Posted on August 5, 2014

UNC Kenan Flagler Essay Questions Analysis 2014-15

Application Deadlines

Round 1: October 17, 2014

Round 2: December 12, 2014

Round 3: January 16, 2015

Round 4: March 13, 2015

From the University of North Carolina’s  Kenan Flagler Website:

 MBA Admissions Selection Criteria

We seek candidates for admission with strengths in these areas:

  • Leadership and organizational abilities
  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Teamwork abilities
  • Track record of results
  • Drive and motivation
  • Analytical skills and problem solving ability
  • Prior academic performance
  • Career progression and career goal

For more information, please visit the UNC Kenan-Flagler admissions website.

This year, Kenan-Flagler Business School has only  one required essay and three optional essay questions for the 2014-2015 MBA admissions cycle. Let’s take a look at the essay questions.

Essay # 1 (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 a straightforward goals question. Through this essay question, the Admissions Committee wants to know about your post MBA goals and ambitions, both short-term and long-term. You may want to begin your essay with a story/ event/ life experience that reflects passion for your chosen field. (You may also begin directly with a discussion of your academic and then professional career). Continue your story and provide details about how you have pursued your   passion, continued your education, acquired new skills and learnings and progressed along your career path in the past XXX years. Specify skills gained at each job position and how your achievements earned you a promotion (may be, ahead of your peers).

Then describe where you stand now and what are your short term and long term career aspirations. You have to describe why the particular career option seems suitable to you and how the professional experience you have had shaped up your desire to opt for an MBA degree. This means that you have to draw out a link between your previous experience, your current need of an MBA degree, and your future career goals. Answer the following questions:

  • Why you believe that an MBA is the next logical step in your career path?
  • What are those skills that you still lack which you hope to acquire by an   MBA?
  • How an MBA will fill the gaps in your career and bring you closer to the fulfillment of your goals?
  • Why NOW a perfect time for you to go for an MBA degree?


My passion for technology, my experience in corporate and business leadership and my childhood vision to be a global business leader and continue my family legacy have defined my goal and fueled my vision to lead my family business into the world of Technology and Consulting.  I want to open a new division in my family business in - technology & strategy firm. Through MBA, I will equip myself with very strong fundamentals in management by developing deeper perspectives in various disciplines accountancy, marketing, operations, finance and most importantly, entrepreneurship.

Even though the essay prompt doesn’t require you to answer “Why UNC? ” it still makes perfect sense to throw in a sentence or two about why an MBA from UNC is your best bet at this time? How it will help you achieve your goals?  Your reasons for this could be insights gained from alumni, curriculum, faculty, and the various opportunities outside the classroom that Kenan Flagler provides .You may wrap up your essay by stating what value you will bring to the school.

You may organize the question in the following way:

  • Career history (approximately 150- 200 words)
  • Current skill set & short term and long term goals (approximately 150-200 words)
  • Why MBA? Why now? (100-150 words)
  • Why UNC ?        ( approximately 50- 75 words )


Click here for more information on Goals Essay.

Click here for sample Goals essay.

Essay # 2 (Optional)

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? (300 words maximum)

Through this question, the Ad Com wants to know who you are as an individual and how you will add value to the UNC community. This is an interesting question that requires you to do lot of introspection to be able to discuss your personal traits and life experiences, (the people, the events) that have shaped your personality.

You have to talk about your background, your current interests and passions, your likes and dislikes, your personal traits that define you and led you to where you currently are. Drawing a link here, like in the previous question, is vital.

Here they are keen on knowing about you as a human being, as an individual, and not as an IT person etc. All of us are unique individuals with our own personal traits. Pick 2-3 personal traits that set you apart from other people (e.g.  maturity, drive, motivation, self-awareness etc .) – the traits that you would like the Admission Committee to know about you. Then go ahead and illustrate these with relevant examples. Remember without specific examples, your response will be ineffective.

After this, address the second part of the question and focus on the ways in which, you think, you will contribute to the class room and community at Kennan Flagler. You should lay down the ways in which your interests, your passions and hobbies would enrich the Kenan Flagler community and influence it in a positive manner. They will probably receive hundreds of applications from soccer players, another dozen from those who think they write poetry well. That doesn’t mean your chances are slim. It only means you’ve to show them not just that these hobbies are what define you, but also how you will be benefitting the community at Kennan Flagler through this.


The varied challenges of the business world have taught me persistence, high spiritedness, and honesty. At Kennan-Flagler, I envision to conduct consulting projects for organizations through STAR program. I want to help small business owners build and develop their business ideas through Global Business Project program. With my culinary skills, I hope to ignite a passion for cooking in my peers and faculty and work towards creating a Chocolate and Bakery club.  With my unique qualities and contributions, I will take my peers on their journey of exploration and fulfillment.

You may break it down in 2 parts:

1.   What personal qualities or life experiences distinguish you from other applicants? (approximately  300- 350 words)

2. How do these qualities or experiences equip you to contribute to UNC Kenan-Flagler? (approximately 150 -200 words)

Essay # 3 (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)

This question is primarily focusing on those whose GMAT score is low and who have lacked math subjects, because the school wants to make sure that  they will be able to handle academic rigor  at this stage.  If you need to answer this question, you can highlight the professional preparation you have already had in quantitative areas. You should also mention how you are brushing up your math knowledge even now and are prepared to do that till school commences. Be honest, do not exaggerate and show them that you are prepared for the academic rigor.

Essay # 4 (Optional)

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

Optional essay provides you with an excellent opportunity to tell the Ad Com what you could not tell because you were bound by the specifications of the essay questions. This question is also meant to shine a spotlight on an experience or side of your personality that has not been revealed in the other parts of your application: essays, recommendation letters and resume. This is another opportunity Ad Com is offering you to cite another reason to admit you. While someone might want to talk about his/her experiences in community service, someone else might want to share something about his/her accomplishments in extracurricular activities eg. sports, music, or painting etc .


Click here for article on Optional Essay

Click here for Sample Optional  Essay