Meet UNC’s MBA Class Of 2019

Colleen Parra 

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School 

Describe yourself in 15 words or less:  A passionate, humble woman with an insatiable intellectual curiosity, kind heart and strong-willed spirit

Hometown: Queens, NY

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m an adrenaline junkie – sky diving, zip lining, bungee jumping. You name it.

Undergraduate School and Major: Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business, B.B.A in Finance

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: 

Goldman Sachs, Investment Management Division, PWM Associate

Morgan Stanley, Wealth Management, Senior Associate

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Our team had been really focused on signing on a target client – one we had been in discussions for some time. The excitement around winning the business came with very challenging situations which we worked to complete successfully. Arriving at a consensus view was only possible through collaboration and proved particularly useful for our client making investment decisions with a long-term horizon. It was extremely important for me to understand the client’s investment style and apply it to the customized allocation plan. The rewarding part came from being able to implement the strategy and carry out the best execution possible for the client knowing I drove the process.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants?  The best piece of advice is to start early. The business school application process is meant to be an exploratory phase preparing you for a transformational (best!) chapter of your life and not meant to be rushed. Reflect on what is most important to you and what schools align best. My list of requirements ran the gamut, including the alumni network, class size, school location and strength in the programs offered. Speak to the admissions officers, attend the information sessions and connect with current students and alumni.

I also can’t stress enough to be yourself. Just imagine you are an admissions officer reading thousands of essays for applicants with similar credentials. It’s vital to being able to construct personal and genuine answers to the essay questions and demonstrate conviction during the interview process. This process helped me grow tremendously and gain introspection on how to differentiate myself. This also applies to choosing your recommenders. Use folks who can speak best on your work ethic, strengths and weaknesses, and career goals.

Lastly, don’t freak about the GMAT! Take the time you need to prepare for the exam as it’s meant to measure your ability to stay focused and think quickly. Set a schedule that works for you to accurately track your study progress and try to reduce distractions.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you?  The collaborative culture at UNC Kenan-Flagler, as well as its world-class leadership development program. Everyone that I connected with throughout the admissions process was so enthusiastic about the school and extremely welcoming. My decision came down to UNC Kenan-Flagler and another program, but it became very clear to me that every individual here was extremely invested in my success for the long haul. Specifically, my Consortium family has truly been paramount to my professional development and robust preparation for business school.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? Success would be developing a positive, collaborative community with my classmates during the recruiting process. Ultimately, that will drive us far after graduation and only improve the value of my MBA, if I have a positive impact on someone else’s experience. Also, making as much of my time as a student as possible and not just “being present.” The goal is to cultivate who I want to be professionally and maybe discover new passions in life.

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