Exchange Report. Exchange School: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Exchange time: Oct Mar Prepared by: Meng Tao (K92554)

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1 Exchange Report Exchange School: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Exchange time: Oct Mar Prepared by: Meng Tao (K92554) 1

2 Exchange Report from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Part One: Prepare for the Exchange 1. The Administrative Work For the host university, University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, you need to follow the application process that has three steps after you got confirmed from Aalto that you are going to exchange at UNC. Complete and Submit the Online Application Express mail Financial Documents Financial certificate signed by you and mailed only as original (scanned copies are not accepted) Dependent form-if bringing dependents (spouse, children) please also submit this form. Copy of passport personal identification page (the one with your name, birthday, etc.) Original supporting documents in English. These can be a variety of documents or just a bank letter By Resume, CV Short Bio with professional picture. The combined bio book will be posted to professors and students Fun picture After this, you will get the admission package from UNC by mail, which includes the I-20 form. Then you could use the I-20 form to apply for a U.S. visa if needed. Please note that this application process should be finished before May 15 for fall exchange or before October 15 for the spring semester. 2

3 The other documents you need to have before departure are Immunizations and Health Insurance. Immunization form: Students in the USA are required to provide certain immunization records. You can start this process only once your application is complete and you received your Personal Identification Number (PID) from UNC Kenan-Flagler's MBA Global Program Director. All new students must complete the Immunization Record and Medical History Form. The form must be completed on-line. If you have the records of all of your immunizations, you could simply ask your doctor to sign for you and bring all the paper to UNC. Health Insurance: All Unc Students Are Required To Have Health Insurance. Eligible Students Are Required To Either Purchase The Unc System-Wide Health Insurance Plan Or Waive With Another Creditable Health Insurance Plan. There are two options available. One is the default insurance offered by UNC, Pearce and Pearce. The other is to use your own student insurance and waive it on line. You will get all the instructions from the exchange manager by . And read through the information on this website 2. What is needed to be paid attention to If a visa is needed, you need to apply for a visa after you get the admission package from UNC. Be careful with the time planning because UNC starts its fall semester in Mid-August, which means you need to arrive there around the beginning of August. The orientation usually happens two days before the formal start of the semester. If you are a foreign student in Finland, it is recommended that you go back to your home country to apply for a U.S. visa. The visa application time varies depending on the country, but suggested by the embassy to apply one or two month earlier. Remember that it is a peak visa application time in the summer. If you apply your visa in Finland, it is easier and usually takes less time (about one week). Just remember that the embassy has less working time during summer so do make an 3

4 appointment earlier. 3. Travelling to UNC You are going to arrive at Chapel Hill, but the nearest airport is RDU, which is about 30 minutes away. UNC has a profound buddy system which the exchange director manager would introduce to you. You could sign up for it and get your culture buddy assigned. Once you book your ticket, you could inform them and it is highly possible somebody (usually your fellow student from UNC) will show up at the airport and pick you up. Part Two: Exchange Studies For every semester (fall and spring), there are two modules (Mod.). Each module lasts about 7-8 weeks. And between each module, there is a short break about one week. As an exchange student in UNC Kenan-Flagler Business, you need to finish minimum 4.5 credits in order to fulfill the full-time student status. Exchange students are entitled to register only elective courses and most of the courses are 1.5 credits each. Therefore, you need to take at least 3 courses each mod. However, as required by Aalto University School of Economics, you need to have 12 credits from UNC in order to transfer all the credits back and fulfill the exchange studies. So most of the cases you need to take 8 courses for the whole exchange semester. In my opinion, it is a bit demanding, but it is no problem once you get used to it. In fact, the full-time MBA students in UNC Kenan-Flagler (KFBS) think four courses each Mod is pretty mild. They normally take 4-5 courses each Mod. There are all kinds of electives and you are going to be classmates with the second-year full-time MBAs. Most of the electives have 1-3 sections and you can choose to attend one of them based on your schedule. You could choose from Finance, Accounting, Marketing, Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Communication and Operations depending on your concentration and interests. Generally speaking, the Finance and Accounting courses are a bit 4

5 more demanding than others, requiring you to fully understand the lectures. Probably you need to spend more time on those courses. The common teaching methods are lecturing and group study. Sometimes individual work and quiz are used as well. Most of the exams for elective courses are takehomes for which you are given 2-3 days to finish. As to my experience, the exams are not difficult. You could refer to your notes and all the lecture and course book materials. It could also be possible that you are supposed to finish a big final group project instead of final exams. For each of the courses, there is a course pack which you need to purchase at the beginning. You could also buy the course book as recommended by the professor but not compulsory. Here I will introduce some courses I took and some other courses I heard are interesting. MBA738C-003: Topics in Financial Reporting: This course will show students how to account for stock options, income taxes, pensions, and leases, derivatives, financial instruments, and asset securitizations. The focus will be on enabling students to extract information from financial statement disclosures, including footnotes, for purposes of equity valuation and financial statement analysis. Many of the topics covered in the course relate to accounting standards that have been both controversial (e.g., the pension and stock option standards) and are currently being reconsidered by the FASB and their international counterpart, the IASB (e.g., asset securitizations). This course is pretty free-style. The professor is great. There is no textbook for this course because the professor just brings up several topics in this field. It might be better if you have accounting background. MBA : Applied Improvisation for Communication: Applied Improv is a communications course focusing on improving soft skills such as presenting, expressiveness, and interviewing by using the principles and techniques of improvisational theater. The course is much more than 5

6 just communications though. Participants explore creativity, adaptation, awareness, self-confidence, risk taking, physicality, intuition, and teamwork. Applied Improv provides a safe and playful environment in which students can stretch their abilities and discover things about themselves and others that are crucial to success in business and business school. It is one of the most popular courses taught in KFBS. The teacher is an actor himself and each of the classes is full of fun. You learn about yourself and your classmates by play games. I highly recommend this course. MBA : Global Financial Markets: it develops the foundation for financial decisions in a global economic environment. The course extends the analytical concepts and tools that you learned in introductory investment and corporate finance courses to multi-country/multi-currency settings. Three areas: the economics of exchange rates, international capital markets, and international corporate finance are covered in this course. This course has a bit heavy workload but worth it. The professor is very nice and helpful. It is good for people who is interested in finance. MBA : Negotiations: this course gives a broad intellectual understanding of negotiation concepts, principles, and theories that are supported by scientific research. Through course exercises, you will be challenged to plan and execute negotiation strategies both inside and out of class. Emphasis is placed on practicing what is learned and in thoughtfully evaluating your experiences through reflective journal writing. It is a three-day seminar course that happens in three consecutive Fridays. Workload is pretty light but you will be exhausted after each of the whole day seminar. It is a very practical course and you get to practice a lot with your negotiation skills. MBA : Strategic Communication and Social Media: This elective will explore social media platforms as communication tools within an integrated 6

7 corporate communication strategy. The course will be interactive and practical in its examination of how companies are communicating via social media to a variety of audiences. It is a pretty new course offered in KFBS and quite a lot of work. It is quite a new topic and therefore there are not yet much done by others. As a result it is interesting but at the same time you might feel like you do not get much out of it. MBA : Taxes in Finance: This course will give you a fundamental understanding of tax planning over the life cycle of a firm: starting with forming a company, raising capital, operating a company, engaging in mergers and acquisitions, and liquidation. It is again one of the most favorite courses. The professor is fantastic and has a lot of experience. The lecture is fun and useful. You will get a lot out of it. Even if you are not a tax person, I would recommend you to take it. It does not require you to have previous knowledge in tax or accounting. The workload is fine. You will have two quizzes and a final take-home exam. MBA : Financial Statement Analysis: Financial Statement Analysis provides an applied perspective on analyzing financial statements. You will get to learn the following skills: recognizing and reversing earnings management, profitability analysis, statement analysis and credit analysis & predicting financial distress. MBA748A-001: Marketing Analytics: This course will be extensively based on case analysis and hands on exercises. The cases and exercises used in course will be bundled with data files which will be used for detailed data analysis. The decision making for case problems will be based on insights that you will generate from these analyses. Other pedagogical tools that will be used are lectures, in class discussions, readings, and team assignments. MBA826B-001: Consulting Skills & Frameworks: Consulting Skills and Frameworks is a course designed to provide MBA students with immediately 7

8 usable tools for any team problem solving situation. The core consulting skill training will focus on the all-important TAP skills (teamwork, analysis, and presentations) and will introduce the TEAM FOCUS framework which covers the following aspects of team problem solving Talk, Evaluate, Assist, Motivate, Frame, Organize, Collect, Understand and Synthesize. We will also cover a few of the most critical high level functional frameworks used by top consulting firms today. The course is geared toward any students considering a career in consulting (or other team oriented career track) as well as those students planning on working on a STAR/GBP/practicum action learning projects or participating in case competitions. The course methodology will involve discussions, individual case analysis, guest speakers and a team case competition. MBA804F-001: Global Communication: In Global Communication, we'll literally tackle the entire globe: refining our understandings of various culturally-based approaches to communication, digging deep into specific emerging-market or existing-powerhouse national/regional cultures, and identifying overarching best-practices relating to effective global communication. Students will complete a cultural-communication assessment, collate high-level research documents on a handful of countries-of-interest, act and react within several culturally-based situations and scenarios, and work in teams creating specific national dossiers. Lively discussion and open minds are essential to this course's success. Part Three: Free time and other information There are a lot to do besides study in Chapel Hill. The MBA program has a lot of clubs you could enroll in. They will organize all the social events and fun activities. Those are good networking channels. Men s Basketball UNC is a basketball university and the team ranks top in the country. Watch basketball games would definitely be the must-to-do activity there. Be ready to become a tar heel. You will be amazed by how 8

9 passionate the tar heels are. The NCAA season starts in October and lasts until March. During this time you have to go to watch a lot of games. It is free for students and the stadium is just beside KFBS. Sometimes you are required to sign-up for lottery of game tickets, but you could also ask around your classmates and normally you could get in and have fun with other students. The big game is between UNC and Duke which is 30mins away by drive. Both of the teams are great and the competition is very furious. It is a big event in the small town chapel hill. This is the celebration picture from this year when UNC won against Duke. 9

10 Football American Football is also big on campus. You get to enjoy it in the fall semester. Living: the living expense varies a lot. Average is 1000 USD/Month. You could spend more if you are going to travel around. There are two options for housing. One is to live on campus. It is very convenient, about 5 minutes walk to business school. You need to apply once you get instructions from the exchange manager. The other is to live off campus. It might have a bit trouble because you do not have a car. There are local buses running around and also on campus. The schedule is not that often but sufficient to attend school. This websit is the place where you could check all the bus routes and schedule. You could find apartments which is 10 mins bus ride from school. The rent also differs a lot, but on average USD/Month is enough is you are going to share apartments with others. There is a good way to find sublease in Chapel Hill. That is to sublease a room from the full-time MBAs who are going out for exchange. Just ask the exchange manager for information. The weather in Chapel Hill The weather is very nice in Chapel Hill. The fall is very beautiful and colorful. It starts to get cold from December and Jan. and Feb. would be the coldest. March would be the start of beautiful Spring. This year the winter was not cold at all and it was super nice. Part Four: Final Comments I had a great time in UNC Kenan-Flagler. The exchange manager is super helpful and professional. She knows what she is doing and has a lot of experience. She did everything she could to engage you into the student life there. If you have any problems just turn to her. The teachers and students are very friendly and willing to talk. You could 10

11 easily make friends with them. There are a lot of fun there in the small town Chapel Hill and also the MBA programs arrange a lot social events you could attend. You can always do something there. I enjoy my exchange a lot and love to go back. I am proud to be a tar heel. 11

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