Monday, November 12, 2012

Q&A with Assured Business Student May Chang

Today we have a Q&A with May Chang, a sophomore from Plainsboro, NJ who is a student in the Assured Admission program in the Kenan-Flagler Business School. The Assured Business program is one of nine special opportunities that we offer to enrolling first-year students. (Get more info about these opportunities in this blog post from last year.) Thank you, May, for sharing your experiences with us!

Camel Riding in Dubai
How did you choose to study business and what would you like to do with your degree?
In high school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study, I only knew what I didn’t want to study. Eventually I realized that I wanted to do business because I liked interacting with people, and knew business was applicable to everything and was a necessary skill not only for jobs, but also for managing personal finances.

As I was exposed to the business school at UNC, I discovered that I wanted to focus on marketing and finance; I’m interested in how people think and how their backgrounds, values, and beliefs impact their purchasing decisions, and enjoy working with numbers. As of now, I only have a hazy idea of what I would like to do after graduation – I’m considering working within a marketing or finance department of a corporation then branching out to international locations, and later use my business knowledge and apply it to a job within the U.S. government. As I go through my studies, I feel that my classes and experiences will help better shape what I want to do with my degree.

What are some of the benefits of being in the Assured Business program?
The best thing about being in the Assured Admit Program is the early exposure to Kenan-Flagler’s culture and community through the classes, the professors, and the students. I had the opportunity to take classes at KFBS early on and loved interacting with business school professors as well as learning about the different aspects of business, which solidified my desire to study business. You can’t put a numerical value to how beneficial the early exposure is – you can see the intelligence and drive that the students possess and attend the social and professional events that KFBS hosts. Because I was an Assured Admit, I was able to establish a connection and relationship with KFBS early on in my undergraduate year.

KFBS Undergraduate Business Symposium
As an Assured Admit, I was required to take two business school classes specifically organized for first-year students to teach us about the different areas of business. We not only learned about what business was, but also about ourselves – what our strengths and weaknesses were, how we could improve our public speaking skills, and how we could develop as a leader. There were several workshops that I participated in to develop my hard and soft skills, as well as to go over my resume. Mr. Mur’ray, the head of undergraduate business, brought in several speakers from companies as well which was quite interesting.

Being an Assured Admit also allows you to participate in some KFBS activities that normal first-years and sophomores can’t do such as the Global Immersion Electives and Undergraduate Business Symposium. You also are able to start working on the core curriculum for the business major as early as fall semester sophomore year.

Any study abroad, internships, or other interesting experiences you’ve had or plan to pursue?
KFBS Students at Dubai Media Center
As an Assured Admit, I had the opportunity to participate in one of Kenan-Flagler Business School’s Global Immersion Elective (GIE) Programs as a first-year student. Last semester, I traveled with 30 other business school students to Dubai and Abu Dhabi over spring break to study business in the Middle East.

It was a truly fantastic educational and travel experience – it was amazing to see how rapidly Dubai and Abu Dhabi are growing and the amount of modernization that has occurred in Middle Eastern business practices and the city scape.

We met with several prominent companies in the area, including Emirates Airlines, and heard their executives speak about their companies’ growth and future goals. In my free time, I went to the beach, sampled some of the different restaurants, went on a scavenger hunt around the entire city, rode a camel, and went dune bashing and sand boarding. I had a great time bonding with my peers and learning about Middle Eastern culture. Next fall, I plan on studying abroad for a semester because I believe that it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you only get when you’re at college.

One of the things I do on campus is represent General Mills as their Campus Ambassador. I act as a liaison between the company’s headquarters and recruiting team and UNC, letting students and staff understand who General Mills is, what they do as a company, and what opportunities they offer for undergraduate students. It is one of the best jobs I have had at Carolina and has given me an incredible amount of exposure to General Mills. I organize information sessions and work at the career fairs throughout the school year. I also give out free samples across campus and am known as the “General Mills girl”!

UNC Club XC Women -- Southeast Regional Champions
One of the best things about Carolina is that there are so many exciting opportunities to pursue and activities to try out – you just have to be proactive about it. I’ve built an strong base here at Carolina with the Club Cross country team, UNC Campus Recreation, and the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity just to name a few.

What else would you tell prospective students who are considering Carolina?
If you’re hesitant, come to Carolina and get a tour or better yet, reach out to a student who is pursuing something that interests you and spend the day with them – go to their classes, walk with them to wherever they are going, and grab a meal with them. That way, you really get a feel of what it’s like to be a part of the Carolina community. Make sure that you not only fit Carolina, but Carolina fits you. In the end, it is you, not your parents or friends, that will be at this amazing university for the next four years. Also, take the time to enjoy and have fun during your senior year of high school – don’t stress too much!