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Why Finding the School with the Right Culture Matters

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For UNC Kenan-Flagler alumna Norra Jabbour (MBA ’14), landing a job with Goldman Sachs is at the top of her list of greatest professional achievements.

Norra Jabbour (UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA ’14)

“I never thought I’d have the opportunity to work at a place like this,” says Jabbour, a private wealth advisor in the investment management division at Goldman Sachs. She advises high net-worth clients, nonprofits and institutions on asset management items, investment advice and financial planning.

Before she went into finance, basketball was a big part of her life, first as a player in high school and then as a manager for the UNC women’s basketball team during her Undergraduate Business Program studies at UNC Kenan-Flagler. After graduating from UNC in only three years, she joined the Washington Wizards’ marketing department. She went on to serve as an assistant coach at the U.S. Military Academy, Emory University and Appalachian State University.

“Coaching women’s basketball is an interest and passion of mine but I didn’t want to make it a career,” Jabbour says, who returned to UNC Kenan-Flagler to earn her MBA.

Her experience at UNC Kenan-Flagler involved “spending time with a driven, diverse and caring group of peers,” she says. “It was just an exceptional environment to learn and grow, personally and professionally.”

Cruz with Jabbour and her godson.

While the UNC Kenan-Flagler prepared her for a career in private wealth management, it also opened the door to love and life-long friendships. She met her wife, Lauren Cruz (MBA ’15), marketing manager at DePuy Synthes, at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

“Business School is about getting to know other people and some of the strongest memories I have are from outside the classroom, engaging with classmates at Blue Cup events, dinner parties and various social events. We also have a growing group of friends who have also married someone they met in our business school class, and that is always special,” she says.

She also credits the School’s strong alumni network for helping her land her dream job.

“Don’t underestimate the importance of networking,” Jabbour says. “I’m not certain there was any other path for me to have successfully changed careers without the strength and support of the UNC Kenan-Flagler alumni network.” Having established UNC Kenan-Flagler alumni already working at Goldman Sachs helped, too.

UNC Kenan-Flagler is also a place she loves coming back to. After graduating, Jabbour wanted to stay involved at the School and joined the Alumni Council.

“A big part of why I joined the Alumni Council is to stay engaged and connected to the School, whether through admissions, fundraising or support of local UNC Kenan-Flagler chapters,” says Jabbour. “The other part of our work is to share insights from what we’re seeing in the marketplace as corporate recruiters and to provide feedback from alumni.”

“Don’t undervalue the bonds and relationships with the people closest to you because they will likely be the first ones helping you when you may need it the most,” Jabbour says. “In my experience, you’re only as good as the people you have around you.”

Learn more about UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s Full-Time MBA Program.

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.