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Real Humans of the UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Class of 2025

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Natalie Flesher, UNC Kenan-Flagler’s MBA Class of 2025

Age: 28
Hometown: Alpharetta, Georgia
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Georgia, Economics and International Affairs
Pre-MBA Work Experience (role, company, years): Senior Financial Analyst, AvalonBay Communities, 3.5 years

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I am looking to pivot from corporate finance to real estate development. Business school was a great opportunity for me to grow my network and development skill set. 

Why did you choose UNC Kenan-Flagler? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I worked with several UNC Kenan-Flagler alumni in my prior role. They all spoke highly of the institution and their experiences. When I met some UNC Kenan-Flagler faculty and students, it was not hard to see why. UNC Kenan-Flagler was also attractive to me because of its strong real estate program. 

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2025?
I am a smart, dedicated team player and leader who can relate to people of vastly different backgrounds. I bring a unique perspective because I am of mixed ethnicity and have experience on the finance side of real estate. 

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
I love antiques and thrift shopping. I enjoy the thrill of the hunt and finding unique pieces that I can give a second life. 

Post-MBA career interests:
I plan to stay in real estate but move to the development side. I am passionate about how real estate can help build strong, proud communities. 

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Take time to understand your “why.” Sitting down and really wrestling with my “why” early in the process helped sustain me through GMAT studying and the long application process. It was helpful to recenter on my purpose. 

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
Talk to current students sooner! Taking to students or faculty helps you see the real culture of the program. Once I did so, I knew UNC Kenan-Flagler was the best fit for me. Had I done so sooner, I could have saved myself from unnecessary applications. 

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I would have skipped the GMAT studying! It’s difficult to find the motivation to study after working a full-time job but knowing I was doing it as an investment in my future helped motivate me to keep going.

What is your initial impression of the UNC Kenan-Flagler students/culture/community?
People are so welcoming and approachable. Since orientation, people have gone out of their way to be friendly and offer a helping hand. 

What is one thing you have learned about UNC Kenan-Flagler that has surprised you?
There are a lot of people who, like me, are looking to pivot in their career. 

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Balancing the pressures of academics, recruiting, networking and personal life.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Continuing to make genuine connections with other driven and intelligent people!

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.