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UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Admissions and Related blogs

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What makes an effective global leader?  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Dec 2018, 10:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: What makes an effective global leader?
Image
Mabel Miguel

Business leaders need more than technical skills to be effective in a global market – they also need emotional and cultural intelligence.

Mabel Miguel, professor of organizational behavior and director of theGlobal Business Center at UNC Kenan-Flagler, focuses on global education, inclusive global leadership, and teaching students how to succeed globally.

“At the beginning of your career you get hired because of your technical skills but as your career progresses, the soft skills differentiate you,” Miguel says. Soft skills include attitude, self-management capabilities, and the ability to empathize and build relationships. They are the ingredients for effective global leadership.

Attitude is everything

Miguel says attitude is a multiplier. Business leaders should ask themselves, “Is my attitude open? Is it respectful? Is it resilient?” People who answer yes are more inclined to make the most of any and every experience and opportunity.

Part of developing your attitude is exploring and understanding other cultures. Miguel suggests leaders need to be able to interact with and motivate people from different cultures, whether they travel the world, lead virtually or work with diverse teams at home. She says staying open-minded and soaking in new ways of thinking is not only exciting, but key to effective leadership

“Effective global leaders are able to say, ‘This is the way I would do it, this is the way you would do it – together, let’s create a third way,’” Miguel says. In the process, people gain new insights and practices from others.

Managing yourself first

In a global business environment, management capabilities go farther than managing employees. Leaders need to be able to manage themselves. The key is knowing who you are, says Miguel.

“You need to be self-aware so you can manage yourself. Only then are you in a position to understand and manage other people,” Miguel says. “You need to understand what skills you bring to the table. You need understand your values and style.”

If you understand who you are, it will help with managing yourself and others.

“We have so many facets to who we are. Of all of the things you can know about yourself, at the minimum, is your personal style of communicating and leading, values, culture and skillset. That is the foundation for self-awareness,” Miguel says.

Image
UNC Kenan-Flagler’s Global Education Model

Great leaders are able to identify their values and personal style while understanding the same of others. Effective global leaders are able to work with people of different backgrounds, knowing that their perspectives and behaviors are influenced by their cultures and values and are just as important as the leaders’ own. Good leaders withhold judgement of people from different cultures and don’t assume that because they might have different values and approaches that their contributions are not as productive.

“When you work with people who are different from you and believe different things, our knee-jerk reaction is to judge them as wrong,” Miguel says. But effective global leaders are able to listen and see things from another person’s perspective without judgment.

Relationships matter

Showing empathy and being able to connect and build relationships with clients and employees are other factors that make great global leaders more effective.

Americans tend to prioritize the work at hand over building quality relationships, she says.

“Many parts of the world are relationship-oriented, which means they prioritize building the relationship before accomplishing the task,” Miguel says. In other parts of the world, companies and corporations want to get to know the person they’ll be working with.

“That kind of relationship building is essential to task accomplishment,” Miguel says. Having strong working relationships allows for the acceptance of new ideas and opinions. “You can learn by watching people,” she says, understanding how they succeed even when their priority is the relationship.

“We learn from what we see, read and hear. That is also true for effective global leaders and what we apply in the inclusive global leadership development for our students. ”
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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Becoming an expert  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Dec 2018, 14:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Becoming an expert
Image

The best advice I got before
business school was to become “the expert” on something so my classmates would
come to me for anything related to that topic. The advice giver was a recent
MBA graduate whose expertise was in real estate development, and he said that
former classmates still came to him when thinking about buying a home.

I trust him, and the advice made
sense, so I tried to think on the singular thing that excited me most for my
MBA. The conclusion I came to: everything. I wanted to be “the expert” on
everything.

Many might call me cocky (and many
already do), but there was logic behind this decision. I didn’t actually think
that I would be the expert in any one thing – there are too many brilliant and
hard-working people here for that. Instead I would be an expert on UNC
Kenan-Flagler and all it has to offer. I figured that no student could truly
experience every opportunity within the School. I am not arrogant enough to
think that I could come close – but I was arrogant enough to try.

 Joining clubs? Sign
me up. Volunteer organizations? Of course. Different concentrations? Makes
sense. You name it, I was there. Academic, social, extracurricular, recruiting,
the works.

Most people claim to want
to get the most of their two years here, and I was no different. As I’ve said
to the prospective students on the countless tours I’ve given, I believe there
are five areas into which an MBA can really dive while at school: academics,
recruiting, the Triangle, extracurriculars and social.

Typically I end that list
by saying I dove into extracurriculars, but that’s not a complete answer.

I also have focused on
academics more than I needed, spent too much time obsessing over recruiting,
visited the local spots, and still made time to sing karaoke with my classmates
most Wednesdays. Not everyone can do it, and many don’t want to, but I’m
evidence that some people can come close to having it all.

After attempting to fill
my plate as much as I could during my first year, this year’s crop of
first-year MBA students have asked me how I did it all and, unfortunately, I
still don’t have a great answer. I simply tried to do everything I could.

I did not live a
particularly exceptional life before coming to UNC Kenan-Flagler. I did not
save the lives of countless others, I did not work at a Fortune 500 company,
and I did not have a driving passion that shaped my life, all of which various
classmates have done or had.

Instead, I bounced around
companies, working in three different industries in my five years since
graduating from college, where my GPA was good but not great. My college time
was filled with diving deep into two activities, so why should business school
be any different?

There honestly isn’t a
great answer to it beyond that I wanted to live my best life while here. And if
that’s all I had to say about my time here, it’d be exactly that: I lived my
best life while here.

By Alex Cooper (MBA ’19)

Editor’s note: So what has
Alex Cooper been doing – aside from taking a more-than-full course load – since
he arrived at UNC Kenan-Flagler in August 2017? You’ll find a sampling below.
After graduation he will work as a consultant at Boston Consulting Group in
Atlanta.

  • KenanScholar at the Frank Hawkins
    Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise
  • Concentrations in marketing and operations; Enrichment concentration
    in entrepreneurship
  • MBA Student Association: VP of Finance
  • Entrepreneurshipand Venture Capital Club:
    Executive VP and Liaison for New Venture Creation
  • Adam Smith Society: President
  • Blockchain Club: Co-founder and VP of University Relations
  • Consensys Blockchain Venture Competition: Semi-Finalist
  • Career Mentor for the Undergraduate Business Program
  • Teaching assistant for Financial Tools, Marketing and Sales
    courses; tutor
  • VentureCapital Investment Competition (VCIC):
    Fellow
  • NonprofitBoard Program: Consultant
  • VC/Angel Program
  • IBM Mentorship Program
  • MBA Ambassador
  • Legacy Cup: Tillman Legacy Captain
  • Volunteer: YES Consortium UNC Darkside assistant coach and blood
    drive
  • Career clubs: Technology Club liaison for recruiting and member of the Consulting,
    Marketing, General Management and Operations Management Clubs 
  • Activity clubs: Beer Society, Golf Club and Wine Club
  • UNC Intramural Street Hockey: Champion
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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Make your mark in the future of tech  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jan 2019, 15:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Make your mark in the future of tech
Image

The
technology industry is male dominated, but as the industry has grown, so has
the involvement of women. At the 2018 Carolina Womenin Business Conference, four women in the technology industry shared
their experiences and advice to those wanting to break into the industry.

Miriam
McLemore (BSBA ’85), director of enterprise, strategy, and evangelism at Amazon,
moderated the panel of Katy Sutter (BSBA ’82), client director at IBM; Leslie
Pearce (MBA ’90), vice president of inside sales at First Data; and Bridget
Wamsley (MBA ’17), marketing manager at Cisco.

Together
the women discussed changes in the tech industry, the importance of networking,
and the reality of work-life balance.

Changes in tech industry

One of
the biggest changes in the tech industry, says McLemore, is that today every
company is, in a sense, a tech company. “You can’t run a business without
technology today,” she says. “I had Delta Airlines as an account, and they
can’t fly airplanes without technology. Almost every company is leveraging
technology more and more.”

Another
major change is the pace at which work is performed. In the past a team planned
to roll out a new product or service in three to five years, says McLemore. Now,
teams have more like 12 to 18 months for a rollout and only six months for some
cycles. The turnaround on a project is fast, but the fast pace keeps the work
exciting.

“You
don’t do the job every month, which is very exciting. I love technology just
from the perspective of you don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring and you
have to remain committed to knowing what’s going on in the industry,” says Pearce.

Work-life balance

The
fast pace of the technology industry raises the question of whether a work-life
balance is possible. McLemore answered without hesitation that based on her
personal experience it is very possible. “You actually can do these jobs and
have a family. I have three children and I’ve been married for 25 years. Katy’s
got two children and been married for 30 years.”

McLemore
explains that balancing a family and work isn’t always easy, but with all of
the resources and technology available today, maintaining a balance is much
easier. A shift in work culture has also helped. McLemore reminisced about a
time when she had to show up to work at 8 a.m. in a starched shirt, skirt and
heels. Now she wears jeans and tennis shoes every day. 

Networking

“Relationships
are extremely important, so keeping connections and building your network is so
crucial. The technology world used to be smaller than it is today, but it’s
still fairly small,” says Sutter. “You’d be amazed. Every day I’m still running
into people that I knew 20 years ago.”

Wamsley
offered advice for building a network. When she started at Cisco, she made
goals for herself and kept track of who she had met and who interested her. She
approaches colleagues to seek their insights and learn about their experiences.
So far no one has turned her down.

Building
relationships is key. “Genuinely help them with something because networking
for the sake of networking to me feels artificial,” says McLemore. “I get a lot
of that in this role. If you can do something that helps someone else, that
builds a relationship and that’s what you’re actually trying to achieve.”

By Kelly McNeil (BSBA ’19)
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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Having a lasting impact through entrepreneurship  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jan 2019, 07:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Having a lasting impact through entrepreneurship
Image

As a teenager in high school, Vickie Gibbs (MBA ’98) knew she wanted to start her own business.

“I don’t like being in a box,” Gibbs says. She had a strong desire to be her own boss and be as creative as possible.

With that entrepreneurial mindset, Gibbs was the perfect person to serve as executive director for the Business School’s Entrepreneurship Center.

Gibbs earned her MBA through the School’s full-time program, so she’s familiar with campus and the buzz of students working on start-ups and other projects.

“It’s nice being back in the community. Being around students definitely gives you that energy and feeling of being hungry to learn,” Gibbs says. “There’s that excitement that comes from lifelong learning here.”

Gibbs earned her undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Duke University. Her alma mater and UNC were both on her radar when she decided to earn her MBA. She was married at the time, and wanted to stay local.

“I knew that UNC Kenan-Flagler was really strong in marketing and had just started to do more in entrepreneurship, which was new at the time. That was interesting to me,” Gibbs says. After coming to Chapel Hill for her on-campus interview and site visit, her decision was made.

“The community and the general vibe about everything were really amazing and I could tell that everything was very connected, everyone was willing to help each other,” she says. “Overwhelmingly I said, ‘This is where I want to be.’”

The sense of community extends to alumni and Gibbs compliments the School’s efforts to keep them involved.

“Shortly after I graduated, I came back and spoke at classes and judged events. That brought more connections to other alumni and students, growing my network of people,” Gibbs says. “The Business School and Entrepreneurship Center both work to keep alumni engaged, informed and included.”

Gibbs brings more than 20 years of experience with entrepreneurial ventures to the center. Her career has included jobs at high-tech startups including OpenSite, Art.com and Motricity as well as stints with Viacom / MTV Networks and Capitol Broadcasting Company before founding Marlow Consulting Group.

Gibbs learned valuable lessons at each company, but one scenario stood out to her.

Gibbs and her best friend were working at Art.com, an online retail company. They both loved the idea of producing a physical product, and had an idea of creating an actual store, thinking it would be the same as online retail, but they quickly learned they were wrong.

“Being a successful entrepreneur, you have this combination of humility and hubris. You don’t know everything but you’re convinced you can figure it out,” Gibbs says. After their store had been open for four years, they had to close it.

“Sometimes the greatest learnings come from experiences that are considered failures. We launched a business and had to close it, but learned so much from that experience. One of those lessons was not being afraid of trying something new and failing. Those failures can turn into something positive, potentially a life-changing career”, Gibbs says.

Learning from mistakes and being adaptable has helped Gibbs in her leadership roles and will certainly guide her in her new role with the UNC Kenan-Flagler Entrepreneurship Center.

“I am a servant leader. I feel that we’re all one team, and even though I might be the leader of a team, we’re all in it together. It takes all of the pieces to make things successful. By serving others, we serve the greater good,” Gibbs explains.

But before becoming an entrepreneur, Gibbs used her background in electrical engineering to land her first job at Mitsubishi Semiconductor as a hardware design engineer. Being a woman in STEM, tech and entrepreneurship, Gibbs has advice for other women who want to follow a similar career path.

“Don’t be afraid of anything. You are completely capable,” Gibbs says. “Don’t be intimidated just because there are not a lot of women around. Sometimes you just have to be bold and go for it,” Gibbs explains. Being a woman in business and tech has disadvantages and advantages.

“I get remembered a lot more. It gives you an opportunity to stand out,” she says.

And when disadvantages arise, Gibbs relies on her circle of friends. She says it’s important for women in business to maintain a cohort of female colleagues and peers who you can rely on. It has helped Gibbs professionally and personally.

“We talk about work, we talk about fun stuff and we also support each other as we encounter challenges,” Gibbs says. They also share successes. Gibbs helped pilot a program at Duke, DTech, for women in technical fields to help them develop a sense of community with their female peers. “It’s been life changing for some of those young women who are graduating and getting jobs.”

Gibbs loves seeing potential in others, coaching them and giving them the opportunity to learn and pushing them outside of their comfort zones. Some people who have worked with Gibbs are now VPs of top brands like Nickelodeon and Sephora.

“One of the main drivers for coming back to UNC Kenan-Flagler at the Entrepreneurship Center is to have a larger impact in a broader way,” she says. Gibbs praises Ted Zoller for the success and growth of the center. She wanted to work with him and take the center to the next level. One challenge she hopes to tackle is diversity.

“Diversity in entrepreneurship is a challenge. No one’s really figured it out yet and I would love to make progress with the Entrepreneurship Center — figure out how companies can do it better and how we can do it better. It’s a big problem to solve,” Gibbs explains.

Her goal is to always have a lasting impact where ever she can. In addition to her new role with the Entrepreneurship Center, she’s also working with the Street Hope Foundation in Kenya. The organization supports women who are in survival prostitution, which is when homeless or disadvantage people trade sex for food, a place to sleep or other basic needs.

“We’re teaching them life skills and job skills. To watch life-changing impact is really amazing,” Gibbs says.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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Profits with purpose  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2019, 07:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Profits with purpose
Image

Officials from Chapel Hill town council, Mayor Pam Hemminger and interim UNC System President Dr. William Roper celebrated the project.

Being a great entrepreneur is more than making profits – it’s about purpose. That’s a key message UNC Kenan-Flagler professorJim Kitchen teaches undergraduate students in his Entrepreneurship and Business Planning course.

Kitchen challenges them to come up with business ventures, and profits go to charities across the Triangle.

“Since I started this project in 2012, we’ve generated almost $250,000 in profits for local charities,” Kitchen says. “Entrepreneurship is a contact sport. It must be experienced. So for this project, students succeed or fail based on their ideas as well as their abilities to execute on branding, marketing, sales, managing, creating partnerships, scaling and pivoting when required.”

But the project is more than learning the basics. “It’s about teaching students to think about what is important to them and why, and identifying and developing the values that will guide them for the rest of their lives.”

“This class taught me so much about the importance of incorporating service into our learning,” says student Raven Seldon (BA ’21).

Students are expected to generate approximately $1,000 in profits in four weeks.

“I thought Professor Kitchen was either joking or that his class was about to be impossible. Little did I know I was getting into a service project that would teach me more about myself as well as the importance and impact of service,” Seldon says.

Each class brings new business ideas and higher profits. In 2012, students earned $6,500 in profits. In 2018 students earned $85,000, more than 10 times the first year’s earnings. Part of the success is that students connect emotionally with the project.

One charity that has benefited from the students’ business skills is Pee Wee Homes.

A project of the Church of the Advocate,Pee Wee Homes helps tackle the affordable housing issue in the Chapel Hill area.

Image
The homes at the Church of the Advocate will be ready for move-in spring 2019.

“The homes support people who are experiencing or who have a chronic history of experiencing homelessness and who are earning below 30 percent of the area’s median income or about $1,000 per month,” says Maggie West, treasurer of the board of directors for Pee Wee Homes.

Kitchen’s classes gave $37,000 to help build a home, which will be available for residents in spring 2019.

This isn’t the first time West worked with Kitchen. She also collaborated with him when she worked for the Community Empowerment Fund (CEF).

“Jim approached us about this idea of working with his business class to help provide cars for CEF members who needed transportation for work, medical reasons or for their education who were struggling to afford to buy a car,” West says. To date, course profits have purchased seven cars for CEF members.

She appreciates the creativity in the students’ business ventures. “Getting to hear the different ways the students have hustled, earning thousands of dollars in some cases, has been really impressive and inspiring to see,” says West.

Kitchen connects the importance of purpose and social investment and community investment in his teachings and through these class projects.

“UNC Kenan-Flagler is very good at training students to be consultants and investment bankers. Teaching our students to be well-balanced, and contributing global citizens is equally as important. Students learning how success and wealth fits into their lives – versus being the sole focus of their lives – is critical,” says Kitchen.

Image
Lisa Fischbeck welcomes and thanks the community for their support of the Pee Wee Homes project.

“It’s a beautiful thing and remarkable to me to have students in a business school, where they are learning about for-profit enterprises, to be challenged to contribute to the needs of the community in which they’re going to school,” says Rev. Lisa Fischbeck of Church of the Advocate. “To have that be part of their training from the very beginning is exemplary to me.”

Kitchen’s fall 2018 classes earned $40,000 toward the construction of more tiny homes at a new site.

“Jim’s classes’ participation has made all the difference in our being able to proceed with this project. Without that, our fundraising goals would have been a lot harder to reach,” says Fischbeck. “The students’ work is making this project possible, that’s clear.”

Also benefiting from the students’ work is the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation, which received $45,000.

“We are so deeply grateful to be selected as a recipient of the funding from the UNC Kenan-Flagler class,” says Lynn Lehmann, executive director Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation. “These funds will be put to good use to ease the burdens of our overworked and underpaid school teachers.”

Image
Jim Kitchen hands out bags of school supplies at a local Chapel Hill middle school.

“When we partner with community members, like UNC Kenan-Flagler students who are studying entrepreneurship, we open up more opportunities to support our local K-12 teachers in Chapel Hill and Carrboro,” she says. “Through the school supply project that was designed by the UNC students, teachers will receive much needed supplies to meet the needs of their classrooms throughout the school year.”

The schools are fortunate to have community partners like Kitchen and UNC Kenan-Flagler, says Jeff Nash, executive director of community relations for Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools. Students will receive a direct benefit from their generous contribution. We cannot thank them enough for choosing to partner with us.”

“Professor Kitchen is transforming his classroom into a platform for social change. His dedication to his students, and the Chapel Hill community is inspiring,” says Mary Laci Motley (BSBA ’21).

“This class challenged me to think creatively and pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone,” says Seldon. “It taught me lessons on how the real world works for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to make profit.”

After class ended, Seldon volunteered with Pee Wee Homes to help build a home. “Being able to see what my efforts and hard work went toward allowed me to know that I made a positive impact on someone’s life.”

And that’s exactly the lesson Kitchen wants his students to learn.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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Learn to lead virtually  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Feb 2019, 05:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Learn to lead virtually
Image

Leading people in the
same location from the same culture is difficult enough, so it’s no surprise
that leading global teams from cultures around the world adds a whole other
level of complexity. This blueprint for leading virtual projects can enhance
the process and your results.

An insightfulTed-Talk by former General Stanley McChrystal,  leader of the Special Forces command as well
as the overall force commander in Afghanistan, illustrates some challenges of
leading virtually in the military in the post-9/11 world. Interestingly, they
are the same civilians face in today’s business world:

  • Teams and individuals are spread
    across the globe.
  • Teams are composed of men and women
    representing various cultures and age groups.
  • They use new technologies such as virtual
    meetings, workflow software, email and text to accomplish their mission.

A more light-heartedvideo illustrates problems that arise when trying to
get a virtual team on the same page. Technology not working, calls being
dropped, members not knowing to use the technology, people not paying attention
are just a few issues virtual leaders face.

Yet virtual leadership is
becoming more important daily as businesses become more global, working across
international boundaries to serve customers from different cultures and
countries.  According to one Gallup poll, 75 percent
of employees in large and medium companies spend at least 20 percent of their
time working remotely. And a report by RW3 found that 85
percent of employees in large and medium businesses work on one or more virtual
teams and the same 85 percent think virtual teams are critical to their
productivity.

Clearly, successful
virtual teams are fundamental to being competitive and can increase
effectiveness and efficiency through improved cross-functional teaming, cross-cultural
innovation, shortening speed to market and developing a more cohesive
organizational culture.

So how can you learn to
successfully lead a virtual team? There are two main components:

  • Creating the virtual team environment
    before you start your project
  • Managing ongoing virtual meetings

Image

Creating the virtual team environment

Focus on three key areas when you are creating the virtual team environment: teaming, timing and technology.

1. Teaming: Build the team’s cohesiveness. Getting the team off to a fast start is crucial to success. If possible, at the start of the project get the team together to get to know one another, build relationships and kick off the project. If it’s not, then strive to accomplish these goals in your first virtual session. Do not overlook relationship-building – it’s critical in many cultures and for many individuals. Team members might not trust you or work well with you if you have not taken the time to build relationships with them.

Also commit to a virtual team charter, which should include the mission of the group and your ground rules. The ground rules should cover the agreed-upon language, the technologies to be used, how members will limit background noise and how to ensure full participation. Also take time to understand each member’s work style, especially if people from different countries are on the team. Some people are more direct and others indirect. Some are more egalitarian while others are more used to working in a strict hierarchy. This will help you avoid misunderstandings and conflicts down the road.

2. Timing: Determine the rhythm of the team meetings. The team rhythm will depend on the length and intensity of your project. In general, it is best to hold the meetings the same day and time of the week. However, if there are major time zone differences (e.g. U.S. and China) you might want to take turns so one group isn’t always calling in on their evening time.

In addition to the team meeting, consider holding calls with individual team members to see how they are doing, answer questions and just connect personally. You also could hold virtual “office hours” in which you can be reached by instant messenger, phone or text. Finally, consider sending out the meeting information in advance. Some people like to read it ahead of time to prepare or, if they speak a different language, they might need more time to understand it.

3. Technology: Decide which technologies to utilize to conduct the meetings. If you all belong to the same company which technologies you use could already be determined. If not, prioritize robust technologies over those with many features to minimize frustration for the team. It’s also critical that everyone knows how to use the technology, which could take some of your time. It goes without saying you personally need to be proficient in the technologies the team will be using to properly facilitate your team and maintain credibility.

You might want to use a mix of
technologies to manage the project, such as videoconferencing for the initial
meeting and problem solving, teleconferences for status meetings, workflow
software for prep, follow-up and work between meetings and instant messaging
for quick communications.

On-going management

To manage the virtual team meetings, you need to frame, facilitate and follow up.

1. Frame: Ensure everyone on the team knows what is to be accomplished in each session.

Starts with having a goal and agenda for each meeting. Sounds simple but it’s crucial to having a productive meeting. Send out any information possible ahead of time, and if you need to hold pre-meetings to prep people or gain agreement, get those completed as well.

2. Facilitate: Run the meeting in a productive manner. Virtual team meetings are even more difficult to manage then regular meetings and you need to take extra care to facilitate them. Some things to do include taking some time up front to build relationships, modify your speaking to ensure understanding, manage turn-taking among team members, mediate cultural gaps and probe for clarity when people seem confused.

3. Follow-up: Ensure members know what was decided and what they need to do before the next session. This is all about ensuring everyone is on the same page and completes their assigned tasks in the interim between meetings. So close with a summary, ask if anyone has questions, and send out the notes from the session. Include what was decided, who is to take what actions by what date and what will happen at the next meeting.

Virtual leadership will
only become more important in the years ahead. If you take these steps, you
will be well prepared to reap the benefits.

By Mark McNeilly, professor of the practice of marketing at UNC
Kenan-Flagler
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From the classroom to launching the company  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Feb 2019, 08:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: From the classroom to launching the company
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Experiential learning is at the heart of business education at UNC Kenan-Flagler. Throughout their studies in the Executive MBA program, physicians Martyn Knowles and Ben Wood (both MBA ’18) enjoyed a unique opportunity: launching a company that applies business principles to their profession of healthcare.

Knowles and Wood – who have been friends since starting medical school in 2003 – co-founded Operative Flow Technologies, which uses technology to address problems the surgeons noted in the operating room.

“With healthcare costs at an unsustainable level nationally, we have to look toward innovation for value creation,” says Wood, president.

Knowles, chief medical officer, adds, “Healthcare is an inherently difficult place for entrepreneurs because lives are on the line. It takes a lot of trust for a hospital to look at a product.”

The entrepreneurs’ initial product, OpFlow, is a cloud-based software platform that increases communication and cuts costs in the operating room. It also provides data and analytics that hospital administrators can use for performance improvement initiatives that generate value for the hospital system.

“We needed more than just two surgeons and an idea,” says Knowles.

So he and Wood decided to enroll together in the Executive MBA Program and focus on the entrepreneurship track.

“The program served as an incubator and accelerator for our product,” says Knowles. “We utilized our company as the basis for our class projects and were able to receive feedback from world-class faculty. Those relationships, cultivated by Ted Zoller and the School’s entrepreneurship program, enabled us get to the point where we were able to successfully launch our company before the end of our MBA program.”

One of the culminating events of the duo’s MBA career was winning the 2018 SoftLaunch Coaches’ Choice Award. UNC Kenan-Flagler awards the recognition at the completion of Zoller’s SoftLaunch class and workshops, during which students gain knowledge, skills and connections needed to launch a business. Coaches in the areas of marketing, strategy, finance and law consult with founders of competing early-stage companies in preparation for a final venture pitch to a panel of judges.

The SoftLaunch judges aren’t the only ones who see the value of OpFlow. After a successful pilot project, leadership team members at UNC Rex Hospital are engaged in contract negotiations with the OpFlow team to expand the use of the product. “We have received a great amount of excellent feedback from Rex and they are very excited about the data we provided,” says Knowles. “Future plans include expansion throughout the UNC Health Care system and continuation of discussions with local, regional and national hospitals to begin scaling the product.”

“The pilot was an opportunity for our proof of concept,” says Wood. “Alongside the technological expertise of our CEO, David Rowe, the MBA program catalyzed the development of our idea to a commercially viable product. One of the first markers of success was proving through the data what we thought would be true: that our solution would provide improved efficiency, cost savings and, ultimately, better patient outcomes.”

“If you have an idea, the best possible way to determine its viability is to enroll in the  UNC Kenan-Flagler Executive MBA program and put your idea to work,” says Knowles. “Between the network, the classes, the professors and the content, you come out well-versed in how to make your company a success.”

By Michele Lynn
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From the classroom to launching the company  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Feb 2019, 08:02
FROM Kenan Flagler Executive MBA Blog: From the classroom to launching the company
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Experiential learning is at the heart of business education at UNC Kenan-Flagler. Throughout their studies in the Executive MBA program, physicians Martyn Knowles and Ben Wood (both MBA ’18) enjoyed a unique opportunity: launching a company that applies business principles to their profession of healthcare.

Knowles and Wood – who have been friends since starting medical school in 2003 – co-founded Operative Flow Technologies, which uses technology to address problems the surgeons noted in the operating room.

“With healthcare costs at an unsustainable level nationally, we have to look toward innovation for value creation,” says Wood, president.

Knowles, chief medical officer, adds, “Healthcare is an inherently difficult place for entrepreneurs because lives are on the line. It takes a lot of trust for a hospital to look at a product.”

The entrepreneurs’ initial product, OpFlow, is a cloud-based software platform that increases communication and cuts costs in the operating room. It also provides data and analytics that hospital administrators can use for performance improvement initiatives that generate value for the hospital system.

“We needed more than just two surgeons and an idea,” says Knowles.

So he and Wood decided to enroll together in the Executive MBA Program and focus on the entrepreneurship track.

“The program served as an incubator and accelerator for our product,” says Knowles. “We utilized our company as the basis for our class projects and were able to receive feedback from world-class faculty. Those relationships, cultivated by Ted Zoller and the School’s entrepreneurship program, enabled us get to the point where we were able to successfully launch our company before the end of our MBA program.”

One of the culminating events of the duo’s MBA career was winning the 2018 SoftLaunch Coaches’ Choice Award. UNC Kenan-Flagler awards the recognition at the completion of Zoller’s SoftLaunch class and workshops, during which students gain knowledge, skills and connections needed to launch a business. Coaches in the areas of marketing, strategy, finance and law consult with founders of competing early-stage companies in preparation for a final venture pitch to a panel of judges.

The SoftLaunch judges aren’t the only ones who see the value of OpFlow. After a successful pilot project, leadership team members at UNC Rex Hospital are engaged in contract negotiations with the OpFlow team to expand the use of the product. “We have received a great amount of excellent feedback from Rex and they are very excited about the data we provided,” says Knowles. “Future plans include expansion throughout the UNC Health Care system and continuation of discussions with local, regional and national hospitals to begin scaling the product.”

“The pilot was an opportunity for our proof of concept,” says Wood. “Alongside the technological expertise of our CEO, David Rowe, the MBA program catalyzed the development of our idea to a commercially viable product. One of the first markers of success was proving through the data what we thought would be true: that our solution would provide improved efficiency, cost savings and, ultimately, better patient outcomes.”

“If you have an idea, the best possible way to determine its viability is to enroll in the  UNC Kenan-Flagler Executive MBA program and put your idea to work,” says Knowles. “Between the network, the classes, the professors and the content, you come out well-versed in how to make your company a success.”

By Michele Lynn
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Power Plays During Chicago Ideas Week  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Feb 2019, 10:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Power Plays During Chicago Ideas Week
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My 2018 fall break was about as non-traditional as a college fall break could be – but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Rather than heading to the beach to bask in the sun, my 46 other GLOBE XII peers and I headed north to the “Windy City” – Chicago, Illinois – home of the Chicago Cubs, deep dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs. In 3 days, my peers and I heard from over 10 amazing entrepreneurs, innovators, community makers, and doers. Many lessons were learned there, but more importantly, many lessons were brought back. During my time at Chicago Ideas Week, I further discovered the power of relationships, community, and art in business and society.

Creating Value Through Relationships
I worked in Chicago this past summer, but something I did not take notice of until the study trip was how relationship-drive business was in the area. During our visits with Larry Levy, Eric Becker, Erik Severinghaus, Brad Keywell, Justin Malina, and Eric Duboe, I got to see the power of relationships in action. First and foremost, none of us would have had the opportunity to meet those inspiring individuals without the relationship that Professor Zoller had built with them. For those individuals to have given over an hour of their time to chat with college students, Professor Zoller must have built and maintained a great relationship with all of them.

During our session with Larry Levy and Eric Becker, we listened to their stories that exemplified the power of relationships and their view of relationship building through the lens of value creation. I loved hearing from them because what they said resonated with me – I like to identify as value creator and not a value taker. I’ve always thought, “Why couldn’t both parties benefit from a deal?” Often times, business people are pinpointed as people who just take and take, but on the contrary, like Mr. Levy and Mr. Becker, there are many out there who also like to create value for both parties involved. It was inspiring to meet top business leaders who not only made their businesses successful, but also helped many others on their way to the top.

Community as a Unifying Force
One of my favorite talks during Chicago Idea’s week was Radha Agrawal’s (way too short) talk about community. I believe in the power that a community has when a group of people come together. Radha’s speech was very enlightening and I was inspired by the positive impact she’s had on so many communities. Through her businesses such as Daybreaker and Thinx, she transformed every community that she got involved with. Additionally, through these movements, she has changed the way communities think about dance, parties, and women’s bodies. How did she do that and how can you go about doing the same? It starts with finding your people, then building a community around that. When people feel like they are connected with others, together they are a stronger force to create change.

Using Art to Create Radical Change
The first event that I attended during Chicago Ideas Week was “Radical Creators: The Cultural Leaders Defining the Zeitgeist,” and it talked about the power that art and entertainment has on shaping the Zeitgeist (spirit/culture of the times). They brought various speakers in the arts/entertainment industry including the head writer of “Grey’s Anatomy”. I found it very interesting because I’m one who had little exposure to popular entertainment growing up. My friends often times joke that I live under a rock for my lack of popular culture knowledge. I don’t spend much time watching shows, listening to trendy music, or exposing myself to other forms of entertainment – yet, I find my values changing greatly. If a person like me, who engages with these forms of entertainment can still have my thoughts and values influenced, it makes me question how much more those, who are immersed in it, are influenced.

Art as a Vessel for Social Change
I’m fascinated with the relative difference of values that different generations have. These general values are created from various things like experiences and historical events, however, I believe that values are also crafted by entertainers and those trying to create change through art/entertainment, radical creators. During Chicago Ideas Week, Krista Vernoff brought up how she used her privilege of writing episodes for the popular show, “Grey’s Anatomy,” to normalize things that women go through that may have before been taboo to talk about. Similarly, Cameron Esposito took her skills in stand-up comedy to bring light to the issues of many rape victims, an occurrence that’s more common than people think, yet is largely unspoken about. Through their work in the entertainment industry, they have been able to create great social change by influencing the mindset of their viewers/fans.

Learn, but It’s More Important to Do
Chicago Ideas Week brought a lot of learning for me where I was able to further learn about the impact of relationships, community and art in entrepreneurship and society. But more importantly, I learned that while it’s good to learn about such things, it’s more important to just do. How can I expect to create change in the world like many of these individuals without actually putting any of my learnings into practice? Keeping all of these lessons in the back of my mind, I plan on executing more on my dreams. I will continue to learn, but more importantly, I will do.

By Emma Horesovsky
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Accelerating business accelerators  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Feb 2019, 13:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Accelerating business accelerators
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As business accelerators expand, understanding what makes them successful is becoming increasingly important. This area of study is of special interest to Chris Bingham, professor, Philip Hettleman Distinguished Scholar and area chair of strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Bingham explored how accelerators’ program designs influence new ventures’ ability to access, interpret and process the external information needed to survive and grow. He conducted the research with Susan Cohen (PhD ’13) of the University of Georgia and Benjamin Hallen of the University of Washington. They co-authored “The Role of Accelerator Designs in Mitigating Bounded Rationality in New Ventures,” published in Administrative Science Quarterly, the premier journal in management research.

The first paper on accelerators to be published in an academic journal, the authors explore how the program designs of accelerators influence the ability of new ventures to access, interpret, and process external information needed to survive and grow.

Bingham believes that their works is significant “because it is opening a black box about what’s going on in accelerators, which are new on the scene and which everyone thinks are wonderful, but we don’t know a whole lot about them.”  Many people see accelerators – in which venture capitalists invest in multiple companies at once – as a disruption to the traditional investment model in which venture capitalists invest sequentially in different companies, he says.

“With incubators, you usually go in as a solo venture, you can be there for one to three years, and you may be surrounded by other ventures,” says Bingham. “But in an accelerator, you come in as a cohort, for a fixed period of time. This cohort and time-bound nature are unique features of accelerators that you don’t see in other areas of entrepreneurship, and are a new format that, as the name implies, can accelerate venture development.”

Better accelerators help companies receive venture capital financing and achieve higher growth faster than if they just went to a venture capitalist, says Bingham. This new research finds three key elements in the design of accelerators that contribute to success.

The first element is concentrating consultations between ventures and their mentors within a short period of time. “It’s more effective if entrepreneurs participating in an accelerator meet with 70 to 80 unique mentors in the first few weeks,” he says. “As a venture startup, you don’t know what to do and you receive so much divergent feedback. But after 20, 30 or 40 meetings with mentors, you start to hear a common thread in the feedback and are better able to define your value proposition.” While it seems counterintuitive, better accelerators slow down their ventures, rather than having them optimize a suboptimal plan, he says.

Fostering transparency among ventures participating in the same program is the second key element in a strong accelerator. “Peers became exceptionally helpful in helping you learn how best to exploit the opportunity you have already discovered,” says Bingham. “Better accelerators want to expose you to what everyone else is doing so you see your weaknesses quickly.” Peers, who are stronger in a specific area, such as marketing, finance or coding, can help their colleagues address their weaknesses.

“Coopetition – when you are both cooperating and competing – is a very interesting dynamic,” he says. “You are both competing for the same venture dollars at the end of your time in the accelerator but you are actually cooperating together.”

Standardizing the program for each participating venture is most effective is the third element – another counterintuitive finding, since ventures enroll in the program with varying levels of experience and a variety of backgrounds. “You want all of your ventures in a lockstep program, moving in a similar cadence,” says Bingham. “Rather than say, ‘Here is a buffet table; take what you want,’ better accelerators say, ‘You will all do this for the first few weeks and then you’re all going to move to this activity for the next few weeks.’”

Entrepreneurs tend to spend too much or too little time on activities so it is important that the accelerator’s managing director guides ventures so they don’t underexploit or overexploit a resource.

“I hope that our research helps companies understand how to accelerate innovation and change so they can become more competitive in today’s fast-moving, dynamic economy,” says Bingham. “At a higher level, I hope that we can facilitate more agile thinking in executives and help them learn to adapt better and faster.”
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Growing as an entrepreneur with BLUE  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Feb 2019, 11:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Growing as an entrepreneur with BLUE
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Entering my journey at UNC as a chemistry major, the last thing I thought I would be doing within my first two months would be competing in a campus-wide entrepreneurship and innovation event against some of the top business school students in the University. Growing up, I always was interested in how things work and how to make them better, which is the main reason I joined BLUE. As time went on I became more focused my schoolwork, and less on my childhood interests.

So when I heard about the opportunity to come up with a business idea and pitch it to entrepreneurs and business people in the Chapel Hill area, I thought that it would be a fun way to check in on my social skills and see what life is like as a business student/entrepreneur.

In reality, the experience I gained at the Carolina Challenge Pitch Party far exceeded my learning how to pitch properly, and was some of the most valuable information a student of any field of study could get during their first semester in college. Talking to hundreds of some of the area’s top movers and shakers over the course of three hours, I learned about business, risk taking and the importance of following your passion.

But most of all I really saw the impact and importance of giving back to the community. Here were some of the top business minds in the University spending three hours of their evening in a crowded auditorium talking and giving invaluable advice to a bunch of college students about small, probably infeasible business ideas they had, all with smiles on their faces. The generosity they showed us, and the enthusiasm we showed in return, demonstrated to me how just a two-minute conversation with someone can make a big impact.

Later in the semester, we had another pitch competition, this time just within our BLUE Residential Learning Program group. Teaming up with a fellow chemistry major, we designed a collapsible water bottle to preserve carbonation within liquids as well as flavor, and the design is actually being used now by the company Que. Learning how to combine my academic background with a real-world problem was a unique experience that I hope to carry with me as I move out of college into a corporate setting.

So to anyone out there who’s interested in entrepreneurship but maybe doesn’t know where to start or is nervous about talking with people – just reach out to the Carolina community! One thing I’ve learned at UNC is that people are here for you – they want you to succeed, to grow and to expand your horizons beyond what you ever thought they could be.

Just dive in. Believe me, once you’ve entered the world of entrepreneurship and innovation, you’ll never look at the world the same way again.

By Anthony Schinelli (BS ’21)
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How auditors safeguard businesses and individuals  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Feb 2019, 14:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: How auditors safeguard businesses and individuals
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The first clues came in from the employee tip line: Workers complaining about a former manager forcing them to work overtime and process non-routine transactions while he bought a new home, a new truck, and a new boat.

A team of auditors sprang into action, reviewing records and conducting interviews. They soon discovered that the employee complaints were legitimate.

The ex-manager had misappropriated company equipment and accepted what amounted to bribes. He had also forced employees to work without pay on the weekends and created potential safety issues for the company’s operations. In all, the auditors identified over $100,000 in costs related to the manager’s malfeasance.

 

>> Test your auditing and fraud detection skills in our “That’s a Red Flag!” quiz. 

 

What auditors do

Auditors, many with Master of Accounting (MAC) degrees, provide a critical role in the business world. They ensure we can trust financial information, identify risks before they become problems, and, sometimes, catch cheats, frauds, and criminals. Auditors might be the closest thing the business world has to superheroes.

Public companies are audited by independent external auditors every year to ensure their financial statements are accurate and follow accounting standards, so investors can trust them when making decisions.

“One of the fundamental roles auditors play in society is providing trust,” says Lynn Dikolli, a UNC accounting professor who teaches auditing. “We’re that objective third party that allows you to trust either a statement or assertion that somebody has made.”

And, she adds, auditors highlight in their reports when information cannot be trusted – such as when financial statements are inaccurate or incomplete – whether due to an unintentional error or deliberate fraud.

It’s not just external financial statements that need assurance. Many companies hire auditors to routinely assess whether corporate policies and procedures are being adhered to, review information systems and financial records, and identify risks that a company may be exposed to.

In addition to auditing financial statements, auditors help organizations assess cybersecurity risks and understand new technologies, such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Some auditors tackle manufacturing supply chains or corporate social responsibility programs. Auditors even ensure the accuracy of Hollywood’s Academy Awards each year.

 

What skills do auditors need

Auditing is both interesting and important. Like most professions, auditing requires a unique set of skills and a particular acumen. Here are four critical attributes you need to become a successful auditor:

People skills. Auditors spend their days getting information from other people and asking questions. Whether the audit is focused on wrongdoing or is a routine review, auditors have to be good at getting people to open up, picking up subtle cues, and knowing when to dig deeper.

A learning mindset. While a MAC degree will give you deep accounting knowledge, you’ll still end up applying that knowledge to other industries. Whether it’s manufacturing, health care, financial services, or something else, auditors are always learning. As an external auditor, you might conduct an inventory at a rum plant one month and the next month find yourself reviewing shipping and storage records for a drug manufacturer. Internal auditors often spend their time digging into areas of their own companies where they might have little first-hand experience.

Critical thinking. If problems with information accuracy were obvious to everyone, there would be no need for auditors. But often these problems aren’t obvious at all. Auditors have to understand the data they’re examining, identify what might be missing, and put it in the context of the company’s overall business and the wider economy.

Accounting expertise. Of course, auditors need top-notch accounting skills. They need to understand accounting standards and the analytical skills that come with a Master of Accounting degree. Auditors learn specific statistical techniques, computer-driven data mining procedures, and other methods that allow them to assess large amounts of information.

 

Auditor career paths

The fastest way to turn your eye for detail and curiosity into an auditing career is to earn a MAC degree. Many MAC graduates go directly into external auditor roles at large public accounting firms. Other MAC graduates use the degree to take their career up a level in their current organization, jumping into a new role as an internal auditor.

Auditors are critical in the modern economy, safeguarding the information that financial markets, managers, and ordinary individuals use to navigate our increasingly complex economy. Auditors, particularly internal auditors or forensic auditors, are skilled in identifying the red flags in financial results or employee behavior that point to fraud or deception.

Being an auditor isn’t exactly the same as Wonder Woman or Captain America battling evildoers — you probably won’t be dodging bullets or throwing punches. But if you become an auditor, you will be protecting people and organizations against mistakes, misleading or missing information, or possibly even malfeasance.

 

Can you spot fraud?

Wondering if auditing might be a good career path for you? Take our “That’s a Red Flag!” quiz to test your attention to detail, your business acumen, and your critical thinking skills.

 

What’s your next career move?

The #1-ranked online Master of Accounting (MAC) degree from the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School can give your career the boost it needs.

  • Flexibility: Evening courses and a pace you set
  • Reputation: World-class faculty and a top-ranked program
  • Support: A career services team dedicated to the needs of working professionals
>> Learn more about the program>> View a demo of our live classes

>> Join our next webinar

 
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Students put the private sector to work for the public good  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Feb 2019, 11:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Students put the private sector to work for the public good
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“Find out how much you’d like a PhD
before you try a doctoral program.”

That’s how KenanScholars was originally advertised to me by a
student when I was looking at UNC as an MBA applicant. As someone who has been
interested in that idea since I was a research assistant in college, the
concept of a pre-PhD attempt appealed to me.

As it turns out, the value of being a Kenan Scholar at the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise is much more than the opportunity to work on a research project (although that is also a wonderful benefit). Between introductions to well-to-dos around UNC, lunches with CEOs and our own lounge area, there was considerably more to this program than advertised.

The largest component of the program
is certainly the research aspect, which is a year-long project working on a specific
subject with a professor or advisor. While the project has to be associated
with the Kenan Institute, there is a wide range of areas in which you can work.
Behavioral finance was my focus, and I am working with CameliaKuhnen to study tail-risk perception in low
socioeconomic status individuals.
Other research projects were on topics including non-profit
operations, venture capital in the local area, diversity and inclusion at UNC,
and the economics of green real estate. That is all to say that there is no one
box into which the program fits; it is what you make of it.

Outside of the research piece, being
a Kenan Scholar means a multitude of benefits, not the least of which is a
connection to Lingmei Howell. She helps run the program, like she did with its
predecessor (the Kenan Institute Leadership Fellowship), and it feels like her
goal in life is to benefit the scholars as much as possible.

When I mentioned I was interested in
learning more about how the Kenan Funds functioned, I was introduced to Dan
Drake, the president of the funds, and he is now a mentor and friend. Some of
my passions lie within innovation and entrepreneurship, so naturally Lingmei
set up a time for me to have coffee with Judith Cone, vice chancellor for innovation,
entrepreneurship and economic development. There is seemingly no length too far
for the program to go to make sure its Kenan Scholars succeed outside of the
academic setting.

In addition to introductions, the
other benefits come from all of the events I have been able to attend as a
Kenan Scholar. Talks amongst healthcare professionals on the opioid crisis, a
forum with the city planners and mayor of Durham on the future of the area, and
countless lunches with a host of impressive individuals all have been the norm
since I joined the program. On the docket before I graduate: a field trip to
and tour at the N.C. State Legislature, a small group session with the dean and
lunch with the former head of the CATO Institute.

 Although I still don’t know if I will do a PhD down the
line or just continue working on my current paper with Dr. Kuhnen, this has
been an unforgettable part of my time at UNC Kenan-Flagler. And that’s not just
because the Kenan Center – where all Kenan Scholars are welcome to work – has
the most beautiful views around.

By Alex Cooper (MBA ’19)
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It’s not just about hair  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Feb 2019, 11:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: It’s not just about hair
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Procter & Gamble (P&G) announced its acquisition of
Walker & Company in late 2018. Most known for its Bevel shave system,
Walker & Company was founded by Tristan Walker with the mission to simplify
beauty and grooming for people of color.

I first learned of Walker during my time as a P&G
beauty, health and personal care account executive circa 2013. While I did not
shoulder the responsibility for shave care, it was nearly impossible to work at
the company and not be aware of the challenges we faced in the category. New
entrants like Dollar Shave Club challenged Gillette’s category leadership.
Still, I expected that we’d respond and adjust. I was intrigued however, to see
Bevel, a brand geared towards black men, grow even as Gillette lost market
share to competitors.

I began my P&G career in the summer of 2011 as a
customer business development manager for health care and cosmetics in
Charlotte, North Carolina. I was excited and grateful to manage both
categories. However, beauty care felt more personal to me. As a black woman who
has sometimes struggled to find the perfect shade of makeup for my skin tone or
the right products for my afro-textured hair, I was excited to learn about the
business of beauty and how I might leave my mark on the industry. With the
support of amazing managers and great teams, I’ve had many opportunities to do
so. However, one memory stands out among the rest.

During my first year at P&G I changed my hair. When I
joined the team, my hair was long and straight. After a few months, I cut it
short. A few months later, I took it out. Took it out? Yes, I had been wearing
extensions to add volume and length. Now, after at least a year of
contemplation, I decided to rock my hair in its most natural, unbothered form —
a TWA (teeny weeny afro). For me, this was not only a physical change, but also
a truly psychological journey.

Black hair reflects black history and our roots run deep. In
early African civilizations, hairstyles signaled social standing, tribe and
even marriage status. Later, survivors and descendants of the transatlantic
slave trade braided their hair to remain connected to their heritage, for
functionality, and in some cases, to communicate messages to other slaves.

Since then, our natural hair has been both glorified and
weaponized. It’s been a symbol of freedom and political resistance (afros in
1960s) as well as a roadblock to success (requirements of straight,
“professional” hair to get a job). Its versatility reflects the beauty and
diversity of Africa and the African diaspora. Still, it remains a mystery to
many, sometimes even to ourselves.

So, when a person of color speaks of their hair care
“journey”, it’s just that – a journey of acceptance, a lesson in patience and a
physical manifestation of enlightenment and growth. In its more literal sense,
it is a conscious decision to nurture and nourish the hair, whether curly, wavy
or straight, through proper nutrition and using the right products and regimen
for one’s unique hair needs.

My hair-care journey began after college. Many of my friends
had already “gone natural,” cutting off their chemically relaxed strands at the
line of demarcation (where the relaxed and natural parts of a hair strand
meet). I was one of the last to transition. I wasn’t convinced of the benefits
of going natural. Although chemical relaxers left the occasional burn on my scalp,
most black women experienced this, so I accepted it as the norm.

So, what changed my mind? I can’t say that it was one
particular thing. However, the decision became clear during a phone call with a
friend. I’d shared that although my life was great, something was off. I had
finished college, relocated to a new city and enjoyed my new job. I had money
in the bank, great friends and a supportive family. Still, some part of me
struggled to embrace my new life as a self-sufficient, professional adult. As I
confided in my friend, a major realization arose. To flourish in this new phase
of life, I would have to embrace who I was in this new moment and reaffirm my
authentic self. For me, that started with my hair.

I spent the next few months learning about hair,
specifically black hair. I spoke to friends, watched YouTube tutorials and
scoured internet forums. At the same time, I nurtured my soul with prayer,
meditation, and reflection. Finally, I felt ready enough to big chop (cut off
all the relaxed hair). I made the first few cuts myself. However, I quickly
realized that despite my months of research, I was not a beautician. So, I
booked an appointment for my stylist to do the rest.

The freedom I felt after my appointment was indescribable. I
did not expect it to feel so good. I also did not anticipate my manager’s
reaction when I arrived to work the next Monday.

In the most genuinely curious way, my manager asked about my
new look. He did not understand how my hair had changed from a straight
hairstyle to a curly ’fro. We spent the next hour talking about black hair.
Afterwards, he asked if I would share this information with his manager, my
one-up. I agreed, but couldn’t guess what I could possibly teach him. My one-up
sold hair care, so I assumed he already knew everything I would say.

Surprisingly, I was wrong. While he understood the category
data and the general hair care landscape, he did not know as much about the
multicultural hair experience outside of the mainstream market. I explained
terms like pre-pooing (conditioning hair before shampooing), co-washing
(washing with a conditioner instead of a shampoo to retain moisture), and
sealing (using oils or butters to lock in moisture). I even provided some
historical context.

“How do you know so much about this?” he asked. I credited
the months I’d spent learning in preparation for my own transition. But,
really, the more honest answer is because I am black. I had to learn about
this. It wasn’t really a choice. At that point in my life, I had two options-
continue with the same products and routines that I had used out of habit or
educate myself on what regimens and products worked best for my afro-textured
hair now.

With my consent, my one-up manager shared our conversation
with the hair care brand team. As a result, I was asked to collaborate with two
other colleagues (also women of color) to provide perspective and feedback on
the relaunch of a hair care line geared towards our demographic. Some of our
feedback was implemented. Some was not. Still, this experience further fueled
my desire to make beauty and personal care better for consumers like me. So, I
was excited to accept my next role as the P&G eCommerce beauty, health and
personal care account executive in New York.

I’m optimistic about the future of Walker & Company.
When I first learned of the news, I nearly shed a tear. While I do not know
Tristan Walker personally, his story and his vision speaks to my core. With
ambitions to be the “Procter & Gamble for people of color,” Tristan Walker
challenged the CPG industry to reconsider how they designed for and
communicated with ethnically diverse consumers. Like many, he grew tired of how
black and brown people were underserved in the marketplace. However, instead of
waiting to be invited to a seat at the table, he built his own. He founded a
company where people of color were the central focus, and not an afterthought.
In doing so, he’s inspiring others to do the same.

African-American consumers spend $1.3 trillion annually on
goods and services. We also contribute at or above our fair share in some
beauty and personal care categories. An insights study published by Nielsen,
reports that in 2017, black shoppers spent $473 million in total hair care (a
$4.2 billion industry) and made other significant investments in personal
appearance products, such as grooming aids ($127 million out of $889 million)
and skin care preparations ($465 million out of $3 billion). This means that
while African-Americans represent 14 percent of the U.S. population, we
contribute 11 percent, 14 percent and 16 percent respectively of the revenue
dollars in these categories. The same report states: The business case for
multicultural outreach is clear. African-American consumers – and all diverse
consumers – want to see themselves authentically represented in marketing, and
they want brands to recognize their value to the bottom line.

Walker recognized this need for high-quality products from
an authentic source. So, he created a company with a clear mission to make health
and beauty simple for people of color. As a black man who spent years of his
life facing the problems he was now trying to solve, he understood the unique
needs of the customer he sought to help.

He started by identifying an unmet need in the shave care
market. Black men were more prone to ingrown hairs and razor bumps when shaving
due to the often-times curlier nature of their hair. For this reason, many
favored electric shavers over the mainstream multi-blade razors. So, while many
brands advertised their three, four and five blade systems, the Bevel shave
system considered the specific needs of a target consumer demographic and
created a single-blade safety razor aimed at preventing razor bumps and
reducing skin irritation. Although not the first or the only company to create
such a product, Walker & Company differentiated itself by catering to the
underserved needs of people of color in a deliberate and authentic way.

It’s inspiring to witness the growth of Walker &
Company. Not only is the company making waves with male grooming, but also with
its beauty brand, Form. Now, with the support of P&G’s industry-leading
supply chain and marketing, I’m excited to see what’s next. As P&G
continues to find innovative ways to touch and improve more consumers’ lives in
more parts of the world, more completely, I’m hopeful that this acquisition
will bring both companies even closer to simplifying beauty for people of
color.

By BrittneyGordon (MBA ’19)
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Stop networking, start building relationships  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Feb 2019, 07:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Stop networking, start building relationships
Image
D. Keith Pigues talks about the importance of building relationships at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Diversity Conference.

We’ve all passed out business cards to people we meet at networking events and conferences. We’ve sent non-personalized LinkedIn requests hoping that a new opportunity might present itself through a new connection.

Think about it: Have any of those business cards or requests actually worked? Probably not. That’s because something is missing – a relationship.

It’s a message that D. Keith Pigues (MBA ’93), founder and CEO of Luminas Strategy, often shares, including at our Diversity Conference. His message: “Stop networking and start building relationships.”

Pigues outlines why it’s important to spend your time building relationships for career success.

It’s not about knowing lots of people

“When I lead sessions on career success, I ask if people believe that the following statement is true: career success is about who you know?” About 85 to 90 percent of the people in the audience typically raise their hands.

But success is not about who you know, it’s about who knows you and what they’re willing to say and do on your behalf when it matters, says Pigues.

“First and foremost, people can’t really vouch for you, support you, assist you and give you guidance if they don’t know you.”

And what does Pigues mean by “know you”?

“They have to know something about you as a person. They need some knowledge of who you are, what you stand for, what you’re passionate about,” he says. “It’s also about them knowing what your skills and talents are and the experiences you’ve had. If people don’t know these things about you, they can’t help you.”

“They can’t be a good sponsor for you, they can’t be a good coach if they don’t know which areas you need additional skill improvement, and they can’t be a good mentor if they don’t know enough about your aspirations, opportunities and challenges to be able to pour into your life and give you advice,” Pigues says.

Put work into building relationships

Networking” has gotten out of hand, says Pigues. People spend a lot of time, energy and effort doing what is called “networking” but they’re not entirely sure why they’re doing it.

“There is this fallacy that if I’m around people who can help me or around people who can get me to people who will help me, it will magically happen,” Pigues says.

It doesn’t work that way. “You can show up to events over and over again, as many people do, but it doesn’t change the outcome,” he says. In many cases, people might leave a networking event feeling let down or disappointed.

“Sometimes we don’t fully appreciate the value of building relationships or we want quick fixes to whatever our situation happens to be,” Pigues says. He instead suggests sharing your strengths and areas of development, being honest about your skills and capabilities and being vulnerable. Doing these will start the process of building a relationship, which will take time and investment on your part.

Some people find it hard to invest the time required to build a relationship, but that’s the challenge. “It takes work, it takes commitment, it takes time and energy,” Pigues says.

Understand types of relationships

And it’s not just about building relationships; it’s also knowing and understanding the types of relationships that are valuable as they relate to career success.

“It’s not a fly-by-night relationship. It’s not transactional. It really is a relationship that has to span the course of time, that has to develop naturally and be mutually beneficial and rewarding,” Pigues says. Many people underestimate the magnitude of the request when they ask people to help them get a job or connect them with a colleague who can help them find a new career. If a person doesn’t know you or what you can bring to the company or position, they can’t really vouch for you. After all, the person is putting their own career and reputation on the line for you.

“Sometimes people only think about their own self-interest and that’s not the way you build a relationship,” says Pigues. You should think of it as a big investment decision.

The next time you’re at a networking event, remember that it’s more than passing out business cards. Take the time to introduce yourself, start a true dialogue and commit to invest time and energy with people whom you might want to build a career relationship.
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From big oil to Silicon Valley start-up  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Feb 2019, 15:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: From big oil to Silicon Valley start-up
Image

When Ryan Meyer (MBA ’19)
flew to San Francisco for his summer internship at Yoshi, he
hoped to return to Chapel Hill with a full-time offer. He achieved his goal –
just not in the time frame he expected.

He had joined UNC Kenan-Flagler’s full-time MBA Program with plans to move into the technology industry after working at
ExxonMobil for seven years. He was drawn to the innovation happening in the transportation
and mobility arenas. “I was particularly interested in joining a startup or technology
company where I could be a part of building something and creating value in new
ways,” says Meyer.

To make the transition, he learned
more about startups and the venture capital industry that underpins it. He
focused on entrepreneurial and venture capital courses; got involved with the Entrepreneurshipand Venture Capital Club, Venture Capital Investment Competition and Venture Capital Angels Program; and sought out hands-on
learning experiences through Uber and Amazon case competitions.

Image
During fall break as a first-year student, Meyer and classmates visited start-ups and venture capital firms in Silicon Valley on the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club trek.

And he started his internship
search – mostly doing his own off-campus recruiting at firms that weren’t
scheduled to visit campus. He tapped his professional network and UNC Kenan-Flagler
alumni to seek opportunities, and carved out time to reach out to Tar Heel alumni
at target companies via LinkedIn.

“People spoke with me, but most conversations
didn’t turn into solid leads,” Meyer says. “In the spring, when almost
everybody else had an offer in hand, I was still looking. However, discussions
progressed and a former ExxonMobil colleague introduced me to the co-founders
at Yoshi.”

Yoshi
is a mobile app that brings fuel and car care services to customers wherever their
vehicles are parked. ExxonMobil is an investor and co-led the
start-up’s Series A round with General Motors. With Meyer’s background
in energy and Yoshi’s plans to raise additional capital, it was a good match.

Meyer interviewed with Nick Alexander, CEO and
Bryan Frist, COO and president, in April 2018 and started his internship in
May. When he sat down for a mid-summer check-in in June with Alexander, the CEO
commended Meyer for his work and asked him to join the company in a full-time
position.

Meyer was thrilled – and then realized
they had different start dates in mind.

“You mean start now?” Meyer asked, to which
Alexander replied, “Yes, right away.”

Caught off guard by the timing, he shared how important finishing his degree with the Yoshi founders. “They were willing to wait for me to do so, but explained that the opportunity in May 2019 would be very different in July 2018. Timing is key with startups.”

Deciding whether to stay in San Francisco or
return to Chapel Hill was not easy. He talked with family, friends and the wider
Carolina community – classmates, professors and alumni, including those with background
with startups.

He also consulted the MBA Program
Office to explore his academic options. Their response:
“We can make it work. We’ll find a way.”

And they did. Meyer is finishing his studies
by a combination of courses offered by the full-time MBA Program on weekends
and the MBA@UNCProgram online. “Their flexibility
and support in working with me to find a path for
completing the credits needed to graduate with my classmates in May 2019
was huge,” he says.

About a month after he received the full-time
offer, Meyer started as head of sales and
partnerships at Yoshi.

Today the firm has customers in over 20 metropolitan areas across the U.S. “I am focused on our growth,” he says. “More and more services are trending towards delivery, and our goal is to make Yoshi the leading consumer brand in the U.S. for fuel delivery and car service that comes to you.”

The company’s mantra is “Keep moving” and that’s what Meyer is doing these days with a full-time work and academic workload.

“When I flew to California for the
summer – with just two suitcases – I never considered I might end up staying longer
than 10 weeks,” he says. “I was excited about everything that my second year in
Chapel Hill would hold, especially spending time with my classmates and delving
into electives.”

Chapel Hill is home for him. “Giving up my
second year was hard – the opportunity to spend more time with my parents and fully
enjoy everything the community and School have to offer – was difficult,” he
says. “As things played out, I realized the fit and
the timing were right for me to jump in at Yoshi.”

After he made his decision, he flew back to
Chapel Hill in August 2018 to reconnect with classmates who were returning from
their summer internships. “They were bummed that I was not coming back
full-time, but they were so supportive and excited for me and my role at
Yoshi.” And even as students without paychecks, some signed up to be Yoshi customers,
he says with a grin.

Despite the distance, his connections to UNC
Kenan-Flagler remain strong. He returns one weekend a month for classes during
the 2019 spring semester. Raleigh is one of Yoshi’s newest and
fastest growing markets, so he typically schedules business
meetings in the Triangle when he is in town for classes.

Meyer hopes to be a resource on the West Coast
for his classmates and reassurance for students still looking for internships
and jobs. “The career search can be a roller-coaster
for full-time students, especially those who opt not to go the traditional
on-campus recruiting route,” says Meyer. “I’m lucky to have found a fit at
Yoshi and can appreciate that sometimes it can be just one break that opens a
door.”

And the benefits of taking weekend and online
classes while working are clear. “I have the ability to take what we’re
studying and discussing in our classes, and apply those approaches right away in
my daily work.”

He describes it as the best of both worlds:
finishing his degree and pursuing the opportunity he was seeking by coming to
business school.

“I’ve been
extremely lucky to get to choose my own adventure,” says Meyer. “Right now, I have
one foot in the business school world and one in the work world. I am
grateful.”
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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Helping vets make the transition to business  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Feb 2019, 13:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Helping vets make the transition to business
Image

The transition from the military to business school was a
whirlwind for Michael Burris
(MBA ’19).

Within less than a month’s span, he served his last day in
the U.S. Navy, married the love of his life, moved from the West Coast to the
East Coast, and started his studies in the full-time MBA Program
at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

He drew on support from the other veterans on campus to
successfully transition from serving seven years in the military to getting
back into the groove of being a student. It didn’t happen overnight, but it did
happen.

“Come Mod 2, I was rocking and rolling,” says Burris, who
has continued to develop his leadership skills while in the program.

Today, he is president of the UNCKenan-Flagler Veterans Association. His mission is to develop the
group’s reputation and create the greatest impact of any veterans club at top
business schools. His devotion to the organization originates with his
understanding of the School’s culture. 

What drew Burris to UNC Kenan-Flagler was its collaborative culture.
He didn’t want to attend a cutthroat business school, where people were focused
primarily on their own success.

“I saw a community at UNC Kenan-Flagler where the students are
vested in each other’s success,” says Burris.

The Veterans Club attracted Burris most of all. The
comradery and ability to share stories with those who could relate was
cathartic, he says. Over time, nostalgia and tension from the transition faded
away. And as even more time passed, Burris better understood the elements
necessary to succeed as a student.

Now, Burris’ attention is on helping fellow vets have an
easier time when they begin the MBA Program and consider their future career
away from the military. The Veterans Club has developed a mentorship program,
in which every first-year student member is assigned to a second-year MBA student
in the club. Members learn who their mentor will be two months before classes begin.

Mentors provide first-year students with advice about where
to live, what classes to take, how to stay organized and more. Talking to
someone who has already been through it and has the experience of transitioning
from the military makes the return to school easier, he says. So far, the mentorship
program has exceeded expectations.

“The first years have had incredible academic and internship
recruiting success that I believe the mentorship program has contributed to,”
says Burris.

While the veterans lean on each other, they also integrate
with the rest of the UNC Kenan-Flagler community by hosting a variety of
events.

“We aim to be one of the social hubs of the Business School,”
says Burris. “We throw a lot of great social events.”

Having a good time and supporting one another, however, are
not the only responsibilities of the Veterans Club. By charging admission for
some social events and conducting outside fundraising, club members have raised
over $10,000 for various veterans’ charities.

Image

They also bring in speakers, including a Medal of Honor
recipient and the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, to both expose the entire campus to
military leadership and showcase UNC Kenan-Flagler’s support of the armed
forces.

A unique initiative Burris took up as president was creating
a coin for the club. Those in the military have a tradition of trading
“challenge coins” as a sign of respect. Burris remembers trading coins with
various units when he was still in the military, including the Royal Korean
Navy SEALs. With the Veterans Club’s coin, Burris aims to create tradition and
publicity for the organization. The group has presented nearly 400 coins to people
they have encountered in the academic, business, military and governmental
spheres.

Image

While studying and pursuing his career, Burris also serves
as a volunteer firefighter for New Hope Fire Department in Orange
County, North Carolina. His family has a tradition of serving, both his
grandfather and brother are volunteer firefighters. Burris enjoys being a part
of the community and needed an “adrenaline rush after leaving the Navy.”

Clearly, a piece of Burris’ heart will always belong to the
military, which he significantly credits for shaping his character. But now
he’s looking forward to graduation in the spring. His focusis real estate development. During the summer, he interned at Trammel
Crow Residential, which allowed him to take part in developing apartments in
Atlanta.

During his internship, he noticed transferable skills from
the military that could help him stand out in the complex world of real estate
development. For starters, in the military he had been responsible for
overseeing 40 people and $50 million worth of equipment while he was the Officer
in Charge of a Specialized Small Boat Team. During that time, he had to unify
people from diverse backgrounds, from individuals escaping urban gang life to
immigrants serving their new nation.

“Being able to create teams of people from diverse
backgrounds is a great asset for any company to have in its arsenal”, says
Burris. “Creating and managing relationships with diverse groups of people and institutions
is critical in real estate development.”

Military veterans, he says, have much to offer as MBA
students and to the business world at large, and he hopes more veterans find
their way to UNC Kenan-Flagler.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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Building our community over a meat smoker  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Feb 2019, 13:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Building our community over a meat smoker
Image
Alex Cooper and Nelson Ingram

I don’t really remember
meeting Nelson Ingram. It just feels like he has always been part of my
experience at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

I hardly feel alone in that
description, since literally every MBA student on campus knows who he is. His
reach within the School extends beyond his roles (social chair for the student
body), beyond his pre-school life (Head Yell
Leader at Texas A&M) and even beyond what he’s done for the School
(implementing a weekly community event). Everyone knows him because he’s always
around, always smiling and always helping build a better community.

With that said, if you ask
anyone what Nelson’s defining characteristic is, they’ll tell you the same
thing: The man smokes meat like an expert. A greatest hits record includes
brisket for the Jewish Business Association Seder, turkeys for international students
to take for Thanksgiving, and pulled pork for the year’s first Carolina Casual,
a weekly event for students, staff and faculty.

Image

His specialty is certainly
beef, as he is from Texas, but he can do it all. Nelson read Aaron
Franklin’s “Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto” at his
in-laws a few years ago, and he felt so inspired that he got his own smoker. He
and his dad brought that smoker from Texas to North Carolina when he started
school, and the rest is UNC Kenan-Flagler history.

While there are likely
individuals making food for their classmates at many business schools in the
country, what makes Nelson special is his dedication to his craft and to his
community. He doesn’t charge anyone for anything but materials, never taking a
profit on what could be a great side hustle while in school.

Instead, he donates his
time and the use of his smoker to whoever asks him, including but not limited
to: the MBA Student Association, Kenan Connection, Christians@Kenan-Flagler,
Jewish Business Association, Veterans Association and more. He spends
tremendous amounts of his free time making sure that his classmates get the
best experience when they bite into one of his delicious pieces of brisket.

Image

As he’s said to me before,
trying to play off his time commitment, “Salt. Pepper. Smoke. That’s all it
takes. The rest is just waiting around and keeping the fire going.”
Unsurprisingly, he spends quite a bit of time keeping the fire going.

More importantly than the
quality of food, though, is the importance it holds to Nelson. He doesn’t just
do it because it’s fun, although he loves doing it. He does it because he cares
about UNC and the community here, and he wants to give back, build on that
community, and give everyone shared experiences.

It’s no surprise that
Nelson won the Community Core Value award, nominated by his classmates as the “second year
who best exhibits the core value of Community.” Through his passion for food
and love of Carolina, he’s introduced another layer to our community in a way
very few individuals have done, and to everyone who’s met him – that is to say,
everyone at school – that’s no surprise.

As another classmate said,
“They say that food brings people together in ways that very few things can,
and during his time here, Nelson has brought people together over his BBQ.”

By Alex Cooper (MBA ’19)
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Building our community with a meat smoker  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Feb 2019, 14:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Building our community with a meat smoker
Image
Alex Cooper and Nelson Ingram

I don’t really remember
meeting Nelson Ingram. It just feels like he has always been part of my
experience at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

I hardly feel alone in that
description, since literally every MBA student on campus knows who he is. His
reach within the School extends beyond his roles (social chair for the student
body), beyond his pre-school life (Head Yell
Leader at Texas A&M) and even beyond what he’s done for the School
(implementing a weekly community event). Everyone knows him because he’s always
around, always smiling and always helping build a better community.

With that said, if you ask
anyone what Nelson’s defining characteristic is, they’ll tell you the same
thing: The man smokes meat like an expert. A greatest hits record includes
brisket for the Jewish Business Association Seder, turkeys for international students
to take for Thanksgiving, and pulled pork for the year’s first Carolina Casual,
a weekly event for students, staff and faculty.

Image

His specialty is certainly
beef, as he is from Texas, but he can do it all. Nelson read Aaron
Franklin’s “Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto” at his
in-laws a few years ago, and he felt so inspired that he got his own smoker. He
and his dad brought that smoker from Texas to North Carolina when he started
school, and the rest is UNC Kenan-Flagler history.

While there are likely
individuals making food for their classmates at many business schools in the
country, what makes Nelson special is his dedication to his craft and to his
community. He doesn’t charge anyone for anything but materials, never taking a
profit on what could be a great side hustle while in school.

Instead, he donates his
time and the use of his smoker to whoever asks him, including but not limited
to: the MBA Student Association, Kenan Connection, Christians@Kenan-Flagler,
Jewish Business Association, Veterans Association and more. He spends
tremendous amounts of his free time making sure that his classmates get the
best experience when they bite into one of his delicious pieces of brisket.

Image

As he’s said to me before,
trying to play off his time commitment, “Salt. Pepper. Smoke. That’s all it
takes. The rest is just waiting around and keeping the fire going.”
Unsurprisingly, he spends quite a bit of time keeping the fire going.

More importantly than the
quality of food, though, is the importance it holds to Nelson. He doesn’t just
do it because it’s fun, although he loves doing it. He does it because he cares
about UNC and the community here, and he wants to give back, build on that
community, and give everyone shared experiences.

It’s no surprise that
Nelson won the Community Core Value award, nominated by his classmates as the “second year
who best exhibits the core value of Community.” Through his passion for food
and love of Carolina, he’s introduced another layer to our community in a way
very few individuals have done, and to everyone who’s met him – that is to say,
everyone at school – that’s no surprise.

As another classmate said,
“They say that food brings people together in ways that very few things can,
and during his time here, Nelson has brought people together over his BBQ.”

By Alex Cooper (MBA ’19)
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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The Business of Next: Carolina celebrates 100 years of undergraduate b  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Feb 2019, 09:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: The Business of Next: Carolina celebrates 100 years of undergraduate business education
Image

If you had a dollar in 1919, you could buy a nice dress
shirt, two dozen eggs or five cups of coffee. Vacuum cleaners had just become
commercially available, and the World Wide Web was 70 years away from its
inception.

The century ahead would bring tremendous change in the world
of business and technology, and UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s UndergraduateBusiness Program would be at the leading edge of every turn.

“For a long time, we have had the right DNA for the 21st
century,” said Douglas Shackelford, dean of UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School,
who himself graduated from the Undergraduate Business Program in 1980. “We have
a long legacy of innovation, starting 100 years ago. And today I think the
business school is better than ever.”

Originally called the School of Commerce, the program was
born in an unlikely time and an unlikely place. The country was recovering from
World War I, and North Carolina was struggling to keep pace, sitting on the
bottom of the country’s economic rung.

But the program at Carolina — one of the first of its kind
in the United States — would quickly begin to play a role in changing that.

“The economic impact our students have on the state, both in
the short-term and in the long run, is huge,” Shackelford said. “Carolina is a
place of extraordinary public service, and the business school has always been part
of that effort to improve people’s lives. Today our students continue to
contribute so much to their communities, whether that’s the town, the state,
the nation or the world.”

Student demand for the program has only grown over the
decades, from 125 enrolled students in 1919 to nearly 900 today. The program
has remained relevant for a century by continuously adapting to the
ever-changing business world.

As the business world becomes increasingly international, the
Undergraduate Business Program went global with it. UNC Kenan-Flagler
encourages undergraduates to travel abroad, offering everything from two-week
immersion trips to eight-week international internships and semester-long study
abroad programs.

For students who can’t go abroad, faculty and staff have
found an innovative way to simulate the experience. Last year, virtual reality
goggles transported students to Cameroon, launching them into a boardroom in the
French-speaking, central African country.

Image

Classroom innovation has been a part of the program’s
mission since its founding, although it hasn’t always looked like an episode of
The Jetsons. For Shimul Melwani, assistant
professor of organizational behavior, innovative teaching can take many forms,
from giving students seed money to launch and run a small business over the
course of a semester to asking students to role-play through a business
challenge they may encounter in the working world.

“We never go through a single class without engaging the
students in some kind of experiential exercise that translates to a real-life
example. It goes beyond what you might think of as ‘typical’ business school
tasks,” she said. “In any kind of job you do, you have to bring creativity,
empathy and openness, and a lot of classes are designing projects that enable
students to engage in these kinds of ways.”

Those skills are essential, Melwani said, because Carolina
students are driven not only to achieve professional success, but also to
become better human beings — to take the hands-on experience they gain as
undergraduates and to apply it to the world in ways that make a difference.

“I’m surrounded by a group of peers who constantly impress me, and
when I see my friends doing and enjoying meaningful work, I’m driven to do more
myself,” said Jack Amoroso, a senior studying both business and
entrepreneurship. “During my undergraduate career, I learned how to be
uncomfortable, and working through uncomfortable situations gave me the
confidence to focus on the work that really mattered once I was on my own.”

Shackelford’s vision, he said, is to find new ways to
accommodate more of the bright students who are seeking a Carolina business
education, holding fast to the program’s enduring spirit of innovation,
humility and social responsibility.

“We are stewards of an institution that has already changed the
lives of thousands of people, directly and indirectly, over these many years,”
Shackelford said. “Now, we want to deepen and broaden our impact on people’s
lives and our society.”
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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The Business of Next: Carolina celebrates 100 years of undergraduate b   [#permalink] 18 Feb 2019, 09:00

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