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Current Events Inclusion, Front Of McColl, Affinity Flags

When COVID-19 clusters started to appear on campus, UNC Kenan-Flagler returned to remote learning on Aug. 19 and faculty and staff working remotely.

“We are heartbroken that we can’t be together in person on campus, but our priority is to ensure the health and safety of our community” says Dean Doug Shackelford (BSBA ’80). “We’re finding new approaches to learning and interacting with students, employers and alumni,” says Shackelford.

Amid the disappointment and disruption, important work continues.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the Undergraduate Business Program (UBP), all four MBA programs, and the Master of Accounting (MAC) Program (on-campus and online formats) saw significant increases in interest, which resulted in large numbers of applications and enrolled students.

UNC Executive Development continues to help develop leadership talent within its corporate and military clients, for some by providing a safe learning environment in Chapel Hill, and for those who are unable to travel, collaborating to offer counsel and new virtual learning opportunities.

Going virtual

Students worked virtually in summer internships and many graduates started their new jobs by working remotely. The career teams for the UBP, MAC and MBA programs are helping students and employers make the transition to 100% virtual: boot camps, information sessions, special programs, resume reviews and interviews.

Zoom Diversity Networking Night UPB UNC Kenan-FlaglerThe annual Undergraduate Business Symposium, now in its 36th year and one of the oldest and largest student-run career development events in the U.S., virtually, expanded across three days Sept. 9-11. It attracted about 400 students and 30 employers and, for the first time, three minority-owned small businesses. Diversity Week, Carolina Women in Business Conference, Alpha Challenge, Business of Healthcare Conference, Net Impact’s “Careers with Impact Forum” and Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise events will continue in virtual formats.

The STAR team is busy recruiting corporate partners to provide real projects for students. STAR teams of talented MBA and Undergraduate Business students solve complex issues working with their corporate partners. Doing the projects virtually isn’t new for STAR: The action-based learning program moved online in March 2020 because of COVID-19, and successfully completed projects for 23 companies, including KIND Healthy Snacks, SAS and Procter & Gamble.

Building community

UNC Kenan-Flagler added inclusion as a core value. The School formalized our five core values – excellence, leadership, integrity, community and teamwork – in the late 1990s. “Diversity and inclusion are intrinsically critical to achieving our other core values,” says Shackelford, “and we wanted to formally recognize their importance.”

A project to showcase the core values in the McColl Building lobby is under way, and a new mural by local artist Paul Friedrich on the third floor showcases the UBP guiding principles.


UNC Kenan-Flagler Affinity Flags BLM PeaceCorps 2020 FlagsJoining the affinity flags hanging in Loudermilk Lobby in front of Koury Auditorium is the Black Lives Matter flag. At the beginning of each academic year country flags – 80 this year – representing all students are hung in the front of McColl Building.

Welcome new professors

UNC Kenan-Flagler welcomes two new full-time professors to the community. Y. Sekou Bermiss, associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, and Breagin Riley, clinical assistant professor of marketing.

Sekou Bermiss UNC Kenan-FlaglerBermiss conducts research in strategic management and organizational theory. He investigates how institutional factors shape the perception of firms by critical stakeholders, as well as the antecedents and consequences of human capital mobility, and how different forms of employee movement impact a firm’s ability to compete with rivals. He teaches courses in people analytics, managing human capital, leading for impact and organizational theory and design. Read more about him here.

Breagin RileyRiley studies how social justice issues affect consumer markets and consumer behavior. Her areas of research include consumer behavior, social contracts and market evolution. She teaches course in consumer behavior, branding, principles of marketing and statistics. She consults on scaling up, branding strategy, marketing strategy, strategic partnership cultivation, customer and consumer behavior. Read more about her here.

Accounting for excellence

The School’s leadership in accounting earned kudos for research impact as well as the success of students, past and present.

  • Professor Ed Maydew, the David E. Hoffman Distinguished Professor of Accounting, and PhD graduate Scott Dyreng (PhD ’08) shared a major honor for their corporate tax avoidance research. The American Accounting Association presented the 2020 Distinguished Contributions to Accounting Literature Award to Maydew, Dyreng and Michelle Hanlon for “Long Run Corporate Tax Avoidance” published in The Accounting Review. Dyreng, a professor at Duke, studied with Maydew when he was a doctoral student. He and Hanlon, a professor at MIT, are academic fellows at the UNC Tax Center, which Maydew directs.
  • The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) recognized Wayne Landsman, KPMG Distinguished Professor of Accounting, with the 2020 Notable Contributions to Accounting Literature Award for “The JOBS Act and Information Uncertainty in IPO Firms” published in The Accounting Review. He and his co-authors, Mary Barth of Stanford and Daniel Taylor of Wharton, investigated how the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act created new companies exempt from mandatory disclosure requirements during an IPO and how that lack of information affects IPO pricing.
  • The Financial Accounting Standards Board named Hillary Salo (BSBA ’02, MAC ‘03) as director of technical activities and chair of its emerging issues task force. She was a partner in the New York City office of KPMG LLP. Her “exemplary career as a public accountant and her deep knowledge of the broader financial reporting landscape will serve the organization well as she takes on this important leadership role,” said Russell Golden, FASB chairman. Salo began her accounting career as a FASB postgraduate technical assistant.
  • The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) named Jessica Hare (MAC ’20) as a PCAOB Scholar and awarded her a $10,000 scholarship. “Our PCAOB scholars represent the future leaders of the accounting and auditing profession,” said PCAOB Chairman William Duhnke. Hare is an accounting intern with Morgan Creek Capital Management LLC. Before she enrolled in MAC Program, she was education coordinator for Keep Alliance Beautiful in Alliance, Nebraska.

Going global, even when you don’t leave home

Business students might not be able to study abroad this fall, but they have innovative avenues for building their global perspective.

“It is more important than ever to actively pursue learning and curiosity about the world,” says Angela Bond (BA ’95, MBA ’04), UBP director of global programs. “With any challenge comes opportunity, and students who participate in international educational experiences, virtual or otherwise, are better prepared to work across borders to create and implement solutions to global issues.” Among the UBP offerings are:

  • Virtual GIobal Immersion Electives (GIEs) about South Africa and Hungary will include meeting and working with students in those countries.
  • The new International Business Club will network with other students around the world while learning about global business trends through speaker series, professional development workshops and social events.
  • Students will compete alongside other top U.S. business school teams in a virtual case competition centered around Amazon’s potential investment in Chile or Argentina, with the winning team pitching to Amazon executives.
  • The new Global Topics Speaker Series will highlight global careers and cultural experiences of recent UBP grads and international students. Topics will include how international experienced help guide us during uncertain times, and how our students and alumni living and working around the world view international business in a post-COVID world.

MBA students can take a virtual course offered by international partner schools alongside their regular course schedule for the fall.

Full-time MBA students can sign up for the new “Managing COVID-19’s Unintended Healthcare Challenges in Kenya and the U.S.” Markus Saba, professor of the practice of marketing and executive in residence of the Center for the Business of Health, will teach the course with Dr. Ben Ngoye of Strathmore University Business School in Nairobi, Kenya. Students from both schools will engage in collaborative assignments that expose them to new cultural contexts, knowledge and perspectives; develop and enhance cross-cultural communication skills; and get experience working in multicultural teams.