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We reached out to newly minted graduates of our Evening Executive MBA, Weekend Executive MBA, MBA@UNC and Master of Accounting (MAC) programs and asked them to share their thoughts on earning their degrees and what their time at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School has meant to them.

Candace DrozalCandace Drozal
Senior market manager, Altria
Little Rock, Arkansas

The MBA@UNC experience is much like we were told in orientation:  The days are long, but the years are short.

In the moment it is tough, but it blinks by. It challenges your views and offers an environment to work through today’s business challenges with a group of people who all strive to make each other better.

Here’s what I can honestly say: There isn’t a single class that I didn’t learn and grow from and meet new classmates that made me a better person.

Graduating helped me see that no matter how large the goal I put in front of myself, I can succeed.

It also showed me the value of intellectual curiosity and surrounding myself with a diverse set of thinkers. My ideas can make a difference.

I recently received a phone call from the CEO of my company. He wanted to discuss my ideas for challenges facing our employees in the sales organization. The experience over the last two years gave me the confidence and knowledge to have an effective conversation with real results.

I’m a wife, mom, employee and lead a group of 17 employees. The MBA@UNC experience gave me the opportunity to learn and grow on my timeline. I had the flexibility to get a world-class education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from my home in Arkansas.

I had access to the best professors, instructors and classmates who were coming to class from all over the world. We experienced life together: promotions, weddings, relocations, arrival of new life and, unfortunately, loss.

Thank you to MBA@UNC for allowing me to achieve this. I grew up in a farm family on the Arkansas/Texas border. My 82-year-old grandmothers, mom, dad, sister and other family members experienced my graduation much like I experienced the program — from their homes in Arkansas and Texas with a sense of pride and amazement.

ConieDalyConie Daley
Director of talent acquisition, Split
Raleigh, North Carolina

When I set out to join the Evening Executive MBA Program at UNC Kenan-Flagler, I had goals of switching careers and expanding my business knowledge.

While I reached those initial goals, I realized that the journey gave me so much more.

I’m prouder of the unexpected things that I learned along the way. I learned to have more confidence in my skills and self-advocacy because of empowering professors and classmates. I’ll keep that with me for the rest of my life.

It’s rewarding to learn from top educators and talented classmates. UNC Kenan-Flagler is a storied school. It was rewarding to be a student there.

I want to give back to the school, students and other alumni. I want to continue the learning journey along with other Tar Heels. Being a part of the Tar Heel network is one of the biggest benefits of the program. The people are amazing.

The program delivers a rewarding, once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s no secret that UNC Kenan-Flagler has some of the best professors and staff that you could ask for.

But there’s a magic and feeling being at the School and in the program. It’s hard to describe, but it’s a combination of the professors and their passion, the history of the School, your classmates who become friends and so much more.

The whole of the UNC Kenan-Flagler Executive MBA Program becomes greater than the sum of each of those parts.

Elvis DiazElvis Diaz
Finance specialist, Intel Corporation
Phoenix, Arizona

As a first-generation college student with an immigrant mother who never went to school in her life, education has always been very important for me to pursue.

Although I was taking Master of Accounting Program courses online, I did enjoy being able to tap into the faculty at UNC and meet peers from all over the country and the globe. These are individuals I may not have been able to meet if I had not attended UNC Kenan-Flagler.

Through my professional work in corporate finance, a lot of my managers and mentors have accounting backgrounds or are CPAs. Although I already had an MBA, as many of them did, they encouraged me to become a CPA or learn more about accounting as this technical knowledge was very beneficial through their career progression.

I’ve recently been promoted to a new strategic finance role since graduating. My goal now is to begin the CPA exam prep and obtain my certification and eventually utilize this to enter management roles at my company.

In addition to UNC Kenan-Flagler being a highly ranked business school, what drew me the most to this degree was the feasibility and flexibility to complete while being a full-time professional.

I don’t believe I’ve ever been taught by so many professors who actively worked in their fields. The experience that professors brought into our live sessions was extremely valuable. I enjoyed hearing how they constantly applied what we’ve been learning throughout their careers as professional accountants.

Having this opportunity to pursue a second master’s degree while working full time was incredible. It was no easy feat, but one I’ll always be proud of.

Most of all, it ensures that I’m continuing to make my mother proud in knowing that her sacrifices in migrating to a new country were all worth it.

Kosmas BalourdosKosmas Balourdos
Senior director for business development, Thermo Fisher Scientific
Raleigh, North Carolina

Graduating from the Weekend Executive MBA Program means fulfilling a dream that I put on hold over 18 years ago.

I’m a first-generation American and Greek dual citizen. I was the first in my family to attend college, receiving my undergraduate chemistry degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 2002. I took the GMAT in 2004, and as I started filling out applications to go to business school to get my MBA my company gave me a unique opportunity.

My employer wanted me to transition from operations to business development but to do so, I had to relocate.

I decided to pursue my career and put my education on hold. I thought about it frequently over the years but never had the time due to family and work commitments. I was traveling around 140 days of the year.

My mother-in-law passed at the start of the pandemic, which affected me greatly. During the stay-at-home order I talked it over with my wife and kids and applied to UNC Kenan-Flagler.

My complete MBA journey took close to 20 years to fulfill. I’m so grateful for what led me to it because the last 20 months were positively life-changing on many levels.Overall, it was a transformational experience. The biggest benefit has been my personal growth and ability to view situations from different lenses.

Through the Weekend EMBA Program, you’ll receive a top-tier education and expand your network while making lifelong friendships that you’ll carry with you forever.

Jonathan AlsopJonathan Alsop
Marketplace manager, Rack Room Shoes
Charlotte, North Carolina

During my interview for MBA@UNC I talked about how in my undergraduate degree I felt like I didn’t know what I wanted to do and because of that felt like I was never able to perform well. It really made me feel that I wasn’t skilled or qualified.

Enrolling in MBA@UNC was a second chance for me to prove to myself that I was capable and could excel in a rigorous program.

So, two years later, to come full circle and look back and having achieved what I set out to do is immensely meaningful.

I wasn’t sure how to describe my experience at UNC Kenan-Flagler until I had no more classes left. I didn’t realize how on-the-go I was. It was challenging and fun, and I met a lot of great people. Even during the first term I was walking away with new skills that I could immediately apply to my job.

The experience was also surprising. I had a lot of preconceived ideas of what we would be studying and, honestly, there were times I wasn’t sure how something would be useful to me. But in every class, there was always one line that stuck with me, small things that just built overtime.

I can honestly say I am a much better version of myself from when I signed on to my first class in October 2020.

It’s all about the toolbox. I am leaving this program with a whole new set of skills that I did not have before. The community is also a large benefit. Having interacted with so many people across various industries has opened the doors to many new friendships, partnerships and opportunities.

The MBA@UNC Program at UNC Kenan-Flagler challenges the status quo of what type of education you can receive that is primarily run through an online format. It creates a unique cohort of students because you get to interact with so many others who aren’t able to do the traditional in-class setting.

And c’mon. Carolina Blue is the best color.

Tuppy CarnieTuppy Carnie
Director of acquisition, retention sales and marketing, MediaDC
Washington, D.C.

I always wanted to be part of the Tar Heel nation. MBA@UNC allowed me to fulfill one of my dreams.

I took full advantage of all aspects the program has to offer by attending the Washington Campus, two Doing Business In courses (Finland and Israel), two Summits (one was on campus and the other was international), a Global Elective Immersion, a Weekend Executive MBA course and, of course, the core and elective classes.

Next to marrying my husband, this has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

The learning inside and outside of the classroom has changed my life. I learned as much from my classmates as I did from the material itself.

The professors were top-notch and wanted to see you succeed and made themselves available to help. I have developed friendships that will last a lifetime.

Going back to school has made me realize that I am a lifelong learner. My thirst for knowledge has increased exponentially, and I want to continue down this road. I’m not sure where this path will take me, but I am excited and open to the endless possibilities.

I have a newfound confidence that I really can do it. And I plan on making a difference whichever path I choose.

For anyone thinking about the MBA@UNC Program at UNC Kenan-Flagler — just do it.

If you are scared, do it anyway. Take that leap of faith and the net will appear. Have a strong support network surrounding you, whether it’s a spouse, parent, sibling, friend or child.

Take advantage of everything the School has to offer. Be curious. Ask questions. The friends you make will be invaluable both personally and professionally.

It is amazing the pride and sense of accomplishment that you will feel on the other side.

Milan PatelMilan Patel
Senior product manager, IBM Security
Raleigh, North Carolina

Graduating from the Evening Executive MBA Program means commitment, sacrifice and continuing to be a lifelong learner.

Typically, folks go to an MBA program to progress their professional career, but what I’ve found is that it meant even more to me personally. It had an impact on how to navigate the choices we make, how we collaborate with individuals, how we balance qualitative and quantitative feedback to make a positive impact in society.

My experience at UNC Kenan-Flagler was nothing short of exceptional and practical, from the facility who brought relevant experiences to the cohort who shared their industry knowledge. The diversity in the cohort’s industry knowledge was something that helped me learn even more outside of the scheduled curriculum.

On a personal note, the care and personal interest that everyone, including faculty and students, took in each other’s success and learning experience made the overall experience at UNC Kenan-Flagler amazing.

The Evening Executive MBA program has augmented the skill sets needed to be successful in a personal and professional setting. It has provided the necessary tools and foundational understanding needed to drive change and make a positive impact in society.

Trish MayTrish May
Clinical director, U.S. Army Medical Command Family Advocacy Program
San Antonio, Texas

Graduating from the Weekend Executive MBA Program means a new beginning.

Obtaining this MBA is the first step in starting my new life post-military retirement in 2024. It laid the foundation for me to go into business once I leave military service.

My experience at UNC Kenan-Flagler was eye-opening and rewarding. I live by the mantra of, “You don’t know what you don’t know until you know it.”

There were so many ideas and perspectives that I had not realized I hadn’t been exposed to by spending a career in the Army. The information and people I was exposed to through this program will forever change my life.

Graduating from the program will benefit me by allowing me to have credibility in the business world. This will be essential as I navigate new opportunities.

Not only were the faculty and staff knowledgeable, professional, and innovative, the curriculum was challenging yet achievable. But most of all the relationships I developed with my peers will by far be the greatest asset I walk away from the program with.