UNC Essay Tips

Questions 1 and 2 are required of all applicants. Questions 3 and 4 are optional.

Essay One (Required)
Describe your career progression to date, highlighting leadership and management positions and reasons for changing jobs or career paths, if applicable. Tell us how your experience, coupled with an MBA degree from UNC, will lead you to your short-term and long-term career goals. (1200 words maximum)

This is a straightforward question. As with Chicago and Wharton, note that there are a few questions embedded in this question and you must hit on each of them and budget your words.

Describe your career progression to date, highlighting leadership and management positions and reasons for changing jobs or career paths, if applicable.
Though they ask for your career progression, don’t simply give an editorialized version of resume. Give color behind the leadership and/or management you have had and what you’ve learned from those roles and how you’ve grown. Also follow their instruction to give reasons for changes. Tell them why you have done the things you have done. Emphasize the positive from each experience and demonstrate that you apply lessons learned in the choices you make. If you have had a few random twists and turns, this is a great opportunity to explain your reasoning.

Tell us how your experience, coupled with an MBA degree from UNC, will lead you to your short-term and long-term career goals.
There are three pieces here. You need to define your short-term and long-term career goals. Your career goals should in some way reflect what is important to you (this does not mean they are one and the same, but that there is some correlation). Articulate a concrete plan to create a career that reflects your values, and explain why your goals are meaningful to you. You must also relate your goals to your prior experience. They may or may not be related in terms of the industry or function, but you should show how ideas or skills you’ve gained have prepared you to begin the journey to your future career. Finally you must address why UNC will help you reach your goals. As with Stanford, Chicago, and Wharton, you must be specific about classes, programs, clubs, etc that will help you. Also you should communicate how your taking advantage of these aspects of the school will further enhance the school community (ie, what will you bring).

Essay Two (Required)
Describe the major obstacles or challenges you have faced in pursuit of your goals. Tell us how you addressed these challenges and how they have shaped you. (800 words maximum)

Note that this needs to be a challenge in pursuit of your goals (any goals you have tried to reach). It’s a great opportunity to show that you are reflective and know how to apply lessons learned. Set up the event quickly and then dedicate most of your words to your actions and reflection. Don’t be afraid to get very personal about how your personality, character, and perspective have been shaped by these challenges.

Essay Three (Optional)
Tell us about any international experience you have, either living or working abroad. Tell us how it has impacted your global perspective. (400 words maximum)

They have asked for an experience with living or working abroad. Don’t try to fit a vacation experience into a response. As with any question about an experience, do not dedicate the essay to describing the experience. Set up the experience to give enough substance and plot for your reflection to make sense. Then focus on how your global perspective has changed from this event.

Essay Four (Optional)
UNC Kenan-Flagler seeks to enroll students from a variety of undergraduate majors. Regardless of your major, we strongly recommend that all students enter the program with some background in calculus, microeconomics, statistics and financial accounting. If you have not studied one or more of these subjects in college or university, please tell us how you have developed proficiency in these areas. If you have not been exposed to one or more of these subjects, please tell us how you will prepare yourself prior to entering UNC Kenan-Flagler. (400 words maximum)


This should be straightforward. Simply explain the steps you have taken either through professional experiences or additional academic coursework. Note that you can include steps you will take this spring/summer (courses) before you enter UNC.

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