Distance learning programs have long offered students the opportunity to earn an MBA degree at their own pace, on their own schedule and from the convenience of their own home. But an MBA from a top-tier business school entails intangible benefits not easily replicated by watching lecture videos, reading articles online and writing papers.
Studying in isolation has never been enough to conquer the business world, which is why MBA students and faculty tout the benefits of experiential learning, team-building exercises and networking opportunities. Only recently have innovative online programs like Kenan-Flagler’s MBA@UNC and Indiana University’s Kelley Direct found ways to offer the same benefits to distant digitally connected pupils.
Continue reading “Online MBA Degrees Rise in Prominence”
The University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School recently released its application deadlines for the coming admissions season. Here they are, followed by our comments in italics:
Kenan-Flagler Application Deadlines
Early Action (Round 1): October 22, 2010
Round 2: December 3, 2010
Round 3: January 7, 2011
Round 4: March 18, 2011
These deadlines are virtually the same as Kenan-Flagler’s 2009-2010 deadlines. Note that the first round is actually an Early Action round. While it’s not Early Decision (i.e., you are not committing to attend if admitted), you will have just three weeks after the Dec. 13 notification date to make your decision and send your deposit to Kenan-Flagler. Fortunately, many other top-ranked schools’ deadlines come before the Jan. 3 deposit date. While we don’t recommend applying to UNC’s Early Action round unless you’re very serious about the school, this timing allows you to know your Round 1 fate at some top-tier MBA programs before committing and sending your deposit to Kenan-Flagler.
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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
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- (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.)
- (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.
What’s in a name? Plenty, if your last name is “Dean.” Last week UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School named Professor James W. Dean, Jr., as its new dean, pending approval by UNC’s Board of Trustees. The appointment is expected to take effect August 1.
Dean has been at Kenan-Flagler since 1997, serving as a professor of organizational behavior and strategy. His work focuses in the areas of leadership, organizational change, strategic decision making, international management, and organizational performance improvement. He has also served in multiple leadership roles at the school, including Associate Dean of Executive Development, Associate Dean of the MBA Program, and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affiars.
Dean succeeds Steve Jones, who had been dean of the school since July, 2003.