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Building a network

Ganpi Srinivasan talking in group

Ganpi Srinivasan (MBA ’17), a senior manager at Amazon Transportation Services and a first-generation immigrant, shares why he decided to earn his MBA at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

Why did you choose UNC Kenan-Flagler?

Well, there are two parts to my answer – a rational reason and an emotional reason. The rational reason is the ROI. The UNC Kenan-Flagler program was among my top considerations, but when I really compared the price tags and the value of other schools, I knew UNC was the best option. I funded my education so ROI was very important to me. I knew I was investing in myself.

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How did your cohort contribute to your development and outcomes?

My biggest takeaway from the program I attended and the cohort experience was what I learned through my peers. An Executive MBA is not like an undergrad or even full-time MBA experience. It’s not just about academics.

UNC Kenan-Flagler offered an almost philosophical method of learning through case studies that were thoroughly discussed in groups at the beginning of the class. Most, if not all, of the time there was never one right or wrong answer. All of us viewed these cases from different angles, bringing our unique experiences to the discussion. Our class was incredibly diverse – women, military, immigrants like myself, business owners, etc. Because we were able to analyze problems from different perspectives, I would argue that I learned just as much from my peers as I did from my professors.

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Secondly, the value system of collaboration in UNC Kenan-Flagler is highlighted from the very first day. This program is not centered on succeeding at the expense of your peers, but rather at excelling through teamwork. Beginning with team-building exercises during orientation, it was clear that the program is built and designed around collaboration.

Adopting this value system made my shift to a top company like Amazon a seamless transition, because they’ve built their business on very similar values. At the heart of it, UNC Kenan-Flagler taught me how to listen to others’ opinions and form my own at the same time.

How important was the strength of the UNC alumni network?

The alumni network was one of the key factors I considered when choosing UNC Kenan-Flagler.

When I was interviewing with executives for positions after graduating from the program, having UNC Kenan-Flagler on my resume was indispensable. When I was negotiating my role at Amazon, one of the execs told me that UNC Kenan-Flagler preps you to excel at any position at top companies because it is unconventional, competitive and collaborative.