Meet The MBA Class Of 2025: Rex Swindlehurst, UNC Kenan-Flagler

Rex Swindlehurst

University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School

“I am an energetic father working towards a better life for my family.”

School: UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Hometown: Lancaster, California

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have spent at least one birthday on five continents and am trying to work out how to get the last two, Australia and Antarctica.

Undergraduate School and Major: San Francisco State University, Biology (Physiology)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: United States Army, Special Operations Fire Support Officer

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?

I was very excited to have the opportunity to participate in the STAR program. I learn the best when I am given a chance to practice what I have been taught, and that practice has a real work impact. As an aspiring management consultant, I wanted every opportunity to practice the skills needed to bring value to a firm. The UNC Kenan-Flagler STAR program seems unique to other business schools that did not have a program that provided real-world results for actual companies.

What has been your first impression of the Kenan-Flagler MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far? 

All my peers are incredibly welcoming.  As a student with an established family, a wife of 12 years and three great kids, I was apprehensive about introducing them to my classmates. My family came to the Block Party on the second day of orientation and was immediately greeted by many people. My wife and children felt the same welcoming community I did when I first visited campus. This was one of the big moments when I realized I had chosen the right program. The welcoming nature of UNC Kenan-Flagler students and faculty is unparalleled among all the schools I interacted with during my application process.  That friendliness has proven to be more than just a recruiting tool; it is genuinely lived here at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Kenan-Flagler?

I am excited to get involved with the UNC Kenan-Flagler Veterans Association. Since only 1% of people in the U.S. serve in the military, I feel it is essential to advocate for the veteran community and share what makes veterans valuable members of the program and, eventually, the workforce.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:

My biggest accomplishment in my career so far has been managing the establishment of a new Field Artillery unit in Germany. When I first arrived in Germany, I expected to be an individual contributor for about a year before being put into a leadership role. This was not the case. I had only been there three months before being selected to manage, establish, and activate a new unit to meet the European Theater Commanders strategic goals. I faced a daunting challenge, transitioning from an individual contributor to building and leading a cohesive team of approximately 110 personnel with assets worth $75M.

The plus side was that I was allowed to pick my team. With the help of my newly assigned enlisted advisor, we set to work putting together a team with the most diverse experience and background. Our rationale was that to exceed the expected activation timeline of one year, we needed those who could see problems from all angles and brought other skills to the table.  This strategy paid off in the end, as we completed our first certification for this type of unit in Europe in 15 years, four months ahead of schedule.

What do you hope to do after graduation?

At this point, I am working towards becoming a strategy consultant after completing my MBA at UNC Kenan-Flagler.  I enjoyed the diverse problems that I solved in the military and hope to be able to help businesses solve their toughest challenges after I graduate.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Kenan-Flagler’s MBA program?

Take a deep breath, slow down, and take time for actual introspection. The decision to attend business school should not be rushed or taken lightly. The introspection part is crucial if you are considering UNC Kenan-Flagler. Based on my academics, I thought there was no way I would be admitted to a top MBA program. However, UNC Kenan-Flagler does take a holistic view of each applicant; otherwise, I wouldn’t be here. Get to know yourself, whether that is your deep motivations or some part of you that needs work. Embrace those parts of you and allow yourself to show them to the admissions committee. I think that you will be surprised by the results.

 

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