Meet UNC Kenan-Flagler’s MBA Class Of 2025

The University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School has one of the nation’s largest real estate programs, which was a huge factor in MBA student Alex Binnie’s decision to attend the program. 

“The Leonard W. Wood Center for Real Estate Studies was a huge driver behind my decision to attend UNC Kenan-Flagler,” she explains. “I knew that I wanted to continue my career in real estate following my MBA education, and once I learned about the Wood Center, I was hooked.” 

As a second-generation Tar Heel, Binnie has family ties to the university through her father, who left the UK to attend UCN’s undergrad program in his late teens. 

With a background in interior design, Southeast Florida native and MBA student Hailey Innocent is both deeply passionate about the built environment and she was drawn to UNC Kenan-Flagler because of the school’s holistic approach to real estate. She chose the business school in order to continue her career in the built environment, “seeing robust and sustainable communities realized as a real estate developer.” 

Nestled in the culturally rich surroundings of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Kenan Flagler is also proximate to the bustling Research Triangle Park that offers a wide spectrum of companies in healthcare, finTech, Cybersecurity, and Artificial Intelligence fields. 

Local North Carolinian Alex Bowman chose UNC because of the school’s excellent DDS/MBA dual degree program. He intends to establish a successful and accessible dental practice in the future, so he saw this degree to be the perfect fit. “I’ve always been driven by the pursuit of excellence,” he says, “and UNC Kenan-Flagler’s MBA program offers me the ability to efficiently round out my professional education at the highest level while still pursuing dentistry.”

Career and Leadership team networking event – courtesy photo

HOW MBA’S FELT FROM DAY ONE

From day one, Bowman says he was struck by the overwhelming support and the collaborative spirit he felt from the entire UNC community. He especially cherishes all of the bonding moments he’s had with classmates thus far, like helping each other unload U-Hauls in the heat or meeting in the breaks between classes.

“These exceptional individuals are the heart and soul of Carolina, making it an extraordinary place to be,” he expressed. 

MBA student Priyanka Gupta is open to new experiences, impressively hiking up a mountain backwards once in pursuit of a new perspective. During orientation, she felt that the UNC Kenan-Flagler community resembled a “mosaic of diversity and ambition.” Gupta also says her team was the essence of UNC Kenan-Flagler’s collaborative spirit in the school’s Legacy Cup competition.

“This snapshot reflects a promise of an extraordinary journey ahead, where shared laughter, intellectual fires, and generous insights will converge into a symphony of leadership and excellence,” she notes. 

WHAT THEY LEARN, COURSES THEY LOVE

A huge fan of global experiences, Gupta says the Global Immersion electives and other global programs at the school are the most exciting offerings for her.

“These programs transcend traditional learning boundaries,” she says. She views all international experiences as a launchpad for both personal growth and professional evolution and a way to gain experience as a global leader. 

Along with the School’s Global Immersion Electives, the STAR Consulting Program is another global experience where MBAs have the chance to learn skills through practice that are highly valued by employers. UNC Kenan-Flagler’s STEM-designated curriculum is all about giving students cutting-edge data analytics skills crucial for modern decision-making and teaching them ever relevant skills including offering courses involving sustainability. 

UNC Kenan-Flagler actively integrates emerging technologies into their courses, which was a huge draw for avid tech enthusiast Ashley Travis.

“The school embraces innovative technology, recognizing its potential to fundamentally reshape the business landscape,” she says. Travis emphasizes that the school demonstrates a forward-thinking attitude that aligns with her own interests and aspirations. 

Members of the Latin American Business Assocation – courtesy photo

FAVORITE CLUBS & ACTIVITIES AT UNC

Thus far, Travis has loved part-taking in the Vetter Dean’s Fellows program –  a dedicated student group with the goal of building strong leadership skills through both partnerships and projects focused on sustainability.

“I feel honored to be part of such a talented team,” says Travis, “and I am eager to build on these relationships and see what we can achieve together as we strive to reach our fullest potential while making a genuine and lasting impact.” 

MBA student Amir Nili notes there are so many clubs and activities to choose from that excite him, and he highlights one that is off the beaten path – the One For the World Club.

“Over the past few years, I’ve been pondering what the idea of “giving back” means to me,” he explains. In this club, Nili says that members pledge 1% of their future income to a portfolio of charities that show strong evidence of improving lives with high-cost effectiveness, which aligns with his goal of giving back and helping to improve the lives of others more often post-graduation. 

BIGGEST CAREER ACCOMPLISHMENTS SO FAR

Thus far, Nili says his greatest accomplishment is transforming the landscape at the NGO called Internews, where he served as the DEI Manager. Nili says he established and built the company’s DEI practice from scratch, ensuring that belonging, dignity and justice (BDJ) were embedded into all aspects of the company.

With a passion for the built environment, MBA student Mosiah Lloyd says that the pinnacle of his career was leading a giant mixed-use real estate development project. He had spent countless hours ​​reviewing drawings, studying agreements, engaging with the local officials, and creating relationships with the community, which amounted to the upper management allowing him to lead.

“​​Having the confidence of partners, who have personal interests in the project, to manage their investment is the Stanley Cup for a young real estate professional,” he proclaimed. 

Sustainability advocate Maria Alejandra Jaramillo says her biggest accomplishment so far has been spearheading a bike tour called Sampling the City Gulfton using data from air quality samples to empower community leaders to advocate for environmental sustainability.

A diverse set of community members supported the event – from children, to news media outlets, to representatives of the mayor’s office, and the data was used to launch the city’s Greener Gulfton Community Plan. 

MBA POST-GRAD AMBITIONS

After graduating, Jaramillo’s short-term goal is to continue working within a strategy consultancy, and eventually transition into an educational leadership role. “My long-term goal is to become the chief of sustainability in a school district in Texas and lead strategic climate action,” she says. 

Vetter Dean’s Fellows in a leadership exercise – courtesy photo

Traveling all the way to UNC from Ecuador, MBA student Eduardo Sola has hopes to pivot from a Sales Coordinator role into a financial role in the tech industry.

“Simultaneously, I want to forge partnerships with professionals from different industries willing to grow personally and professionally, while giving back to the community,” he says. 

U.S. Army veteran and MBA student Rex Swindlehurst says his biggest accomplishment so far has been managing the establishment of a new Field Artillery unit in Germany.

“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,” he explains. 

WORDS OF WISDOM FOR FUTURE KENAN-FLAGLER MBAS

Swindlehurst encourages MBAs to “take a deep breath, slow down, and take time for actual introspection” when applying to the UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA program. He didn’t think he would be accepted based on his academics, and he is grateful the school holistically considers every prospective student. His advice to potential students – embrace their individuality and authentically present themselves to the committee. “I think that you will be surprised by the results,” he encourages. 

Coming from a strong quant background, MBA student Jose Velazquez is pursuing his MBA to shift into a consulting or internal strategy career. His advice to incoming students when applying is to “Be clear on what you want to get out of the program, as well as crafting your own personal stories that can relate to the program’s core strengths and values.” He also advocates for reaching out to past and current students to get a glimpse of all they have experiences and learn what drives them. 

Exceptional chef and aspiring consultant Oyindamola Modupe Odewuyi acknowledges that UNC Kenan Flagler is a top business school, and gaining admission is no easy feat. “Aspiring applicants should be aware that it requires dedication and hard work,” she says. “My advice to potential applicants is to maintain focus and resilience throughout the application journey.” Odewuyi emphasizes that it is crucial for students to be intentional and to make thoughtful choices in order to gain admission. 

 

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