UNC Kenan-Flagler Launches NC Business Next Program

NC Business NextMany new college graduates will encounter a grim job market due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With that in mind, the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School has introduced a unique program called NC Business Next.

This pilot program will offer spots in its upcoming MBA class to a small number of high performing college grads. These students can begin an MBA degree right away, without the typical three-to-five years of work experience requirement.

“Recognizing the difficult and uncertain career opportunities for new college graduates in North Carolina, we decided to launch an initiative that provides a route to career success for them,” explains UNC Kenan-Flagler dean Doug Shackelford.

Starting an MBA now will help students link their undergraduate studies to new leadership, communication, analytical, and business strategy skills. The program is open to graduates from UNC-Chapel Hill, other UNC campuses, and North Carolina residents from other universities.

“Students who graduate from college during an economic downturn struggle not just to get jobs, but also build the capabilities they need for long-term career success,” says Brad Staats, associate dean of MBA programs and an operations professor.

“Our MBA program – with its focus on applied knowledge, experiential learning and career skills – will help them address this gap. In the unusual circumstances caused by the COVID-19 crisis, we have the ability to offer this opportunity to a select group this fall and help develop a new generation of talented leaders for North Carolina.”

Evaluation Requirements for the NC Business Next Program

NC Business Next is open to graduates from all undergraduate majors. The admissions team will evaluate applicants on the following criteria.

  • outstanding academic performance
  • quantitative strength
  • letters of recommendation
  • demonstrated impact through leadership activities
  • internship and part-time work experience
  • motivation
  • interviews
  • GPA
  • standardized test scores

Working with career and leadership coaches, students will receive strong support, says Melissa Hlavac, associate dean of MBA programs. In spite of the fact that UNC Kenan-Flagler doesn’t typically accept students with limited work experience, Hlavac thinks this won’t impede their future success. In the past, such students, often in dual-degree programs, have done very well, she says, both in initial placement and long-term career achievement.

Students will participate in the Analytical Skills Workshop to bolster their knowledge of critical business topics before starting classes. In addition, they will partner with MBA Dean’s Fellows and receive peer mentorship and guidance for success in the MBA program.

How to Apply

NC Business Next applicants will apply using UNC Kenan-Flagler’s standard Full-Time MBA application (Round 4, 2020 entry).

The program’s priority application deadline is June 15, with admissions decisions made on a rolling basis. Meeting the priority deadline will also maximize your opportunities for fellowship consideration. The final application deadline is July 13.

Recognizing the reduced ability to prepare for and take the GMAT or GRE, applicants may request a GMAT/GRE waiver. Applicants will be considered for fellowships as part of the admissions process.

“One of UNC Kenan-Flagler’s strengths is having MBA and Undergraduate Business students taught by one faculty in the same building,” says Staats. “So we are uniquely prepared to serve this new group of talented individuals who will bring diverse experiences and perspectives to our community.”

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