Curriculum and Concentration

The Communication Program at the Kenan-Flagler Business School prepares students to write and speak in the fast-paced business world. To this end, the Program offers business majors opportunities to practice and improve these skills.

BSBA

Management Communication - BUSI401    
A writing- and speaking- intensive course, Management and Corporate Communication emphasizes efficient, effective, persuasive, and professional communication within business contexts. Students learn and apply best practices for standard business documents and presentations, including content selection and development, organization, design, accessibility, conciseness, clarity, tone, and delivery. With this foundation, students learn to make informed choices, think critically, and tailor communication according to audience, purpose, and desired outcome.
    
Management Communication: Hybrid - BUSI401    
The hybrid sections of BUSI401 combine the traditional face-to-face academic classroom experience with distance learning technology. Like all sections of BUSI401, the writing- and speaking-intensive course emphasizes professional communication; however, the hybrid sections provide students the opportunity to experience and practice communication in a virtual organization as well as in the classroom. Select sessions of the course are electronically mediated using the following technologies: video conferencing; teleconferencing; web collaboration software; on-line chats and discussion forums; and email. 
    
Applied Improv - BUSI524    
This course focuses on improving "soft" skills such as presenting, expressiveness, and interviewing by using the principles and techniques of improvisational theater. Participants explore creativity, adaptation, awareness, self-confidence, risk-taking, physicality, intuition, and teamwork. Each class meeting focuses on aspects of improv and how they relate to business.
    
Advanced Business Presentations - BUSI499    
A speaking intensive course, Advanced Business Presentations is grounded in argument, persuasion, and visual rhetoric to give students the skills they need to develop winning presentations. Students in the course learn strategies to help their messages “stick” with their audiences. In addition, students learn how to develop slide decks designed for the boardroom as well as for advanced media devices. The course emphasizes efficiency, and students learn ways to decrease the time required to prepare a slide deck and how to best prepare for and effectively deliver short-turnaround presentations. (Prereq: BUSI401)
    
Honors Research Proposal - BUSI691H    
Open (by permission) to senior business administration majors with 3.5 minimum cumulative grade average, the Honors Research Proposal course prepares students for writing an honors thesis. Students learn business research techniques and develop individual proposals for business research. Successful proposals may advance to honors thesis research and writing (BUSI 692H).
    
Intercultural Communication - BUSI 490-035    
Developing patterns of respectful intercultural communication is an increasingly important goal for the growth of business across the globe. Because English is typically the common language in business negotiations, Americans often neglect to understand important cultural and nonverbal messages that are important in effective business dealings. This intercultural business communication class will examine interesting and problematic issues surrounding cross-cultural communication, help students understand the complexity and variety of cultures, and teach communication strategies for success in conducting business across diverse cultures. One of the favorite class assignments relates to each student becoming an “expert” on a different country and sharing the information in poster sessions.
    
Gender at Work - BUSI 490-034    
Using a discussion-based, seminar-style, participatory format, from personal, organizational, leadership, and communication perspectives, we’ll analyze workplace gender topics. To help you become a more sophisticated leader and to help your organization address gender-related topics, you’ll learn to think critically about gender. This class equally includes all people in conversations about gender, not just women. Topics include: gender and gender socialization; the history of gender at work; workplace legislation; gender myths, perceptions, and stereotypes; recruiting, supporting, and retaining diverse leaders; dysfunctional politics and practices; work-life balance and politics; and functional policies and initiatives.
    
Leadership Communication - BUSI 490-053    
This elective provides undergraduate students an opportunity benchmark their individual communication skills—leadership, interpersonal, and presentation—and apply practical strategies to ratchet up the skills they need to refine. Course topics may include selections from the following list: relationship challenges, crisis communication, colleague and employee coaching (giving feedback), planning/leading skills for virtual and in-person meetings, diversity communication skills, mentoring, interpersonal dynamics, self-concept in small group settings, listening and responding skills, nonverbal communication skills, and conflict management. Ideally suited for students who want to heighten their sense of self-awareness in various interpersonal settings and upgrade their effectiveness in dealing with individuals or small groups.

Executive MBA

Business Writing - MBA804w    
MBA804w introduces students to rhetorical patterns and principles that help them write more quickly and clearly. More specifically, students gain insights into how to:

  • Organize and write business messages. 
  • Design documents with high ‘skim value.’
  • Construct effective paragraphs and sentences that show rhetorical relationships.
  • Apply style techniques that result in efficient prose.
  • Punctuate for clarity.

    
Business Presentations - MBA804p    
EMBA 804 Evening and Weekend (Presentation Skills)
You’ll refine your presentation skills in EMBA-E 804 by developing and delivering a presentation twice to a small group and receiving individualized feedback on your delivery skills, your message organization, and your slide deck design. Each small group of 5-6 students will meet twice for three hours with a skilled presentation coach.

MAC

Professional Communication for Accountants - MAC775    
In this course, you’ll focus intently on refining your professional communication skills by way of focusing on the following objectives:

  • Heighten your versatility  and sense of self-awareness in relationships
  • Manage others’ impressions of your professionalism, confidence, and credibility
  • Apply best practices strategies to creating and delivering presentations
  • Craft efficient and direct memos and letters
  • Leverage sage use of electronic communication tools and online presence
     

To this end, you’ll write four messages and engage in three presentations. No mid-term and no final exam. Quality class participation and regular attendance are critical for success in this course.

Applied Improv - MAC825    
This course focuses on improving "soft" skills such as presenting, expressiveness, and interviewing by using the principles and techniques of improvisational theater. Participants explore creativity, adaptation, awareness, self-confidence, risk-taking, physicality, intuition, and teamwork. Each class meeting focuses on aspects of improv and how they relate to business.
    
Success in the U.S. Part 1 - MAC898A    
This course provides international, non-native English speaking students the opportunity to refine their communication skills and learn about communication norms and best practices in U.S. culture.  Part 1 of this course (898A) will focus primarily on the job search and helping students to communicate confidently and effectively with recruiters during networking events and interviews.  Students will receive a mentor (Accounting professionals from the Big 4 firms) and will have many opportunities to practice communicating with their mentors and mock recruiters in both formal and informal settings.
    
Success in the U.S. Part 2 - MAC898B    
Also for international students, this course follows 898A, delving deeper into American culture, particularly business/corporate culture.  Students will refine their written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills with a focus on succeeding in the U.S. workplace.  We’ll also visit several accounting firms to learn firsthand how corporate cultures in the U.S. may differ from that of their home countries.  As a result of this course, students will be equipped with the skills and confidence to communicate effectively with managers, colleagues, and clients.   

MBA

Management Communication: Presentation Skills - MBA803/804    
This course, required of all MBA students, emphasizes presentation skills for a general business audience. Work begins with baseline presentations, and the course continues through both planned and impromptu presentations during which students receive and consider feedback from their professor, their peers, and their own self-assessments. With an eye toward presentation best-practices, the course covers issues of organization and persuasion, effective delivery (maintaining executive presence, engaging your audience and handling Q&A, integrating PowerPoint slides, visuals, handouts and notes), and targeting each speaker's individual style and success.
    
Applied Improv - MBA825    
This course focuses on improving "soft" skills such as presenting, expressiveness, and interviewing by using the principles and techniques of improvisational theater. Participants explore creativity, adaptation, awareness, self-confidence, risk-taking, physicality, intuition, and teamwork. Each class meeting focuses on aspects of improv and how they relate to business.
    
Communication for Developing Leaders - MBA840J    
In this course, you’ll focus intently on refining your own leadership communication skills, including the following:

  • Effectively and efficiently plan and facilitate meetings
  • Heighten your sense of self-awareness in relationship to others
  • Manage audience perception of your professionalism and credibility
  • Explore virtual meeting technologies
  • Build consensus and apply advocacy techniques 
  • Negotiate diversity issues from a communication perspective
  • Hone skills to deliver and receive quality feedback
     

To this end, you’ll write three memos, participate in three meetings, and deliver thoughtful, substantive feedback to colleagues after each of these meetings. No mid-term. No final exam. Quality class participation and regular attendance are critical for success in this course.

Advanced Business Writing - MBA803A    
This fast-paced elective introduces you to rhetorical patterns that help you write more quickly and clearly.   To customize the course to your needs, you will receive feedback on current writing patterns based on a baseline writing assignment, and then, where needed, you will learn how to adjust those patterns to reflect best practices.  NOTE:  This course requires a strong command of English.  

Course Deliverables include three short quizzes to demonstrate mastery of concepts, three in-class speed writing exercises, and three short business messages (up to one page each).  You can also expect to complete various in-class exercises.

MBA@UNC

Business Communication - MBA804C    
MBA 804C is a required business communication course for all MBA@UNC students. The course introduces students to best practices in business writing and business speaking. Students in the course learn to organize and write informative, negative, and persuasive business messages that are designed to have high “skim value.” Key themes of the course are efficiency and effectiveness, and both writing and speaking assignments are designed to help students best focus materials to meet the needs of their audiences. Presentation assignments emphasize developing a clear structure; incorporating stories, visuals, logic, and emotion; integrating slides and handouts; and delivering information with a natural confidence.

One MBA

Management Communication: Writing Skills - MBA803    
OneMBA (MBA 803) This course, required of all OneMBA students, focuses on best practices in business writing. Using a rhetorically grounded framework, the course explores how readers respond to the choices writers make and identifies best practices along the way. Specific areas addressed include: organization, accessibility, conciseness, clarity, tone, and page design. Students are encouraged to employ effective communication strategies to enhance their personal brands.

Management Communication: Presentation Skills - MBA804    
OneMBA (MBA 804) MBA804 is a required course for all OneMBA students that focuses on business presentation best practices. Using a rhetorically grounded framework, the course explores how audiences respond to the choices presenters make and identifies best practices along the way. Specific areas addressed include:

  • Selecting content  
  • Organizing material strategically 
  • Helping audience members listen efficiently
  • Incorporating storytelling into presentations
  • Designing effective visual aids
  • Developing a polished presentation style 

Other Courses

Effective Presentation Skills - GRAD704    
Limited to graduate students across the UNC curriculum, this course teaches students how to create dynamic presentations for the academy. Topics include audience analysis, delivery techniques, message organization, and visuals design.

 

What our Students Say about Communication at Kenan-Flagler 

"Management Communication is unequivocally the most valuable course offered to undergraduates at Kenan-Flagler. Whether interviewing with a future employer, drafting a memo for a senior partner, or making a sales presentation to a potential client, your quality of work will be defined foremost by your ability to communicate. The lessons learned in Management Communication enable you to communicate in an organized, concise, and appealing manner. Regardless of your future career path, you’ll discover that mastering the art of communication will immediately distance you from peers."

Craig Schauer, BSBA ’05 
Financial Analyst, Edgeview Partners

 

"The Management Communication course provided me with advanced communication strategies that are essential in today’s business world.  I learned to streamline content to improve the impact of my written documents and enhanced my persuasive ability by learning to target my message to the specific audience.  Management Communication gave me the tools I needed to set myself apart from others in my internship."

Michael Schmidt, MBA ‘07
Senior Marketing Associate, Eli Lilly & Company

 

"The Kenan-Flagler Management Communication course has been invaluable to me as a consultant. The presentation skills gained and the insights on focusing your message in a concise manner are aspects of the course I use everyday!"

Alan Hart, MBA '05
Senior Manager, CMG Partners

 

"Thanks to what I learned in the Management Communication course, I've become a far more confident and convincing presenter. The skills I gained have helped me in my classes, interviews, and work presentations alike."

Adam Josephson, MBA ‘07