That said, the incoming class brings a strong academic pedigree to campus. They achieved a 703 GMAT average, up two points over the 2019 Class. More impressive, the class’ 710 median GMAT was 10 better. By the same token, the percentage of students who took the GRE rose by 11% as well. Demographically, the class is comprised of slightly smaller blocs of female, international, and minority students.
In this class, business majors constitute the largest group of students. At 39%, business is twice as large as the next major, which is engineering at 19%. Even when science and math is combined with engineering, the percentage – 35% – still falls short of business. Arts and sciences (14%), political science (8%), and history (4%) also make up large portions of the class. In terms of professional backgrounds, consultants comprise a third of the class, again doubling the next largest bloc (marketing at 16%). General management (13%), investment banking (8%), operations and logistics (6%), real estate (6%), private equity (5%), and corporate finance (5%) also made strong showings in the class.
NEW CONCENTRATION AND COURSES HIGHLIGHT THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR
What new wrinkles can the Class of 2020 expect at Kenan-Flagler this fall? This summer, the school launched the Center for the Business of Health at Kenan-Flagler, building on the school’s strength as one of the top MBA programs for healthcare in the world. According to Kara Kravetz Cupoli, director of Kenan-Flagler’s full-time MBA program, the center is a cross-curricular endeavor, bringing together the scholsl of medicine, public health, pharmacy, nursing and dentistry. A school news release adds that the center’s mission is “harnessing the convening power of the university” to offer interdisciplinary education and world class research. In the process, the center will provide support to the MBA Health Care Club in areas ranging from attracting campus speakers to organizing class treks.
Another development is the school’s new Data, Digital Analysis and Technology concentration. Kravetz Cupoli notes that the concentration focuses heavily on big data tools and analysis. Along with deeply exploring quant-driven concepts like data modeling and management, the coursework also examines key areas like conducting presentations that persuade leaders. To beef up their digital offerings, Kenan-Flagler has also added several new electives this fall, including areas like machine learning, fintech, healthcare analytics, and tech strategy.
Looking at the program as a whole, Kravetz Cupoli believes the most underrated part of the Kenan-Flagler experience are the school’s presentation courses, such as Storytelling with Data, Communication for Developing Leaders, and Applied Improvisation for Communication .Such courses develop skills and confidence in students that come in handy as stakes rise outside the classroom.
“Students repeatedly provide feedback regarding how well they performed in team and individual presentations delivered during their summer internships,” Kravetz Cupoli tells Poets&Quants in a statement. “More specifically, they felt better prepared compared to their internship peers from other top MBA programs.”
LARGER BUSINESS SCHOOL AND UNIVERSITY OFFER ENVIABLE RESOURCES
Kenan-Flagler’s prowess in communication courses isn’t the only underrated part of the program. The school is just a 25 minute drive to Research Triangle Park, the largest park of its kind in the United States. It is home to 50,000 professionals and 275 businesses, which range in scope from Cisco and IBM to emerging startups in biotechnology, information technology, and even non-profits. In other words, there are plenty of opportunities for projects, internships, partnerships, mentoring off campus. The program is also part of one of the largest and most decorated research universities – not to mention one of the highest-ranked undergraduate business and online MBA programs. In short, Kenan-Flagler’s scale and scope, coupled with its location, make it a program that’s difficult to overlook.
“I really wanted a school that had a small MBA program, yet the resources and reach of a larger institution,” says Jermyn Davis. “My undergraduate experience was amazing, primarily because of the small class size and cohort. Having another academic experience that felt intimate and personal was extremely important to me. However, I also wanted a school that was a part of a larger and much more robust institution. Having the larger institution was important for several reasons—the possibility to explore classes in other areas, attend large sporting events, and have an institution that is well regarded nationally and internationally.”
Aside from healthcare, Kenan-Flagler is also regarded as one of the top full-time MBA programs for real estate and sustainability. However, this omits where the program truly excels: leadership training. Notably, students are required to complete a STAR (Student Teams Achieving Results) project. Here, MBA and undergrad business students partner together with firms that have included Google, ESPN, General Electric, Procter & Gamble, and Panera Bread.
STAR DELIVERABLES “ON PAR” WITH TOP CONSULTING FIRMS
Think of STAR as a consulting assignment straight out of McKinsey. In fact, it even applies a McKinsey methodology that guides students in how to think and work as a team. It is a high touch, high stakes, high impact project where students practice how to integrate diverse perspectives, frame issues, conduct research and interviews, evaluate the implications of their proposals, and deliver a compelling storyline in front of senior leaders. From go-to-market strategy to sustainable enterprise development, STAR is a 4-5 month project designed to turn stumbling students into savvy and serious sages – ones who can step in to lead when pressure is high and options are thin.
Bottom line, says Karin Cochran, a STAR program director,” the focus of the program is to tackle real business challenges and to offer real solutions.” At the same time, it reflects Kenan-Flagler’s long-standing coaching culture, where 1,000 works hours are supplemented by a safety net: 100 hours of coaching that helps students truly practice and internalize the best practices – a fail-safe inspired by the successful training and development platforms at the Big Three consulting firms.
This uncompromising spotlight on the student, coupled with a methodology that’s designed around leadership and teamwork, is what sets STAR apart, says Professor Nicholas Didow, a STAR program director. “Our STAR projects are more thorough, ambitious, and comprehensive than similar experiential learning electives offered at other major business schools,” he explains. “Our semester long projects are conducted by teams of 5-6 students with the guidance of an experienced faculty advisor and supporting subject matter experts. We provide corporate partner clients with actionable data-based final recommendations grounded on market insights, industry trends, best practice examples, secondary and primary data gathering, and hypothesis testing. Our corporate partner clients pay a significant fee for the projects and receive quality analysis and thoughtful creative recommendations on par with those they would receive from a major national consulting firm.”
TAKING THE MBA TO THE ZONING BOARD
Looking ahead, the class already has its sights set on what matters most to them. Maya Anderson , for one, plans to join the school’s Nonprofit Board Consultants program, where she’d serve as a non-voting member who can still steer vision and strategy. Lauren Carberry is already picturing beating Duke Fuqua in the Blue Cup competition between the schools. At the same time, Germyn Davis will probably be flipping a coin in deciding whether to visit Southeast Asia or South Africa as part of Kenan-Flagler’s Global Immersion Elective (GIE).
“One of my most valued experiences during my undergraduate studies was studying abroad in Beijing. I loved being able to practice my language skills in a native speaking environment and learn about the Chinese culture. Knowing how great my abroad experience was in college, I am extremely eager to take what I have learned in my MBA classroom and apply those skills in a different, international setting.”
Long-term, Anderson is looking to master the intricacies of the triple bottom line, while Laura Takanen plans to return to the U.S. Navy, with the hopes of being in a commander operational tour. William Douglas Leimenstoll, however, plans to pair the Kenan-Flagler philosophy of community with the technical demands of managing urban redevelopment projects – a passion he has nurtured since witnessing real estate development first-hand in downtown Greensboro’s Main Street.
“When I was a kid, no one wanted to be downtown and my parents were viewed as crazy for raising children there. Having a front row seat as the city slowly began to re-energize downtown inspired me to join a community advisory committee for a nearby redevelopment at age eleven. Seeing the complex interplay between developers, politicians, architects, planners and citizens all vying to shape the community was exciting to me. I’ve been aiming to find where I fit within that ecosystem ever since and I now feel sure that the answer is as a developer.”
What led these professionals to enter business schools? Which programs did they also consider? What strategies did they use to choose their MBA program? What was the major event that defined them? Find the answers to these questions and many more in the in-depth profiles of these incoming MBA candidates.
DON’T MISS: MEET THE MBA CLASS OF 2020: PROFILES IN COURAGE
|Maya Anderson||Decatur, GA||Harvard University||Hodges-Mace|
|Lauren Carberry||Queensbury, NY||University of Delaware||Cree|
|Jermyn Davis||Denver, CO||Wake Forest University||Deloitte Consulting|
|Galen Parrish Green||Paris, KY||Colorado College||The Wooks|
|Emily Hoffarth||Rochester, NY||Boston College||Edelman Intelligence|
|Haylley Johnson||Burlington, VT||University of Vermont||Global Foundries|
|William Douglas Leimenstoll||Greensboro, NC||University of North Carolina||U.S. Environmental Protection Agency|
|Angelica Ly||Sacramento, CA||University of California-Berkeley||SMA-America Solar Technology|
|Sam Polino||Severna Park, MD||Boston University||Solar United Neighbors|
|Andrew Slaughter||Rochester, NY||University of Pittsburgh||Solaris Holdings LLC|
|Khalid Syed||Hyderabad, India||IIT Hyderabad||Nestaway Technologies|
|Laura Takanen||Long Beach, CA||University of California at Davis||U.S. Navy|