Getting an MBA at any business school means different things for different people. For Michael, an MBA graduate of Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina (UNC) it’s about diversity, the opportunity to excel, and comradeship.
My name is Michael and I graduated in May 2010 with an MBA from Kenan-Flagler Business School. While born in California, I grew up in the Czech Republic and completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Richmond, Virginia. Before applying to business school, I was an analyst at Morgan Stanley in New York City and an associate at Great Circle Capital in Stamford, Connecticut. After a summer break, I will be joining the Investment Banking division at Jefferies and Company in New York City.
What business school means to me
Business school means different things for different people and for me, business school was about expanding my knowledge in finance while learning about other areas like marketing, operations, information technology and entrepreneurship. It was about being among peers that were successful in their previous careers at many of the most prominent firms in the world. Everyone wanted to accelerate their learning, professional development and career trajectory by learning from a distinguished faculty, as well as from each others’ experiences.
When selecting which business schools to apply to, I looked out for schools with world-class faculties, large alumni bases, a culture of excellence, and diverse student bodies, as I wanted to avoid a student body with a dominant financial background. After evaluating several schools in the top 15, I was particularly drawn to the Kenan-Flagler Business School.
The combination of the UNC’s alumni base tipping 270,000 alumni from 153 countries, and the business school’s dedication to Alternative Investment Education (AIE), made it a clear choice for me to accept my offer at a pre-eminent global business school. More so, my visit during an admitted students’ weekend showed me that the school attracted, and admitted, some of the most talented students from around the globe.
Unique to Kenan-Flagler is the AIE, which encompasses an annual conference and three programs that include the UNC Kenan-Flagler Private Equity Fund, Real Estate Fund and Global Perspectives Fund. In total, students are allowed to take what they learn in the classroom in case studies and peer discussions and apply it to managing more than US$8.5million.
Since beginning my MBA, I have had numerous opportunities to take leadership roles, but two positions in particular are my roles as managing director for the UNC Kenan-Flagler Private Equity Fund and my role as co-chair of the 2010 Alternative Investments Conference. As managing director, I have participated in all aspects of the private equity investment cycle and have reviewed companies in industries that include technology, transportation, manufacturing and agriculture. Furthermore, participating on the private equity fund has given me a keen insight into understanding the difficulties of running a business during one of the most challenging global economic environments.
The Global UNC Connection
During my 2009 summer internship with Google in Europe, I was part of a UNC gathering hosted in Prague where the school’s alumni from London, Berlin, Vienna and Prague were all represented. There was a large range of industry professionals present, including investment banking, marketing, operations, aviation, media and communications.
This year’s gathering in May also took place in Prague and I was eager to meet more UNC alumni who continue to accelerate in their chosen professional fields. This time the meet was for everyone who attended a UNC program, both in the business school and in other departments across the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
I really feel the Carolina spirit and loyalty to one another is unmatched to any other school. More so, UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School has relationships with over 50 top ranked business schools worldwide and actively seeks prospective students with a strong professional and academic background that are combined with a drive for excellence.
The best part about my experience at UNC was having the opportunity to exchange opinions about economics, politics and the evolving complexities of global business with the brightest students from around the world. It’s a conversation that I have found particularly rewarding in light of the recent worldwide economic crisis, which has led us to discuss how we can positively contribute to rebuilding the global economy as future leaders. It is also a conversation I want to continue beyond graduation.
As for the future, in ten years time it’s difficult to picture where I will be. However, I am certain that my path will cross with my peers. A loyal alumnus is priceless and that is exactly what UNC’s is about.
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