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UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Essay Topic Analysis

UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Interview Report

The following essay topic analysis examines UNC Kenan-Flagler’s MBA admissions essays for the 2018-2019 admissions season. You can also review essay topic analyses for all other the leading MBA programs as well as general Essay Tips to further aid you in developing your admissions essays.

2018-2019 UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Essay Analysis

Let’s take a closer look at each prompt:

Essay 1

Please respond to the questions below that will assist us in learning more about you (Required, 500 words):

  • 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?

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 MBA. 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.  Note that the adcom is not just seeking professional reasons, but also personal ones.  This will require some self-reflection and expectation of growth to develop the response.  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 a visit to campus, conversations with students and alumni, or reading the Clear Admit School Guide to Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC — 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

The UNC Kenan-Flagler community lives by its core values: excellence, leadership, integrity, community and teamwork (Required, 250 words).

  • 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.

Applicants may start by reviewing Kenan-Flagler’s definitions of its core values.  Ultimately, this question gives applicants the opportunity to share some information about their values and experiences, while simultaneously showcasing their knowledge of and fit with Kenan-Flagler. Ideally, in the end, you would be able to assert how you would carry that value through to campus.

You may approach this in one of two ways: start with a core value and bring your experience to it, or consider your greatest accomplishments and determine which value one resonates with the most.  Given the tight word limit, you will likely simply identify the value and then get right into the challenging situation, which also must be succinct. In terms of structuring this response, we recommend using the STAR method to ensure you cover all of your bases. Begin by describing the situation, the players, and stakeholders involved before moving into the task: what you needed to accomplish. You should also lay the groundwork for the challenges you encountered in this introduction, identifying the factors or relationships you would need to navigate to be successful. You should then move into the action, providing a chronological account of how you moved through the project or process. It would likely make narrative sense to introduce the challenges and how you overcame them as part of this narrative rather than addressing this in a separate section.

Finally, you should comment on the result — the outcome of your leadership efforts and the resolution of the story. Given the focus on “core values,” this will likely involve a comment on how the situation resonated with one of them.

In the end, think about how you can translate your past experiences into involvement on the UNC campus, and indicate specific contributions that you would like to make. Creating a link between your past and your potential future at the program will enable you to present a consistent and clear picture of your candidacy, as well as your professional and personal strengths.

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

The wording of this prompt signals that comments in this section should be limited to explaining potential liabilities or inconsistencies in one’s application, per the provided list. Applicants who chose to respond to this essay should 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.

Clear Admit Resources
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