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UNC students prepare to apply to the business school

UNC student Trey Sullivan (left) and Assistant Director of Career Services, Jonathan Adams (right), participate in a business school workshop in Hanes Hall on Aug. 28, 2017.

UNC student Trey Sullivan (left) and Assistant Director of Career Services, Jonathan Adams (right), participate in a business school workshop in Hanes Hall on Aug. 28, 2017.

For those sophomores who dream of corporate ladders and corner offices, a normally laid-back syllabus week becomes days of essay-editing, interview-prepping and resume-polishing as they draft an application for UNC’s renowned Kenan-Flagler Business School.

The lead-up to the application deadline is a busy time for University Career Services as well, which held a resume workshop specifically for business school applicants Monday afternoon.

“We knew it was going to be a busier time [of year] because [the application period] would be compressed a bit,” said Jeff Sackaroff, associate director of Career Services. “So we decided to dedicate some specific hours just for the students to come in and get some drop-in help.”

The resume is just one part of the application, but Sackaroff said it’s a key component.

“They certainly have some expectations when it comes to the resume,” Sackaroff said, but mentioned that applicants must also have well-written essays and an impressive GPA.

Because Kenan-Flagler is ranked as one of the top ten programs in the nation, admissions are competitive. Sackaroff said the school often receives upward of 800 applications, competing for about 350 spots.

Sackaroff notes that many students do not get into the school. For some, this may be their first major academic obstacle. However, he said he doesn’t see admittance to the business school as a critical element of success.

“This is not going to make or break your college experience or your career,” Sackaroff said. “Employers really tend to focus not just on the major but on your interests and skills and abilities and experience.”

Sophomore Richie Adams cites the prestige of the school and the wealth of opportunity as his reasons for applying. Adams learned about the business school from his father, a Kenan-Flagler alum, and knew he wanted to apply as soon as he came to UNC.

“When he told me about it, I realized that’s probably where I want to try and go," he said. "Not only [because of] the plethora of opportunities, but just that it could open up a bigger lifestyle for me."

Sophomore Matt Lyons didn’t come in with the same premonition, but is now applying to the business school to prepare himself for law school.

“Because the business school has a lot of classes that actually deal with the financials — as well as the different paths of international law, their regulations and the legal environment — it helps me kind of understand the intricacies of the business world," Lyons said. "Especially on an international scale, and all of the specificities that might help me in my future law career."

While both Adams and Lyons said a lot goes into completing the application, they have been working on it for a month now and said their early start has taken a lot of the unnecessary stress out of the process.

“It’s not really stressful, it’s more one of those things where you just realize, ‘I have to get that done’,” Adams said. “It’s looming over you.”

Both Lyons and Adams are feeling pretty good about their chances. But Adams said he has found it difficult to stand apart from the crowd of other impressive and qualified applicants.

“When you come into UNC, everyone comes in … [having] graduated in the top ten percent of their class. So you already have those people, and they already have the same mindset as me,” Adams said. “It’s a transition for me where I’m not in that environment where I’m excelling over everybody else.”

As far as tips for future applicants, both students said starting the application early is important for success. Sackeroff said whatever the results, the application process can be an informative and positive experience for students.

“It’s goal-setting, it’s time management, it’s planning, and it takes a bit of—I don’t know if courage is the right word, but, confidence — you’re taking a swing," he said.

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