Tuesday Tips: UNC Kenan-Flagler Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips
University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School offers a flexible program with multiple ways to earn an MBA. With a world-class university offering resources beyond the MBA program, Kenan-Flagler touts a strong career focus, with a dedicated team to design a personalized career plan for you.
In addition, there is a global focus and several global immersion opportunities with each program at Kenan-Flagler. Students love the environment in Chapel Hill, a beautiful college town, and enjoy the friendly and welcoming atmosphere at UNC.
QUESTION 1: REQUIRED (500 words)
Please respond to the questions below that will assist us in learning more about you:
• Tell us what your immediate career goals are and how you will benefit personally and professionally from earning an MBA at Kenan-Flagler Business School.
• As the business world continues to evolve, circumstances can change and guide you in a different direction. Should your goals that you provided above not transpire, what other opportunities would you explore?
The main required question for UNC asks a basic career goals question and also for a “Plan B.”
The first part of the question focuses on the short term, asking for a very clear link between your immediate career goals and your MBA. Due to Kenan-Flagler’s focus on the perspective of recruiters and your career advancement, this focus on the short term helps the admissions committee to understand if you are realistic about your career goals.
Another important part of this question is to explain why an MBA at Kenan-Flagler will benefit you both personally and professionally. Thorough school research will help you to answer this question with details of courses and clubs you are interested in.
Beyond your own growth, think about the contribution you will make to the Kenan-Flagler community. Think about clubs or activities you will join and what you will do to enhance the experience of other students.
Because everyone’s life takes twists and turns that may not have been planned, Kenan-Flagler wants to know if you have a Plan B that is as well thought out as your Plan A. If you want to work in consulting, but you aren’t able to land a job at the firm you prefer, perhaps you will pursue a role as in-house strategy in your target long-term industry.
Finally, make sure that you have career goals that require an MBA and that you can cite specific classes, professors and programs at UNC that will help you achieve your goals.
QUESTION 2: REQUIRED (250 words)
The UNC Kenan-Flagler community lives by its core values: excellence, leadership, integrity, community and teamwork.
• Pick a core value that resonates most deeply with you.
• Identify the most challenging situation that you have encountered and how you responded while upholding that core value.
This question will give the admissions committee a sense of how you think and behave. You may want to choose your challenging situation and then think about which UNC Kenan-Flagler community core value this experience embodies.
For example, if you were challenged because you were working with a manager or team who asked you to obscure or lie about company results, that would be a challenge to your integrity. If you struggled with a difficult teammate, you likely showed leadership or teamwork to resolve the situation.
Excellence can be demonstrated in many situations, such as innovating or creating a new line of business or product, but in this case it is likely to be more impressive if your excellence was also joined by integrity and leadership or teamwork (rather than just a sense of perfectionism).
Whatever the topic you choose, make sure you are specific about how you felt, what was said, the actions you took and the results of those actions.
QUESTION 3: OPTIONAL (300 words)
Is there any additional information not presented elsewhere in your application that you would like the admissions committee to consider? Optional areas to address include:
• If you have not had coursework in the core business subjects (calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting), how will you prepare yourself?
• Inconsistent academics, gaps in work, or low standardized test scores
• Choice of recommenders
Kenan-Flagler has supplied a few areas that may be gaps to fill for the admissions committee. If you do not have the requisite coursework listed, you may have gained training through work that will result in the same preparation. If you do not have the preparation through work or courses, it may be worth registering for continuing education classes and informing the admissions committee in this essay.
Lower than average test scores or grades below a C in undergraduate can be explained in a similar way – describe what you have done or achieved that shows you are prepared for a full-time MBA program.
Gaps in work can be concerning to many applicants, but taking time to travel, spend time with family, change careers or to pursue personal interests are all legitimate reasons to take a break from your career. If you were laid off or your company had challenges, it may be an interesting opportunity to describe how you handle adversity.
Recommenders other than a current or former supervisor should be explained as well. Ideally your recommender can speak to your abilities and achievements and adds a different perspective than the other recommenders.
If interested, you can gain more information about the executive MBA, and online MBA and executive development at the admissions website.