2021 MBAs To Watch: Claire Boston, North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)

Claire Boston

University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School

I am a compassionate Southern female who wants to help others accomplish their goals.”

Hometown: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Fun fact about yourself: My favorite thing to do is dance! I grew up dancing ballet, jazz and tap.

Undergraduate School and Degree:  Vanderbilt University – BA in Economics

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? J.P. Morgan Private Bank – Wealth Management Analyst

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? Deloitte Consulting – Charlotte, North Carolina.  (I worked virtually from Tuscaloosa last summer.)

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte Consulting – Senior Consultant, Charlotte, North Carolina

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: (Include school awards and honors)

  • Consulting Club President 2020-2021
  • “Legacy Cup Captain” for my cohort
  • Liaison for the UNC Kenan-Flagler Healthcare Conference

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of leading the Consulting Club, particularly during COVID-19. I had no idea the events that were about to unfold across the globe when I ran for president of the club in January 2020. Being the eternal optimist that I am, I was certain that the pandemic wouldn’t stop us from being back in the classrooms in the fall. However, I still felt like I should have a virtual back-up plan for events.

As it became clear that we would be completely virtual for the fall semester, my team and I moved all events to virtual platforms. We were able to host all club events (case-offs, career treks, case competitions, etc.); bring in more consulting practitioners than in previous years; and effectively prepare our members for internship applications and interviews. I am incredibly proud not only of our accomplishments, but also of our first-year MBA members. They persevered in this virtual environment and many have already succeeded in finding their dream internships.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? The relationships I built with clients and colleagues at J.P. Morgan are what I am most proud of in my career. I worked very hard to gain the trust of the bankers and investors I worked with most often so they could feel confident I would always get the job done. After a year-and-a-half, I became a go-to analyst in our office for projects and questions about our credit products, systems, and navigating the firm. I am also proud of the strong relationships I built with our clients through anticipating their needs and answering their day-to-day questions.

Why did you choose this business school?  I chose UNC Kenan-Flagler because of the collaborative nature of the program. I am more motivated by collaboration than competition and feel I thrive when working with others. Through the application process, I came to understand that UNC Kenan-Flagler encourages collaboration among students rather than competition,  which made the school feel even more like a perfect fit. When it came time for exams during our first year, those with the strongest understanding of a subject were always willing to host study sessions to help others prepare. Students at UNC Kenan-Flagler are competitive with themselves and want to do well, but they want their colleagues to succeed as well.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? This is a really hard question, but I would have to say that Sharon Cannon has been my favorite MBA professor. Sharon and her Management Communication class helped me make great progress in my goal of becoming a stronger public speaker and presenter, as well as a more confident leader. She helped me focus on one goal at a time, allowing me to make gradual but lasting improvement. Her method of combining actionable feedback with encouragement gave me the confidence needed to make such significant improvement. I try to lead others in this same way.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? If I could go back, I would encourage myself to take even more risks during business school. I believe serving as president of Consulting Club was a risk certainly, but I could have taken more risks on the career front. I pretty quickly narrowed my focus to consulting once I entered UNC Kenan-Flagler with the intention of having plenty of time to prepare for interviews and network with firms. While I do not regret this – after all I managed to secure my dream job – I could have explored more career options. We have the ability to attend meetings and career treks for any and all clubs at the school so I could have explored the technology club, the venture capital club, you name it! I feel like I’ve gained insights into other industries through my classes, but I could have taken more risks when exploring career paths.

What is the biggest myth about your school?  I would say the biggest myth about our school is we’re all from the South. While I certainly fit that description, our class is actually from all over the world. We have representation not only from all across the country, but also from India, China and Japan, to name just a few! This geographic and cultural diversity enhances the learning experience by infusing different viewpoints into class discussions.

What surprised you the most about business school? The importance and responsibility of the student-run clubs surprised me the most. The career clubs at UNC Kenan-Flagler play a huge role in connecting students with firms and preparing us for interviews. This is why holding a leadership position in one of these clubs is a major responsibility. The Consulting Club hosts multiple large networking events during the year for students to connect with practitioners and also provide interview prep sessions each week throughout the fall semester. The Consulting Club leadership and second-year members, along with our amazing Career and Leadership partner Linda Vo, fully prepare first-year members for internship interviews.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Before I submitted my application to UNC Kenan-Flagler I attended the Carolina Women in Business Conference and Women’s Weekend. At the conference, I listened to several impressive female leaders talk about experiences in their career and how they balanced career with their personal lives. I also met several first- and second-year women in the MBA program who spoke candidly about their experience at UNC Kenan-Flagler. The combination of listening to powerful female speakers, meeting women in the program, and being in Chapel Hill solidified that I wanted to attend UNC Kenan-Flagler. I interviewed for the program that same weekend. I think my delight for the school shined through as I spoke about why I wanted to move to North Carolina to attend UNC Kenan-Flagler.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admire Becca Jordan Wright in our MBA Program. This girl can do it all! She is president of the Carolina Women in Business Club, runs her own start up (Piedmont Pennies), and does it all with a smile on her face. She is incredibly encouraging and always manages to maintain a positive attitude. I’ve been very impressed at her ability to bring women and allies together during the pandemic through virtual meetings, fishbowl events, yoga classes and cooking classes. She is a friend to all, and I am very excited to see what she will do next!

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? Overall, our professors were able to seamlessly transition classes to an online environment. Over time, they have gotten creative by incorporating breakout rooms, interactive cases, and collaborative online tools that have made learning in the online environment more successful. The move to the online environment unfortunately did have a large impact on the strength of our UNC Kenan-Flagler community. We all missed the social interaction from program events, extracurricular events, and just catching up in the hallways between classes. The student clubs tried to fill this gap with virtual events, but talking to someone in a breakout room just can’t replace in-person interactions! We will all be happy to reconnect in-person as soon as possible.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My brother was the biggest influence on my decision to pursue business. While I was deciding to switch from pre-med to economics, my brother invited me up to New York City to determine which direction I wanted to take in business. I met with several members of his network across multiple industries including consulting, investment banking, wealth management, marketing, and tech to get a better understanding of what each position entailed. He encouraged me to explore multiple areas of business and find what I was truly interested in. Thanks to him, I started to understand just how many opportunities the business world could offer right out of undergrad and throughout my career!

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Work in the healthcare sector to help make processes more efficient and pleasant for patients and healthcare workers.
  2. Work abroad!

What made Claire such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“I am a career coach at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and I act as the advisor to the Consulting Club, for which Claire is the president. Working with Claire over the past year, I have seen her embody all of the UNC Kenan-Flagler core values: Excellence, Leadership, Integrity, Inclusion, Teamwork and Community, but most of all the latter two.

Preparing the next class of UNC Kenan-Flagler consulting students for career success is no easy feat; it takes a village, a team. With Claire as consulting club president, collaboration across students, faculty and staff was seamless. She always made it a point to message to students all the resources available to them. The Consulting Club, Career & Leadership, faculty and the Business Communication Center, are all there to help in the students’ success and when we met, Claire was always open. Throughout her tenure Claire planned early, met regularly and valued the voices of others. At the start of her tenure as president, Claire met individually with each of her 12 new executive board members to hear their goals for their new position, encouraging them to own their spaces and set a vision for the upcoming year. Through this teamwork, Claire and her VP of diversity and inclusion created a new panel series to increase consulting exposure across a diverse group of candidates. They reached across the diversity clubs at UNC Kenan-Flagler to partner in inviting diverse panelists and open the sessions up to a wide, diverse set of students.

Not only does Claire work together with her team to achieve results, she is also committed to community. Each year, the second-year MBAs who recruited for consulting come together to help the first-year consulting students. They make themselves available to share their experiences, to help first years prepare for interviews, and build the UNC Kenan-Flagler consulting community. Claire was a welcoming and nurturing presence. She not only opened up her calendar to endless virtual coffee chats and practice case sessions, but she also had a pulse on how people were feeling. The COVID environment made it incredibly difficult for students to connect. Without casual in-person conversations the first years found it difficult connect with second years without the interactions feeling very formal.  It was also difficult first years to connect across their own class. Seeing this, Claire messaged to students the importance of meeting with second years and stressed that they were all there to help, that they were peers, a community dedicated towards building the first years up for successful recruitment. She set up outdoor casing sessions amongst the first and second years so they could safely meet in person and get to know each other in a less formal setting. Claire also set up an event for the first years to get to know each other utilizing an innovative platform that allows students to create avatars and “walk up” to each other and converse in small groups.”

Linda Vo
Associate Director, Career Coaching
UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School





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