Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Abdur Rahman, North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)

Abdur Rahman

University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School

“A desi from heart with a dream to make the world more united and inclusive.”

Hometown: Peshawar, Pakistan

Fun Fact About Yourself: I speak four languages, and it’s funny how I use these languages simultaneously to communicate with a different set of people. I talk in Pashto with my family, Urdu and English with my friends, and Arabic with God.

Undergraduate School and Major: Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences & Technology, BS in Mechanical Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Weatherford International, Projects Lead for Drilling

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Kenan-Flagler’s MBA curriculum or programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? UNC Kenan-Flagler recently made its well-known pre-MBA course Analytical Skills Workshop (ASW) free for all incoming students (previously priced at $5000). It is now called the Business & Math Foundations. This pre-MBA summer program covers finance, financial accounting, probability and statistics, and business math. The foundation course made me more confident about the program and showed me how the curriculum is carefully designed to help us even before the MBA starts. It is a great way to refresh your skills and bolster your knowledge of these concepts in an intensive, self-paced two-month pre-MBA program.

What has been your first impression of the Kenan-Flagler MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Kenan-Flagler story so far. I was impressed by the community way before coming to U.S. for my MBA. The students were more than happy to help when I reached out to them and greatly assisted me in preparing for the MBA and moving to the U.S. Interacting with community, you can feel how collaborative and helpful the Tar Heel community is. The first day I reached the school, a guy from the school offered to give me a ride to collect stuff for my apartment. I did not even have to ask for help. As for the alumni, they are very engaged with the program and are more than happy to connect with you and help you in any way possible.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Kenan-Flagler? I am most excited about the Global Immersion Elective. This elective is an opportunity for students to travel to another country for an intensive experience, learning about the local business challenges, techniques, and culture. The best part is that the school provides certain fellowships for these programs to cover the expenses.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My last oil and gas drilling project led to the discovery of one of Pakistan’s biggest gas reserves. I headed part of the drilling team for two of the most crucial phases of the project.

In the first part of this mega-project, I headed a five-member team to do the feasibility study of part of the drilling section to confirm if the proposed drilling technique would work. After the planning phase, I directly worked on the operations of the project and stayed on the rig site for weeks to drill the gas well. I headed a 14-member team to safely drill part of the gas well that led to the gas discovery in Northern Pakistan. The discovery was celebrated throughout the country since Pakistan is facing a serious energy crisis and thus was the perfect farewell I could have asked for before starting my MBA.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I would recommend the following podcasts to prospective MBAs.

1) Morning brew; Helps me stay up to date on business news

2) Everyday MBA podcast

3) MBA Insider; It is by a UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA alumnus, Al Dea

Looking ahead two years, what would make your MBA experience successful? I have two main goals for the MBA:

1- To influence myself with all the amazing resources available at UNC Kenan-Flagler and become a more impactful leader in the company I will work for.

2- To impact the Carolina community positively and leave behind a legacy, if even small.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Kenan-Flagler’s MBA program? My first advice would be, “be authentic and your true self – the rest will follow.” The second piece of advice would be to prepare yourself way ahead of application deadlines. Therefore, start by drafting a plan for the application journey. Ideally, the first thing would be to attend an info session and go through the school’s website for all the essential information. The idea is to ensure you know about the school’s resources to help you achieve your personal and professional goals. Once done, I recommend reaching out to students with similar profiles and goals to yours and discussing your plans and goals. This would help you to know your fit for the program. After doing so, I recommend working on the essays and ensuring you display your true self. Remember, the school wants a diverse class, so it is totally okay to be different and not do what the masses do. Finally, for the interviews, I would recommend doing a couple of mocks with a friend or college and preparing a few stories in the STAR – Situation, Task, Action, and Result format.


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