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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

We are on a journey of change to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in all we do at UNC Kenan-Flagler and in all you experience during your time in our Full-Time MBA Program.

Our core values – excellence, leadership, integrity, inclusion, community and teamwork– reflect and form our unique culture. We are building a community that welcomes all identities and cultures and celebrates DEI – where everyone feels valued and a true sense of belonging.

Our goal is to prepare you to be leader who cultivates diversity in teams, fosters inclusion and puts equity into action.

Before your MBA

We are committed to honoring your unique experiences, perspectives and identities as we seek to strengthen the diversity of each cohort. Events for prospective Full-Time MBA students include:

  • Diversity Week: Explore how we are building an inclusive community and learn about the support available to students from historically underrepresented groups.
  • Women’s Workshop: Engage with our community, alumni and admissions team at this event held conjunction with the annual Carolina Women in Business conference.
  • Inclusive Blue Leadership WeekDiscuss identity and belonging, participate in workshops led by expert faculty, and hear from employers discussing the future of DEI in business.
  • Webinars and coffee chats: Connect with members of student-led DEI clubs and organizations.

In class

We provide you with the tools to effectively navigate your MBA experience while you uphold our core values and your responsibility to foster an inclusive, professional environment. You start developing your DEI toolkit during Inclusive Blue orientation and take the Inclusive Leadership course in your first year.

When it comes time for electives, you continue developing your DEI approach courses such as Management of Workplace Diversity; Experiencing Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace; Gender and the Workplace; Leading Diverse and Inclusive Organizations; and Corporate Communication: Social Advocacy.

Beyond the classroom

Your learning is enriched through a variety of opportunities to get involved in our community, connect with business experts and participate in conferences and workshops.

Building community

Meet members of our MBA community leading the change we need to build a just world.
(Select a photo to read profile.)

Mabel Acosta

Mabel Acosta

Choosing diversity

Mabel Acosta

Mabel Acosta

Mabel Acosta (MBA ’20) has always valued inclusive communities, so finding an MBA program with a community that celebrates DEI was crucial. She focused on Consortium schools and selected UNC Kenan-Flagler.

Here she found an outlet for her passion for celebrating DEI and brought her own perspectives and experiences to the community. “From being a Hispanic woman, all the way to being someone working in supply chain in Michigan, there are so many things that I realized were unique to me,” she explains.

She served as VP of DEI in the MBA Student Association, collaborated with the diversity clubs, and helped organize Diversity Week. “We collectively put on events that show what it means to be diverse here on campus and out in the workforce, and how we can be treated equitably as a student body,” she says.

Acosta earned a Sustainable Enterprise concentration and studied abroad, including a Doing Business Incourse Australia and a Global ImmersionElectiveon entrepreneurship is South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

The sum of these experiences led Acosta to accept a summer internship in marketing with diagnostic equipment manufacturer Danahar. After graduating, she joined Thermo Fisher Scientific as part of their general management rotational leadership program.

Wherever she finds herself, Acosta plans to use the diverse network she’s building to stay abreast of opportunities. “The UNC MBA pushed me to network even more, and develop relationships that I can continue after business school,” she says.

Michael Burris

Michael Burris

Helping vets transition to business

Michael Burris

Michael Burris

Michael Burris (MBA ’19), area operations manager at Cortland, served as president of the Veterans Association and a volunteer firefighter in the local community.

The transition from the military to business school was a whirlwind for Michael Burris (MBA ’19). Within less than a month’s span, he served his last day in the U.S. Navy, married the love of his life, moved from the West to the East Coast, and started in the Full-Time MBA program.

He drew on support from the other veterans on campus to successfully transition from serving seven years in the military to getting back into the groove of being a student.

Burris continued to develop his leadership skills in the program, including in his role as president of the UNC Kenan-Flagler Veterans Association. His mission: Develop the group’s reputation and create the greatest impact of any veteran club at top business schools.

His devotion to the club originated with his understanding of UNC Kenan-Flagler’s collaborative culture. He didn’t want to attend a cutthroat business school, where people focus primarily on their own success. “I saw a community at UNC Kenan-Flagler where the students are vested in each other’s success,” he says.

The comradery and ability to share stories with classmates in Veterans Club was cathartic, he says. Over time, nostalgia and tension from the transition faded away, and he learned what was necessary to succeed as a student.

To help vets make the transition to students and future business leaders, the Veterans Club supports students during the admissions process, providing advice about where to live, what classes to take and how to stay organized.

During his internship at Trammel Crow Residential, Burris noticed transferable skills from the military that could help him stand out in the complex world of real estate development. “Being able to create teams of people from diverse backgrounds is a great asset for any company to have in its arsenal”, says Burris. “Creating and managing relationships with diverse groups of people and institutions is critical in real estate development.”

Military veterans, he says, have much to offer as MBA students and to the business world at large, and he hopes more veterans find their way to UNC Kenan-Flagler.

Je’nique Harewood

Consortium leader

Je’nique Harewood

Je’nique Harewood (MBA ’21) represents the very best of UNC Kenan-Flagler’s core values: excellence, leadership, integrity, inclusion, community and teamwork. And is making a mark in class and in the community.

Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Harewood moved to Washington, D.C. She studied finance at Howard University and then spent the early half of her career working with the nonprofit organizations before moving to Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, where she helped support development of the firm’s first mobile banking application and implemented a number of system enhancements across the division.

At UNC Kenan-Flagler, she is focusing on marketing and data analytics, and will join Verizon after she graduates. She is a member of the Marketing Club and a Kenan Scholar, the premier research opportunity for Full-Time MBA students. She also serves as a Business Communication Center consultant and teaching assistant.

Harewood is passionate about DEI and supports efforts to increase the number of underrepresented minorities at UNC Kenan-Flagler, serving as an important and valued voice within our community. A Consortium member, she is VP of communication and technology for the 2020-21 Consortium Leadership Team at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

The Consortium honored her with the Leslie Adkins Endowed Scholarship in 2020. The prestigious scholarship is based on moral character, commitment to scholarship and volunteerism, and service to humanity. Harewood is one of six candidates to earn the award this year and the first at UNC Kenan-Flagler to receive it.

She is making a lasting impact at UNC Kenan-Flagler, including so-founding the Black Business Student Association with classmates. She now serves as co-president, leading the way on creating a more inclusive environment for future student leaders.

Reinaldo

Reinaldo Caravellas

Looking for the next challenge

Reinaldo Caravellas

Headshot_ReinaldoCaravellas

When Reinaldo Caravellas (MBA ’19) decided to leave Brazil to earn his MBA and fulfill his career dream of becoming a consultant, he knew he wanted a school that big consulting firms respect and that offers a top-quality curriculum, world-class professors and a close-knit community.

UNC Kenan-Flagler stood out on all fronts for Caravellas, who is a McKinsey associate in Chicago.

“It’s not always easy to be an immigrant, and I wanted to make sure I was in a place where everybody values the community and I would have a support system,” he says. “The School was welcoming and friendly, just like Brazilians are.”

He also found opportunities to challenge himself. “From day one I could not only showcase what I was able to do, but put myself outside of my comfort zone.”

Caravellas flourished in and outside class, including being selected as a Vetter Dean’s Fellow. As part of the STAR consulting program, he helped a nonprofit improve its revenues by focusing on racial equity and justice. As a Kenan Scholar, he conducted research on diversity, and he worked with the admissions team to improve the diversity of the candidate pipeline.

He was elected as president and UNC Pride Club, becoming a strong LGBTQ+ advocate. “I came to the U.S. not sure if I would be out,” he says. “I was super happy to find out how supportive the Pride Club was, and after one month I was so comfortable being part of the community that I was walking the hallways in my pride shirt!”

His involvement and initiative made him a well-loved figure. He served as a career mentor and tutor for classmates, and participated in the Nonprofit Board Consultants Program. He served as VP for both the Center for Sustainable Enterprise’s “Careers with Impact Conference” and International Community Service. Classmates selected him for the Excellence Core Value Award and the Johnson & Johnson Award for best diversity club president.

His advice to future students: “Start planning yesterday. You don’t believe how fast things go once the MBA starts – take that inward look as soon as you can. It’ll be life changing.”

Jermyn Davis

Jermyn Davis

Making change

Jermyn Davis

Jermyn Davis

Jermyn Davis (MBA ’20), Google Cloud program manager, is dedicated to making education and work more inclusive.As a student, he was deeply engaged in the life of the School: He was a Consortium Fellow, VP of allyship for Carolina Women in Business, a member of the boards of the Pride Club and the MBA Student Association, and a member of the Alliance of Minority Business Students at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

He worked with classmates and senior School leaders to strategically imagine the future of business education at Carolina. Serving in these roles is a way to “have a lasting impact on the School, far beyond our time here,” says Davis. “I hope our group and every group I served with is known for being unafraid to address issues that will propel the institution forward.”

“Diversity is at the forefront of many businesses, and we have to ensure my peers and I are ready to succeed in all facets of business,” he says. “At the same time, diversity and inclusion work is hard. It is hard because I think you are equipping people with tools that make them challenge their communications, feedback and, ultimately, their unconscious bias.”

Elizabeth Dickinson

Advancing DEI

Elizabeth Dickinson

As a kid, Elizabeth Dickinson never imagined having a PhD affixed to her name – or teaching at a business school. She was a first-generation college student, who had always done well in school, but had not seen college in her plan.

Today she is management and corporate communication professor and associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion at UNC Kenan-Flagler. She designed and teaches the core “Inclusive Leadership” course.

Her primary classroom objective is to build community and rapport – to generate spirited interaction.

“What excites me is when I pose something to students and ask them to analyze it, knowing they might be challenged thinking about it,” Dickinson says, “but then seeing them grapple with it, and us all learning from that process.”

Building community with students “starts from day one with a supportive demeanor and tone that I strive to set in the classroom,” she says. “This points to a theory called communication climate – we create a vibe in a room based on our verbal, nonverbal and emotional interactions with people.”

Dickinson and Sherry Wallace (MBA ’87), executive director for engagement and inclusion, are leading the School’s DEI Initiative to advance and connect all of UNC Kenan-Flagler’s DEI work.

Dickinson brings expertise in DEI research, education and communication. She coordinates programming and education for students, staff, and faculty; is developing a thought leadership program; revamping internal DEI communication; and engaging in relationship and culture building.

“If you build an atmosphere that requires people to engage, and you motivate them to do so,” she says, “they will more likely engage with you.”

Maya Anderson Yates

Maya Anderson Yates

Marrying profit and purpose

Maya Anderson Yates

Maya Anderson Yates

Raised in Decatur, Georgia, by a single mother, Maya Anderson Yates (MBA ’20) was all too aware of inequalities in America. In her high school, “most of the Black kids lived in the housing projects and most of the white kids were from upper middle-class families,” she says.

She studied English at Harvard, where tight finances made the experience difficult. “A lot of people had money, but I could not afford to go out and eat or go to spring break,” she says. “They did not intentionally exclude me, but I felt like an outsider.”

When Yates decided to invest in herself by getting get an MBA, she was sold on UNC Kenan-Flagler after attending Diversity Day. “I fell in love with the beautiful campus and it was the community I was looking for,” says Anderson. “It was collaborative: People genuinely wanted to help me achieve my aims.” UNC Kenan-Flagler named her a Consortium Fellow, Forté Fellow, Bank of America Fellow, J. Taylor Rankin GIE Memorial Fellow and Dean’s Fellow.

Yates invested back in the School, chairing the Dean’s Fellows Student Committee and the Consortium Leadership Team, serving on the Admissions Advisory Board to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in the program, and networking with alumni to speak at School at events.

She also dove into experiential and global learning to shape her growth and prepare for post-graduation career plans. She was an analyst with NCGrowth on economic development projects, worked with Domino’s CEO Ritch Allison (BSBA ’89, MBA ’95) on a STAR consulting project, and learned about sustainable business in Bolivia and Ecuador on a Global Immersion Elective.

These experiences gave her a major confidence boost: She accepted a full-time job at McKinsey & Company, where she is an associate exposed to different industries and companies. “By working for Fortune 500 firms, I get to see how business done in the largest and most complicated companies,” says Yates, who hopes to take those lessons to help make small businesses’ dreams come true.

John Nelson

John Nelson

Creating inclusive spaces

John Nelson

John Nelson

John Nelson (MBA ’20) always knew that his career would revolve around community building.

After studying public policy at Duke, he worked in higher education consulting and corporate strategy before returning to his interest in urban development – and pursuing a career in real estate development.

“It’s a career you can create for yourself, making spaces where people live their lives,” Nelson says. “It’s entrepreneurial, creative, impactful and continually changing work.”

He knew he would acquire the skills and connections he needed in the unique Full-Time MBA Real Estate concentration. “We speak to real practitioners, pursue our own real estate projects and get their feedback on them – it’s a real trial by fire,” says Nelson.

A formative experience was working with the Development Finance Initiative, which partners with local N.C. governments to sources private investment for development projects, many of which transform abandoned or neglected spaces into rallying points for underserved communities.

As Pride Club president, he engaged members of the LGBTQ community and allies in building a more inclusive community and opening it up in way that the wider community could engage with and support it. Through partnerships with UNC’s undergraduate programs, volunteering with the Durham Pride parade, and hosting the annual UNC Kenan-Flagler Drag Ball, the Pride Club increased the visibility of LGBTQ students and brought about real change in their community.

Nelson was a good ally, too, serving in that vital role as a member of Carolina Women in Business and the Association of Minority Business Students.

As a development associate at JBG SMITH in Washington D.C., he is using community-building skills he honed at UNC Kenan-Flagler: really listening, hearing what people need, and delivering those kinds of products in the form of physical spaces.

Underpinning his success is his understanding of how to put authentic change into action. “It’s not just about the intention of driving positive change,” he emphasizes, “but the ability to manifest that change.”

Stephanie Chak

Building trust and expertise

Stephanie Chak

Stephanie Chak (MBA ’21) made her first sale when she was 5. She sold flowers from her family’s flower farm on street corners in her small hometown in California.

Her parents immigrated to America from China with little money or education. “My parents are my inspiration,” says Chak.

They motivated her to start a career in wealth management, and after a decade of success, Chak was ready for a change. She decided to pursued her MBA as a way to take stock and figure out her next career move, and her finance colleagues highly recommended UNC Kenan-Flagler.

“When I arrived in Chapel Hill, it felt like coming home,” says Chak. “Everyone was really nice and collaborative. I did not want to be part of a cutthroat culture.”

She promoted an inclusive campus as president of the Pride Club, motivated by discrimination and locker room talk she saw in the workplace: “Employers need to better support their LGBTQ employees, and create safe spaces so people can focus on the work and not hiding themselves at work.”

She led the Pronoun Initiative to raise awareness of the importance of using correct pronouns to show respect for all gender identities, and when COVID hit, she created a guide to help underrepresented MBA students through the virtual recruiting process.

Chak landed a summer internship at Liberty Mutual in Boston with support from the Tar Heel network, which helped her assess organizational culture fit. “I spoke with alumni who supported me with interview prep and introductions to the right people,” she says. “They made it a seamless transition from UNC to Liberty Mutual.”

After graduation, she joined the company’s leadership development program, and she’s already using her MBA education to improve diversity in the technical hiring process through a simulation-like assessment based on the job requirements. “Traditional technical hiring process benefits those who already have relationships with the company or hiring manager,” she says. “I want to open the candidate pool to include those who do not have a traditional background.”

Her time at UNC was well spent, says Chak.

“I’m glad that I took a step back from my career to retool myself,” she says. “The skills and network I’ve gained will be valuable for the rest of my life.”

Diversity flags

Flags that represent the School’s diversity – including the LGBTQ+ Pride flag, the Pan-African flag and Native American flags – hang in front of Koury Auditorium, the central gathering place for the community.

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