Tuesday Tips: Kenan-Flagler Application Essay Tips for 2022-2023

Kenan-Flagler application

UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School offers a flexible program with multiple ways to earn an MBA. The Kenan-Flagler application essay questions focus on learning more about you. At UNC, a world-class university offers resources beyond the MBA program.

There are several global immersion opportunities with each program at Kenan-Flagler. Also, students love the environment in Chapel Hill. It is a beautiful and lively college town. Further, students enjoy the friendly atmosphere at UNC’s MBA program.

For assistance with your UNC Kenan-Flagler application, contact Stacy Blackman Consulting today. And to learn more about the Kenan-Flagler UNC MBA program, visit the school website.

From the admissions committee: You’ll respond to two required essay questions and one optional question. Your responses should be concise, clear, and introspective as we’ll use them to learn more about you, your motivations, and your aspirations. Typically, we ask that you keep responses to 300-500 words max.

Required Essay 1

Your response should be no longer than 500 words and should address the following questions:

What are your immediate career goals and how will you benefit 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?

This first essay in the Kenan-Flagler application asks a primary career goals question and a “Plan B.” Knowing yourself is the best first step in this essay. What has your career taught you, both in hard skills and soft skills? How have leadership opportunities grown your perspective? Think about the experiences of your work life. And what you have learned about yourself.

Then, describe your short-term career goals. As a program, UNC provides individual career guidance and has a recruiter focus. Therefore, realistic career goals help the admissions committee imagine you at UNC. Finally, show a clear link between your career goals and your MBA. What skills will you gain from classes and clubs to bring to your post-MBA job?

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School essay questions

Everyone’s life takes twists and turns. And, often, your path takes you in another direction. For that reason, this essay also asks about your Plan B. To answer the question, consider how your experience and MBA can apply to different goals.

For example, your Plan A is to work in consulting and then transition to a strategy role at a CPG firm. If you cannot land that job, you could look for in-house strategy roles to gain experience. Or, you could work in a different kind of professional services firm such as marketing research. Finally, as long as you focus on the type of work that appeals to you and the roles that fit, you will find the right path.

Required Essay 2

Your response should be no longer than 500 words and should address the following question:

We all belong to different communities representing various aspects of who we are, including groups we belong to, where we come from, how we think, what we believe, and how we see and experience the world. The process of discovery is strengthened when people with diverse perspectives and life experiences come together to share and learn from one another, negotiate differences, and engage in diplomacy.

How do you envision furthering your growth as an inclusive leader as an MBA student and as a business leader?

Like most schools, UNC Kenan-Flagler focuses on inclusive leadership. Thoughtful and nuanced leadership is vital to your UNC MBA application. That means showing that you are empathetic and understanding. Even if you are not a leader now, you can positively impact the environment. For this essay, consider how your background and communities have shaped your perspective. Reflect on when you have valued diverse perspectives and negotiated differences.

Then, after you have reflected on your past experiences with diplomacy between different people, consider how you will take that perspective to UNC Kenan-Flagler. This Kenan-Flagler application essay is future looking. Therefore, it will be useful to have a perspective on what you have learned in the past and how you plan to continue to learn in the future. If you can share an example of a time that you practiced empathetic and diplomatic leadership, or a time that you fell short of your own expectations, that can illuminate where you are now. Then, use your research into the Kenan-Flagler MBA program to inform what you will learn.

Finally, take your past experience and how you plan to develop as a leader while at UNC Kenan-Flagler to describe the business leader you plan to be. Explain how you will lead others and be an example for inclusive leadership.

Optional Essay

We encourage you to tell us more about who you are so we can get to know you as a person and potential member of the Carolina community. Use this essay to convey information that you may not have otherwise been able to in the application. Your response should be no longer than 200 words.

Optional topics:

  • Personal or professional accomplishments
  • Interests and passions
  • Gaps in work experience or inconsistent academic performance
  • Context for recommender selection
  • A fun fact about yourself

This Kenan-Flagler optional application allows you to either discuss areas of concern or personal topics.

First, identify any gaps in your overall application. Then, consider if you need to explain those gaps. For example, if you do not have the required classes listed, you may have learned the same topics at work. Or consider registering for continuing education classes. Finally, substantial work experience can help offset poor academics. Or, explain that you have taken courses since undergrad and received high grades.

If you do not have any significant resume or application gaps, you can use this essay to focus on a personal topic. Consider describing a noteworthy professional accomplishment. Or, explain a personal achievement of which you are proud. If you tell a personal story, use specific examples to make the story stand out. Consider why the accomplishment was remarkable and what you learned from the experience.


Reapplicant Essay

If you are re-applying to the program, we appreciate your continued interest in UNC Kenan-Flagler. We require a complete application in addition to a brief essay (100 words or less) that describes how your application differs from your previous submission and that alerts us to new test scores, a recent promotion, or other areas that demonstrate how you have strengthened your candidacy.

The Kenan-Flagler application requires re-applicants to complete all of the required essays. You should take 100 words to describe what has changed since your last application. Also, ideas for this essay include updates like a promotion or new job.

If you don’t have a resume change, consider updates like a change in career focus. Or, you may have learned new skills in other ways, such as in a stretch project at work. Overall, this is your chance to show you are a stronger candidate now than last year.

If you have an interview coming up, you will want to review SBC’s interview prep services. The key to interview success is practice and we provide you with all the tools you need to do just that.

  • Leverage our video platform to practice, view yourself and improve
  • Work with our experts for live rehearsal and feedback
  • Download a guide for lists of practice questions, tips on how to prep and overviews of interview formats
  • Experience a real group interview before your big day

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