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UNC MBA Essay Tips

UNC Kenan Flagler MBA Essay TipsUNC Kenan-Flagler Business School has released the essays for 2013-14 MBA admission season. There are three required and two optional essays this year. The required essays have word limit of 500 words each and the optional ones at 300 each.

Essay One (Required)

What are the 2 or 3 strengths or characteristics that have driven your career success thus far? What are the other strengths that you would like to leverage in the future? (500 words maximum)


When you think about personal strengths and characteristics, several traits come to our mind but for Business Schools, there are strengths that are more relevant. Here is a list of strengths and characteristics that would be relevant for the essays:

• Accountability
• Bravery
• Calmness
• Clarity
• Commitment
• Confidence
• Consistency
• Decisiveness
• Determination
• Efficiency
• Ethics
• Flexibility
• Honesty
• Humility
• Integrity
• Leadership
• Open-mindedness
• Passion
• Perseverance
• Sincerity
• Teamwork
• Volunteering

Pick two or three strengths that are complementary and balances your ambition with compassion. Business Schools are not looking for Type A personality. They want candidates with balance. So when you pick strengths, mix like:

• Calmness
• Passion
• Teamwork

Calmness and Passion might seem like two strengths that are orthogonal but it is not true. You can be passionate about your goals but remain calm under challenges. Include traits that give a complete picture of your personality.

Essay Two (Required)

Please describe your short and long-term goals post-MBA. Explain how: your professional experience has shaped these goals; why this career option appeals to you; and how you arrived at the decision that now is the time and the MBA is the appropriate degree. (500 words maximum)


This is an important question, and since the word limit is 500 words, be careful with the word allocation for this question. There are several sub-questions in this essay:

• Short-Term Goals
• Long-Term Goals
• How Experience influenced Goals
• Why this career option
• Why MBA Now

That is five questions in one essay. However, if you logically connect the sub-questions, it would be interesting.

For short-term goals section, answer the following questions:

1) What industry would you like to work?
2) What would be the job function?
3) What would be the daily responsibilities?

This will give you a sense of where you want to be immediately after an MBA.
For long-term goals, research has to be done by networking with Alumni, and finding out various career paths that they have traversed. Long-Term goals would mean goals after 10 to 15 years. Listing such goals is not easy. Visit the career page, and employment trends, and find out the various viable career paths. Pick a long-term goal that you’re passionate about. It need not be logically related to the short-term goals in its entirety but if it is completely different, then explain that choice in the “Why this career option” section.

'Why MBA Now' is an important question and demonstrates the applicant’s motivation for an MBA, and the value that the program offers. To understand the value, visit the MBA programs page, and learn about the curriculum, student activities, Global and Experiential Learning Opportunities, and Leadership development programs. Find out the courses and environment that will influences your journey to reach short-term and long-term goals. Focus more on the short-term goals with the ‘Why MBA’ now questions.

Logically show your career progression until now, and how your professional experience motivated you to pursue this path.

What was missing in your career?
How will UNC MBA build that gap?


Essay Three (Required)

What personal qualities or life experiences distinguish you from other applicants? How do these qualities or experiences equip you to contribute to UNC Kenan-Flagler? (500 words maximum)


Personal Qualities or Strengths have been covered in Essay One. Therefore, it would be wise to focus on Life Experiences that are unique or for which you have a unique interpretation. Most applicants will have interesting life experiences but the impact on the AdCom depends on how you put together the narrative. It has to be interesting. Read Emotional Connection in MBA Essays. We have found out that the Essays that show emotions in the journey are well received compared to regular essays.

After you have described your unique experiences, find out where you will contribution would be - MBA Student Clubs &
Organizations, MBA Ambassadors, or MBA Partners Association. Be specific about your contribution, and the experiences that would be useful for the organization or student clubs.

Essay Four (Optional)

If your standardized test scores are low, or if you have not had coursework in core business subjects (calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting), please tell us how you plan to prepare yourself for the quantitative rigor of the MBA curriculum. (300 words maximum)


Include reasons for low GMAT score, if applicable. Don’t make any excuses. Show how you have compensated low GMAT score with high GPA or high grades in Quantitative courses.
If you have not taken core Business subjects, and have an excellent GMAT quant score, mention that here.

Essay Five (Optional)

Is there any other information you would like to share that is not presented elsewhere in the application? (300 words maximum)


Include Employment Gaps.

Next Step

If you want consultants to find the story that is unique, we have several consultants in our partnership network that are offering MBA Admissions Consulting Services. Here are the top recommended consultants:

Stacy Blackman Columbia MBA Admission Consulting
Veritas Prep MBA Admission Consulting





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