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In other news: November 2023

Fall 2023 EMBA, MBA@UNC graduation

More insights and highlights from the UNC Kenan-Flagler community

MAC and MBA graduates turn the page

Madison Fucito (MAC ’23) joined UNC Kenan-Flagler’s Master of Accounting (MAC) Program right after earning her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia. It would be understandable if she wanted to take a bit of a breather, but she’s just getting started.

Fucito is one of the fall’s 102 MAC graduates who earned their degrees in the online format.

“I can’t wait to grow more as a person and learn as much as I can,” Fucito shared on LinkedIn. “Graduation is not an end, but a beginning of the next chapter of my life.”

Madison Fucito (MAC '23)

Madison Fucito (MAC ’23)

Fall commencement also marked a new chapter for 204 MBA@UNC, 68 Evening Executive MBA Program and 51 Weekend Executive MBA Program graduates.

Shiva Chaitanya (MBA ’23) called the ceremony a “significant milestone of my journey of reinventing myself.” Ryan Stalnaker (MBA ’23) retired from U.S. Army service last year. “To fellow service members and veterans, if you’re looking for an outstanding experience that will provide you with the knowledge and skills that you can apply to both service and the business world, look no further than this program,” he shared on LinkedIn.

Shane Morgan (MAC ’23) also recommended his program, thanking the Business School for “a rigorous, challenging, yet rewarding” academic experience.

As the MAC ceremony’s keynote speaker, Dean Mary Margaret Frank told graduates that their success is rooted in the School’s core values and urged them to never forget their UNC Kenan-Flagler experience as they move forward.

Tom Nolan (MBA ’16), CEO of Kendra Scott, celebrated his “full-circle moment” as the keynote speaker for the MBA ceremony. “I couldn’t help but feel a strong connection to my own time as an MBA student here, and the impact it had on my life and career,” he shared on LinkedIn.

“To the graduates of the UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Program, I can’t wait to see the incredible contributions you’ll make to the business world,” he wrote. “Congratulations, and remember, the journey has only just begun!”

Both the MAC and MBA ceremonies were held at the Dean E. Smith Center. The celebrations included inducting 12 MAC students, 41 MBA@UNC students, 15 Evening Executive students and 10 Weekend Executive students into Beta Gamma Sigma, the business honor society.

Tom Nolan (MBA '18) Kendra Scott CEO

Kendra Scott CEO Tom Nolan (MBA ’18) addresses the fall 2023 MBA graduates.

The MBA programs recognized the outstanding contributions of our faculty with outstanding teaching awards to Christian Lundblad by Evening Executive MBA students; Vinayak Deshpande by Weekend Executive MBA students; and John Steigerwald by MBA@UNC students.

2023 Alumni AwardsAlumni honors 

The 2023 Alumni Awards celebration honored five UNC Kenan-Flagler graduates and their influence on business.

Minni Marwaha (MBA ’08) received the Dwight W. Anderson Young Alumni Award for her two decades in the healthcare field, including founding Deebo, a company focused on at-home medical care for young children.

Frank Sutton (BSBA ’82), an entrepreneur and CEO of eCommerce company Positive Distribution LLC, and Kit Bredup (MBA ’93), founder of the 100 Women initiative at UNC Kenan-Flagler, received Merit Awards.

James Priouz (MBA ’98), head of capital markets and syndicate for Truist Securities, received the Global Leadership Award.

Leo S. Horey III (MBA’90), who recently retired as chief administrative officer of AvalonBay Communities, Inc., received the Leadership Award.

Thought leaders

• Professor Valarie Zeithaml received the 2023 ACR-Sheth Long Term Contribution in Consumer Research Award from the Journal of Marketing. Zeithaml and co-authors Len Berry and A “Parsu” Parasuraman were honored for their 1996 article, “The Behavioral Consequences of Service Quality.” The award is one of the highest honors for consumer behavior research with the greatest impact on the field and on consumer behavior.

Professor Patricia Harms

Professor Patricia Harms

• Professor Patricia Harms received the 2023 Meada Gibbs Outstanding Teacher-Scholar Award at the Association for Business Communication’s international conference in Denver. Business school students also were honored at the conference. Summer Sledzieski (BSBA ’24) and Angela Ge (BSBA ’24) received second and third place, respectively, in the international student writing contest.

• Research from Professor Sreedhari Desai shed light on the interplay of sexuality and gender at the bargaining table.

Patricia Collins, associate director of MBA global programs, represented UNC Kenan-Flagler at the annual Partnership in International Management Consortium conference at the College of Commerce at National Chenghui University in Taiwan. She stressed the value of exchange programs and global business school partners. “Everyone has something valuable to bring back home,” she said.

MAC classroomSTEM success 

The MAC Program has received STEM designation, which “aligns with the evolving nature of the accounting industry and the MAC curriculum, emphasizing the role of technology and data analytics,” said Professor Courtney Knoll, MAC Program associate dean.

A significant added benefit is that the STEM designation provides eligible international students with a two-year visa extension upon graduation, on top of the initial one-year Optional Practical Training (OPT), allowing them up to 36 months in the U.S. after completion of the MAC degree.
All UNC MAC students will now graduate with a STEM-designated degree. The STEM designation is applicable to any students in the Class of 2023 on OPT.

“The growing interest in and appreciation of the value of a MAC degree from UNC Kenan-Flagler reflects the importance of how we develop our students’ in-depth knowledge in accounting and finance,” Knoll said.

Standout students and alumni

GameFlo CEO and Professor Chijioge Nwogu (MBA ’18) shares how his Chapel Hill-based startup teaches social and emotional life skills to young children and teenagers through tabletop games.

• Osher Hoberman (MBA ’04) was named chief marketing officer of Kind North America. He most recently served as vice president of business development at Mars Snaking and global head of strategy for Mars Wrigley North America.

Luther Hodges Scholars Nora Elsayed and Hunter Vaughan

Luther Hodges Scholars Nora Elsayed (BSBA ’25) and Hunter Vaughan (BSBA ’24)

• Luther Hodges Scholars Nora Elsayed (BSBA ’25) and Hunter Vaughan (BSBA ’24) are in the business of making sports more inclusive.

John Davis (MBA ’72) was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter’s Gold Circle. He created and hosts the Maryland Public Television series “MotorWeek” and was senior executive producer of the long-running PBS series “Wall $treet Week.”

• Moisha Platto (MBA ’16) was named chief operating officer at Meeting Protocol Worldwide. Platto was previously CEO and co-founder of cloud-computing software company Omniphase, Inc.

Spotted on social

• A group of undergraduates spent their fall break in Nashville as part of their annual career trek with the UNC Wood Center for Real Estate Studies and the UNC Undergraduate Real Estate Club. Molly Furman (BSBA ’25) shared video of the trip as students met with real estate power players in Music City.

Treat bags made by Britton Bloch *MBA '24) for her class' holiday party.

• Britton Bloch (MBA ’24) celebrated completing her first MBA year at the Business School — and posted a preview of the treat bags she’s making (right) for her class’s upcoming holiday party. “What a fantastic year,” Britton wrote. “New friends! Incredible learning! Excellent professors! Immediate impact on business scope!”

• UNC Kenan-Flagler had a strong presence at the MBA Veterans Career Conference and Expo led by Sandra Sienko-Chandler, senior associate director of MBA employer engagement and recruiting, and Bill Faulkner, senior associate director for MBA career and leadership. The annual conference, hosted by MBA Veterans, connects recruiters from about 100 companies to top business school students.

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