UNC MBA Interview Questions: Top Tips From An Insider -

Philippe Barr, PhD
10 min readNov 8, 2023

Are you gearing up for your UNC MBA interview? It’s an exciting opportunity to make a powerful impression and get one step closer to fulfilling your MBA dreams, but of course, it can also be nerve-wracking, especially if you are not familiar with UNC MBA interview questions. After all, even the best business school applicants have to prove their qualifications in a face-to-face setting!

Fortunately, I am here to provide some insider advice. As a former assistant director of MBA admissions at Kenan Flagler Business School, I have interviewed hundreds of applicants and have suggestions on how you can approach UNC MBA interview questions with confidence and dexterity. Read on for exclusive tips from a Tar Heel insider- so that you can ace your MBA interview like a pro!

The UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Program: An Overview

The Kenan-Flagler MBA Program is known for exceptional characteristics that set it apart. Firstly, it offers a rigorous, comprehensive, and extremely flexible curriculum that equips students with a strong foundation in business principles and practices while providing the opportunity to tailor their learning to their goals.

Secondly, the program fosters a collaborative, inclusive, and tight-knit learning environment, encouraging students to engage in teamwork and develop effective leadership skills.

Additionally, the program emphasizes experiential learning opportunities such as the STAR program, allowing students to apply their knowledge in real-world business scenarios.

Lastly, the Kenan-Flagler MBA Program boasts a global perspective, offering international study opportunities and promoting cross-cultural understanding. Overall, the program provides a transformative educational experience that prepares graduates to excel in the dynamic and competitive business landscape.

The UNC Kenan-Flagler Culture

The distinctive culture at Kenan-Flagler Business School is a defining feature of its MBA program. It centers on collaboration, inclusivity, and a strong sense of community, fostering an environment where every student is valued, heard, and inspired to contribute.

Emphasizing teamwork, the school instills in its students the importance of collective growth and learning, which prepares them to thrive in cross-functional business environments. Furthermore, the school’s commitment to inclusivity engenders diversity in thought, background, and perspective, enhancing the richness of discourse and decision-making in the classroom.

The culture also encourages students to engage in experiential learning and global study opportunities, fostering a well-rounded understanding of business that transcends traditional boundaries.

Coupled with this, the Tar Heel spirit of ambition and resilience pervades every aspect of the MBA program, inspiring students to challenge themselves, embrace innovation, and strive for excellence in their pursuits.

Thus, the vibrant culture at Kenan-Flagler Business School not only shapes students’ MBA experience but also helps shape their professional identities, readying them to make a meaningful impact in the business world.

What to Expect During the Interview

The admission process for the Kenan-Flagler MBA program is highly competitive, just like any other top business school. To secure an interview, applicants must put extensive effort into their Kenan-Flagler application essays and achieve strong GMAT scores (with an average of 690).

The admissions interview serves as a valuable and mandatory component of Kenan-Flagler’s comprehensive application review process, allowing the admissions committee to gain insight into your character. Moreover, this interview provides you with a remarkable chance to familiarize yourself with the program, culture, and student experience, enabling you to make an informed decision.

Who will conduct your interview and what will be the duration of the interview?

Similar to other business schools, the Kenan Flagler interview is conducted by a member of the admissions team. Usually, a single team member conducts the interview, which typically lasts for 25–30 minutes. In certain cases, the interview may extend to 35–40 minutes.

Will the interviewer have read my application?

Your interview will not have your application in hand and will only have your resume.

How can you prepare for your interview?

Similar to other MBA interviews, your interview will primarily center around a set of common interview questions. While it’s impossible to predict the exact questions you’ll be asked, based on our experience as a former director of MBA admissions, here are a few questions that are often used by admissions committees.

Frequently Asked Interview UNC MBA Questions for the Kenan-Flagler Program.

Career-related questions:

  1. Share a bit about yourself or take me through your resume.
  2. What are your short-term and long-term career aspirations?
  3. Why are you pursuing an MBA? or Why now are you choosing to pursue an MBA at this point in your career?
  4. Why choose Kenan Flagler?
  5. Do you have a contingency plan in case your primary goal doesn’t materialize?

Questions with a personal focus.

  1. What are your key strengths? Could you provide some examples? What are your key weaknesses? Could you provide some examples?
  2. How can you contribute value to the class? Or, why should we consider you?
  3. Are there any reasons why we should not select you?
  4. Questions about interests and hobbies — What motivates you to pursue them? What have you achieved or learned from them?

Behavioral Questions

  1. What is your leadership style? Could you provide a specific instance where you successfully led a project?
  2. What would you consider your most notable accomplishment thus far?
  3. Can you share an experience where you faced failure and how you handled it?
  4. Tell me about a time when you encountered a conflict and describe your approach to resolving it.
  5. Give me an example of a situation where you didn’t meet expectations. How did you address it, and what steps did you take to rectify the situation?

Kenan-Flagler Questions:

  1. Could you kindly provide information on the process of assigning international exchange students to schools?
  2. How is club leadership determined?
  3. Are there any additional queries you may have about the program?

Strategies to Approach The Interview

When preparing for the UNC MBA interview, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of how to answer common questions related to the curriculum, school culture, and extracurricular activities. Here are some detailed tips to help you navigate these areas with confidence:

  1. Curriculum: Familiarize yourself with the MBA program’s curriculum structure and core courses. Highlight your interest in specific courses that align with your career goals and demonstrate how they will contribute to your professional development. Discuss any relevant coursework or projects you have completed that showcase your skills and knowledge in your desired field.
  2. School Culture: Research and understand the values and principles that define the UNC MBA program’s culture. Emphasize your alignment with these values and provide examples of how you have demonstrated similar values in your personal and professional life. Talk about your eagerness to contribute to the program’s collaborative and inclusive community and how you plan to engage with your peers and faculty.
  3. Extracurricular Activities: Showcase your involvement in extracurricular activities that demonstrate your leadership, teamwork, and community engagement. Discuss any clubs, organizations, or initiatives you have been a part of and highlight the impact you have made. Explain how you plan to leverage these experiences to contribute to the UNC MBA community and enhance the overall student experience.

Strategies for Handling Difficult UNC MBA Interview Questions

One effective strategy for handling difficult questions during the UNC MBA interview is to practice active listening. This involves fully concentrating on the question, understanding the context, and responding thoughtfully.

Another strategy is to use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your responses, especially when confronted with behavioral questions. This approach allows you to provide a comprehensive answer by detailing the situation you faced, tasks undertaken, actions you executed, and the results you achieved.

Last but not least, do not hesitate to ask for clarifications if a question is ambiguous. Remember, the interview is a two-way conversation, and the objective is to establish a connection with your interviewer.

Techniques for Making a Lasting Impression

A crucial aspect of leaving a lasting impression during the UNC MBA interview is demonstrating your knowledge of the institution, program specifics, and how it aligns with your career goals. Thoroughly research the program and articulate how its unique aspects — such as certain courses, faculty, alumni network, or experiential learning opportunities — would uniquely benefit you. This not only shows your deep interest but also your motivation for choosing the UNC MBA program.

Additionally, remember to convey your personality and genuine passion for your career path. Authenticity resonates with interviewers and helps you stand out from the crowd.

Lastly, wrapping up the interview with a pertinent question for the interviewer shows your engagement and can be a final opportunity to underscore your enthusiasm for the program.

Don’ts to Avoid During the Interview Process

Avoid downplaying your accomplishments or being overly modest during the UNC MBA interview. While humility is essential, the interview is an opportunity to showcase your achievements and strengths, so be confident and articulate about your professional journey. Don’t resort to generic responses; instead, provide specific examples that reflect your skills and experiences.

It’s also crucial to avoid negative remarks about past employers or colleagues as it projects an unprofessional image.

Remember not to monopolize the conversation; listen carefully to the interviewer’s questions and respond thoughtfully.

Lastly, avoid appearing unprepared. Lack of preparation signifies a lack of seriousness about your MBA pursuit at UNC, which can be a significant red flag for interviewers.

What Interviewers Are Looking For in Applicants

The UNC MBA interview is not just about your professional achievements and academic prowess; it is also a window into your personality and emotional intelligence.

Interviewers are interested in your ability to understand and manage your emotions, how you handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically, as well as your capacity for self-awareness and self-regulation. They are seeking humans, not robots — individuals who can bring a unique perspective, personality, and approach to the cohort.

Furthermore, they value applicants who demonstrate a capacity for compassion, altruism, and community service. Therefore, in preparation for the interview, it is essential to undertake some introspection. Reflect on past experiences where you have demonstrated emotional intelligence, empathy, and altruism. Consider how these experiences shaped you as an individual and how they could benefit your potential classmates and the broader UNC community.

Best Practices to Nail Your UNC MBA Interview

Preparing for an MBA interview at UNC Kenan-Flagler requires careful planning and preparation to increase your chances of success. Here are some best practices to keep in mind.

First, research the program thoroughly to understand its values, curriculum, and culture. This will help you tailor your responses and demonstrate your fit with the school.

Second, practice answering common interview questions, such as discussing your career goals and leadership experiences.

Mock interviews can be invaluable for gaining confidence and refining your responses.

Finally, don’t forget to dress professionally, arrive early, and bring copies of your resume and any other relevant documents. By following these best practices, you’ll be well-prepared to showcase your qualifications and make a positive impression during your MBA interview at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the UNC MBA interview is your chance to shine and showcase why you would be an invaluable addition to the Tar Heel community. With the right mindset and preparation, you can walk into that interview room ready to impress. My best advice is to relax, be your authentic self, and emphasize how your unique experiences will enable you to enrich the diverse UNC MBA class. The admissions committee wants to get to know the real you.

Of course, some practice with common interview questions doesn’t hurt either! Doing mock interviews can build your confidence and poise under pressure. That’s why I encourage all applicants to sign up for a practice session with an admissions insider. You’ll gain insights on how to craft compelling responses and exude your true potential. Consider it an investment into your future.

Ultimately, view your UNC interview as a two-way conversation and friendly exchange of ideas. If you can demonstrate your intellectual curiosity, team spirit, and passion for leadership, you will be well on your way. With the right preparation and positive attitude, your interview can be an enjoyable experience where you get to share your story. Remember, the UNC admissions committee wants you to succeed! So walk in with your head held high, and show them why you belong at one of the top MBA programs in the nation. The next stop on your journey could be Chapel Hill!

With a Master’s from McGill University and a Ph.D. from New York University, Dr. Philippe Barr is the founder of The Admit Lab. As a tenure-track professor, Dr. Barr spent a decade teaching and serving on several graduate admission committees at UNC-Chapel Hill before turning to full-time consulting. With more than seven years of experience as a graduate school admissions consultant, Dr. Barr has stewarded the candidate journey across multiple master’s and Ph.D. programs and helped hundreds of students get admitted to top-tier graduate programs all over the world.

Follow me on YouTube for tips and tricks on navigating the grad school application process and weekly live Q&A sessions!

Originally published at https://admit-lab.com on November 8, 2023.

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Philippe Barr, PhD

I am Philippe Barr, founder of The Admit Lab, a graduate school admissions consultancy that helps students get admitted into grad school: https://admit-lab.com/