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WCU Stories

An MBA Brings it All Home for Waynesville Woman

Emily McCurry in downtown Waynesville


Emily McCurry '17 can make anyone feel right at home ― maybe because she most certainly is.

Home for her is Waynesville, where she was born and raised. She is a community leader, with a long list of local service and civic organizations, and a successful businesswoman, with an office on Main Street.

An Edward Jones financial adviser, McCurry earned a master’s degree in business administration from Western Carolina University in 2017. She says it was an experience that has allowed her to achieve personal and profession goals. It also gave the Haywood County native another home, so to speak.

“I’m a Catamount now,” says McCurry, who earned her bachelor’s degree at another area university. “When I look back at my college years, it was the time and the people I met at Western that I remember.”

The Princeton Review lists WCU’s College of Business as one of the nation’s best institutions offering an MBA, noting the program provides solid preparation in finance and general management.

Emily McCurry


“The program is built for working professionals, so you can do it while you are working fulltime,” McCurry says. No surprise, since WCU’s MBA curriculum was designed in collaboration with regional employers. The program boasts participative engagement with area businesses through tours, internships and guest speakers, adding networking opportunities to classroom instruction.

“I was already working at Edward Jones as a branch office administrator. I loved the company, but I knew I had the capability to perform at another level,” she says.

With the company’s encouragement and support, McCurry enrolled, forging friendships and connections that remain today.

“There was a core group of us who came together in classes and we still keep in touch, which shows what a supportive program it is. Overall, seeking an MBA at WCU was a tremendous experience,” she says.

McCurry now speaks to perspective students as part of an intensive pre-MBA “boot camp” program that is required for incoming students. Offered in seven sessions in August, the program prepares perspective students for the demands of pursuing an MBA, and covers the basics in accounting, economics and Excel.

“A portion of the boot camp lets them hear from the graduates who have been through it, as well as the instructors,” she says. “I’m always happy to go back and share my experience.”

That sense of giving back continues with civic and nonprofit groups. She is vice president of the board of directors for the Haywood County Arts Council, an organization that is “making sure that artists and the arts are represented in schools and the community, and supported.” She is secretary of the board of directors of Haywood Arts Regional Theater (better known as HART). “Since I was 15, a big part of my life has been music and stage, and this is a great way to stay involved,” she says. She volunteers as an ambassador for the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce, supporting the business community at various events. She also is part of Women Enlightened, a new business women’s group, and recently became chair of the local Young Professionals chapter.

Emliy McCurry's tattoo "impact"


“All this keeps me very busy, but I love it and I care, and I know the time will come when I can’t be so involved,” she says. “I recently got a tattoo that says ‘Impact.’ That’s my word. It’s what I want more of. I want to make an impact on the world, on my community, and the tattoo is also a nice reminder that everything I say and do has an impact on others. That sums up why I’m involved and why I want that.”

McCurry says she uses the knowledge and skills learned in the WCU MBA program “all the time, as I consult for community organizations and clients that own their businesses.”

About the MBA Program

Program Overview

Location: Biltmore Park and Online

Hybrid, face to face and online

Full-Time or Part Time

App. Deadline: Mar. 15, Jul. 15, Nov. 15

36 Credit Hours, 16 Months to Complete

Flexible delivery in an affordable MBA program

For more information on WCU’s MBA program, contact Todd Creasy, director, 828-227-3600 or

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