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Tradition of innovation continues in Undergraduate Buiness Program

Undergraduate students stand in Koury auditorium at UNC Kenan-Flagler during Fall 2019 orientation

After 100 years of undergraduate business education, UNC Kenan-Flagler continues to attract talented students and provide them with transformational learning experiences in the Undergraduate Business Program. Ever since UNC offered its first business class on Oct. 2, 1919, student demand for business studies has been high.

Undergraduate students stand in Koury auditorium at UNC Kenan-Flagler during Fall 2019 orientationIn November, the UBP welcomed its newest class of talented students – the Class of 2022. The class is slightly larger with 371 majors and 62 minors. The academic quality remains very strong with a median 3.75 GPA at Carolina. For majors, 45% are female, 18% are under-represented minorities and 12% are first-generation college students.

Continuing the Business School’s tradition of educational innovation, the UBP welcomed them with a brand-new orientation.

Typically, UBP students formally begin in in the UBP the spring semester of their sophomore year. So before they began their studies, the UBP team offered them a new way to get oriented and a guide for their Business School journey. Now students are divided into six cohorts of 60 each to facilitate greater student interaction, and each cohort has several Spark ambassadors, consisting of faculty and staff members as well as junior and senior business majors.

“We admitted an amazing new class, and we welcomed them with a new approach to orientation that starts building community from the very start,” says Anna Millar, UBP assistant dean. “We used lean innovation to launch Spark, a brand-new way to celebrate our new students’ admission success and build excitement for their UBP experience.” 

Spark’s goal is also to build community across the UBP – among the new students and with staff and faculty. “We want to spark excitement in students so that they have ownership of their personal and professional development,” says Millar. To this we introduced guiding principles or competencies to lead their way, and gave them the tools and information they need immediately to succeed in the UBP in their courses, global studies and career development.

Guiding principles

The UBP team partnered with Shimul Melwani, associate professor of organizational behavior, to identify and launch a new set of guiding principles.

Undergraduate students stand in Koury auditorium at UNC Kenan-Flagler during Fall 2019 orientationUNC Kenan-Flagler has long had six core values: excellence, leadership, integrity, inclusion, community and teamwork. “This year, we brought these values to life for UBP students by going through extensive exercises describing our students when they are at their best,” says Melwani. “The work resulted in a re-articulation of our core values that students can connect with – six new guiding principles introduced to students during orientation.”

The guiding principles are:

  • Be curious.
  • Be agile.
  • Be purposeful.
  • Be kind.
  • Be humble.
  • Be true.

The new students self-assessed on these principles and will use them to guide their decision-making on how to spend their time at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

More innovations

Other innovations in the UBP include:

  • UBP continues to send large numbers of students abroad: 73% of the Class of 2019 had an immersive abroad experience. The UPB expanded partnerships abroad – in South America and Europe – to add to the portfolio of over 40 programs in over 20 countries that range from Global Immersion Electives led by UNC Kenan-Flagler faculty, international internships, semester programs, programs and GLOBE, an 18-month program with two other business schools on three continents.
  • New electives include Data Science, Corporate Social Activism, Personal Branding and Retail Marketing. Introduction to Marketing is now offered as a blended course. Lectures are delivered online and class section sizes are reduced for interactive in-person sessions. Student enjoy the opportunity to be able to learn at their own pace and can re-watch videos to prepare for exams or summer internships. The required course Introduction to Corporate Finance course was blended with much success two years ago.
  • A new student wellness coach is focused on helping students address challenges to their personal success and holistic wellness through a variety of individualized services and community resources.
  • The Undergraduate Business Mentorship Program offers professional development and application readiness support for first-year and transfer students at UNC from underserved populations who are interested in our business major or minor.