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UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School MBA Application Essay Questions and Tips

University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School received a higher ranking in Financial Times’ B-school rankings of 2020. It jumped up over 11 schools to make its place in the Top 40 business schools in the world.

However, the pandemic did leave a mark in the school’s reputation. While average salaries of MBA grads rose by 2.4%, international students faced a hard time getting placed due to a lack of permanent work visa authorizations.

Only 72% of international students at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler were offered, or accepted jobs 90 days post-graduation. This was a drastic drop from 2019’s 94%.

However, the Kenan-Flagler community, especially the alumni, were quick to step up and help.

A strong community is the backbone for many business schools and Kenan-Flagler’s alumni network has proven the same. The school still enjoys a large number of applicants as work-visa authorizations are expected to go back to normal as time progresses.

So if Kenan-Flagler is on your list of target schools, you might want to pay special attention to your goals essay.

Without further ado, let’s talk about the MBA essays that Kenan-Flagler asks and how you should approach them.

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School MBA Application Essays

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?

How will you benefit personally and professionally from earning an MBA at UNC Kenan-Flagler?

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?


500 words look like a lot of words to share your post-MBA career goals. But it might not be enough once you start writing the answer to Kenan Flagler’s career goals essay. Fortunately, the school doesn’t ask you to explain your long-term goals in the same essay.

Let’s create a blueprint for this essay. Using this method will make sure your essay is detailed and every single word of the 500-word limit provided by the school adds value to your profile.

Start by identifying your immediate post-MBA career goals. Select the industry, function, and firm you’re targeting.

The next step is to explain your decision. Why did you choose this specific set of industry, function, and firm? Did a recent event expose you to your post-MBA goal?

Now list down all the skills you require to be efficient in your post-MBA goal. Some of these skills you already have, and others you plan to attain through your Kenan Flagler MBA. Which particular classes, courses, or events at Kenan Flagler will help you attain these skills? Be as specific as you can be. Your pre-MBA networking activities will help you in writing this answer.

For the final step, let’s discuss what your Plan B is. What if your original plan falls through? What would you do then? To answer this, you don’t need to be super specific with the firm you would work at. If you have a firm in mind, great. But if you don’t, you can simply list down the industry and function you would like to explore. Make sure this industry or function is far removed from your original plan.

Essay 2 is required. Your response should be no longer than 300 words and should address the following question:


2020 brought many defining experiences, including: a global pandemic, changes to learning and working environments, and calls for social justice and racial equity. At UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, these experiences propel us to strengthen efforts to increase the diversity in our community, to create a more equitable and inclusive learning environment and to teach our students to manage diversity, equity and inclusion. What have you learned about diversity, equity and inclusion in 2020? Please share your experience and what you learned about yourself as a leader. Tell us how you changed or would like to change your leadership style? If you were not leading a team, tell us what you learned at your level about diversity, equity and inclusion. How do you expect to continue that growth in the MBA program?


if we’re being honest, it’s shocking that not every business school included a similar question in their MBA essays this year.

2020 really has been the year when every single person on this planet was challenged in some capacity. Some people had great personal or professional losses, while many had great personal and professional growth. This year changed the face of business for years to come.

Especially for the US, diversity, equity, and inclusion were big topics.

This essay prompt questions both your personal and professional stand on these topics. Kenan Flagler values applicants who won’t just be passive allies but active participants in the change that needs to take place in the society

As you answer this question, look back to what you did to be more inclusive, or learn about diversity? Whether it was as a leader in a professional or personal setting, or in your personal life, share in detail how you chose to be a part of the necessary change and how your current growth will add value to the Kenan Flagler community.

The optional essay (for all applicants) provides an opportunity to share additional information not presented elsewhere in your application with the admissions committee. In 150 words or less, consider addressing any of the questions below:


If you have not completed coursework in the core business subjects (calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting), how will you prepare yourself?

What conditions caused you to experience inconsistent academics, gaps in work, or low standardized test scores?

How have you chosen your recommenders?


This space is provided to applicants so that they can explain to the admissions committee why they have certain shortcomings in their profile. For example, if you have a low GPA, you can share your circumstances during the time you got that low score.

It takes out the chances of misunderstanding and guesswork for the admissions committee members.

Just imagine, your low GPA was the only thing that bothered the admissions committee while they really liked the rest of your profile. By addressing the reason behind your low GPA in this space, let’s say you had financial constraints and were working a job along with school, they can be rid of their concerns and evaluate your profile accordingly.

The most important thing while writing an MBA application essay answers is to maintain an authentic expression.

No matter how much time you spend on your MBA essays, figuring out the right words, the most impressive quotes, and the prettiest sentence structures, if your expression isn’t genuine, the admissions committee will catch up to it instantly and it might hamper your chances at getting accepted to Kenan Flagler.

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.

Re-applicants need to write an additional essay for the Kenan Flagler MBA application. This essay is an amazing opportunity for the re-applicants to list their accomplishments and share their growth, since their last application, with the admissions committee.

All the essay questions before this one focused on the personality and the goals of the MBA applicant. This one is focused on the quantifiable and the personal growth of the applicant since the last time they applied.

Whether it’s a promotion, a new job, a new venture, or anything else in your profile that saw significant growth since your last application attempt at Kenan Flagler. Also, add any new skills you picked up or significant changes in beliefs or personality you had since your last application to Kenan Flagler.

Did you take the admissions committees to advise and improve your GMAT score? Or take more initiative at work? Took a major step towards your long-term goal? Got more involved in your community?

Mention it all here.

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For over 15+ years as an Entrepreneur, and India’s Top Educationist, Jatin has led a range of initiatives in the Education Industry. In this role, he has created many successful educational services and products geared towards generating success for professionals aspiring to join IVY League and global Top Tier Universities for MBA Programs, Masters Programs, and undergraduate courses. He is the Founder and CEO of PythaGURUS Education, and has been recognized as a thought leader in the Higher education sector. Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Times of India, India Today, Business Today, Tribune, and many other national newspapers have recognized his work, and have given him numerous opportunities to be a regular columnist. He has also served as a panelist for NDTV, and other national news channels.

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