Early Thoughts on UNC Kenan-Flagler’s 2016-2017 Application Essay Question

MBA@UNCApplication season at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School is officially underway with the release of the school’s 2016-2017 application essay questions. Let’s discuss from a high level some early thoughts on how best to approach this year’s essay prompts:


Essay 1Please 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? (500 words)
This is a very involved career goals essay, so you’ll want to make sure you compartmentalize each component of the prompt to ensure you are properly answering the question. 500 words is generally seen as a lengthy word count among the essays of other top business schools this year, but with all of the components in this essay, it is critical to stay concise with your response and move things along.

Addressing your response to this prompt via a relevant story that captures your passion for your desired career path is a great way to stand out while still informing the Admissions Committee of your post-MBA goals.

Essay 2: 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)
These questions can be difficult for many candidates to answer, but for an MBA application, candidates must be unafraid to highlight what makes them truly unique. Remember, unless you say it, the Admissions Committee will never know, so don’t be bashful here.

Focus on the “distinguish” aspect of the prompt to highlight not only what makes you unique, but also what you could potentially bring to campus. Try to avoid basic responses here – dig deep to think through your personal and professional strengths and connect them to UNC student life and what you could contribute to the Kenan-Flagler community.

Essay 3: 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)
Only answer this question if you realistically fall into this bucket. If your GMAT score is materially lower than the average score listed for Kenan-Flagler students, then the school would probably define you as a “low test score” recipient. If you have worked in an analytical function or plan to take pre-MBA coursework, this essay would be a good opportunity to highlight these aspects of your profile to address the potential red flag of your score.

Essay 4: Optional
Is there any other information you would like to share that is not presented elsewhere in the application? (300 words)
This is a more traditional optional essay, so only use it if it feels absolutely necessary (given that the school already has a few outlets to address typical optional essay topics). This essay tends to be a good area to show an aspect of your personality, passion, perspective or professional career that has not been discussed otherwise in your application.

Just a few thoughts on the new batch of essays from Kenan-Flagler that should help you get started for this admissions season.

Applying to UNC or other business schools? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more articles by him here.

Online MBA Degrees Rise in Prominence

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”

UNC (Kenan-Flagler) MBA Admissions Deadlines for 2010-2011

MBA AdmissionsThe 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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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.

New Dean at UNC (Kenan-Flagler)

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.