Matt Blum- UNC (Kenan Flagler)
Describe a typical day as a MBA student
I may be considered atypical, but my typical day starts at around 7:00 AM when I get my twin 18-month-old boys out of bed. Before leaving my place at around 8:45, I usually try to fit in some breakfast while browsing the WSJ, double checking the day’s schedule/deliverables, and playing with some trucks with the boys.
My daily schedule is fairly flexible (for Y2), depending on what courses I decide to take, but it works best for me and my family to be at the school from around 9-4. On a typical day, I average 2-3 classes with some academic and club meetings scattered in between. For example, I’ll go to Mergers and Acquisitions in the morning, then to a Corporate Strategy group meeting to discuss our latest case, followed by a quick update on annual conference planning from the Healthcare Club, lunch while chatting with a 1st Year about internship goals, my afternoon Corporate Strategy class, then spending some time on my own or with a group working on various projects/deliverables.
The big takeaway for me is the typical day as an MBA student is almost completely up to you. It’s inevitable that you’ll be busy, so schedule the day to what works for you.
Where did you work before enrolling in business school?
I worked at a mid-size Health Insurance Provider in Salt Lake City, UT for about 5 years. During that time, I held positions in Underwriting, Contract Negotiation, and Account Management.
Why did you choose this business school?
I chose Kenan Flagler for its culture that permeated through the students, faculty, and staff. Every school wants to say they are “collaborative,” but I saw it first-hand when I visited from SLC. Students (whom I connected with beforehand) went out of their way to meet me at the school to show me around and answer any questions I had. During that trip, I also met with a couple members of the faculty/staff and they seemed just as interested in helping me. Though I had a choice of a few business schools, I decided to attend Kenan Flagler because I wanted my network to be like the people I met on my visit.
What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school?
First off, have a reason why you want to be there. Whether the main draw for you is culture, recruiting employers, geographic location, etc., have a polished story. Then sprinkle this story in all parts of your application (resume, essays, interview). Students at Kenan Flagler have very diverse backgrounds, so there isn’t one right way of applying. However, take the time to fully understand and articulate why you want to attend UNC Kenan Flagler.
What is/was the most enjoyable part about business school?
By far it has to be the people. I’m a firm believer that your network gained from business school is just as valuable as your education. Meeting so many impressive people – whether it be students, faculty, recruiters, or alumni – from all over the world is so fun and extremely rewarding.
As a close second, I would say the overall challenge is very enjoyable. I’ve had to get out of my comfort zone countless times, and I feel I’m pushed mentally and physically (lack of sleep is common) every day.
What is/was the hardest part of business school?
I would actually say that consistently stepping out of my comfort zone is the hardest part of business school. You’ll interact with people from so many different backgrounds where views/opinions rarely align, and find yourself dealing with ambiguity every day. Realizing that there is no “right answer” or “complete information” while making a decision is tough, but business school will force you to do exactly that.
Where will you be working after graduation?
I’ll be joining Cigna in their HealthService Leadership Program (HLP). Through this program, I hope to continue to refine my skills and experience as a leader in the healthcare space.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career or at your school?
One of my passions is working to make healthcare more affordable. While working at my employer before business school, I led a team to create an online consumer-facing cost estimator platform that helped plan members better understand and plan for healthcare expenses. By the time I left the company, the platform was responsible for over $2M in plan member savings – it pays to introduce some transparency.
Favorite MBA Courses?
M&A, Corporate Strategy, Data Analytics, and Sales
Fun fact about yourself:
Other than having twins, I love to play golf. During a high school tournament, I got a double eagle (2 on a Par 5) by holing a shot from 230 yards. Complete luck? Maybe, but I did end up winning the tournament.