Meet The MBA Class Of 2023: Kara Damon, North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)

Kara Damon

University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School

“Introverted extrovert, ex-golfer, enthusiast of the natural world. I value inclusive leadership, humor and good bourbon.”

Hometown: New Woodstock, New York

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was a French studies minor in college. This course of study was a nice contrast to my chemistry-intensive curriculum. I advanced my language skills, knowledge of impressionist art, and understanding of European colonialism in Africa.

Undergraduate School and Major: Cornell University, BS in nutritional sciences

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Johns Hopkins Medicine, Health Promotion Specialist

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Kenan-Flagler’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I appreciate the way that UNC Kenan-Flagler places an emphasis on both community formation (“the Carolina Way”) and learning through intensive global experiences. I knew I wanted to attend a school where I would have the opportunity to meet and work with nearly all my classmates, as well as participate in diverse international projects.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Kenan-Flagler? I am looking forward to coursework on data and analytics. “Big data” continues to transform industries and I am excited to understand the best practices for leaders who will need to leverage the large amount of information all organizations now capture or access. I have already enjoyed picking up some new skills in a summer Analytical Skills Workshop taught at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In early 2020, my manager, who at the time was in the role of director of coaching operations, was preparing me to temporarily assume her responsibilities while she went on leave. The week I took on her clients and our team, Maryland and many other states shut down. I had certainly prepared for new duties, but obviously had not anticipated the radical changes required of our department due to the pandemic (nor the extra emphasis on the team’s well-being the new situation required). I focused my energy on opening new operational channels to fulfil our services, meeting new demand from clients, and retaining and reassuring the team. Identifying, isolating and acting on three discrete priorities allowed the department to successfully navigate the early days of the pandemic.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? COVID underscored my interest in the qualities and approaches of good leaders who act during extremely uncertain times, and especially the judgment calls they are forced to make with limited historical information.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation?
I’ve really enjoyed my professional journey thus far. I moved from a healthcare practitioner into corporate health and client services, and most recently in the strategic planning and oversight capacity for a central team at Johns Hopkins. As I’ve taken on roles with more responsibility, I’ve found myself wanting to learn from other companies and management examples. The upheaval in 2020 also contributed to my desire for an MBA, as I feel it’s a degree that uniquely prepares candidates to adapt in a changing world and find opportunity in disruption. And lastly, the MBA is singular in not only allowing but also encouraging exploration. To that end, I plan to take advantage of the breadth of study and continue to revisit my internship and post-grad plans.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? IESE, Yale SOM, McDonough, Fuqua, Tuck

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Kenan-Flagler’s MBA program? Celebrate and own your differences, especially if you’re from a so-called “non-traditional background.” UNC Kenan-Flagler will help you succeed.


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