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UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Admissions and Related blogs

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Doris Kearns Goodwin on extraordinary leaders  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Mar 2019, 07:00
1
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Doris Kearns Goodwin on extraordinary leaders
Image

“Are these the worst of times?”

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s answer is an unequivocal “No.”

As a presidential scholar and successful author, Goodwin was
a credible source, to say the least, at the annual Weatherspoon Lecture on Feb.
27, 2019.

She cited the Civil War Abraham Lincoln faced, the
Industrial Revolution for Theodore Roosevelt, the economic crash for Franklin D.
Roosevelt, and the unexpected presidential role in the midst of the Civil
Rights movement for Lyndon B. Johnson.

Each situation cried out for leadership and these influential
leaders answered. What made them so great? How did they prevail in the worst of
times? Goodwin identified traits that made them extraordinary.

Connection

Great leaders connect to their people and make efforts to
get to know them. Lincoln went to the battlefield to rally the troops. Teddy Roosevelt
spent the most time on the road. He talked, listened and waved to the people of
America. Johnson reached out to Congress. He met with each member and their
spouses, and got to know them on a personal level. He followed up about their
conversations and made each member feel known.

Clear and concise communication

Goodwin stressed the importance of successful communication using
the platform of the time. Lincoln thought it best to speak in stories because
people remember them. Teddy Roosevelt capitalized on the birth of newspapers by
using colorful language that captivated readers’ attention. FDR invited himself
into the home of Americans through his fireside chats on the radio and many citizens
came to refer to him as their friend.

Conquered themselves

Another crucial ability is knowing when to call yourself
out. Lincoln wrote “hot letters” when he was angry with someone. He wrote what
he wanted to say in the moment, put the letter in an envelope, and then set it
aside, never to send it. FDR faced anxiety and fear after his bout with polio
and fell into a serious depression. However, he did not let that defeat him – he
worked hard every day with exercises by crawling across the floor. He did not
let his pride get in the way and expanded his mind and capabilities.

Rest

This is a concept we often ignore, but these leaders made it
a priority. They took time to be themselves and to do what they loved. Lincoln
escaped by diving into the world of Shakespeare and other great playwrights, attending
the theater upwards of 100 times. Teddy Roosevelt loved to exercise, and had a
very specific hike route that he called “point to point,” meaning if there was
an obstacle he did not go around it. If there was a rock he climbed over it, if
there was a puddle he walked through it. FDR started hosting a nightly cocktail
party in the White House during World War II. These parties had one rule: No
war talk. It was these acts of relaxation and rest that allowed them to
persevere in hard times.

Risk takers

At the end of the day, the presidents knew when to risk it
all. They were not cautious or timid in their endeavors. Lincoln saved the
union and ended slavery, a feat that no one believed he would achieve. Johnson
had only 11 months to serve in the presidency and passed three civil rights
bills that no one thought would be passed. Johnson made them his priority,
despite constant criticism.

The Weatherspoon Lecture is a great tradition at UNC Kenan-Flagler,
and there is no better time to look to our past in order to move forward.
Leadership, a core value of our school, is deeply rooted in our nation, as
Goodwin so eloquently reminded us. 

By Caroline Alessandro
(BA ’20)

Click here to view lecture. Goodwin’s speech “Leadership in Turbulent
Times” is the same title of her newest book.

The Weatherspoon
Lecture was created with a generous gift from Van and Kay Weatherspoon, longtime
UNC Chapel-Hill and UNC Kenan-Flagler supporters. Outstanding visiting scholars
and world leaders from the fields of politics, education, business and
government enrich the professional lives of members our community and provoke
interesting discussion and debate.
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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Real-world problems spark the research of Sreedhari Desai  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Mar 2019, 12:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Real-world problems spark the research of Sreedhari Desai
Image

Don’t show up for SreedhariDesai’s classes expecting to listen passively to lectures.  Leadership, negotiations and ethics are
serious courses, but Desai uses a variety of approaches to actively engage with
her students.

“In this day and age, you have to be both an effective
educator and something of an entertainer,” says Desai,
associate professor of organizational behavior and Crist W. Blackwell Scholar
at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.

For instance, she might ask a student if he’s dating someone
and where he expects the relationship to go. She isn’t just asking to get a
reaction – she segues into tips that show decision-making in action and how it’s
used in business.

On other occasions, she trades in the dreaded “cold call”
for what she describes as a “warm call.” Instead of calling on students in
using a technique that can embarrass or make them uncomfortable, she launches a
dialogue.

“Education is a two-way path,” says Desai. “Students don’t
need to just see me lecturing. They could simply watch a YouTube video or read
a book for that.”

Another method she uses is breaking the class into teams to play
games involving real money. Students polish their teamwork skills, and the
interactions bring the class alive, Desai says.

“They have experiences, which are memorable,” she adds. “What
they learn this way is hard to forget.”

Desai teaches the core Leading and Managing decision-making
course and the Managerial Negotiations elective for MBA students, Leadership
Skills for Masterof Accounting Program students and Ethical Leadership for online MBA
students when they come to Chapel Hill.

Image

She shares real-life stories to illustrate key lessons. For
instance, she describes the life of luxury experienced by an MBA graduate of
the University of California, Berkeley. The woman had it all, says Desai. She was
making millions and lived in a seven-bedroom mansion.

“The students are thinking, ‘I want to be this person,’”
says Desai. “Then, I hold up a picture of her prison ID and they’re thinking, ‘Oh
God – prison!’”

Ultimately, Desai is demonstrating the slippery slope of a
path driven by greed. “I try,” she says, “to keep things very real.”

Indeed, herresearch informs these discussions about ethics. Some of her best-known
work is in the area of ethical nudges. Desai describes how these nudgescan produce better behavior. She also has shown that anxiety
can lead to unethical behavior.

Diversity is another issue she covers in her research. She
tries to understand how gender norms and social structures influence whether
women are accepted at work and what they experience there.

In one study, Desai and her colleagues looked at how married
men viewed women at work. The research demonstrated that men with stay-at-home
wives saw themselves as the CEO and their wives as a subordinate.

They found it difficult to view women as equals and were
less likely to promote women or see them in leadership positions. Even those
men who saw themselves as egalitarian or had more progressive views would
change over time if their wife stayed at home; they would begin to see her as a
subordinate and it would change their view in general.  

Married conservative men with a wife who worked outside the
home also changed over time, according to the findings. They would begin to see
women as able to have more power.

“We are influenced by our surroundings,” says Desai. “It’s
kind of like getting an accent.”

Desai believes that by enlightening people and making them
more self-aware, they will change their behavior and society will experience
progress, she says. Now, she is working on research about how men and women are
treated differently at the bargaining table.

“Most of my work is done out of a deep sense of curiosity,”
says Desai. “It tends to come out of real-world problems. My hope is to make
the human condition better.”

She is married to Roman Shcherbakov, a Harvard trained
astrophysicist who develops software for the communications industry. “He keeps
data in his head and observes patterns in everything,” says Desai.

Their young son Max is following
in his dad’s footsteps. He solved math problems on a blackboard visit during a weekend
visit to UNC Kenan-Flagler with his mom. A YouTube video of hisperformance shows his prowess, says Desai.

“He’s ridiculously good at math,”
she says. “My one regret is he knows more about math than psychology. I should
teach him more.”

But that’s not the only talent
Desai might want to pass on to Max. She is an accomplishedartist. Her devotion to painting dates back to her childhood in
India. Her teacher secretly submitted Desai’s artwork for a contest and she
won. At the time, her family could not afford expensive oil paints, which were
the award. It motivated her to continue nurturing her talent.

“I see life in colors,” says
Desai. “Nothing is a single color. If you have a white vase, it is not really
white. It will have shades of reflected light, tints of blue, for example.”

While Desai also enjoys reading
and taking long walks in the fresh air, she faces every mother’s dilemma. How
much “me time” is appropriate when you feel the pull of your child, who is
little for only so long?  

Still, she is balancing it all,
and she’s right where she is supposed to be, she says.

When Desai was on the job market after
she earned her PhD, she evaluated offers. UNC Kenan-Flagler leadership had a
unique message: The School was determined to see her flourish.

“It spoke volumes about the
culture,” says Desai.

In fact, she says this identity of
teamwork extends to the students.

“Here,” says Desai, “the culture
is about helping each other succeed, and that makes my job as a professor better.”
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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Determination drives Soraya Alivandi to beat the odds  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Mar 2019, 14:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Determination drives Soraya Alivandi to beat the odds
Image

Soraya Alivandi’s brand is resilience.

Alivandi (MBA
’19) had to learn to walk and talk again in the year before applying to the Full-TimeMBA Program. Her presence at UNC Kenan-Flagler – her vitality – is something
of a miracle.  

Life took a devastating turn for Alivandi on March 20, 2015. She
was driving to work from the gym. Stopped at a red light, a car hit her from
behind and set off a domino effect that caused another car to hit a pedestrian,
a teenager. But Alivandi doesn’t remember any of that. In fact, she lost the
next four days of her life. The last thing she remembers is getting in the car on
the way to her workout. When the other driver’s car crashed into hers, Alivandi
lost consciousness and her car caught fire.

A good Samaritan, Ronaldo Freitas, was taking his son to school
when he witnessed the crash and went to the rescue. He broke a window and dragged
Alivandi out of the car, which was engulfed in flames. She did not get burned
at all. Freitas rarely took his son to school, but did that day because his
wife was not feeling well.

“There was a really wonderful series of fortunate consequences –
the paramedics, who quickly recognized my traumatic brain injury, getting to
Massachusetts General Hospital, where my neurosurgeon was at the ready,” says
Alivandi. “It was one of the fastest turnarounds in the hospital’s history.”

Still, she had a long recovery ahead of her. In total, Alivandi
sustained a subdural hematoma, four broken ribs and a tear in her retina that
left her blind in one eye for six months. While she was in the hospital,
doctors asked her to complete a simple task – make a cup of instant coffee – as
part of her occupational therapy. As she read the directions over and over
again without understanding what to do, Alivandi realized what challenges lay
ahead.

“I felt my brain was my most valuable resource,” she says. “Losing
that and having to relearn the most basic task was indescribably challenging.”

Yet, she persisted. “I resigned myself to be the best brain injury
patient ever,” says Alivandi.

Always a high achiever, she decided to beat the odds. Her doctors
told her it would take three to four months to leave the hospital with months
more of therapy ahead of her. They suggested it would take at least a year
before she could return to work.

Instead, Alivandi left the hospital one week after her surgery. Her
family rallied around her. Her mother retired early, and they moved in with her
brother and his family. They stuck by her until she regained her autonomy.

Just as she would have done in her professional life, Alivandi
created a project management plan. Every exercise the doctors suggested doing
one time, she did twice. She drafted key milestones and day-to-day tasks she
needed to achieve her six-month recovery goal. Once in a while, however, she
allowed herself a bit of grief and thought about potential outcomes.

“It was scary to think about the possibility that I would not be
as witty or as smart,” she says. The thought only motivated her more.

Alivandi was back at work within six months of the accident, and
had completed her first triathlon within a year. She also began applying to
business schools.

“Once I felt better, I wanted to keep going on with my life,” she
adds.

As a college student, she had interned in the U.S. Senate. She
went on to work as an acquisitions research fellow with the U.S. Department of
Defense and in business development for a defense contractor.

While trying to win business for the company, Alivandi realized
she didn’t want to continue the work for the rest of her career. So, she
returned to her alma mater, Tufts, where she helped craft technology solutions
to connect alumni and donors with the university.

When seeking an MBA program, Alivandi wanted something completely
different from her undergraduate experience at a small liberal arts college,
Tufts University, in Massachusetts. A double major in international relations
and the Arabic language, Alivandi also was not the typical MBA candidate. As a
result, she wanted a big university that would be welcoming to a
non-traditional applicant.

Then it came time to gain more business skills, and she chose UNC Kenan-Flagler
because of its culture.

“I really love the core values,” says Alivandi. “I’m competitive,
but I want to be competitive with myself, not my classmates.”

Throughout her time at UNC Kenan-Flagler, Alivandi has been
involved in a variety of clubs. She’s vice president of two career clubs – NetImpact and OperationsManagement. As a vice president for CommunityService, Alivandi organizes service days throughout the year where
students can give back to non-profits in the area.

She also served as a career mentor for first-year MBA students,
and will participate in the Hodges Leadership Capstone course.

Now, she’s looking to a future beyond her brain injury and earning
her MBA.  Her summer internship was in
global procurement at PepsiCo in Purchase, New York, and she accepted a
full-time role in tech strategy for E&J Gallo Winery in the Bay Area,
California.

Ultimately, Alivandi hopes her career trajectory leads her to a
place where she can help people and have a social impact. For now, she’s
excited to experience a new industry and take on a more strategic position.

While Alivandi is a hard worker, she also makes time for her
passions. For 25 years she practiced classical ballet. With a passion for
health, Alivandi also ran a volunteer program for girls in which she taught
them about nutrition and wellness.

A foodie, she enjoys conceptualizing recipes, including one for
spicy shrimp tacos with cilantro crema and whipped avocado. She also makes a
mean chocolate cake.

As a lover of travel, Alivandi has been to over 30 countries.
During her time at UNC Kenan-Flagler, she studied in Chile and Peru on the Sustainability
and General Management GlobalImmersion Elective, and visited Thailand, Singapore,
Denmark and Germany. A favorite trip was meeting up with friends in Berlin.

To commemorate her accident – what Alivandi calls a “lifeaversary”
– she celebrates with a new adventure every spring. Once she dyed her hair.
This year, over spring break, she is visiting Spain and Portugal with a group
of MBA classmates.

“I try to appreciate life,” she says. Indeed, she does not want
anyone feeling sorry for her.

“People can become so focused on my story and struggle. But this
accident does not define who I am,” says Alivandi. “Yes, it’s one bad thing
that happened to me. And this one bad experience has led to a host of other
incredibly positive experiences. That’s what I choose to focus on.”
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 diverse and inclusive cultures for success  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Mar 2019, 13:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Building diverse and inclusive cultures for success
Image

Technological,
demographic, economic and geopolitical changes are dramatically transforming the
workforce, workplaces and consumer markets. Those forces mean that the
importance of a diverse and inclusive culture to business success has never
been greater.

“These
issues are core to our future – as a business school and in our role in
equipping students with the understanding and skills to lead in this turbulent
era,” said Doug Shackelford (BSBA ’80), dean and Meade H. Willis Distinguished
Professor of Taxation at UNC Kenan-Flagler. “Because corporate America is at
the forefront of addressing diversity and inclusion in their organizations, we
created a new board to help us prepare our students to lead in
increasingly diverse workplaces at a time of unprecedented change.”

UNC Kenan-Flagler convened its new Corporate
Advisory Board on Diversity and Inclusion for its inaugural meeting – a day of conversations
with students, faculty and staff and a community Town Hall – on Feb. 26, 2019.

Leading
the board are Shackelford and JimJohnson, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Strategy
and Entrepreneurship and director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center. Members
are:

  • Rumay Alexander, chief diversity officer and
    associate vice chancellor at UNC and a professor in the School of Nursing
  • Sandra Altiné, managing director and global head of
    diversity and inclusion at Moody’s
  • Cynthia Bowman, chief diversity and inclusion
    officer at Bank of America
  • Derek Dingle, senior vice president and chief
    content officer at Black Enterprise Magazine
  • Donna Fielding, senior vice president and
    chief human resources officer at Systemax
  • James Fripp, chief diversity and inclusion
    officer at Yum! Brands, Inc.
  • Maital Guttman (MBA ’13),
    global strategic inclusion manager at McKinsey & Company
  • Mike Preston, chief talent officer at Deloitte
    U.S.

“The
meeting was just the beginning of our conversations with this powerhouse of
corporate leaders, who already have made a difference at UNC Kenan-Flagler by sharing
their expertise, insights and time with us and we,” said Shackelford. “I also value
the leadership of Jim Johnson and Rumay Alexander in making UNC a more diverse
and inclusive organization.”

“We asked our
board members to discuss the roles that diversity, inclusion and belonging play
in talent development, acquisition and retention in their firms,” said Johnson,
who moderated the Town Hall. “We also asked them about the changes we need to
make – as business educators – to ensure our graduates are fully prepared for
the new world of work.”

The
wide-ranging and frank conversation on “How
Diverse and Inclusive Cultures Drive Success.”showcased
key insights.

It starts at the top

Success in
creating a diverse and inclusive organization starts with leadership and
requires a sustainable strategy. Some companies are intentional, but not
strategic. Some are intentional and strategic, but haven’t developed a sense of
belonging for diverse employees. Many have diversity in their workforce but not
in top leadership roles or on their boards. In the end, every aspect of the
corporation needs to be inclusive.

Make the business case

Research
and data have long demonstrated the business case for diversity. Companies with
diverse leadership outperform their competitors. Simply put, it’s about attracting,
developing and retaining talent to drive growth and success for the company.
Organizations need diverse perspectives to solve business – and to harness that
talent, they need to create cultures in which everyone can bring their whole
selves to work.

It’s a way of operating, not a budget item

Diversity is
about talent. Inclusion is about a culture where people feel they have a voice
– and their ideas and opinions are valued. Both drive corporate growth. And for
retention, executives need to advocate for and sponsor their diverse workforce.
Also critical are transparent, clear and consistent processes and access to
information.

Look like the world we live in

Companies
want to reflect and represent the customers and communities – locally,
nationally and globally – they serve at all levels of leadership. With diverse
teams come different experiences, backgrounds and cultures that lead to
different ways of thinking and innovative approaches. If you ask questions and
have conversations to learn about those differences, you can leverage those differences
for innovation and growth.

It’s personal

Diversity
and inclusion is about relationships, not about numbers. Get to know people who
are different, and seek their insights and opinions. Building relationships
leads to trust, and with trust you can talk about anything. And with that
learning, change and innovation can occur. Everyone might not agree, but it’s
“really hard to hate up close.”

Be part of the solution

The corner
office doesn’t have all the answers – answers can come from all levels of the
organization.

Everyone
needs to advocate for change and a more inclusive environment. Ask questions
and make it possible for others to have a voice.

Be an
advocate for others. Think about every issue in terms of how it affects someone
you care about. Why wouldn’t you advocate for something you would want for a
family member? It’s not a zero-sum game – everyone benefits.

Leadership
is not about you, it is about others. You need to be an inclusive leader to
succeed in corporations – at all levels and throughout your career. To succeed
in a global corporation, you don’t have to understand every culture. You do
have to understand how to ask the right questions so that you understand how to
get out of every culture – from its workforce to consumer markets.

Engage in courageous conversations

We need to
engage with people who are different to understand their perspectives and learn
from them. Yet even in diverse cities such as New York, Americans live in segregated
neighborhoods. Corporate America can create opportunities for employees to come
together for important conversations that can create empathy and understanding
about differences.

Societal
issues and concerns don’t stop at the entrance to the office. When tragic
events occur, people in your organization are affected and look to their
leaders, so companies have convened conversations through “days of
understanding” and webinars, for instance, to talk about and understand
different viewpoints.

Business imperative for business education

Faculty need
to create and manage an inclusive classroom, and students need to bring issues
of diversity and inclusion to the attention of their professors. During the
process, we must honor and preserve each other’s dignity – to attack issues,
not people. Organizationally, we can change systems and processes. Just as
diverse and inclusive cultures aren’t built by a single office or role,
everyone needs to do their part. A single class can’t prepare students;
diversity and inclusion needs to be threaded through the curriculum. We need to
allow people to be human and make mistakes, and then have courageous dialogues
to clear up misunderstandings and understand differences. It’s an exchange, not
a one-way process.
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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Changing of the guard  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Mar 2019, 13:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Changing of the guard
Image

Adam Gerdts (BA ’00, MBA ’14) is headed back
to New York for the next step in his career and another double Tar Heel – Shontel
Grumhaus (BSBA ’97, MAC ’99) – is succeeding him as associate dean of advancement
at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

“Adam has done a terrific job for the School
and leaves us prepared to continue our fundraising momentum for the Campaign
for Carolina without missing a step,” said Doug Shackelford (BSBA ’80), dean
and the Meade H. Willis Distinguished Professor of Taxation.

Grumhaus has been serving as associate dean
and senior director of development for the Arts & Sciences Foundation since
April 2013.

“Shontel’s successful experience in
fundraising, campaign strategy, team building and collaboration across campus
makes her the ideal candidate to lead the advancement team to a new level of
success,” Shackelford said. “Her deep understanding of the mission, vision and
value of UNC Kenan-Flagler and her leadership experience at UNC’s largest
academic unit uniquely prepare her to successfully direct the future of our
advancement work.”

Gerdts will become vice
president for institutional advancement at Yeshiva University.
He is returning to his fundraising roots in New York which started in 2002 at
Manhattan Theatre Club when he worked on annual-fund campaigns and a capital
campaign to restore Broadway’s Biltmore Theater, then moved to higher education
fundraising at American Friends of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2006.

Image

He came back to Carolina in 2007 as director
of Young Alumni Programs for the Carolina Annual Fund in the University
Development Office, and joined UNC Kenan-Flagler as a major gifts officer in
2008. He was named as executive director of development in 2010 and associate dean
of advancement at UNC Kenan-Flagler in 2014.

“Adam built a great advancement team of
development, alumni relations, annual giving, advancement services and
corporate relations professionals,” said Shackelford. “He created strong
working partnerships across the School and the University, and helped bring
fundraising from its depths of $10 million after the recession to more than $50
million projected this year. Carolina will remain his home and he’ll continue
to be one of our greatest advocates.”

Grumhaus didn’t just earn two degrees from UNC
Kenan-Flagler – she also worked on the advancement team. She was a director of development
from 2007 to 2012. Based in New York, she managed relationships for many of our
most generous donors in the northeast area. She went on to serve as principal
at a healthcare recruiting firm, Oxeon Partners, until she returned to Chapel
Hill in 2013.

Image

As associate dean for the Arts & Sciences Foundation,
Grumhaus helped drive strategy across annual giving, alumni engagement, donor
relations, corporate and foundation relations, and campaign planning platforms.
She led her team of principal and major gift officers to record-breaking
performance, raising over $400 million for the College of Arts & Sciences
towards a goal of $750 million in the Campaign for Carolina.

Gerdts and Grumhaus take on their new roles
effective April 1, 2019
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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How to ace your remote interview  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Mar 2019, 11:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: How to ace your remote interview
Image

If you’re interviewing for a remote role, your interviewer
is going to be trying to answer several questions about you: Can you perform
the tasks required for the job? Will you fit with the company culture? Can you
survive and thrive as a remote worker?

While this article won’t help you with the first two points,
it will most definitely help you nail the last one.

Take it seriously

As you get ready for your interview, keep in mind that the
basics are the same. This is a “real” interview. Do your research on the
company. Have your talking points and examples ready to go. As a faculty
manager for Kaplan Test Prep, I spent many years interviewing people via video
call. I had a small window to figure out if the person staring at me through
the screen was worth the time, money, and training I would invest in them. I
never once hired someone who didn’t take the interview seriously. Your
interviewer won’t either.

While virtual interviews share the same basic components of
an in-person interview, the medium adds a layer of complexity that can trip up
the unwary.

Get wired and check your tech

Starbucks Wi-Fi isn’t going to cut it for this. There are a
lot of different video conferencing apps out there, and with few exceptions,
they require a lot of bandwidth. Your favorite coffee shop is in the business
of selling you delicious beverages, not strong Wi-Fi signal. Murphy’s Law also
dictates that the barista will fire up the blender at the exact moment you
start talking. Human ears are wonderful things: If we’re sitting together in a
coffee shop, we can tune out the blender and still have a great conversation.
Your device’s speakers can’t do the same thing. You want your interviewer to
remember you—not the blender and the background music that overpowered your
voice.

Find a quiet place with a router that you can plug into. If
you don’t have access to a router in your home, ask a friend or family member
if you can come over and use theirs. Libraries and shared workspaces are also
great places to find a quiet room with a wired connection. Book the space ahead
of time and test out the connection to make sure it’s strong enough for your
needs. If you like the space and you land the job, this will be a good location
to visit when you need a change of scenery.

Taking time to test out your internet connection also allows
you to test out the video conferencing platform you will be using. You will
likely need to register to use the video service. You will also probably need
to download an app or even download a different browser. Enlist a friend or
family member and use the platform to make a call. Play with the volume, mute
buttons, and camera to make sure you know how to use them smoothly. Taking the
time to perform these steps well ahead of your interview will help you feel
calm and in control.

The movie of you: background, lighting, and camera angle

Once you get your internet and video platform sorted, it’s
time to take things to the next level. Think of this as the difference between
a Hollywood production and someone’s home movie. Professionals spend time
curating their background, lighting, and ambient noise. This is a critical part
of looking polished and professional.

Above all, your background shouldn’t be distracting. Sitting
with your back against a blank wall is perfectly acceptable. Remove pictures or
knickknacks if your background is cluttered. Get your device, turn on your
camera, and really look at the things behind you. Pretend you are creating a
movie set. Are those last night’s dishes in the sink? Can you see your bed?

Don’t be afraid to let some of your personality shine
through – if you have a tasteful display of running medals, a vase full of
flowers from your garden or a replica of a World War II fighter plane, by all
means, put it behind you as a statement piece. Just make sure the statement
you’re making isn’t “I haven’t done laundry for two weeks.”

It is entirely possible to spend hours trying to find the
perfect light setup. Fortunately, it only takes a few minutes to find good
enough light if you remember a few key points. Don’t sit with a window behind
you. It will make you look like you’ve joined the witness protection program.
Don’t point a task light directly at your face. While an interview may feel
like an interrogation, you don’t want yours to look like one. Indirect light is
best. Face a window, if you have one. If your image looks washed out, try
turning off your overhead light.

The rule of thumb is to position your camera so it is at
your eye level as you look straight ahead. Angle the camera so you can see the
top of your head, all the way down to your shoulders. You may need to set your
device on a stack of books or on a nearby shelf to achieve this. If your camera
is too low, you will be looking down your nose at your interviewer. If it is
too high, the interviewer will be looking down on you. If you use a prop to
raise the angle of your camera, make sure it’s stable. You don’t want it
falling down because you pressed the unmute button too hard.

Noise

Dogs. Kids. Errant significant others. They all have the
capacity to make noise at the most inconvenient times. There are two things to
keep in mind when it comes to noises in the home.

The first is that veteran remote employees know they will
occasionally see or hear your family members. Most take these video bombings in
stride. The second is that you should work hard to keep your household from
intruding on your interview. You don’t know if the person interviewing you is a
remote employee. They could be the national recruiter working from the home
office and have little to no experience with the way home life can sometimes seep
into your work life.

Err on the side of conservatism. Once you get a proper feel
for the company culture, you can dial down the formality.

Look into the camera

Fair warning: This last piece of advice is Western specific.
If you are doing business in a culture where looking directly at someone when
they speak to you is disrespectful, feel free to ignore what I’m about to say.
In fact, do the opposite, and look at the screen the entire time.

If you want to look someone in the eye during a video call,
you have to look into the camera. Doing so will feel counterintuitive. The
person you’re talking to is right there on the screen, not in the little
aperture on your phone or laptop.

Block out some time well ahead of the interview to work
through any glitches that might arise.

It’s also surprisingly hard to remember your talking points
and anecdotes when you’re staring at the camera instead of looking at someone’s
face. If you want the person on the other end to feel you are listening to them
and are engaged in the conversation, then you have to look at the camera most
of the time. It’s fine to glance down at the screen during the course of the
conversation to gauge the other person’s reaction to what you’re saying. Make
those glances brief.

This is an important skill to cultivate as you work
remotely. While you may not look into the camera as much in a group video
meeting, you will find that difficult or emotionally charged conversations are
easier if you look into the other person’s eyes. Start building that skill now.

Don’t panic

Getting ready for a video interview may seem daunting, but
it doesn’t have to be. Block out some time well ahead of the interview to work
through any glitches that might arise. As an added bonus, you can use
everything you learned to make a great impression on your first day in your new
role.

By TeresaDouglas (MBA ’14), author of the
book “Secrets of the Remote Workforce: By Employees, For Employees”
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Divergence: Redefining the status quo at UNC Kenan-Flagler  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Mar 2019, 12:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Divergence: Redefining the status quo at UNC Kenan-Flagler
Image

Diversity
is a hot topic at any university or workplace. College brochures are plastered
with statistics about minority representation on campus and company recruiters
are eager fire off all the things that make their firms diverse. But what about
these facts and statistics really help to build an inclusive community?

The Undergraduate Business Program’s diversity and inclusion board
tackled some of these important issues with its forum “Divergence: Redefining
the status quo at Kenan-Flagler.” The event featured three speakers each
discussing a different aspect of inclusion and community building.

UNC graduate
Herrison Chicas, a social entrepreneur and storyteller kicked off the event with
a spoken-word performance. He used a story about his morning visit to the gym
as a vehicle to deliver a message about bringing people from different
backgrounds together to foster respect and acceptance.

One of
the most powerful lines of his performance related lifting weights in the gym
to working to bring communities together: “I begin pushing and pulling weights
hoping that these muscles will one day be strong enough to uplift my community,
strong enough to bridge two different worlds together.”

Chicas
spoke about struggling to find a community at UNC and the constant pressure of
comparing himself to high-performing peers. But he gave students some advice:
“Once you come to the conclusion that you are uniquely you, that your DNA has
never existed and will never ever exist again, that the right combination of
talent, flaws and insecurities make you you
– once you realize that, the same daunting Carolina can become the best petri
dish to explore the world.”

Allison Schlobohm, clinical assistant professor of management
and corporate communication at UNC Kenan-Flagler, explored imposter syndrome or
imposter phenomenon as she prefers to call it. At a place like UNC, and more
specifically UNC Kenan-Flagler, everyone is so accomplished and it can be easy
to feel like an imposter. To cope people put on masks and try to fit in and
become more like their community.

“The
idea that we all want to be the same is detrimental to our community and it
will not make us better, it will only hold us down,” said Schlobohm.

To
overcome this imposter phenomenon you have to become vulnerable, so there needs
to be an inclusive and safe space for people to feel comfortable sharing their
flaws, she said. In the end, overcoming imposter phenomenon can help empower
others.

 “Our masks aren’t actually that great. When we
lift them up, we’re doing everyone a favor by saying I know that I’m flawed so
it’s okay that you are, too,” said Schlobohm.

So how
do we create these safe spaces for people to feel comfortable taking off their
masks? Tim Salau, a product manager at Microsoft and community builder, shared
his successful model for developing inclusive communities.

After
identifying a need for a place for professionals and students to share stories,
ask for advice, and find mentors, Salau created the Facebook group called
Mentors and Mentees in 2017. Now over 6,000 members strong, the group has become
a place for members to empower each other.

Salau
has developed what he calls the CSA model for creating other inclusive
communities. CSA stands for create, share and amplify. In the create stage the
main purpose is to identify the community you want to create. Once you’ve found
the purpose for your community you move on to the share stage. Salau emphasized
that every community starts small, and it’s not going to be built overnight.
The first members in his Mentors and Mentees group were his mom, dad and high
school English teacher.

Share
is the hardest stage, says Salau. “At the share stage is when people are most
scared, face the most challenges and carry the notion of imposter syndrome, so
they are not able to bring their ideas into the world and involve other
people.” The best way to overcome that fear is to be selective about who joins
initially. Find other people who share the same passion and are “down for the
cause.”

Amplify
is the final stage of the CSA model. During this stage you have to think about
how you want the community to grow and what things you can do to empower
members and strengthen bonds. For his Facebook group, Salau asked the most
active members to create Facebook live workshops about their passions in the
professional sphere. These workshops received thousands of impressions and led
more people to find his Facebook group. In this case, Salau “leveraged the core
purpose of the community to help people take control of their careers.”

As a
final piece of advice, Salau used what both Chicas and Schlobohm built toward:
“Break through your imposter syndrome, and ask ‘How can I create share and
amplify to build my tribe?”

By Kelly McNeil (BSBA ’19)
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It’s all about the kids – and their families – for Marissa Devine  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Mar 2019, 12:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: It’s all about the kids – and their families – for Marissa Devine
Image

Marissa Devine (BSBA ’19) wants nothing more than to make a
difference in the world. Her heart swells for programs that help children and
their families facing enormous challenges. The experience is personal: When she
was a kid, her 9-year-old cousin was diagnosed with brain cancer, and she saw the
devastation experienced by the family.

When Devine arrived on the UNC campus as a first-year student, she
searched for a way to contribute and make her mark. She found it in Carolina For The Kids
(CFTK), which provides
major emotional, medical and financial support for the patients and families
served by UNC Children’s.

“The mission
of Carolina For The Kids aligned perfectly with what I wanted to do,” says
Devine. 

The
organization raises money to help families afford gas cards, food and other
bills while caring for their children. It also provides free meals to the families on
Tuesday night at N.C. Children’s Hospital so parents don’t have to leave their
children’s bedside to eat. The focus is to relieve some of the stressors
experienced by families with a child in the hospital.

Devine signed
up for the CFTK community relations committee, which spreads awareness in the
community through encouraging middle schools and high schools to host their own
mini marathons, create CFTK clubs and organize fundraisers to support UNC
Children’s. In her sophomore year, Devine wanted to make more of a commitment,
so she applied for a subchair position and became the middle schools subchair. Even
though, she spent her spring semester junior year abroad, Devine held a
subchair position on the publicity committee and maintained her active role and
passion for CFTK.

In her final
year at Carolina, however, she was determined to have a greater impact. She serves
on the executive board – one of 16 students – and as the PR chair. In
this role, she is flexing her business muscles. She has led a group of 25 students,
improved her communication skills and reached out to media and other sectors of
the community to promote CFTK and its work.

Image
Marissa Devine with the Carolina For The Kids executive board.

In finding
her place with CFTK, Devine also connected more deeply with the UNC Kenan-Flagler
community. For starters, she talked about her experience with CFTK during her
marketing class taught by Claudia Kubowicz Malhotra, who suggested Devine ask Dean
Doug Shackelford (BSBA ’80) to send a message about an upcoming CFTK event. He
agreed and met with Devine to learn more about her work.

His school-wide
email raised awareness about CFTK in the UNC Kenan-Flagler family. Brad Hendricks, assistant professor of
accounting, sits on the CFTK board of directors. He and his colleagues act as a
sounding board for the students. They help them make decisions, get in contact
with those inside and outside the University who can help the cause, and occasionally
push back on some ideas, says Hendricks.

Hendricks
came to CFTK as a result of his firsthand experience with the doctors in the
organization. Hendricks’ daughter, who is now 12, has a complex medical
history. While he has lost count, Hendricks estimates that he and his family
have spent a total of 500 nights living out of four different hospitals across
the U.S.

Image
Scott, Debra and their oldest child Scott visit Michael at UNC Children’s Hospital.

“I bring the
patient side to the board,” he says. “I try to narrow their focus. The organization’s
mission is so broad, but organizations really excel when they clearly define a specific
issue that needs to be improved.”

In fact, his
daughter’s doctor invited him to join the board because it lacked a member with
business expertise. But Hendricks doesn’t want this organization to be fixated
on fundraising. While that is important, the students improve lives of patients
and their families without spending a dollar, he says.

For example, a
student might stop in to play with a sick child or take the sick child’s
sibling to the Pediatric Playroom for a little while. “If CFTK raises less
money, but students spend more time in the hospital with patients and families,
then the organization has likely made a greater difference,” says Hendricks.

It is hard to
overstate the importance of resources that help with the emotional aspect of a
child’s hospital stay, he says. “A child’s negative experience at the hospital
can mean they’ll fight caregivers and medical providers in the future about the
treatments they need.”

Hendricks
references a CNN story that features several families of children with special
needs. These families hold up a chart which illustrates all the people involved
in the care of their child. The charts are overflowing and point to the number
of resources and stresses each family confronts.

“It’s
exhausting,” he says. “As soon as families get a diagnosis, they immediately
recognize the medical problem they are facing. But it is easy to overlook how
that single event then ripples through every aspect of their lives.”

Parents with
kids who have chronic medical conditions often can’t go to work, for example.
Or one goes to work and the other stays with the child, he says. Considering
more than three-fourths of parents with children under the age of 18 years old
are employed, the diagnosis rapidly creates a major strain on the family as
income is reduced and medical expenses increase.

“The medical
problem becomes a financial problem which then often turns into a relationship
problem,” says Hendricks. He recalls feeling like a worse spouse, employee, son
and friend after his own daughter’s diagnosis. In his view, CFTK makes an
impact by helping the problem remain a medical issue rather than spiraling into
strains on the rest of the family’s life.

For
Hendricks, Devine and other students who make the success of CFTK a top
priority are inspiring.

“The people
in the foundation are exceptional,” he says. “The students deserve all the
credit for the organization’s impact. They are genuinely passionate about what
they’re doing, and they are making a far bigger difference in their community than
I did at their age.”

Devine never
tires of hearing how CFTK makes a difference in the lives of patients and their
families.

That’s why
she was especially gratified to hear from ScottDotson (MBA ’19),
whose son Michael (twin brother of Thomas) was in the UNC Children’s Neonatal Critical Care Center (NCCC) since his
birth on Dec. 20, 2018, until he died on March 7, 2019, after battling liver
failure and thrombocytopenia (severely low platelet count). Dotson and his
wife, Debra, have
five other children under the age of six at home, and counted on UNC’s medical
expertise and loving support.

“The Newborn Critical Care
Center Family Advisory Board has been very helpful, with support groups,
discounted meals for mothers who are breastfeeding, the Ronald McDonald Family
Room and everything else that UNC Children’s offers the precious patients and
families who spend so much time in that building,” Dotson wrote to Devine “From
a fellow Kenan-Flagler student and grateful father of a child fighting for his
life, I thank you for all that you do.”

As Devine prepares for
graduation and a job in marketing and communications at Deloitte in New York,
she is hopeful about the future of CFTK. As an alumna, she plans to keep in
touch, and attend the UNC Dance Marathon and much more.

“This organization has
stolen my heart,” says Devine, “and I love it with everything I have.”
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How-to Publish a Discursive Article  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Mar 2019, 02:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: How-to Publish a Discursive Article
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Where the nature of poetry can do you great, this really is.
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Ch 4, (2 edc, ch 2, 3 edc) in band, switch.
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Werewolf Facts  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Mar 2019, 04:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Werewolf Facts
The simple opinion here would be to write an essay that’s important. It really is wise to really proceed through sites which are connected with article writing. Analyze what you’d like to write within the article and how do you want the visitors to react to your own composition. First, let’s take a look at the start of the article. The very starting stage in creating a descriptive composition is consistently to select your subject. Composing the authentic essay. An exceptional communication essay must additionally have the job of delivering information whenever needed. By abiding By these 3 actions it is easy to create a superior high quality article, as well as in the process, improve your study and composition writing skills.

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Nonetheless it is than sleeping around the streets themselves better.

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How to prepare for your EMBA interview  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Mar 2019, 11:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: How to prepare for your EMBA interview
The interview is a key component of your overall executive MBA application. It provides you with another channel to demonstrate your candidacy for entry to the program and allows you to share much more information than your resume and essays.

So, what things should you consider?

Arrive prepared. While the interviewers won’t expect you to be an expert on minute details of the program, you should be knowledgeable about the general information. In addition, review your resume and essays because you are likely to receive questions about the contents of your application. Business professional attire is recommended – wear a suit!

Emphasize teamwork. Executive MBA programs have many team-based activities, so the interviewer will want to ensure you can integrate effectively to this environment. Demonstrate your ability to succeed with others who may have diversity of thought, experience, background, culture, and nationality.

Manage weaknesses. If you can self-identify a weakness (e.g. fewer years of work experience, low test scores, etc.), think about your action plan to enter the program as prepared as possible. You may want to consider things such as shadowing a senior leader for a few days or taking self-study courses in specific areas.

Show school pride. Although the interviewer is evaluating you on your potential in the classroom, they are also evaluating you as a contributor to the UNC Kenan-Flagler community. Think about how you can demonstrate your commitment to the program and how you can add value to the overall mission.

Top 3 things. A typical interview can be 45 – 60 minutes with multiple topics discussed. Before you depart, be sure to highlight the most important aspects of your candidacy. Think about the top three things you think are most relevant for the committee to know as they evaluate your overall application.

Lastly, relax! The interviewer will want to learn about your background, but they’ll also seek to know you as a person. Be formal, but comfortable.
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How to refine your resume for the EMBA application  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Mar 2019, 11:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: How to refine your resume for the EMBA application
Although most Executive MBA (EMBA) programs don’t require you to create a new resume for the application process, making a few modifications to your current resume can strengthen your candidacy.

Your resume should:

  • Showcase career progression
  • Include time spent in each position
  • Outline the skills you built in the role
  • Quantify results
  • Include leadership outside your current employer

Ready to get started? Check out our EMBA admissions team’s tips for refining your resume for your application:

Illustrate career progression. 

EMBA programs place a significant emphasis on the career progression of candidates. Use your resume to share your career progression through a variety of roles and responsibilities. Using time progression is generally the preferred format.

Include time spent in each position. 

If you have changed roles frequently, use months/years so the review team can understand the actual time spent in each position – this will help the committee understand the promotion timelines. If there is significant length (5+ years) in one position, use the bullets to outline increased responsibility during the time period.

Outline the skills built in the role. 

Committee members are evaluating candidates based on what the candidates will bring to the program. While everyone has areas of opportunity, use your resume to focus on your strengths and how those will benefit your classmates and the program.

Quantify results. 

To provide relative context to your impact on the organization, use quantifiable examples for results. You can consider things such as % increase, $K new business, or 1% error rate. Even things that seem unquantifiable can be re-packaged. Consider 100% project completion rate if you accomplished everything required.

Include leadership outside your current employer. 

This may seem obvious, but many candidates neglect to include outstanding civic organizations and community groups. If you have multiple affiliations, begin with well-known national organizations such as Habitat for Humanity or the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
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Tax professionals have input on EVERY business decision.  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Mar 2019, 07:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Tax professionals have input on EVERY business decision.
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Imagine the work week ahead of you, not too far in the future:

One of your clients is acquiring another company and wants to know how to structure the transaction to minimize tax liabilities.

Another client needs to understand the income tax and property tax implications for several states being considered for new distribution centers.

And a third — a big tech company — is planning a data center in Europe, but wants to understand how EU and individual country tax laws would affect the finances. You’re just starting to handle more international work and have joined the team handling the technology giant’s tax analysis. 

And all your clients also want to know how new tax laws will affect their tax liability, and how that might change their financial statements.

They need your tax analysis skills to understand their options and make the right call.

The right decision, backed by insightful tax analysis, can mean more profits and higher stock values. The wrong decision, however, might mean lower profits and a sinking stock price.

“There’s not a decision a business makes that doesn’t have tax implications,” says Courtney Edwards, a clinical associate professor of accounting who focuses on tax in UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s Master of Accounting program. “It is all about decision-making.”

Most day-to-day tax work is focused on understanding the intricacies of tax law and figuring out how that applies to a client’s business.

>> Smart decision maker? Learn five practical applications where accounting skills can make you even smarter around the office.

Tax pros in demand

Tax accountants are highly sought after. They most commonly work for accounting firms and corporations.

Tax pros at public accounting firms often work with multiple clients over the course of the day. Unlike auditing, another accounting career path, tax accountants can take sides for their clients.

“You are their advocate,” Edwards says. “You’re actually saying ‘We’re going to pick the best choice for you within the bounds of the tax law and we’re going to support it and defend it.’” 

On the corporate side, tax pros focus on a single business, mastering the tax issues that company and its industry faces. The scope of their responsibilities often depends on the size of the company’s tax department.

In a big multinational, individual tax accountants might focus on specific areas, such as state and local sales and use taxes, while working as part of a bigger tax team. In smaller companies, a handful of people, or even a single individual, might handle all state and federal taxes.

Tax accountants have plenty of career opportunities. Because they understand taxes, which factor in every business decision a company makes, they’re well positioned to advance senior ranks in a company, becoming CFO or leading mergers and acquisitions efforts, for example.

“Regardless of what you want to do, having some understanding and appreciation for tax is going to make you better for it,” Edwards says.

Tax traits

How do you know if tax is right for you?

Analyzing tax questions requires the ability to do research, understand how the law applies, and analyze the financial effects. Tax professionals need to know the client’s business and industry, so they understand how tax rules apply in that setting.

“Doing a tax return, answering a research question —it’s a satisfying exercise for a lot of people who like to do puzzles,” she says. “The work is intellectually challenging and stimulating.”

Solving a tax problem, Edwards says, provides the same kind of satisfaction that many people get from solving a tricky crossword puzzle or sudoku board. Tax professionals figure out how to apply the rules to benefit the client, within the bounds of the law.

Strong written and verbal communication skills are also important. “By definition you are working with people,” Edwards says. Tax pros collaborate other accountants, usually as part of a team, and regularly communicate with people throughout the company they’re working with.

Taking the next step

It takes serious skills and know-how to become a tax professional. Fortunately, you can get the necessary education and credentials to start a tax career in as little as one year through a Master of Accounting degree (MAC) program.

UNC’s MAC can be earned through a traditional, on-campus program or a flexible, online program that allows students to learn on their schedule. Many online MAC graduates stay with their current employer, but shift direction or shoot up the career ladder faster because of their new finance, accounting, and tax knowledge. 

Regardless of the format you choose, you’ll earn the same top-ranked degree, join the powerful UNC alumni network, and access career services to tune-up your résumé, sharpen your interview skills, and put you in front of potential employers.

How to make smarter decisions

Interested in learning more about how taking accounting classes will make improve your business savvy and fiscal intelligence? Download this free learning guide about some of the other financial insights you’ll receive as you earn a MAC degree.

Image

What’s your next career move?

The 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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Even if you don’t shop at Lidl, you benefit from its lower prices  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Apr 2019, 07:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Even if you don’t shop at Lidl, you benefit from its lower prices
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The arrival of low-price European grocers in the U.S.
could mean hundreds of dollars per year in savings for consumers – even if they
don’t shop at the new stores.

The impact on grocery prices when Lidl entered
selected U.S. markets is a subject of study for Katrijn Gielens, associate professor of marketing and Sarah Graham Kenan Scholar at UNC
Kenan-Flagler. She wanted to know what impact of Germany’s low-price-focused
grocers, such as Lidl and Aldi, might have on the already competitive U.S.
market.

Lidl’s strategy focuses on providing low prices
across a narrow selection of grocery staples. It entered the U.S. market in
mid-2017, opening 10 stores in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
That was just the beginning for the company, which has since opened over 50
additional stores. In fall 2018, it announced plans to purchase 27 supermarkets
in New York and New Jersey to expand its footprint.

Lidl primarily stocks private-label products
rather than groceries from other suppliers, making its business model
substantially different from competitors.

Gielens wanted to know if the company’s entry would
have any measurable effect on prices in places where, for example, other
low-cost sellers such as Walmart already operate. And would it affect prices at
grocery stores that often try to differentiate themselves in other ways, such
as offering prepared foods, hard-to-find specialty products or an especially
comprehensive selection of groceries?

Lidl’s entry, she discovered, offered substantial
savings for consumers whether or not they shopped at the German chain. It
presents new challenges for existing grocers facing highly competitive
environments.

Lidl funded Gielens’ study with the caveat that she
would report whatever the research showed, even if it wasn’t positive for Lidl.

Price check

To discover the true impact on Lidl’s entry into U.S.
grocery markets, Gielens selected a dozen towns in Virginia and the Carolinas.
She chose six communities where Lidl had opened new stores and paired each with
demographically similar towns to act as controls.

She identified a market basket of 48 common
grocery items: ice cream, bacon, whole milk, canned tuna and more. And she
dispatched researchers to collect price data on each item from the grocery
stores in the markets she was studying, an expensive process.

“It needs to be done very, very professionally,”
she says. “What you usually need is a professional agency that has a lot of
experience with field research.”

Product comparisons have to be very specific –
not just what yogurt costs, but the cost of a certain flavor of yogurt in a
certain size container.

While it’s not surprising that grocery prices
dropped after a Lidl store entered a market, the magnitude of the decrease
surprised Gielens. She expected to see price drops similar to those seen when
Walmart entered the grocery business – generally 1 to 5 percent. Instead, she
found that Lidl’s overall impact was almost twice as big.

On average, competing retailers set their prices
9.3 percent lower in markets where they faced competition from Lidl compared to
markets where they didn’t.

Comparisons for specific products and against
specific competitors were even more dramatic. For example, the price drops for
a half-gallon of milk in markets where Lidl was present was 55 percent lower
than in markets where it wasn’t. Some food categories, such as avocados and
bread products, saw price reductions of more than 30 percent. More frequently
purchased goods, including ice cream, bananas and cheese, saw their prices go
down more than 15 percent.

For individual shoppers, she found savings of up
to $22 on the entire basket of 48 goods. On an annual basis, consumers might
save hundreds of dollars per year.

Beyond pricing

The study has important implications for grocery
retailers assessing the potential impact of low-cost competitors.

First, it suggests that some concession on prices
is almost certainly necessary, no matter how stores brand themselves.

Grocery chains that have historically branded
themselves as “low-price leaders” might face the most difficult challenge, as
their core positioning is directly challenged by Lidl’s ability to deliver
lower prices on high-quality staples.

“The more you are alike the less you can afford
to sit back and do nothing back,” Gielens says.

For these and other grocers, figuring out how to
differentiate themselves – through services such as prepared food, a larger
range of products or a more attractive in-store experience – will be essential.

U.S. grocers might consider their peers’
experience in the U.K. as a warning.

“In the U.K., a lot of the competition was
virtually destroyed by Aldi and Lidl a couple years ago,” she says. “They
become very aggressive.There are really no reasons why you should assume the
U.S. market will be different.”

While some news reports suggest that Lidl’s entry
into the U.S. might not have gone as well as the company hoped, Gielens says
the company is well-capitalized and privately held, and so doesn’t have to
answer to impatient financial markets hungry for the next quarterly earnings
report.
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Research by PhD student is already making an impact  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Apr 2019, 13:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Research by PhD student is already making an impact
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2019 Impact Award recipient Travis Howell poses in front of Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Even though Travis Howell (PhD ’20) has not
yet earned his PhD, his research is already making an impact.

His research
interests include entrepreneurship, founders, coworking spaces and strategic
management.

His focus is on how to build and sustain a
good founding team, and how increasingly popular coworking spaces are changing
entrepreneurship.

Howell’s study “Coworking’s Rapid Rise and Its
Implications for Workers, Policies” received a 2019 Graduate Education
Advancement Board ImpactAward from the UNC Graduate School. The award
recognizes graduate students’ powerful discoveries that contribute to a better
future for people and communities in North Carolina. UNC’s Horizon/Impact
Awards Selection Committee, comprised of faculty members from across campus,
selected his work for the honor, which included a $500 award.

“Travis has generated key insights regarding
the advantages and disadvantages of coworking. Importantly, he sheds needed
light on the nature and impact of founder communities and provides guidance
about how individuals can effectively work alone, together,” said his doctoral
adviser ChrisBingham, professor of strategy and entrepreneurship,
Phillip Hettleman Distinguished Scholar and area chair of strategy and
entrepreneurship.

Howell’s robust agenda includes studies with
Bingham to examine how cofounders can work together effectively as well as what
solo founders can do to succeed. They also are working with Brad Hendricks, an accounting
professor, on two studies: the impact of founders’ top-management-teams on firm performance, and
how founders of large firms structure their top management teams
to maintain control. In addition, he is exploring how firms develop
internationalization capabilities with Bingham and Tim Ott, assistant professor of strategy and
entrepreneurship.

Howell graduated
from Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management where he earned a
master’s and BS in accounting.

He went on to work
as a consultant at PwC focusing on the valuation of intangible assets
– technology, customer relationships, trademarks, technology – for mergers
and acquisitions and management planning purposes. He performed valuations of both equity and debt securities for private equity
firms. Clients ranged from Fortune 500 companies to small VC startup companies.
He also worked in
finance at IMSAR, a startup company in Utah developing advanced radar
technology.

Support for
doctoral students and education is critical to developing future faculty and
research with impact. Howell has received the Strategy Research Foundation
Dissertation Scholar grant in support of dissertation research in strategic
management, and a Kenan Institute ofPrivate Enterprise
research grant. He was named a Kauffman KnowledgeChallenge Fellow
in 2018. The Kauffman Foundation seeks innovative
approaches to address the biggest problems facing entrepreneurs and ecosystem
builders. Howell won in the category that recognizes projects that show how
policy outcomes affect entrepreneurs.

Read moreabout Howell’s research here.
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Kenan-Flagler Day is a record-breaking success  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Apr 2019, 10:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Kenan-Flagler Day is a record-breaking success
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Kenan-Flagler Day was a historic success, raising more money in one day than all of our previous giving days combined. The final total was $1.77 million raised from more than 1,600 donors, making April 9 the greatest single day of giving in the Business School’s 100-year-old history.

Donors participated from across the globe, with gifts coming from more than 10 countries and a record 43 states. In addition to giving, alumni, parents and students attended 16 regional events, from Charlotte to Taipei.

Not to be outdone, faculty, staff and students on campus participated in events and activities including a dunk tank, food trucks and a champagne toast for graduating students. These members of the UNC Kenan-Flagler community accounted for more than 400 gifts on Kenan-Flagler Day.

Kenan-Flagler Day also featured a partnership with University-wide GiveUNC efforts, including a challenge against the College of Arts & Science – Battle for Carolina – that UNC Kenan-Flagler won handily. The Business School had more donors than any other school or unit on campus, accounting for more than a quarter of the University’s donor total. All told, the university raised an impressive $6.1 million from 5,994 donors on April 9.

Thank you for making a gift on Kenan-Flagler Day by making a gift, thank you. Your dollars will go to directly supporting this School – from new scholarships to vital annual support for our programs – and everything that makes us great.
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Learning about real estate in the Queen City  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Apr 2019, 09:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: Learning about real estate in the Queen City
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The
Undergraduate Real Estate Club headed to the major financial hub of
Charlotte to learn about commercial real estate. Our March 2019 trek focused on all asset classes. Each firm we visited had its
own unique strategic advantage, so we learned about the different approaches to
real estate investment and development opportunities.

Nuveen,
one of the largest real estate investment managers in the world, looks to the
future to predict what is next for retail and caters to the trends of consumer
preferences in real estate, including the younger generations’ preference for a
new type of office atmosphere. It believes the eco-friendly building trend will
soon fill cities in the U.S.

Beacon
Partners, a full service commercial real estate investment company, emphasized
the importance of accounting for the trends in all real estate asset classes. The
Railyard, one of its current mixed-use projects
featuring ground-level retail and office, is an example retail strategy to
attract various customers to one place, a common trend in new retail
properties.

We saw
retail trends at Asana Partners, a real estate investment firm that focuses on
reinventing retail as an experience. It redevelops properties to create a trendy
boutique retail experience. Asana focuses on attracting customers through
interesting entrances, painted murals, and unique retail offerings. For
example, Asana successfully redeveloped the Design Center into a prime
millennial hangout spot.

The trend
of attracting individuals through interesting experiences and amenities also is
found at Greystar. We explored its cutting-edge apartment development, Ascent Uptown. Touring Greystar’s luxury development was an
eye-opening visit for many students, as the cosmopolitan feel of a building in
North Carolina was a new experience for many participants. Although Uptown
Charlotte is experiencing hyper-supply of apartments and condos near the Bank
of America Stadium, Ascent still achieved a quick lease-up due to their success
in targeting the ultra-luxury consumer base.

We
rounded out the day with a visit to HFF, a boutique real estate brokerage firm.
HFF employees work at a fast pace to close as many deals as possible for
commercial real estate companies like those we visited earlier in the day. Each
deal they process is unique and requires different skills and techniques.
Through the variety of deals they work with, they learn about all types of
trends within the commercial real estate industry.

Overall,
the Undergraduate Real Estate Club members gained exposure to a variety of
trends in Charlotte’s commercial real estate market. We were fascinated with
the thought process behind each firm’s unique strategy for investment and
development. Not only did this trek allow us to learn about commercial real
estate in Charlotte, but it also gave us insights into a variety of potential
careers in the industry.

By Suzanne Nevant
(BSBA ’21) and Jennie Vo (BSBA ’19)
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How to keep your remote job from taking over your life  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Apr 2019, 08:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: How to keep your remote job from taking over your life
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Remote jobs are wonderful. Remote jobs are horrible. At any
point during the work week, either or both sentiments could be true. While some
of your happiness is dictated by the people you work with, much of your
happiness will stem from your ability to draw lines between your work and your
personal life.

This may sound counterintuitive. For some, remote work
provides a way to spend more time doing things they love. Others work remotely
because their personal circumstances demand it. In many cases, the ability to
blend the professional with the personal is what makes the arrangement work at
all. However, there is such a thing as too much work life blend. Only you can
say when things are too intermixed. One person’s successful blend is another
person’s train wreck.

Bring back the commute

There might be things you miss about working in the company
office. Commuting to work probably isn’t one of them. That said, commuting to
and from work provides a transition you don’t get moving from your kitchen
table to your office. This is particularly true if your kitchen table is your
office. You can answer work emails and texts while making dinner, and it’s hard
not to if there is a looming deadline or a project is unfinished. If you’re a
parent, your home life can run screaming into your work space, blurring the
line between personal time and work time still further.

I’m not suggesting that you need to leave your house and
travel to a new place (unless you want to). Rather, build a mental commute that
helps you move into or out of your work day.

Build rituals

Rituals provide that small pause between what came before
and the next activity. These rituals need not take a lot of time. I would love
to run before work or take a walk afterward, but my kids are home for the first
and last hours of my workday, and they are usually clamoring for food or
attention. It’s still possible to build in transitional rituals even when you
have demands on your time.

A colleague of mine performs a 10-minute mindfulness
exercise before opening his laptop for the day. I make a cup of chai from
scratch. Granted, I make chai daily, but on work days I make my tea and drink it
while I skim email and check my calendar. I also feed Mike, my Betta fish, at
the beginning and end of my work day. Neither of these is as cool as a
mindfulness exercise, but they work for me.

You don’t need to invent exotic rituals. Feeding Mike isn’t
my idea of a transcendent experience. However, you can take mundane activities
and perform them in a certain order to help your mind shift gears.

Dress for work

Working remotely means never (or hardly ever) having to wear
uncomfortable business clothes. Depending on how often you interact face to
face with clients and colleagues, and your company’s prevailing culture, you
can wear anything you want. The Internet is full of stories about working in
your pajamas. I loved ditching the high heels. If I never see another pair of
those torture devices, it will be too soon.

I will still recommend you get dressed for work. Remote
workers do not have the same physical separation between their place of
employment and their place of rest. Dressing for work can be one of the easiest
ways to transition from home life to work life. One of my colleagues has a suit
jacket made of T-shirt material. She slips it on when she is in work mode. I
own three collared, button down work shirts. Putting them on signals that I’m
going to work. At the end of the day I change into a t-shirt to show I’ve
“left” work. I’m like Mr. Rogers in reverse.

Build a soundtrack

Many of us have songs we associate with different memories
or feelings. Use this to your advantage and create a soundtrack to transition
into or out of work.

I discovered this tip by accident. I’m a runner. My running
playlist of a dozen songs worked just fine until I trained for a 10k. I was out
3–4 days a week, listening to the same songs over and over and over again. The
result is that I can’t listen to any Lady Gaga or the song ‘Titanium’ without
experiencing a nearly uncontrollable desire to run. On the days I don’t want to
run, I turn on these songs and I’m practically propelled out the door.

You can use this same strategy to get into your work groove
– or to pull you out of work if you have a tough time turning it off. This
strategy takes time. If you pair the same playlist with leaving work, your mind
will eventually shift gears when those songs play. As a bonus, you can tell
your partner or children that until they hear James Brown, you’re still at
work.

Carve out a distinct work space

 One of the easiest
ways to compartmentalize your job is to keep it in a separate home office. If
you can afford this option, take advantage of it. I have spent my entire
professional life in some of the least affordable places to live in the world.
My office is usually in my bedroom.

Fortunately creating a distinct workspace has more to do
with your creativity than it does with actual walls. A physical office is
great, but keep in mind that those walls won’t save you from getting sucked
back into work all by themselves.

How to build an office when you don’t have a separate room

You can still create a physical office even if you don’t
have a separate room. Buy a desk if you can and do most of your work there. A
folding screen can wall you off from the rest of your home. Screens are also
handy for hiding your bedroom when you are on video calls. A few office
specific decorations can create the outlines of a separate work space. Mike the
beta fish lives in a tank on my desk. My running medals hang on the holder I’ve
attached to the wall behind me. Even putting a cup of pens and a photo of your
family on your kitchen table/desk can help you distinguish between work time
and off-the-clock time.

Create a healthy distance

 Ideally, you would
have a work computer and a personal computer, a work phone and a personal
phone, and the two would only mix when you want them to. People who commute to
a physical office also struggle with this sort of separation. However, the
issue is magnified for remote workers, who live in their office. You don’t have
to take work home – you’re already there.

Successful remote workers think about the amount of purely
personal time they need to thrive and take steps to wall off that time. Some
people require more distance than others. Some might want to take calls during
dinner so they can catch an issue in its early stages. Others need a “no work
zone” so they can return to work fully charged. Only you can decide if there is
enough distance between your job and your personal life. Are your choices
harming your relationships or health? If not, then this likely isn’t a problem
for you. It’s only a problem if you need time to unplug and work plugs you back
in.

Some companies or industries expect you to be available at
all hours. Unless you are a first responder or on call, you can usually ignore
a message for a set amount of time, or let the person know you’re in the middle
of dinner and will look at whatever it is later. Your strategy may need to vary
person by person. In these types of work environments, it pays to figure out
exactly how long you can unplug before there are consequences you can’t live
with.

Many remote employees can choose to turn off work outside of
work hours. We don’t because we see that notification on our screen and we
think “I’ll just answer that really quickly so I don’t have it hanging over my
head tomorrow” and next thing you know it’s two hours later and you’ve missed
the meetup with your run group. Again. Or maybe that’s just me.

I used to think I would have a better blend of work and life
if my company gave me a work phone that I could shove into a drawer. As a
veteran remote worker, I now know that I am only as balanced as my notification
settings. I set my company Slack to “do not disturb” between the hours of 5
p.m. and 8 a.m. on my laptop. I don’t have Slack on my phone at all unless I’m
working outside my home. My company laptop gets turned off at the end of the
day and I use my iPad or iPhone to surf the web. Few work people have my
personal cell number. I do not forward my work email to my phone.

This doesn’t mean that I never work after hours. The beauty
of a remote job is that you can put in a few hours late in the evening or early
in the morning and then use the daylight hours to go do something else. The
goal is to make working after hours just hard enough that doing so becomes a
conscious decision.

Use your words

Once you build your commute and set up your mental barriers
between work and home, talk as if there is a physical distance between you and
your job. In the morning I grab my cup of chai, announce I’m going to work and
say goodbye to my family. Everyone says goodbye back even though I’m just
moving into the next room. This might not work for you if you live alone. Adapt
it to fit your situation. Tell colleagues you are away from your desk even if
you can see your desk from the dinner table. The more you talk about work as
something you have to go to or come back from, the easier it is to turn on and
off.

Remote jobs offer an amazing opportunity to work
productively and do more of the things you love. Remote jobs can also take over
your life. Take steps to develop a healthy distance between work and home. If
you do, you’ll develop a work life blend that pushes you closer to your work-life
goals.

By TeresaDouglas (MBA ’14), author of the book “Secrets of the
Remote Workforce: By Employees, For Employees”
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More than profits, student store provides real-world experience  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Apr 2019, 14:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: More than profits, student store provides real-world experience
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Matt Bartsch and Zach Stone co-ran the student store during their second year of the Full-Time MBA Program.

Getting into the school of your choice is an exciting time. There’s a sense of pride and a desire to celebrate it with others by buying and wearing garb from your new school. That’s how the concept and creation of the UNC Kenan-Flagler Student Store came about.

Most universities’ student stores provide a plethora of gear to accommodate anyone and everyone, including specialized gear for students in specific schools. But when Tim Ryan and Kyle Pinheiro (both MBA ’17) tried buying UNC Kenan-Flagler gear, there was little to choose from. That’s when they came up with the idea of theBusiness School’s student store.

“It was really their vision. Other business schools had a student store to sell branded gear to their students and alumni and UNC Kenan-Flagler did not,” says Matt Bartsch (MBA ’19), who began co-running the student store with classmate Zach Stone (MBA ’19) as second-year MBA students in fall 2018. Ryan and Pinheiro realized there was a market for Business School branded gear and they formed the small business thanks to funding from theMBA Student Association (MBASA).

“They received a grant and went out and purchased a couple of items: hoodies, sweatshirts and T-shirts. That’s how the store began, primarily selling to students,” Bartsch says.

Three years later, the store has grown from just two MBA students to a staff varying from five to seven students. In addition to expanding their staff, Bartsch and Stone have expanded the store’s products. They’ve moved into more high-end clothing like Patagonia sweatshirts and Nike polos as well as drinkware.

“Decals socks, you name it,” Bartsch says. “We’re really trying to cover the gamut of workout apparel to, eventually, dog collars and tote bags.”

Originally the store sold primarily to students at lunchtime at Café McColl. But beginning in 2017-18, the store also began selling at events to target alumni and online students, which together now makes up 80 percent of their total annual sales.

“This year’s goal was to grow sales at events by selling are more events and adding products to our inventory,” says Bartsch. “We get emails all the time from alumni and students who study off-campus and can’t get to the School but want to buy and wear UNC Kenan-Flagler branded clothing. We’re hoping next year’s growth comes from ouronline store.”

The MBA students developed a marketing website for customers to browse products. It also includes contact information and how to order online.

The priority for next year is to get the online store up and running with a standardized shipping process. For now, the marketing website is available to check out what’s in stock. And when you order online, Bartsch and Stone ask for a little patience with delivery.

And with any store, there are items that have broad appeal and others that might sell to niche customers. But how do they determine what to sell? A lot of their decision-making comes from listening to customers.

“Every time we’re selling and a customer says, ‘Do you have this shirt in this color?’, we make a mental note,” says Stone. “Or they’ll ask, ‘I see you have coffee mugs but do you have pint glasses?’” Stone says one of the reasons they began selling pint glasses was to have items that could be versatile.

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Some of the merchandise sold through the UNC Kenan-Flagler Student Store.

“What might sell well to students might be different for alums,” says Stone. “They’re looking for different types of things. Something like a pint glass straddles both groups and is also nice to give to guest speakers.” Most career clubs host conferences and bring in speakers or judges and they want to give them a keepsake as a thank you for coming to the School. With items like glasses, mugs or water bottles, they don’t have to worry about different clothing sizes.

And where do all the profits go? The goal is to have the profits go back to the School and help students pay their MBA activity fees.

“We’re still in the growth phase, but the vision is once we get this online store up and running, the profits will go back to the School,” Bartsch says. Right now, the profits are going back into the store for new products and the store’s expansion.

The store also provides hands-on experience for its managers. It’s not a paying job; it’s really about gaining the experience of running a small business say Bartsch and Stone.

They are learning about at supply and demand, as well as managing inventory.

“We look at what sells well from our current stock,” says Bartsch. If they carry something that’s not selling well, they determine whether to keep selling that item and what to replace it with.

“For example, this year we sold Patagonia items withNet Impact and we completely sold out in one weekend with the online MBA students. It was incredible, so we plan on expanding it next year,” Bartsch says. They’ll look at adding different colors and new styles.

For Stone, the skills he’s learned while co-running the store have been extremely applicable to his school work and will be valuable at McKinsey where he’ll work as an associate in Charlotte. Although he concentrated in consulting, during his summer internship at McKinsey his first project was a retail project. Stone says managing the store forced him out of his comfort zone. “We just had to be versatile,” he says.

“I didn’t come to business school thinking I would get to practice designing T-shirt logos,” says Bartsch, who focused on technology at UNC Kenan-Flagler. “In our jobs after school, we’re not just doing finance and marketing; we might get weird, wacky tasks that are outside of our wheelhouse.” And he’ll be more equipped to tackle them head-on as he moves to Sunnyvale, California, to work as a project manager for Facebook’s safety group.

And for future students wanting to gain start-up experience, they recruit every fall.
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How to know if your remote employee is really working  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Apr 2019, 06:00
FROM Kenan- Flagler Admissions Blog: How to know if your remote employee is really working
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If you read the comments section on articles about working
remotely, someone inevitably asks, “How do I know if my remote employees are
working?” The concern is that employees will loaf without a manager to watch
them. I’ve managed remote teams as small as 20 and as large as 100, spread
across California. Most of my people did their jobs and did them well.
Identifying the shirkers didn’t require fancy monitoring systems. You don’t
need them, either. There are cheaper, more effective ways to prove that your remote
people are working.

Hire the right people

Screen out the loafers. There are people who want to do a
good job and fulfill their commitments. But be warned, you will not find these
people if you assume everyone is a money-motivated shirker. Check for evidence
that your interviewee has completed tasks even if that meant doing things
outside her job description. Ask about projects that have gone wrong or changed
in scope. How did the person handle the situation? Can she accept fault? Look
for people who do good work despite challenges. Look for people you can trust.

A lack of trust can damage any office, but it is
particularly poisonous to the remote workforce. I once had a boss we’ll call
“Stan.” Stan lived in perpetual fear that his team was loafing instead of
working. To “prove” that I was working, I had to answer all of his emails
within minutes of receipt or Stan would call me to find out what I was doing.
It made me miserable. Worse, it made me inefficient at the job I loved. I
explained the effect Stan was having on my ability to do my work, and his
answer was to send me a $10 gift card to a local coffee shop. Otherwise his
behavior remained unchanged. So then I was miserable AND offended that he
thought he could buy me so cheaply. Stan didn’t understand what motivated his
team. Stan didn’t last long.

You might think you don’t have time to figure out someone’s
motivation. In reality, the time you spend on this task up front will save you
from performance problems in the future. Remote employees have a degree of
autonomy that in-office employees do not share. Any of them could shirk. Hire
people who don’t want to. No amount of surveillance can take the place of
hiring trustworthy people.

Hiring the right remote workers is a necessary first step if
you want people who work, but it isn’t the only one.

Weed out the wrong ones

Not everyone thrives in the remote workforce. When Kaplan
Test Prep transitioned from a brick and mortar business to one where 90 percent
of full-time employees worked remotely, some employees left. For some, home
held too many distractions. Others couldn’t turn the work off, and they burned
out. Whether you are hiring someone new or assessing members of an existing
team, weed out those who can’t succeed in the remote environment.

The employees that thrive have some commonalities.

  • They self-structure. These are the college
    students who set up a study plan and used it. These are the athletes that found
    a training plan and followed it. Look for evidence of consistency and self-discipline.
    These folks will work on their projects, even when you are too busy to check on
    them.
  • They communicate proactively. Remote employees
    need to be better communicators than their colleagues in the office. When an
    in-office employee encounters a problem, other coworkers may see or hear it
    unfold. The same isn’t true for remote employees. Hire people who will reach
    out and tell you what you need to know so you can do something about it.
  • They show initiative. Hiring remote workers
    means you get to hire the best people for the job, no matter where they live.
    On the flip side, you won’t always be available to answer your worker’s email
    if your team works in different time zones. You can’t operate effectively with
    direct reports who must always be told what to do. Hire people who will try to
    solve problems.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of qualities that make a great
remote worker, but you will be hard pressed to find a successful candidate who
lacks any of them. In a perfect world, managers would weed out unsuccessful
candidates before they get hired. In reality, this doesn’t always happen. I

If your direct report truly lacks the discipline,
communication skills or initiative to work in this way, then it is better to
identify that as early as possible. Use the time you would have spent cleaning
up performance problems to help your employee find a different role.

Set up smart checkpoints

 While micromanaging
can smother a direct report, a completely hands-off approach can also damage
efficiency. Some solutions require more authority than others. Depending on the
company, decisions to spend money, to change a deadline, or to redirect the
course of a project fall to you. A standing meeting is an efficient way to plow
through these items. Experiment with meeting cadence to find what works best.
I’ve found that monthly meetings worked well for my part-time staff. All other
business happened through email and one-off calls. My director and I meet once
a week for 15–30 minutes, and the entire team meets for an hour every other
week.

These meetings keep everyone on track. They are also great
opportunities to update everyone on wider company news.

It’s important to note the difference between regular
check-in meetings and the check-ins that Stan the micromanager arranged. Stan
did the remote equivalent of jumping out of the bushes and yelling ‘Gotcha!’ In
contrast, holding a regular, scheduled check-in to clear away obstacles helps
your report do her best work. Your employees will notice the difference.

Focus on outcomes

Once you’ve scheduled regular check-ins, focus on outcomes. This is what you are measured against anyway — the volume and quality of work your people produce. It doesn’t matter if your remote employee answers all of your text messages within five minutes. He could do so from a bar. Or from the beach. There is nothing wrong with working from a bar or the beach (or a bar on the beach) if the employee is actually working (and not intoxicated). Does the employee meet his deadlines? Is he delivering quality work? Is he on time to scheduled meetings? If colleagues and clients know when and how to reach him, then it shouldn’t matter if he works from 8-10 p.m. on Monday so he can take two hours on Tuesday to go to a doctor’s appointment. Employees work harder when they have flexibility. It’s a perk they wish to keep.

By Teresa Douglas (MBA ’14), author of the book “Secrets of the Remote Workforce: By Employees, For Employees”
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How to know if your remote employee is really working   [#permalink] 26 Apr 2019, 06:00

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