Kenan Flagler Sample Essays


UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School is a flexible program that offers a full-time MBA in Chapel Hill, Executive programs outside of D.C., and even an online program.

With a world-class university offering resources beyond the MBA program, UNC is an excellent option. Kenan-Flagler touts a strong career focus and that students receive career advancement from each MBA option. There is a global focus and several global immersion opportunities with each program at Kenan-Flagler. This essay set has only one required question, and it is entirely career focused. Kenan-Flagler is focused on your career and attracting recruiters to the program, so this is a logical area of focus.

Essay One (Required)
Please describe your short and long term goals post-MBA. Explain how your professional experience has shaped these goals, why this career option appeals to you, and how you arrived at the decision that now is the time and the MBA is the appropriate degree. Additionally, please briefly address a backup plan should your short-term goal not come to fruition for any reason. (500 words maximum)

This is primarily a standard career goals essay. The question asks about your background, what your short- and long-term career goals are, and why now is the right time for you to pursue an MBA. The other part to this question is to describe your backup plan if you do not achieve your original career goals.

The first part of the question focuses on the short term, asking for a very clear link between your short-term career path and your MBA. Due to Kenan-Flagler’s focus on the perspective of recruiters and your career advancement, this focus on the short term will show that you have realistic ideas about your career trajectory. The long-term goals should flow naturally from your short-term goals and demonstrate that you can plan for your career.

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.

Essay Two (Optional)
What personal qualities or life experiences distinguish you from other applicants? How do these qualities or experiences equip you to contribute to UNC Kenan-Flagler? (300 words maximum)

This question is a gift to any applicant who needs to differentiate his or her story. Think about what is unique about your background or perspective. If you have an interesting and diverse background you will certainly have enough material and the task will be to link your background clearly to a contribution you will make to the Kenan-Flagler community. Think about clubs or activities you will join and what you will bring that is unique.

If you are someone without a particularly unique background you will want to focus on personal qualities. What personality trait helps you stand out in a group? What do people often tell you about yourself? And how will this trait contribute to the community at Kenan-Flagler?

Essay Three (Optional)
If your standardized test scores are low, or if you have not had coursework in core business subjects (calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting), please tell us how you plan to prepare yourself for the quantitative rigor of the MBA curriculum. (300 words maximum)

This optional essay is straightforward and simply requires you to outline your preparation for the program. If you do not have the requisite coursework 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.

Essay Four (Optional)
Is there any other information you would like to share that is not presented elsewhere in the application? (300 words maximum)

This optional essay can be used to explain anything unusual or problematic about your application, from poor undergraduate GPA to choice of recommenders. In addition, because it is so open-ended, you may use it to communicate any additional information that may be beneficial to your candidacy. If you did not have the opportunity to communicate one of the areas of your application strategy, this may provide the space to do so.

This entry was posted in Application Tips, General, UNC Kenan-Flagler Advice and tagged Essay Tips, Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips, Kenan Flagler essays, Kenan-Flagler, Kenan-Flagler Business School, Kenan-Flagler essay tips, Kenan-Flagler MBA, UNC, UNC Kenan Flagler, UNC Kenan Flagler Business School.
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UNC Kenan-Flagler is guided by a set of core values, which includes Excellence, Leadership, Integrity, Community and Teamwork. As you approach Kenan-Flagler’s essays, provide examples of how you live these values.

Please describe your short and long term goals post-MBA. Explain how your professional experience has shaped these goals, why this career option appeals to you, and how you arrived at the decision that now is the time and the MBA is the appropriate degree. Additionally, please briefly address a backup plan should your short-term goal not come to fruition for any reason. (500 words maximum)

1) Articulate a Clear Post-MBA goal. Identify your ideal first job out of business school and then take a broader view of where you want to be in 5-10 years. Provide insight into why you seek a particular path post-MBA. Mention some specific target employers to demonstrate that you have realistic goals and will approach your MBA with focus.

2) Address why now and why an MBA. Demonstrate that you have done the due diligence to know what you need to excel in the next chapter of your career and be as specific as you can about how an MBA will help you achieve these goals.

3) Connect the dots through UNC Kenan-Flagler. While the question itself does not directly ask for this, include the courses, experiential learning and club activities you want to participate in. Demonstrate how an MBA from UNC Kenan-Flagler best positions you to achieve your professional goals.

4) Have a backup plan. UNC Kenan-Flagler wants you to have realistic expectations about your career goals post MBA. Show that you are resilient enough to figure out more than one way to reach your long term goal.

What personal qualities or life experiences distinguish you from other applicants? How do these qualities or experiences equip you to contribute to UNC Kenan-Flagler? (300 words maximum).

While this is an optional essay, use this opportunity to let the admissions committee see you as a person and understand the value you would add to the UNC Kenan-Flagler community. Kenan-Flagler’s community, with under 300 MBA students in each class, is small enough that every student matters. Imagine you are meeting with your core study group members for the first time (you will take all your core classes together), and share with them ways you can add value – whether it is your Excel spreadsheet wizardry or your contacts in Private Equity that you can share with members of the Private Equity club.

1) Reinforce your key themes. If you have worked, traveled or lived in several countries emphasize your cross-cultural exposure using specific examples of your travel experience and relate this to Kenan-Flagler’s Global Education Initiative. Connect your themes to your professional goal. For example, you can leverage this international understanding when working on cross-border M&A transactions.

2) Envisage your future contributions. Show the admissions committee that you understand the Kenan-Flagler culture. Give specific examples on how your experiences will benefit your classmates and the larger UNC Kenan-Flagler community such as sharing your Real Estate knowledge as you help organize UNC’s annual Real Estate Conference. Did you just win a business case competition and want to help UNC Kenan-Flagler defend their 2017 Deloitte National Case Competition Championship? Admissions committee members want to know that every student in the class brings something special that will be part of the wonderful tapestry that is a diverse MBA class.

Also, if you don’t know it already, start learning about college basketball. After all, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels are the reigning National Champions. This is something they take great pride in, particularly when they are pitted against that other North Carolina school with a great business program, Duke.

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Topics: MBA Admissions Insights, MBA Application Tips, School Specific Articles | Tags: UNC Kenan–Flagler Business School


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