The Leading Independent
Resource for Top-tier MBA

UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Essays & Analysis 2023-2024

unc mba essays

The following essay topic analysis examines UNC Kenan-Flagler’s MBA admissions essays for the 2023-2024 admissions season. You can also review essay topic analyses for other leading MBA programs as well as general Essay Tips to further aid you in developing your admissions essays.

UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Essay Analysis 2023-2024

Let’s take a closer look at each prompt.

Essay 1

Essay 1 is required. Your response should be no longer than 500 words and should address the following questions:

  • What are your immediate career goals and how will you benefit from earning an MBA at Kenan-Flagler Business School?
  • As the business world continues to evolve, circumstances can change that can guide you in a different direction. Should your goals that you provided above not transpire, what other opportunities would you explore?

This is a fairly standard career goals essay. Structurally, we recommend that applicants address each element of the essay in the order in which it is presented. Applicants will want to begin by describing their professional aspirations, including both the position they hope to obtain immediately following an MBA, as well as their long-term objective. Applicants will then want to explain why they have chosen to pursue graduate business education at Kenan-Flagler.Candidates should aim to devote at least 200 words to a discussion of how specific courses and student clubs at UNC would impart the skills and knowledge they need to bridge the gap between their current abilities and what they’ll need to be effective in their chosen career paths. Learning about the details of Kenan-Flagler’s MBA program will be essential in answering this part of the prompt. Taking the time to learn about the school’s curriculum, special programs, and extracurricular activities — whether through an online event, or conversations with students and alumni — will pay dividends here.

Finally, wrap up the essay with a brief statement about another path or two that could lead to your aforementioned long-term plan. Ideally, with space permitting, conclude with a statement about understanding that one sometimes needs to be flexible in pursuit of a long-term goal.

Essay 2

Essay 2 is required. Your response should be no longer than 500 words and should address the following question:

Reflect on a project or initiative you were involved in that had a significant positive impact on a community, organization, or individual. How did this experience shape your sense of responsibility as a future leader dedicated to making a difference in the world?
Impact essays are popular in MBA admissions, as the adcom can see past behavior and results as a predictor of future success.

Regarding the sorts of recent examples that one might cover, the wording of this Kenan-Flagler MBA essay question is technically wide open to personal and professional experiences. Rather than gauging the significance of an experience solely in dollar amounts or percentages, we encourage applicants to attend to the follow up question about sense of responsibility and making a difference. Whether the challenge was logistical (like stretching yourself to coordinate across internal teams while managing a client’s expectations) or interpersonal (such as developing a good working relationship with an adversarial colleague), effective responses will highlight a transferable skill that was formed or strengthened during this process.

In terms of structural approach to this short answer, you may consider using the STAR technique to structure your story:

  • Situation – Set the stage
  • Task – Identify the challenges and tasks ahead of the significant achievement
  • Action – Describe the actions you took to complete the achievement
  • Result – Summarize the positive impact

In a concluding section, you will then want to summarize the lessons you learned in the course of this experience, particularly in relationship to being a future leader. You should then conclude with how you will bring these lessons to UNC and further develop them there.

Optional Essay

We encourage you to tell us more about who you are so we can get to know you as a person and potential member of the Carolina community. Use this essay to convey information that you may not have otherwise been able to in the application. Your response should be no longer than 200 words.

Optional topics:

  • Personal or professional accomplishments
  • Interests and passions
  • Gaps in work experience or inconsistent academic performance
  • Context for recommender selection
  • A fun fact about yourself

For those who need to address potential liabilities or inconsistencies in one’s application in this prompt, adopt a humble tone, acknowledge the issue without making excuses, and gently suggest other aspects of his or her candidacy that may help to compensate for this weakness.

We recommend completing this essay and using it as an additional opportunity to reveal more about your candidacy. Though there are myriad potential topics to discuss here, applicants should consider the balance of subjects they have covered across their other essays and choose a topic that provides new insight into their overall candidacy. For example, if the majority of content in your other essays is focused on your professional life and accomplishments, this would be an opportunity to showcase and highlight your extracurricular passions or interests. It also invites something interesting about your background or unusual international experience. You may also consider what matters most to you or what feels like defines you as you decide what may be missing from the other application materials.

Re-applicant Short Answer

If you are re-applying to the program, we appreciate your continued interest in UNC Kenan-Flagler. We require a complete application in addition to a brief essay (100 words or less) that describes how your application differs from your previous submission and that alerts us to new test scores, a recent promotion, or other areas that demonstrate how you have strengthened your candidacy.

Reapplicants should detail the steps they have taken to become a stronger applicant and learn more about the UNC MBA program since their last application. Candidates in this situation should comment on how they have spent the past year, taking particular care to highlight improved quantitative records, new professional skills and responsibilities, progress toward their ultimate career goals, and/or increased community involvement.

Clear Admit Resources

Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s UNC MBA essay topics! As you work on your Kenan-Flagler MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s UNC / Kenan-Flagler offerings: