2016 Best MBAs: Brittany Gulledge, University of North Carolina

Brittany Gulledge UNC

Brittany Gulledge


University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School

“Brittany Gulledge is one of those rare individuals who works as many hours on extracurricular leadership activities as she does on her academics – and does a stellar job on both.”

Age: 27

Hometown: Mooresville, N.C.



University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.S. in Chemistry and Biology

University of California at San Francisco, M.S. in Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Biogen Idec, Associate Scientist II

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? GlaxoSmithKline, Durham, N.C.

Where will you be working after graduation? GlaxoSmithKline, Esprit Associate

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

2014-2016 Having it All Summit to Guide Women from Surviving to Thriving, Director of Logistics

2014-2016 Dean’s Fellows Program – Honor reserved for select fellowship recipients

2014-2016 Carolyn and Harold Anderson Premier Fellowship – Full tuition and stipend

2014-2016 Fortѐ Foundation Fellow

2014-2015 UNC Kenan-Flagler Marketing Fellow

2014-2015 Healthcare Club, Learning & Development Liaison

2014-2015 International Business Association, Learning & Development Liaison

2014-2015 UNC Kenan-Flagler PRIDE Club, Learning & Development Liaison

2015-2016 Healthcare Club, President

2015-2016 International Business Association, Vice President of Learning & Development

2015-2016 UNC Kenan-Flagler PRIDE Club, Vice President of Corporate Relations

2015-2016 Business Communication Center, Consultant

2015-2016 Career Mentor

2015 Teaching Assistant for Data Analytics and Decision Making

2015 Tillman Legacy, Karaoke Lead

2016 Beta Gamma Sigma Member – the premier honor society recognizing business excellence

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of my role as the Healthcare Club president. I have been able to lead our 11 VPs and Directors, 26 Liaisons, and more than 130 club members in exploring the healthcare industry and preparing for recruiting and work within the industry. This has been my favorite leadership position at UNC Kenan-Flagler because it has allowed me to grow as a leader and impact many students who want to dedicate their lives to saving the lives of others. I am extremely passionate about the healthcare industry, and it has been an absolute joy to work with others who share my passion. During my term, we have had the opportunity to launch six new programs to further healthcare education and recruiting within our school. I absolutely could not have accomplished any of this without my dedicated team.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of receiving a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF-GRF) because it was my biggest failure and greatest achievement. This extremely prestigious academic award is given to the top scientific graduate students in the country with $130K in funding. Graduate researchers qualify to apply for an NSF-GRF for three years. I applied for this fellowship three years in a row and failed twice. When I failed the first year, I was determined to do everything that I could my second year to get the fellowship. I worked harder on that application than I had on any application in my life. When I was not awarded the fellowship my second year, I went a step further and asked for advice and help from two colleagues who had received the award, who I did not have access to the previous year. Then, I pushed my own personal boundaries to work even harder on my application the third year. I was awarded the NSF-GRF on my third application cycle. I am most proud of this achievement because of the hard work I put in to achieve it and that I refused to give up.

Favorite MBA Courses? Corporate Reputation Management; Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams; Leading in the Middle; Sales; Negotiations; Gender in the Workplace

Why did you choose this business school? I wanted a place that aligned with my own values and I really like the core values at UNC Kenan-Flagler. Meeting with the MBAs here and hearing about their experiences are what sold me. Everyone at UNC Kenan-Flagler really loves it here. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be surrounded by students who want to be successful not only for themselves but to make a positive impact in the world.

What did you enjoy most about business school? I knew that I wanted to make an impact in the school by helping in whatever ways I could. I asked my husband recently to define who I am as a person. One thing he said is, “You love to help others and will help anyone who asks for it.”

I’ve found a few ways where I have been fortunate enough to contribute to our school, and these have been the most rewarding experiences of my time at business school. Noticing the cultural divide between domestic and international students, I launched UNC Kenan-Flagler Sunday Dinners, a program that provides opportunities for international and American students to meet outside of school to share a meal and learn about other cultures. I also had the opportunity to serve as a mentor, coach, and teacher through my leadership positions of Business Communication Center Consultant, Career Mentor, and Data Analytics and Decision Making TA. Every week, I spend about 12 hours providing feedback to students, whether that is through meetings about networking, interviewing, resumes, cover letters, business writing, or presentation skills, through giving career advice, or through grading. The help that I provide students through these leadership positions gives me so much energy and enthusiasm for my time here at UNC Kenan-Flagler! I receive a thank you note for my feedback almost every day, which gives me so much joy for the impact I am able to have!

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? The biggest lesson I have learned at UNC Kenan-Flagler is how to be a better leader. I have focused my classes on learning soft skills to develop myself as a better leader, and I can already see it paying off. I am a much better leader than I was last year and a much better leader than I was three months ago. I am on a mission and a journey here at school to get as far as I can in my development as a future leader. In our Elected Leaders course, we were presented with four things a good manager provides his/her employees: compassion, stability, hope, and trust. I want to be a leader that provides all of those qualities to employees. In addition, I want to be an empowering leader who inspires and motivates those around me. I was very lucky to have a manager just like that during my summer internship at GlaxoSmithKline, and her manager was the same way. It was a fantastic summer, and I am working diligently toward that goal of becoming that kind of manager myself. My next step is the Leadership Immersion Capstone, an intense six-week course that offers a unique opportunity to synthesize and deepen your mastery of the core leadership principles through intensive application, experiential learning, individualized feedback, and reflection. I know it will be a long journey to continually push myself to improve and grow as a leader throughout my career, and I will continue to strive for it.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? The most surprising thing about business school is the amount of learning that happens outside of the classroom. I have been fortunate to hold many leadership positions at UNC Kenan-Flagler and by seeking feedback, and mentoring others through their personal and work challenges, I have learned about myself, communication, crisis management, stress, life, happiness, community, and so much more. I am a different person than I was when I entered into business school. I used to be proud of who I am, but I could never have imagined how much I would grow and evolve over the last two years. I have pushed myself beyond my limits into someone that I never thought I could be, and I am so proud of that.

What was the hardest part of business school? The hardest part of business school is also the most rewarding. It is the hard work that each of us does to learn more about what makes us tick: our strengths and weaknesses, our likes and dislikes, how we learn and grow. This is a critical part of becoming a business leader. It is hard to examine yourself so closely and take a hard look at your weaknesses and flaws, but the reward is priceless.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? At UNC Kenan-Flagler, we pride ourselves on our culture, which is defined by our core values: excellence, teamwork, integrity, community, and leadership. Make sure you spend a lot of time showing who you are and what you value in your essays and interview. It’s all about the right fit.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when… I was halfway through my PhD program at UCSF and saw that, as a business leader in healthcare, I could use my scientific knowledge and business acumen to improve the communication between scientists and business executives to have a huge impact on patients’ lives.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be scuba diving around the world and volunteering at healthcare non-profits.”

What are your long-term professional goals? My long-term professional goal is to become a leader in the field of healthcare so that I can save and improve the quality of as many people’s lives as possible.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I want to thank my husband, Matthew Gulledge, for his unwavering support of me for over a decade. He has moved several times for my career and believed in me more than anyone else. He would never let me give up on my dreams.

Fun fact about yourself: I love learning about other cultures and have had the opportunity to travel to 23 countries around the world so far with many more to come.

Favorite book: Give and Take by Adam Grant

Favorite movie: I Am Sam

Favorite musical performer: Cam

Favorite television show: Friends

Favorite vacation spot: Blackbird Caye, Belize

Hobbies? Scuba diving, dancing, basketball, swimming, and traveling

What made Brittany such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“Brittany Gulledge is one of those rare individuals who works as many hours on extracurricular leadership activities as she does on her academics – and does a stellar job on both. She is passionate and enthusiastic about bringing together people of different cultures and fostering learning about the changing field of healthcare. She has worked tirelessly to accomplish both in her two years at UNC Kenan-Flagler. As a soon-to-be “double Tar Heel,” Brittany was the valedictorian of her undergraduate UNC class, scored a 770 on the GMAT, and became a Dean’s Fellow at UNC Kenan-Flagler based on her strong admissions application. (The Dean’s Fellow Program was established for the 10 percent of a class and offers leadership and service opportunities that enable them to give back to the School.).

Coincidentally, five years ago, a team of Dean’s Fellows served on a consulting project team that developed a strategy for increasing the pool of talented women applying to UNC Kenan-Flagler. After months of extensive research, the team presented three primary takeaways, the most significant being that UNC Kenan-Flagler should create a healthcare concentration given student interest (particularly among women), the number of healthcare companies recruiting at UNC Kenan-Flagler, and UNC’s overall expertise in healthcare. Brittany Gulledge was just the type of student that UNC Kenan-Flagler was looking to attract.

During her first year, Brittany took on many projects for the Healthcare Club and the International Business Association (IBA). She became president of the Healthcare Club and VP of the IBA, one of the few domestic students to take on such a role.

As Healthcare Club president, she planned and executed on a very successful Healthcare Conference, grew club membership to nearly 200 members, and co-coordinated a Healthcare Development Program to prep students for internships and full-time positions in the field. Her many successes as president of this club earned her a MBA Student Association Leadership Award.

As IBA vice president, Brittany created a Sunday Night Dinners Program that connects domestic and international students to learn about each other’s cultures over a relaxed dinner. This idea came out of her hosting a number of holiday dinners during her first year and finding that it was one of the best ways to get to know other students and their cultures. This program will be one of Brittany’s lasting impacts at UNC Kenan-Flagler.” — Sridhar Balasubramanian (Dr. B), Associate Dean of the MBA Program, University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.