UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School


Students learn global lessons in Istanbul, Washington, D.C.


One MBAWhile most students buckled down for midterms in Chapel Hill, two groups of UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA students were learning global lessons in different parts of the world.

MBA@UNC students traveled to Istanbul for their quarterly global immersion which started Sept. 13.

Meanwhile, the OneMBA Program held its opening residency for a new class of students in Washington, D.C. which began Sept. 19.

Both programs brought together business students from across the world to learn from professors and others speakers, collaborate and network with classmates, and develop a deeper understanding of the uniquely global cities.

Previous MBA@UNC immersions have included Brazil, Singapore, and London. For Brian Segel and many other students, the Istanbul immersion was their first experience in the historic city. The culture and business environment fascinated him.

“It’s a part of the world that’s much different — the integration of their business and culture, how it is so intertwined,” said Segel, who graduated Oct. 5. “The city in general is such a blend of old and new. They have technology, first-world amenities, but it’s in a location that’s been a trading ground for thousands of years.”

Those contrasts are exactly what led them to choose Istanbul, said Susan Cates, MBA@UNC executive director.

“You have a city and a country that is geopolitically, historically and economically situated at the intersection between Europe and Asia. It is a jumping off point for the Middle East,” she said. “It’s a high growth market with a lot of challenges.”

Students showed their interest in the immersion by signing up in record numbers: 83 students attended, making it MBA@UNC’s largest non-U.S. immersion so far. In addition, 21 students stayed on for a week-long extension course to further explore Istanbul.

Classes focused on how to conduct business in a diverse and rapidly changing environment, said program director Dan Bursch. Students learned from UNC Kenan-Flagler professors – Christian Lundblad and Mabel Miguel – and alumni, as well as such speakers as Ali Faramawy, vice president of Microsoft’s Middle East and Africa Division; Daniel Dombey, Financial Times Turkey correspondent; and Cem Duna, chairman of AB Consultancy and Investment Services and a former European Union ambassador.

Future immersion locations include Chapel Hill, New York City, Johannesburg, Mumbai and Shanghai.

Meanwhile, on Sept. 19, OneMBA students from four top business schools – representing 21 countries and speaking 25 languages – gathered in Washington, D.C. to kick off the opening week for the Class of 2015.

OneMBA is a consortium of four schools: UNC Kenan-Flagler, Escola deAdministracao de Empresas de Sao Paulo da Fundacao Getulio Vargas in Brazil, Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico, and Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands.

Students and faculty come together for four global residencies during the course of the program. There are 95 students in the new OneMBA classand they average 12 years of work experience, said Sarah Perez, executive director of Executive MBA Programs at UNC Kenan-Flagler,  

“Our students are working globally or hope to work globally,” she said. “They’re getting exposed to all aspects of the business world.”

Students from the four schools work together on global teams throughout their program, and the residency allowed them to meet and form connections with their future international teammates.

During the intensive 10-day residency, students heard from Timothy Roemer, an international advisor at APCO Worldwide and a former U.S. ambassador, along with leading UNC faculty and business people from global organizations, started their coursework, and toured the capital.

“It’s an incredibly dynamic environment,” Perez said. “You see that excitement the entire week.”