Meet The MBA Class Of 2023: Marc Llebot Montoliu, North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)

Marc Llebot Montoliu

University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School

“Goofy Spanish-Brazilian nomad pianist passionate about basketball, politics and helping people.”

Hometown: Barcelona, Spain

Fun Fact About Yourself: I can name every year’s NBA champion, regular season MVP and Finals MVP since 1960.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Business Development Manager at Gladtolink Brasil (previously Senior Consultant at KPMG – Financial Services)

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? The UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA has a very flexible curriculum while also having the STEM designation regardless of the concentration. As an international student with the goal of securing a job in the U.S., the guarantee that I will have a STEM degree no matter what classes I take is very reassuring. That’s because the STEM certificate allows international students to have a two-year OPT (Optional Practical Training) extension (in additional to the standard one year). Many top-tier schools only provide the STEM certificate for specific concentrations, which essentially holds international students hostage to specific concentrations such as analytics or finance, and discourages them from exploring less quantitative concentrations.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Kenan-Flagler? The activity that I am most excited about is the Nonprofit Board Consultants Program. I’ve been involved in numerous volunteer programs since middle school and I find that nothing is more gratifying than feeling you made a positive impact in the lives of others. The NBCP will allow me to put my new skills to the test while seeking to help the most vulnerable people in our community. This program is the perfect combination of enriching myself while also making a positive impact on those who need it the most.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I’m particularly proud of my first consulting project, shortly after graduating from UNC in 2016. I was assigned to be the sole consultant in a major financial and strategic risk project for Brazil’s largest conglomerate, which involved meeting with several department heads across four different companies within the conglomerate, conducting scenario analysis and stress testing, and presenting results and recommendations to each company’s CFO. As a rookie consultant straight out of college, this felt like a huge challenge that, on paper, I was probably underqualified to execute.

I am particularly proud of this accomplishment because I had virtually no professional experience at the time this challenge was presented to me, and being able to successfully carry out such a project led to recognition from leaders in the firm and multiple future assignments as the sole consultant on several strategic risk projects thereafter.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? Undeniably, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a worldwide tragedy, but I feel like I personally benefited during this period. Before the pandemic, I was on autopilot mode, following a career that I wasn’t particularly passionate about, and not doing many of the things that I used to love doing – such as playing basketball or going on nature walks. During the months that I was quarantined in Spain, I reflected on what I wanted out of life and realized that I wanted to explore different career paths and go back to doing things that I used to love, but hadn’t been doing for many years. Ultimately, the pandemic made me realize that the most important thing for me in life is being happy, and it allowed me to reflect on what I need to do in order to maximize my long-term happiness.

What is the most important quality of a leader…and why is it so important to success? In my estimation, the most important quality of a leader is the ability to motivate and get the most out of his or her team. Although being able to make good strategic decisions is undeniably an essential quality for a leader, it has little value unless the team executes what needs to be done to carry out the leader’s vision.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I wanted to explore different career paths within the business world while also upgrading my skillset and resume. I am confident that attending a top MBA program like the one here at UNC Kenan-Flagler will give me the tools and resources to do both things. After graduation, I hope to earn a leadership position in the tech industry – for example, as a product manager.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I also applied to University of Southern California, University of Texas at Austin, Georgetown University, Vanderbilt University, and Indiana University.

In case it matters, accepted to the following:

  • University of Texas at Austin
  • Georgetown University
  • Vanderbilt University ($96,000 scholarship)
  • Indiana University ($40,000/year scholarship)

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Kenan-Flagler’s MBA program? There are thousands of applicants out there that have impressive GPAs, GMAT scores, and career accomplishments, so I believe that the way to stand out is by showing that you have the interpersonal skills required to be a successful leader. My perception is that UNC Kenan-Flagler is looking for people who are not just intelligent and capable of making good decisions, but also capable of making the correct calculations when it comes to dealing with people in order to foster a positive work atmosphere where everyone is motivated and invested in what they are doing. In summary, I would advise potential applicants to really think about the leadership skills they need to develop and make sure they can show that in their applications and interviews.


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