University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: My life ambitions are fueled by my mental flexibility to adapt to places and absorb other worldviews.
Hometown: Tirana, Albania
Fun Fact About Yourself: I get goose bumps every time I hear a national anthem during a soccer tournament.
Undergraduate School and Major: Manhattan College, Finance
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Ernst & Young Albania, Deloitte Albania; Senior Tax Consultant
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Career progression aside, what I value as my biggest accomplishment is the strong connections I have retained with my peers and superiors from all my employments. My former partner at Deloitte (who mentored me and believed in my abilities), the first consultant I recruited (who is rising to rock star heights in the tax profession), and my lifelong friends/colleagues are all individuals who have empowered me to be the person I am today. I cherish their continued support as a big career accomplishment.
Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? From GMAT cram sessions to researching schools to hundreds of essay edits to maybe missing out on an entire summer season, applying to business school will be one of the most challenging times in your life. Give yourself time to adapt and start early. During this demanding process, never ever doubt your decision to go to business school because education will always be the best investment you can make for yourself. Lastly, put all your heart and soul into the application process and there will be no shortcomings in your profile that can keep you from reaching your dream school!
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? Working after hours in Albania, I renovated two of our family-owned apartments and was listed as an Airbnb “Super host” for the city of Tirana. It was the busiest of travel seasons in July 2015 (and one week before my GMAT exam) when two graduates of UNC Kenan-Flagler’s Class of 2015 checked into one of my apartments. I was blown away at the coincidence!
Drew Johnson and Tom Burst were the perfect ambassadors for the school! They took the time to explain with great detail and zest every question I had about the program and culture of UNC Kenan Flagler. When I was finally able to narrow down my list of schools, UNC Kenan-Flagler’s world-renowned faculty combined with the “Carolina way” experienced firsthand were the main differentiating factors in my decision.
Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My childhood was shaped alongside a succession of my father’s entrepreneurial stories, observing as an entire nation of people became accustomed to a free market after 40 years of Communism stillness. There is no better way to understand the fundamentals of a market economy than to witness one being created in front of your eyes – the influx of the western brands into the Albanian market in the mid-to-late 90s with products like Coca-Cola, Ariel, Gorenje ovens and Samsung color TVs. Observing how these brands made our lives happier with innovative household products and events that brought our community together was the groundwork to my interest in marketing. Now, at 29 years old, after having lived and worked in three different countries and started entrepreneurial projects myself, my dream job would enable me to continuously study consumer behavior and manage a multinational brand that is focused in innovation, sustainability and in enriching everyday lives.
What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? Amela is a dynamic woman equipped with an open mindset and the ability to effectively manage any challenge.