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 multi-dimensional 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.
My tips are in blue below.
The Kenan-Flagler Business School at University of North Carolina has one required essay and three optional essays.
Essay 1. (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)
What do you see yourself doing immediately upon graduation and what would you like to do ten years from now? Describe why this path attracts you. What experiences have convinced you to pursue it? Why do you need an MBA, especially one with UNC’s approach to business education, to proceed down your chosen path? And then what’s 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? 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 still needs to lead you in the direction of your ten-year goals.
Check out our free guide, Why MBA?, for more tips on writing about 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 maximum)
Everyone has a story. What’s yours? What makes you tick? What would you like the admissions committee to know about you – you the human being, the individual? What hobbies and experiences will differentiate you from the IT guy, consultant, real estate developer, or banker that the adcom just read about? How will your perspective contribute to the classroom and community at Kenan-Flagler? For more on this topic, please see Dimensions of Diversity.
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 maximum)
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.
Essay 4. (Optional)
Is there any other information you would like to share that is not presented elsewhere in the application? (300 words maximum)
My favorite: The optional essay. A gift allowing you to give the adcom one more reason to admit you.
If you would like professional guidance with your UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA application, check out Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Kenan-Flagler application.
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.