Meet UNC Kenan-Flagler’s MBA Class Of 2023

Kenan-Flagler MBA students in class

P&Q: Kenan-Flagler has a reputation for being one of the top MBA programs for Real Estate and Healthcare. What types of programming does Kenan-Flagler offer in these areas that sets it apart from other MBA programs? 

Staats: “Programming that sets apart our real estate program includes:

True real estate investment experience: Our student-managed real estate private equity fund utilizes live deals and outside investors.

True real estate development experience: The capstone real estate development course exposes students to the real estate development process in a hands-on environment.

Personalized career coaching and support: The Wood Center for Real Estate Studies works directly with students to craft and execute their recruiting activities.

Significant on-campus recruiting: Our large student contingent (50+ students representing over 15% of the MBA class) and deep Wood Center employer engagement result in 20+ real estate firms recruiting specifically for real estate on-campus each year.

Continuous alumni involvement and networking: Students have access to over 2,200 alums within the real estate industry, with regular interaction via the annual conference, career treks, case competitions, and cases.

In healthcare, several entities at UNC Kenan-Flagler and across UNC set our MBA program apart.

First, the UNC Center for the Business of Health (CBOH) lives and launched with the business school and brings together interdisciplinary expertise from across UNC to create knowledge, prepare business leaders, and convene important conversations around the business of healthcare.

The CBOH provides substantial support for students through programing like the following:

* Annual UNC Business of Healthcare Conference

* Annual UNC Interdisciplinary Case Competition

* Healthcare Bootcamp

* Research and internship opportunities

* Cross-campus engagement with other graduate programs.

The Center also hosts a number of annual events and one-on-one mentorship to connect students with the robust alumni community in the healthcare industry.

Launching in the fall, the CBOH will offer a new program, CBOH Career Networks, which will serve students through an online platform that enhances their ability to do the following:

* Connect with industry experts across seven healthcare verticals

* Explore hot topics in the field to help prepare for recruiting and interviews

* Engage in smaller group conversations with individuals or groups of alumni who have unique healthcare career paths.

Last, the CBOH faculty and staff lead the development of the growing healthcare curriculum and our four dual-degree programs, and works closely with the UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Healthcare Club on programming that is responsive to student needs and interests. The Healthcare Club is one of the largest and most engaged student clubs at the business school.”

Small group of MBA students outside McColl


1) STEM Designation: “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.”
Marc Llebot Montoliu (’23)

“UNC Kenan-Flagler offers an Analytical Skills Workshop over the summer before first-year classes start. I am coming from a non-business background, so having an opportunity to familiarize myself with subjects such as accounting and finance prior to the core curriculum starting was extremely important for me. Furthermore, the program’s STEM designation directly lends itself to my interest in data analytics.”
Bryant M. Adams (’23)

2) Real Estate: “Aside from the learning environment, UNC Kenan-Flagler’s real estate concentration played a big part in my decision to attend the school. UNC has one of the largest real estate programs in the nation, making it the perfect place for me to be exposed to and learn about the industry. During my search, I had a great conversation with Jim Spaeth, executive director of the Wood Center for Real Estate Studies, who reassured me that the transition was not only possible at UNC, but also would set me up for long-term success in the industry.”
Nicholas Heyward (’23)

3) Experiential Learning: “One of the most significant advantages of the program is experiential learning because theoretical knowledge does not have much value without practice. I was attracted, in particular, to UNC Kenan-Flagler’s MBA, which provides an opportunity to gain real experience by participating in STAR (Student Teams Achieving Results) and engage in real projects to acquire more business acumen.”
Konstantin Yarin (’23)

4) STAR: “I am most excited to participate in the STAR (Student Teams Achieving Results) program. I am looking forward to participating in the STAR program not only for the opportunity to practically apply the frameworks and skills I’ll be learning in class, but also for the chance to make a positive impact and add value to global companies right away, even before graduation.”
Emily Simmons (’23)

Kenan-Flagler case competition team with Ramses

5) Global Immersion: “As crazy and exciting as it feels just to be on campus with my cohort, I am also looking forward to participating in a Global Immersion Elective. This is an opportunity for students to travel to another country for an intensive experience, learning about the local business challenges, techniques and cultural environment from top leaders and experts. I am excited to learn more about how real estate is advancing and transforming across the world, especially in the company of my classmates.”
Mary Elizabeth Russell (’23)

6) Nonprofit Board Consultants: “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.”
Marc Llebot Montoliu (’23)

7) The Venture Capital Investment Competition: VCIC – the world’s largest venture capital competition hosted by UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School – where I’ll be able to gain first-hand knowledge about venture capital as well as the opportunity to connect with students from other business schools globally.”
Arthur Wungkana (’23)

8) Carolina Way: “UNC Kenan-Flagler is the only MBA program to which I applied. To me, The Carolina Way culture, challenging academic rigor, and Chapel Hill location together create the ideal challenging yet supportive environment in which to grow and prepare for the rigors of business leadership.”
Emily Simmons (’23)

9) Karaoke Night: Karaoke Night! It happens at the end of the first semester when you’re exhausted and thankful to have survived the rigor of the program thus far. Even through the exhaustion, you find the strength to belt out your favorite songs, showcase elaborate choreography, and dress up in sometimes questionable outfits. Personalities come out on karaoke night and people strip their business school personas for a fun night out. What makes this special is that we have faculty members judging the performances and their reactions are priceless! It is an amazing way to wrap up the semester, celebrate with friends and an absolute must participate event while at UNC Kenan-Flagler. We work really hard, but we also know how to have fun and celebrate each other.”
Je’nique Whitney Harewood (’21)

“Our Karaoke Competition is hands-down my favorite MBA tradition at UNC Kenan-Flagler. Each legacy (or cohort) spends months rehearsing two songs to perform at the competition in December. Students from each legacy volunteer to sing and perform a fully choreographed dance for each song. It is such a blast to watch our classmates get up on stage and let loose a little after working so hard during the fall semester. As it turned out, many of our classmates are very talented singers and dancers! As Legacy Cup Captain, I choreographed the dances for our cohort, and our rendition of Lady Marmalade actually won last year! The event was postponed this year due to the pandemic, but I have no doubt that it will be back in full force when it’s safe to do so.”
Claire Boston (’21)

10) Carolina Casuals: “My favorite MBA tradition at UNC Kenan-Flagler is “Carolina Casuals,” which is held on the School’s lawn every week. Co-hosted by our student association and the program administration, it’s a wonderful opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and their families to take a break from the week’s activities and socialize over some of the Triangle’s best food and drinks. This weekly event reflects a core value of our school – where a keen focus on community is continuously encouraged and creates an environment to forge life-long friendships and a strong professional network to leverage long after my MBA program.”
Aditi Paul (’21)

Student in the Capital Markets Lab. Photography by Steve Exum


1) “I know this process is not easy. I remember being very nervous and uncertain. A friendly reminder here is that you can thrive wherever you land. Being on the other side of the admissions process, I would share that UNC Kenan-Flagler is particularly interested in developing leaders with strong character. They want a cohort that cares about leveraging their degree to make positive change in the world, as well as perform with excellence. Check out their core values and share how they fit into your MBA and professional goals. Additionally, they have done a fantastic job at cultivating a cohort that is diverse along so many lines – nationality, race, economic background, age, gender, interests, and experiences. If you are worried that you “don’t fit” I would recommend applying! You may be the missing piece.”
Mary Elizabeth Russell (’23)

2) “To gain admission into UNC Kenan-Flagler’s MBA program, you need to be yourself, but do your homework. That means not only preparing for the GMAT, but also working on self-awareness and reflection. Understand who you are, what is crucial for you, and (in particular) what your dreams are. Gaining a deep understanding of yourself is a key to successfully preparing to apply to a business school. After that, it will be much easier to work on your essays and interview with an admissions committee. You have to share your story honestly, describe what exactly leads you to the MBA program, and explain how you could contribute to your future UNC community.”
Konstantin Yarin (’23)

3) “Visit campus! You will set yourself apart by introducing yourself to the UNC Kenan-Flagler leadership team, but you will also fall in love with Chapel Hill. That’s true whether you’re watching the Tar Heels play basketball, exploring the restaurants on Franklin Street, sitting on the porch at the Carolina Inn, or just soaking up the beauty of the oldest public university in the United States.”
Cheney Holbrook (’23)

How did COVID change how the Class of 2023 approached life? What do class members hope to do after graduation? What are their secrets for landing an acceptance letter from the Kenan-Flagler MBA? Click on the links below to get answers like these from incoming first-years. 

MBA Student Hometown Undergrad Alma Mater Last Employer
Bryant M. Adams New Market, AL Alabama A&M University U.S. Army
Kara Damon New Woodstock, NY Cornell University Johns Hopkins Medicine
Nicholas Heyward Bowie, MD Morehouse College PepsiCo
Cheney Holbrook New Orleans, LA University of North Carolina Turner Endangered Species Fund
Katelyn Leal Bradenton, FL University of South Florida U.S. Army
Marc Llebot Montoliu Barcelona, Spain University of North Carolina Gladtolink Brasil
Kevin T. Ortiz Orlando, FL University of Central Florida Truist Leadership Institute
Mary Elizabeth Russell Durham, NC University of North Carolina 5th Element Group
Emily Simmons Bowie, MD University of Maryland Epiroc Drilling Solutions
Paige Smith Raleigh, NC University of North Carolina Duke University School of Medicine
Arthur Wungkana London, UK Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia OWL Media
Konstantin Yarin Krasnodar, Russia Kuban State Technological University SLATA

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