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UNC / Kenan-Flagler recently provided its essays for the 2010-2011 MBA application. Unlike last year, this year’s applicants are only required to respond to three questions. These three questions are virtually identical to last year’s essay prompts, although there are slight changes to the second essay. Below are some tips to consider in tackling these essays:
Essay One: What are the 2 or 3 strengths or characteristics that have driven your career success thus far? What are the other strengths that you would like to leverage in the future? (500 words maximum)
In a way, this question requests a sort of “career to date narrative,” driven by the themes of a few underlying personal characteristics. While the strengths you chose to highlight may be broadly applicable and have probably served you well in many situations, it will be important to focus your comments in this essay on the professional realm, highlighting your major accomplishments and detailing what professional strengths allowed you to achieve this success. To address the second half of the prompt, you’ll also want to include a concluding comment about how you can utilize your abilities in the future to ensure continued success not only at the MBA program, but also in your career path beyond.
Essay Two: Please describe your short and long term goals post-MBA. Explain how: your professional experience has shaped these goals; why this career option appeals to you; and how you arrived at the decision that now is the time and the MBA is the appropriate degree. (500 words maximum)
This is a fairly standard career goals essay, as you will need to describe your professional aspirations and the motivation behind them. Conceivably, the comments in this essay could flow directly from the forward-looking remarks in the preceding response. Further, because candidates will likely have covered much of their career to date in the essay before, the 500 words in this response should provide ample room to fully explain their short- and long-term goals, the timing of their application with respect to their career path to date, and the ways an MBA is necessary prepare them for their future career. Of course, while discussing “why MBA,” it would behoove candidates to think about why the Kenan-Flagler MBA in particular would help them achieve their career goals. As such, knowing the details of Kenan-Flagler’s MBA program will be helpful in answering the last part of the prompt. Taking the time to learn about the school’s curriculum, special programs and extracurricular activities – whether through a visit to campus, conversation with alumni or reading the Clear Admit School Guide to Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC – will pay dividends here.
Essay Three: What personal qualities or life experiences distinguish you from other applicants? How do these qualities or experiences equip you to contribute to UNC Kenan-Flagler? (500 words maximum)
This question gives applicants the opportunity to share some information about their interests and experiences that distinguish them from other applicants, while also showcasing their knowledge of and fit with Kenan-Flagler. Think about how you can translate your passions and past experiences into involvement on the campus, and indicate specific contributions that you would like to make. Creating a link between your past and future at the program will enable you to present a consistent and clear picture of your candidacy and professional and personal interests. The more details that you can provide about how exactly you would contribute (playing a certain role in organizing a particular event, for example), the more reason you’ll give the adcom to admit you.
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