Meet UNC Kenan-Flagler’s MBA Class of 2021

Caroline Gill       

University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School

“A born-and-bred Tar Heel fan excited to be part of the Carolina community.”

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’ve explored New York City in as many ways as I’ve been able: jet ski, helicopter, sea plane, biking the perimeter, walking the length of the island…I’ve even admired the skyline from a rooftop trapeze.

Undergraduate School and Major: Washington and Lee University; Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: J.P. Morgan, Debt Capital Markets Associate

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: While at J.P. Morgan, I was able to identify and seize an opportunity to be the primary banker for a large global real estate client and ultimately won the first-ever non-U.S. dollar deal from the client for the firm.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? I would describe my classmates as intentional – everyone is really excited to be at UNC Kenan-Flaglers. Even though we’ve only been here for a few short weeks, everyone has been so intentional about creating connections, getting to know one another, and building community from day one.

Aside from your classmates, 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? UNC Kenan-Flagler’s strong real estate program was a key factor in my decision. The program offers a strong academic experience in the classroom but is dedicated to providing students a “Real World Real Estate” education by engaging students outside the classroom through career treks, case competitions, industry conferences, and more. The program has a very connected alumni base, which I believe is an invaluable resource as I discern my career within the industry.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I’m looking forward to being a part of all the Real Estate Club has to offer. I’m also hoping to be able to travel abroad as a part of UNC Kenan-Flagler’s Global Immersions Elective trips, ideally the real estate-focused program.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? I was asked about a time a team I was a part of failed. After going through the MBA application process, which felt so much about the individual, this question challenged me to think not about my own individual failures but of those I’ve experienced as part of a team. The reality of business is that the failures are most often experienced as a team rather than as an individual.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After three years of covering real estate companies as a debt capital markets banker, I knew I wanted to pivot into real estate on the client-side. I believe an MBA at UNC Kenan-Flagler will best position me to make this pivot given the strong real estate program.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? UNC Kenan-Flagler was the only program where I applied. Living in New York City for five years, there were many career opportunities there and I had developed a really close community around me. It was going to take a really strong academic program and an even stronger community for me to leave NYC, but I found both of those things at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Visiting campus, going to class, and talking with students and faculty was the best way I found to determine my fit. The UNC Kenan-Flagler sense of community is so important to the school, but you’ll find that most people struggle to put it into words – you just have to come and experience it in person!

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I was an economics major and a poverty studies minor in undergrad. I knew I was naturally drawn toward business. However, understanding and fighting poverty were also really important to me. I felt very torn about how I would reconcile these two interests within a career. The summer after my sophomore year, I lived in Camden, New Jersey and worked for an economic development firm dedicated to revitalizing the city of Camden. My defining moment was when I realized that the private sector can play a very impactful role in addressing poverty issues in Camden. Throughout the summer, I was working alongside banks and large corporations. I plan to make a career in the private sector, but that summer confirmed for me that it didn’t have to be at the expense of giving up my interest in addressing poverty issues.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I would love to be living and working in real estate in North Carolina. I hope to have had various roles within real estate companies in order to learn different aspects of the business, but I hope to ultimately be a CFO.

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