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While our Full-Time MBA students enter the program with a variety of academic backgrounds, professional experiences, and career aspirations, they graduate with one common trait: the skills, knowledge, acumen, and desire to make an impact on the organizations they lead and the communities they serve.

Read Stories of Student Success.

Joe Darcy

Joe Darcy

Principal, IDEA Fund Partners
Durham, N.C.

Joe Darcy

Joe Darcy

Principal, IDEA Fund Partners
Durham, N.C.

Joe Darcy used to coach high school students in hockey in Harlem in New York, putting together the team’s strategies and plays. Coaching was a way to give back to his local community while he worked in New York’s financial center, managing relationships with high-net-worth clients at a multi-family office.

Wanting to become more involved in running a business, Joe found his next challenge in earning an MBA at UNC Kenan-Flagler, adding the formal business training missing from his undergraduate degree at a liberal arts college in Massachusetts. “I wanted to understand the nuts and bolts of financial markets, and how to found businesses. I was hoping to come out of the MBA with a business playbook,” he said.

At UNC Kenan-Flagler, Joe led the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club and took fellow club members to Silicon Valley where they met people in every role in the startup ecosystem. He was closely involved with many other clubs as well and was recognized as a Kenan Scholar, awarded to students who show a genuine interest in making positive contributions to society. “I love creating opportunities for people to try new and unique things,” he says. “In doing so I have made friends for life and stayed current with emerging developments in industry.”

As a Kenan Scholar, Joe conducted a research project tracking venture capital trends in North Carolina, an experience that allowed him breaking into the VC space, a sector often without formal recruiting and where networking is crucial. An important part of his learning experience was the Venture Capital Investment Competition, an opportunity that allowed Joe to meet numerous VCs and one he characterized as “transformative.”

Meanwhile, the Venture Capital/Angel Intern Program gave him real experience in the industry, working as an intern while earning his MBA. He first worked at the accelerator Techstars and then VC firm IDEA Fund Partners in Durham, where he now serves as one of the firm’s principals. “I like the idea of creating something out of nothing, rolling up my sleeves, getting my hands dirty and working towards an exit, perhaps even the next big IPO,” said Joe.

Maya Anderson

Maya Anderson

Associate, McKinsey & Company
Decatur, Ga.

Maya Anderson

Maya Anderson

Associate, McKinsey & Company
Decatur, Ga.

Maya Anderson is the future of American capitalism, a next-generation business leader who intends to marry profit and purpose to help small businesses generate wealth and create jobs. “I want to find the diamond in the rough and realize its potential,” she said. Raised by a single mother, a social worker in Decatur, Georgia, her upbringing made her all too aware of inequalities in America. At her public high school, “most of the Black kids lived in the housing projects and most of the white kids were from upper middle-class families.”

With a thirst for knowledge and a determination to improve her lot in life, Maya won a place at Harvard University, majoring in English, before returning home where she began working for a small real estate brokerage, helping families to buy homes and generate wealth – something her family never did when she was growing up. She enjoyed the dynamism of real estate, but aspired to tackle bigger problems and make an impact on more people; with an entrepreneurial spirit she’s harbored since childhood, Maya sought her MBA at UNC Kenan-Flagler. “I fell in love with the beautiful campus and it was the community I was looking for,” she said. “It was collaborative; people genuinely wanted to help me achieve my aims.”

Maya made the most of her MBA experience. She joined the Adam Smith Society, an association of business students who promote debate about how capitalism can help society, and served on its board. Her academic excellence was recognized with numerous fellowships and she served as chair of the school’s Dean Fellows Program. And, she helped create the Black Business Student Association, which Maya calls a “rallying point for black students, a place where they can build their networks.”

The Full-Time MBA program also helped Maya cultivate her own network through numerous experiential learning opportunities. She worked as an analyst with NCGrowth on projects that support economic development in communities and with Domino’s on a STAR consulting project that gave her experience operating in a corporate environment and exposure to senior executives. She also visited Bolivia and Ecuador on a Global Immersion Elective to see how business is done around the world and to develop cross-cultural communication skills.

These experiences prepared her for a post-MBA career at McKinsey in Atlanta, though she hopes to eventually work for herself, helping to make small businesses a success and their dreams come true. “By working for Fortune 500 firms, I get to see how it’s done in the largest and most complicated companies. I want to bring those lessons to smaller businesses. The entrepreneurial spirit still lives in me,” commented Maya.

Alex Brandwein

Alex Brandwein

Owner/Founder, Brandwein's Bagels
Chapel Hill, N.C.

Alex Brandwein

Alex Brandwein

Owner/Founder, Brandwein’s Bagels
Chapel Hill, N.C.

Alex never expected to be in the bagel business. Bagels were a staple in his life growing up in New York and a big part of his routine while studying business at the University of Wisconsin. Now he is the brains and brawn behind Brandwein’s Bagels, which is bringing New York-style bagels to Chapel Hill.

Alex started his career in investment banking in Chicago before returning to New York to work in investment banking and real estate private equity. But the urge to pursue something entrepreneurial tugged at him, so he decided to invest in his career and pursue an MBA, with the intent to follow the real estate concentration.

In looking for “entrepreneurial ways to activate real estate,” Alex applied and was accepted into the Entrepreneurship Center’s Adams Apprenticeship, a selective program that accelerates the entrepreneurial careers of UNC’s highest potential student leaders. He originally intended to pursue real estate entrepreneurship, but by the time the interview came around, the idea of creating a bagel business was calling him.

A variety of courses from his MBA helped Alex bring his new venture to life. “My Marketing class made me think about customers and branding while Retail Operations was the perfect place to think about scaling a business,” said Alex. He also received significant support from numerous UNC alumni and from Launch Chapel Hill, an internationally recognized accelerator supported by the Entrepreneurship Center.

Working out of Chapel Hill’s Midway Community Kitchen, Brandwein’s Bagels quickly sold out of 650 bagels at its first pop-up experience in August 2019 and less than a year later opened a permanent location. “Bagels are the driver but the real focus is bringing people together,” Alex said. “I’m so happy that I get to share this little bit of myself and so excited to see where this goes.”

Charlotte Burnett

Charlotte Burnett

Banker, J.P. Morgan Private Bank
New York, N.Y.

Charlotte Burnett

Charlotte Burnett

Banker, J.P. Morgan Private Bank
New York, N.Y.

Even before her MBA — and long before she started her current role at J.P. Morgan Private Bank — Charlotte Burnett was passionate about raising the profile of women in business.

Charlotte, or “Charlie” to those who know her, took a commission with the United States Army straight out of undergrad, working in Special Operations where women make up only 10% of the personnel. In an effort to unite women on her into a more supportive community, Charlie founded a women’s networking initiative, indicative of her commitment to teamwork and bringing people together.

Charlie brought this collaborative spirit with her when she joined the Full-Time MBA program at UNC Kenan-Flagler. “The community and culture are very distinctive,” she recalled. “Kenan-Flagler is extremely collegial and collaborative — and down to earth! That was the most important trait. I knew it was where I would fit in best.”

Charlie made a name for herself at the school, serving as president of the Carolina Women in Business networking club, an experience she called one of the best leadership experiences of her career. Overseeing more than 75 events during her presidency and leading a rebranding of the club with a focus on making it more accessible, Charlie opened the door for more people from the school community to get involved in progress towards gender equity. “At Kenan-Flagler, student leaders really play an important role in the community,” she recalled. “You’re given the opportunity to try a lot of different things.”

Her success as a leader not only helped the school grow, but also transformed her career. She received the Eddie Hunt Inspiration Award from the Forté Foundation, and after graduating, became an associate at J.P. Morgan Private Bank. Charlie sees her achievements as proof of the power of “learning by doing”, both in and outside of the classroom, and they have helped her successfully transition from a military career in Carolina into finance in New York.

Melissa Sieffert

Melissa Sieffert

Investment Banking Associate, Wells Fargo
San Francisco, Calif.

Melissa Sieffert

Melissa Sieffert

Investment Banking Associate, Wells Fargo
San Francisco, Calif.

With an undergraduate degree in Neurobiology from Harvard and experience working with the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso, Melissa brought a unique background into the Full-Time MBA Program. She also brought with her a commitment to making the world a better place.

When her service in the Peace Corps was interrupted by an evacuation triggered by rising security concerns, her dedication to the cause — and a project to build 75 latrines in the village she served — didn’t stop. Upon returning to the U.S, Melissa raised enough money to fund the rest of the project, which was completed in her absence.

This determination helped her succeed as she pursued her MBA. She received the Excellence Award for her academic achievement in her first year in the program. She served as VP of Student Engagement with the Alliance of Minority Business Students. And, she earned an internship with Wells Fargo in San Francisco, which she’s converted into a full-time job as an Investment Banking Associate.

Melissa’s decision to attend UNC Kenan-Flagler reflects the spirit in which she approaches her life. “Nothing could override the feeling of being in a room of admitted students, looking around, and knowing I could truly see myself in the program and that it was an environment I could grow and thrive in,” remembered Melissa. “The students at Carolina are the friendliest, humblest, most hard-working, and intelligent group of people I have ever had the privilege to be around.”

Her experience at Carolina has allowed Melissa to not only embrace the spirit she found in others, but has helped her push toward a long-term goal to start a healthcare organization. Stephen Arbogast, professor of finance, noted, “Melissa showed an acute appreciation of the need for leaders to develop and articulate a compelling vision and she has begun to apply this to her thinking about investment banking.”

Taylor Henning

Taylor Henning

Director of Heart Transplant, Atrium Health
Charlotte, N.C.

Taylor Henning

Taylor Henning

Director of Heart Transplant, Atrium Health
Charlotte, N.C.

With an undergrad degree from Carolina in Public Health and professional experience in the healthcare industry, pursuing her MBA in UNC Kenan-Flagler’s nationally recognized healthcare program was a natural next step for Taylor. “At Kenan-Flagler, I found the same culture I loved as an undergrad: a culture defined by collaboration, ambition, passion, and fun,” she explained. “I knew I would be challenged with a rigorous core curriculum and rewarded with endless opportunities for growth.”

With a passion for healthcare and well-defined career goals to advance her career in the industry, Taylor had a clear understanding of the value her MBA would provide. “As an undergraduate, I studied health policy and management and developed a valuable skillset and knowledge of healthcare,” she said. “I saw an MBA as a way to supplement those skills with more business acumen and better equip myself to make cross-functional decisions.”

At UNC Kenan-Flagler, Taylor also developed significant leadership skills, serving as president of the Healthcare Club, one of the largest and most active student clubs on campus. Collaborating with a dozen students filling VP roles with the club, she organized the school’s largest Healthcare Conference to date, hosted the first-ever National Interdisciplinary Healthcare Case Competition, and launched an alumni mentorship program for healthcare students.

Through this leadership, Taylor worked closely with Brad Staats, professor of operations and faculty director of UNC Kenan-Flagler’s Center for the Business of Health. Brad described Taylor as a unique student, a strategic thinker, and “a strong leader who had an impact on our healthcare efforts in a way that will be seen for years.”

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