Are you a team leader? Are you committed to sustainable enterprise? Are you seeking resources and intellectual capital needed to shape both business and government? Are you a motivated, goal-oriented, innovative individual? UNC Kenan-Flagler adcoms are interested in seeing your multidimensional personality and capabilities. Your challenge: Prove that your goals mesh with the school’s goals and that your talents will contribute to the program’s collaborative nature.
UNC has changed all its essay questions to varying degrees. Essay 1 is and was a goal question, but this year’s version more focused on short-term goals and why Kenan-Flagler. Essay 2 is also a much more directed question and really tells you what UNC wants in your response. The optional #3 is little changed and UNC deleted the optional #4.
My tips are in blue below.
UNC Kenan-Flagler 2018-19 MBA Application Essays
The Kenan-Flagler Business School at University of North Carolina has two required essay and one optional essay.
UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Essay #1
Please respond to the questions below that will assist us in learning more about you:
- Tell us what your immediate career goals are and how you will benefit personally and professionally 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? (500 words total)
What do you see yourself doing immediately upon graduation and why? Perhaps include the most influential experience that convinced you to go down this path? And then the critical: Why do you need an MBA from UNC with its approach to business education to realize your dream?
UNC also wants to know your Plan B. If you are aiming for Goldman Sachs and a career in investment banking, would Plan B be a similar position with, let’s say, Bank of America or would it be a position in corporate finance or with a start-up? If you are aiming for McKinsey, Bain, or BCG, what would your Plan B be? Perhaps a position in a leadership rotation program? Or would it be working for a company like Deloitte or A. T. Kearney?
Your Plan B needs to be at least as achievable as Plan A – if not more so. It should also be related to A so that the education you receive can also help you attain it.
Check out our free guide, Why MBA?, for more tips on writing about post-MBA goals.
UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Essay #2
The UNC Kenan-Flagler community lives by its core values: excellence, leadership, integrity, community and teamwork.
- Pick a core value that resonates most deeply with you.
- Identify the most challenging situation that you have encountered and how you responded while upholding that core value. (250 words total)
You could respond with “My core value is X and the most challenging situation occurred when…”
Frankly that’s a pretty boring (and unfortunately common) opening. I recommend a very different structure. Start with the action.
Tell the story of the challenging situation and begin with a moment of tension or risk or realization of what you were facing. Then describe the elements that led to this moment or contributed to the challenge. Finally delve into how you responded while upholding the critical value.
If you have room, conclude with the outcome, lessons learned, or some form of analysis of this event’s significance.
UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Essay #3 (Optional)
Is there any additional information not presented elsewhere in your application that you would like the admissions committee to consider? Optional areas to address include:
- If you have not had coursework in the core business subjects (calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting), how will you prepare yourself?
- Inconsistent academics, gaps in work, or low standardized test scores
- Choice of recommenders (300 words total)
This is pretty straightforward. Just answer it. You may also want to highlight professional preparation that you have already had in quantitative areas.
Kenan-Flagler explicitly says that it’s important for its students to have a “working knowledge” of financial accounting, statistics, microeconomics, and calculus. If you don’t have it, acquire it.
My favorite: The optional essay. A gift allowing you to give the adcom one more reason to admit you.
UNC Kenan-Flagler 2018-19 MBA Application Deadlines:
|Application Deadline||Decisions Released|
|Round 1 (Early Action)||October 15, 2018||December 7, 2018|
|Round 2||December 10, 2018||February 1, 2019|
|Round 3||January 14, 2019||March 15, 2019|
|Round 4||March 11, 2019||April 19, 2019|
Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on the application date.
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
For expert guidance with your UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA application, check out Accepted’s MBA Application Packages, which include comprehensive guidance from an experienced admissions consultant. We’ve helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to UNC Kenan-Flagler’s MBA program and look forward to helping you too!Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.