during the virtual experience, and I attribute much of the friendships and community I’ve built to getting involved in CWIB. The community that the students are able to build is such a valuable part of the MBA and MHA programs and overall experience.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?
Going back to Europe! I’ve only been once for a summer study abroad program in undergrad. I went to Rome, Florence, Naples, and Capri and then London on the way back from Italy, but there are so many other cities and countries I want to visit. I’ve also recently gotten very into Formula 1 racing – the Netflix series got me hooked and now a group of friends and I always watch the races on Sundays. We all want to attend a race in person soon, so this is a new bucket list addition, but one of the top items!