University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill


Alright – I have to admit that not many people heard University of North Carolina (UNC) before. Upon people’s confused look, I usually will say, “that’s where Michael Jordan went to school.” And who doesn’t know Michael Jordan? In fact, if you are a huge basketball fans, then UNC is definitely a school worth of your consideration. UNC men’s basketball team is one of the most respected team in the United States. Also, the women’s soccer team has won 21 of the 31 NCAA national championships. So, if you like sports, UNC will definitely give you something to consider outside of the classroom.

UNC is a public research university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It is the oldest public university in the United States, enrolling the first student back in 1795. The university offers degrees in over 70 courses of study through fourteen colleges.

In terms of ranks, here are some top major in the school (not exclusive):

  • Public Health: 1st public, 2nd overall

  • Pharmacy: 2nd in the nation

  • Business School: 8th (Bloomberg Businessweek), 7th (U.S. News & World Report)

In 2011, the U.S. News and World Report ranked UNC 5th among the nation’s top public colleges and universities. Internationally, the 2012 QS World University Rankings ranked UNC 57th overall in the world.

I’ve been to many campuses in United States, and I must say that UNC campus is one of the cleanest, green and environmental friendly campuses. Most building shut off their lights during off-hours and recycle trash are everywhere.

Kenan-Flagler Business School

The Kenan-Flagler Business School is the undergraduate and graduate business school at UNC. The school offer Bachelor degree, Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Accounting, Ph.D., and many other business certificate programs. UNC MBA is 7th in Leadership Development, 7th in Sustainability, 3rd in Social Responsibility, A in Faculty Teaching and A+ in Effectiveness.

The UNC MBA program offers Career Concentrations in Corporate Finance, Investment Management, Management Consulting, Marketing, Operations Management, and Real Estate. On top of that, they have Enrichment Concentrations in Entrepreneurship, Healthcare, and Sustainable Enterprise. The school also has program expertise in Energy and Family Business.

What I like so much about their curriculum is the module system. Instead of a semester (16 week-long class), we have a module (8 week-long). In other words, you will finish a class in 8 weeks then take another new set of classes. This will allow you to cater your learning experience to your interest. For example, you can choose to take all Finance class in Module 1, Aug-Oct, and then all Marketing class in Module 2, Oct-Dec. In my case, I am able to complete both Finance and Consulting concentration.

The qualities of the professors are world-class. They are great facilitator inside the classroom, easy to reach outside of the classroom and really concerned about each individual student. They also helpful for career resources, or any other non-classroom topics that you would like to discuss. Additionally, a lot of them are presence in the social event, so it is easy to have a casual, relax conversation with them.

5 Core Values

Kenan-Flagler has 5 core values: excellence, leadership, integrity, community and teamwork. These core values are the DNA of the Kenan-Flagler community that governed how the school conducts their learning process.

Excellence: You are expected to actively contribute in the class discussion and to produce highest quality of work in every assignment you have to do. This also reflected in the alumni statistics: 779 of Kenan-Flagler alumni are in C-level or VP position in Fortune 500 companies around the world

Leadership:  Kenan-Flagler offers the best, most comprehensive leadership program of any top business school. In fact, Kenan-Flagler has been asked many times to share their leadership program with other top business school. As a student, you are expected to be an active leader, by being involved in school organization and be an active member of the community.

Integrity: A great example of this value is the required Ethics course. In many top business school, ethic class is actually an elective. But, at UNC, they are a requirement. You are also expected to maintain your integrity, for example not doing plagiarism, or not re-sell course materials to other students.

Community: As a student, you will have plenty of opportunity to give back to the community. For example the Kenan-Flagler Habitat for Humanity project. This project brings together faculty, staff, and student across the school to build a house in a local community. It was a humbling experience, for me, to be able to paint one room for a house that we built.

Teamwork: UNC Kenan-Flagler creates a unique atmosphere of collaboration, mutual support and genuine interest in each other’s success. The community is very helpful in helping students to succeed in class, job search, settle down in town, or other issues that you might need help.

Activities outside of the classroom

Learning, of course, not only limited to only in the classroom. Kenan-Flagler has many activities outside of the classroom that will improve your business skills.  Here are several activities (not all) that will keep you busy throughout the school year:

  • Leadership workshop, world class guest speakers, role-playing simulation, immersion

  • Student organization where you can be part of the leadership team

  • Real-world Corporate Consulting Projects in S.T.A.R (Student Teams Achieving Results) and GBP (Global Business Project)

  • Manage $12M of equity investments across six funds

  • Global Experience through Global Immersion Electives (GIEs), Exchange Program and Doing Business In (DBI)

  • UNC MBA is home to several national-level case competitions

    • Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC)

    • UNC Kenan-Flagler Real Estate Development Challenge

    • Wells Fargo Private Bank Alpha Challenge

    • UNC Kenan-Flagler Marketing Case Challenge

    • Sustainable Venture Capital Investment Competition (SVCIC)

Life in North Carolina / Triangle Area

Chapel Hill is located in the Triangle Area, coupled with two other cities: Durham (home of Duke University), and Raleigh, the capital city of North Carolina. The Triangle Area also home of many research and development, science, and technology based companies (such as Blackberry, CISCO, Red Hat, GlaxoSmithKline, Microsoft, Bayer, IBM).

Even though Chapel Hill has a fairly large population (57,233 people), it still has a very small-town feel. Throughout the city you can feel local taste in art, music and food.  Talking about food, Chapel Hill is hailed as “America’s Foodiest Small Town” by Bon Appetit Magazine. It has been featured in many food magazines and network, including Food Network’s “$40 A Day with Rachael Ray” and Martha Stewart’s Living.

Another advantage of living in North Carolina its very strong Southern culture, famous for its food and hospitality, perhaps coming from the fact that North Carolina was one of the Confederate states during the Civil War. If you like history, you will be able to learn about America from another angle.

You don’t have to worry about being homesick too. There are about 100-200 Indonesians living in the Triangle Area. Most of them are either working in the Triangle Area or studying at Duke University, UNC or North Carolina State University. This community includes the Indonesian Moslem, Christian and Catholic Community.


Definitely, for me, it was a wonderful experience to study at UNC and live in North Carolina. If you are interested to go to UNC or move to this area, feel free to comment below, or contact me at

Go Tar Heels!


*all ranks are provided by Bloomberg Businessweek, Financial Times and U.S. News & World Report

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Emmanuel Jefferson Kuesar earned his Bachelor degree in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He had the honor to be the President of the Indonesian Student Association (Permias) Purdue. He just finished his Master of Business Adminsitration (MBA) program at University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler Business School. During his MBA, he was the Vice President Social of the International Business Association and he was a summer associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers. He will start his post-MBA career as an Associate at A.T. Kearney, a global management consulting firm. He has strong interest in Strategy, Finance and Public Policy.


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