Kenan-Flagler's new Executive MBA requires less time in classroom

Many students in the Kenan-Flagler Business School’s Executive MBA program juggle schoolwork with family and careers — and a program redesign slated to begin next fall aims to lighten the burden.

The redesign — which was announced earlier this month — includes decreasing the number of class meetings to reduce time away from work.

“You want to have touch times with the students, but you don’t want to make it so cumbersome for them to get to school,” said Meena Dorr, director of Career and Professional Development for the school.


Four major changes will be made to the Executive MBA program this fall:

  • The amount of time spent in the classroom will be reduced.
  • The program will put an increased focus on leadership skills.
  • The online component of the program will be more prominent.
  • New electives and global immersion options will be developed.

Other changes include the development of new electives and global immersions, as well as a more prominent online component and increased focus on professional development, career management and leadership.

“We integrate leadership into every course that we offer at Kenan-Flagler, and that’s unique,” Dorr said. “So it’s already happening, but we want students to be able to see it.”

The executive program is geared toward students with at least five years working experience to help them obtain a graduate degree while maintaining a job.

Students can choose between an Evening MBA, Weekend MBA or Global OneMBA, which are options within the program that allow students to come in at times that best fit their schedule.

Sarah Perez, executive director of the Executive MBA program, said the redesign will be implemented in the fall for new students, while current students will continue on the original program design.

The program currently has approximately 260 students, and Perez estimated similar numbers for next year.

Patrick McGowan, who graduated from the program in 2011, said that before applying, he considered Duke University and UNC and decided to apply only to UNC.

“The thing that solidified it for me was the general feel of the campus, and who I was in class with felt like home,” he said. “And I decided that if I’m going to get an MBA, I want to get it from one of the top-tier schools.”

McGowan, now a product manager at IBM, said the skills he acquired in the program allowed him to change positions in his workplace twice before graduation. He said although he was happy with the original program during his time at UNC, he feels the new redesign will benefit new students.

“As an alumni, I’m excited to see that they taught us about continuous innovation and then see them practicing exactly that,” he said.

“It’s the institutions that are innovating that are the ones that stay ahead.”

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