Meet UNC’s MBA Class Of 2019

Kenan-Flagler at night.


If you ask the Class of 2019 what led them to Tobacco Road, you’re bound to hear about Kenan-Flagler’s world class concentrations. One that comes to mind is real estate. Led by the legendary David Hartzell, the curriculum is a mind-blowing mix of cases, legal briefs, hands-on deal-making, and global excursions, where students travel to destinations like Dubai and Panama. For Sheinbaum, who plans to continue working in real estate and construction after earning her MBA, Kenan-Flagler’s real estate program is the perfect path to take her skills to the next level.

“The Leonard W. Wood Center for Real Estate Studies allows UNC Kenan-Flagler to stand out from other top business schools,” she notes. “The opportunities that the program provides to students, from the Real Estate Fund and the Real Estate Conference, to various real estate Global Immersion Electives are unparalleled.”

Kenan-Flagler’s healthcare concentration has also gained worldwide renown. The expansive curriculum covers areas like healthcare design and delivery, marketing, regulation, and analytics. The program also features job shadowing, offsite treks, career development, case competitions, and the school’s largest student-led conference. Even more, it boasts an array of partnerships with the UNC School of medicine. For Stutsman, who is still weighing whether to move into healthcare consulting, logistics, or product development, these offerings will enable her to test out each of these paths…and more.

“UNC Kenan-Flagler and UNC’s School of Public Health have worked together to create a strong dual-degree program that is greater than the sum of its parts,” she explains. “The synergy between the schools was the key factor that led me to select UNC Kenan-Flagler for my MBA.

There is incredible innovation occurring right now at the intersection of business and health care. Given its focus both on technical business skills and students’ leadership qualities, I believe an MBA from UNC Kenan-Flagler will allow me well to be a leader and innovation in the sector for many years to come.”

Deloitte visits a Kenan-Flagler MAC class. Courtesy photo


The healthcare concentration also played a key role in bringing Gomez Menzies to campus. “My goal coming to business school is to expand my skill set in order to provide greater value and have a greater impact in health care,” he shares. “The school is working on the cutting-edge of business curriculum in health care and encouraging greater interaction between UNC’s different elite professional schools including the business school, medical school and pharmacy school. In addition, this situates UNC Kenan-Flagler as a core school for recruitment for many top health care and pharmaceutical companies.”

These strengths are only amplified by Kenan-Flagler’s location in the research triangle, one of the best educated regions of the country. Here, over 50% of the talent pool holds bachelor’s degrees, not counting the 8,500 students who graduate from the University of North Carolina, Duke, and North Carolina State each year. The area is also celebrated for its deep roots in the aerospace, biotech, and information technology industries.

In fact, Research Triangle Park – the nation’s largest research and development center – is just a 25- minute drive from Kenan-Flagler. It is home to over 50,000 employees and 250 companies with marquee names including IBM, GlaxoSmithKline, Biogen, Cisco, and RTI International. With areas like virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and gamification receiving increasing investment in the park, Tar Heels will find some of the most cutting edge technologies and practices right in their own backyard.


In this environment, success demands more than scientific, engineering, and programming prowess. It also requires leadership. If there is one word associated with the Kenan-Flagler MBA program, it would be leadership. It starts with the school’s acclaimed STAR (Student Teams Achieving Results) program. Think of it as practice-makes-perfect, a constant feedback culture that is reminiscent of the top consulting firms. Make no mistake: STAR can go toe-to-toe with any business school leadership or corporate development program.

Call it a tough-love effort. The school trusts students enough to develop their own customized curriculum and leadership plan to address their shortcomings. However, there is a coach for every 10 students, meaning MBA candidates are receiving constant feedback during simulations and one-on-one coaching. In other words, they are held accountable for elevating their communication and motivational skills. While teamwork is stressed across the board, the STAR program has a clear goal: Fashioning students who aren’t afraid to lead from the front – leaders who don’t shy from conflict and know how to bring people together.

MBA students participating in Kenan-Flagler’s Business Cares initiative

You’ll find one of those students in Thomas. “Any top school will give you a world-class and rigorous education,” she concedes. “However, I wanted to be a part of a program with a smaller class size where there’s a huge emphasis on leadership skills and easier access to professors. Tar Heels also excel at being collaborative and supporting one another, so it’s a great environment to learn and to push yourself out of your comfort zone.”


This sense of support is a cultural feature that students pass down from class-to-class. “One thing students see right away when they get to campus is that sense of community,” says Meena Dorr, executive director of MBA admissions at Kenan-Flagler Business School in a 2017 interview with Poets&Quants. “The staff from the dean to the faculty are really invested in the students. They want to see them succeed, so much so that the faculty invite them to their homes for some of their core classes. There is a sense of surrounding them and making sure they are successful.”

That means stepping outside themselves, taking risks, and building real relationships. Looking ahead, class members like Parra plan to do just that: build a “positive, collaborative community” and have a “positive impact on someone else’s experience” in her words. For that to happen, she notes, it means “being present” at all times.

“The goal is to cultivate who I want to be professionally and maybe discover new passions in life,” Parra says.

To read profiles of incoming Kenan-Flagler MBA students — along with their advice on tackling the GMAT, applications, and interviews — click on the links below.


Student Hometown Alma Mater Employer
 Patrick Gomez Menzies  Brooklyn, NY  Harvard University  University of California-San Diego
 Kathryn Hennigan  Mooresville,  NC  Harvard College  Houzz
 Christine Hu  Union City, CA  Harvard University  Teach For America
 Patrick Kurunwune   Austin, TX  Duke University  UNC Memorial Hospital
 Colleen Parra  Queens, NY  Baruch College  Goldman Sachs
 Alyssa Sheinbaum  Marietta, GA  Georgia Tech University  Clark Construction
 Jen Stutsman  Boulder, CO  University of Pennsylvania  Maisha Meds
 Mariana Thomas  Abuja, Nigeria  George Mason University  KFSN-TV

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