UNC (Kenan-Flagler) Essay Topics for 2008-2009

While we’ve previously blogged about UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business, below is a closer look at the school’s admissions essays for 2008-2009. Our comments are in italics:

Kenan-Flagler Application Essays

  1. What are the 2 or 3 strengths or characteristics that have driven your career success thus far? Do you have other strengths that you would like to leverage in the future? (500 words maximum)

    (Interestingly, UNC replaced last year’s more traditional “describe your career progression to date” question with this one, which more directly addresses HOW you have achieved the things you have in the past. This is in line with the advice we always give our clients: Don’t just focus on WHAT you’ve done, but also on HOW and WHY you’ve done it.)

  2. Briefly describe the career path you intend to pursue immediately after b-school. Explain why this career option appeals to you and why an MBA is appropriate at this time. (500 words maximum)

    (This is the more typical “Why an MBA?” question. Keep in mind all of the components of Your MBA Game Plan as you approach this question.)

  3. What personal qualities or life experiences distinguish you from other applicants? How do these qualities or experiences equip you to contribute to Kenan-Flagler? (500 words maximum)

    (Last year Kenan-Flagler had an optional question asking about international experience. The school has now rolled that into a more general — and required — essay question that asks you to explicitly spell out what makes you unique.)

  4. What do you expect from your MBA program? How and when will you measure the return on your investment in the MBA? (500 words maximum)

    (This question is also new, and is not one that we’ve seen very often before. We suspect that the admissions committee will prefer to see that you judge “ROI” not just by numbers, but also by the lifelong friendships that you’ll make, the new ways you’ll learn to think about tough questions, and exposure to new viewpoints. Don’t expect that they only want to see an actual ROI calculation showing how your increased post-MBA earnings will more than make up for the cost of your degree.)

  5. (Optional) If your GMAT quantitative score is low, or if you have not had coursework in calculus, microeconomics, statistics and financial accounting, please tell us how you plan to prepare yourself for the quantitative MBA curriculum. (300 words maximum)

    (UNC had a very similar optional question last year. If this question sounds like it was meant for you, be sure to address this issue head-on.)

  6. (Optional) Is there anything else you think the Admissions Committee should know about you in order to evaluate your candidacy? (300 words maximum)

    (As usual, only use this essay if you really feel the need to tell the admissions committee something that you couldn’t communicate in any of the above essays. Avoid the temptation to overly highlight a weakness or recycle an essay from another school’s application.)

While some schools have actually cut back their essay requirements this year — perhaps because of the surging number of applications coming in — Kenan-Flagler has actually added two required essays this year. This realistically has no material impact on your UNC application strategy, but it’s a sign that the school will continue to put heavy emphasis on application essays in evaluation each applicant’s candidacy.

To get a feel for your chances of gaining admission to Kenan-Flagler and other top business schools, try Veritas Prep’s Business School Selector.

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