2018 Best & Brightest: Chris Johnson, North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)

Chris Johnson

University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)

A contradiction of extremes with an insatiable appetite for improvement.”

Fun fact about yourself: When I was 7 years old, I had to take a boat to school every morning for months after Hurricane Isabel cut through Hatteras Island and destroyed the only road in or out of my hometown.

Hometown: Hatteras, NC

High School: Cape Hatteras Secondary School

Major: Business Administration & Philosophy

Favorite Business Course: Consulting Skills & Frameworks

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:


  • President, Undergraduate Consulting Club
  • Project Manager, Undergraduate Business Symposium
  • Teaching Assistant, Consulting Skills & Frameworks
  • Student Director, UNC Block Party (Official Student Fan Group of UNC Volleyball)

Activities and Awards

  • 2nd Place & People’s Choice Award: Champions Trophy Case Competition, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 1st Place: Olin National Finance & Strategy Case Competition, Washington University in St. Louis
  • 1st Place (x3): Deloitte Undergraduate Case Competition, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
  • UNC Intramural Soccer Champion

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Pizza Hut, Inc. | Plano, TX | International Finance/Strategy Intern
  • Undergraduate Business Program, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Special Projects Intern
  • Office of the Chancellor, UNC-Chapel Hill | Student Consultant

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be joining the Boston Consulting Group as an Associate.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Immerse yourself in a wide variety of classes, both within your business-related major and in other departments on campus. Pulling elements from all of my business core classes gave me the foundation to feel confident I can hit the ground running in any job after graduation, but exploring other interests in philosophy, history and the arts have been instrumental in providing other lenses for looking at business problems.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…Architecture – I love the way that unique perspectives and influences in design come together to tell a story.”

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? The level of uncertainty and lack of information that nearly every company deals with each day. I came into business school expecting to learn how to find and calculate all the right answers – not how to piece together the available data with well-supported assumptions come up with a good answer. What surprised me even more was how much more beneficial and transferable of a skill the latter is than the former.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college?

My friend Craig Amasya – a member of the 2017 Best & Brightest class – who I view as both the reason I’m in the business school and why I became so involved through trying to follow in his footsteps.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of?

Serving as project manager for the 32nd annual Undergraduate Business Symposium – one of the nation’s oldest and largest student-run career development events – and working with a team of 13 hard-working and passionate students to put together the best event yet. I’m proud of the tangible achievements, with each of our four subcommittees surpassing their goals in terms of revenue, sponsorship participation and engagement, student attendance,, and unique programming options. However, I’m most proud of the intangible ones: Seeing the looks on the faces of students and recruiters blown away by the size of the event; hearing first-time sponsors talk about how excited they are to focus more on recruiting at UNC Kenan-Flagler; and, most importantly, learning that the work of the 13 incredible individuals on the planning committee helped many of our peers land their dream jobs.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school? I would work to establish more cross-functional initiatives with other departments on campus (Public Health, Computer Science, Public Policy, etc.), both in the form of cross-listed hybrid classes and extracurricular programs. I think this is important given that today’s business world continues to blend more and more with other industries and vice versa. Even more, it would also would fight against the perception some other UNC students have that the business school can be isolated.

Which classmate do you most admire? While I could have described any of my closest friends in the business school and the incredible things that they’re doing, I have a special appreciation for the 75 students from my three sections of serving as a teaching assistant for Consulting Skills & Frameworks.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank the Gray Squirrel Coffee Co. for always being there for me from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. I am quite certain that I could not have survived my undergraduate tenure without it, and am pretty sure there were a couple semesters I spent more time there than in my bed. (Close second: Thanks, Mom and Dad.)

What would your theme song be? Intro by The xx. I’m a pretty quiet person, so my theme song would be something instrumental.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

Snow kiteboard beneath the Northern Lights and design my own studio loft apartment

Favorite book: The Great Gatsby

Favorite movie: Wedding Crashers & the Jason Bourne series – I speak mostly in quotes from these

Favorite vacation spot: New Zealand

What are your hobbies? Kiteboarding, soccer, cooking, spontaneous adventures, and staring at the rain with a cup of coffee

This is practically impossible to answer. I tend to tell my parents everything, even the stories they definitely don’t want to hear. If anything, I sometimes over or under exaggerate details to keep them from worrying, especially in terms of how much sleep I’m getting. There was one particular week where I had multiple case competitions, group projects and exams all taking place at once. I got 14 hours total of sleep from Sunday to Sunday that week including two different all-nighters. I’m sure I told my parents I got more sleep than that, but it’s all part of being an over-committed, over-eager business major.

What made Chris such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2018?
“When reflecting upon the many stand-out students within UNC Kenan-Flagler’s Class of 2018, Chris Johnson immediately came to mind. Chris has not only developed significantly during his time at UNC, but also has contributed back to the Undergraduate Business Program and the larger UNC Kenan-Flagler community in remarkable ways. Chris elevated the quality of the Undergraduate Business Symposium experience by leaps and bounds as both a member of the Marketing Committee as a sophomore and then as the Project Manager for the entire event as a junior. The quantum leaps were not easily achieved for an event that has more than 30-years of continuous improvement imbedded in its history and impacts more than 500 student and company representative who participate each year. His work as a leader and project manager involved more than 4,000 hours of planning and managing a team of 14 student committee leaders.

Chris brings intelligence, a quick wit, an intense work ethic and a well-rounded portfolio of quantitative and qualitative skills that make him a secret weapon on any project or team. He has been a high-performing team member on multiple case competitions in which he was elected to represent UNC Kenan-Flagler, including a victory at the Olin Case Competition and a second place finish at the Champion’s Trophy case competition in New Zealand.

His exceptional leadership has also been demonstrated as the President of the Undergraduate Business Consulting Club, where he expanded and elevated multiple high profile events like the day-long Consulting Boot Camp and the multi-day Consulting Trek as well as the successful negotiation with a new vendor to bring a broad suite of consulting support resources to all club members.

Chris is one of those extraordinary students who is an absolute stand-out in multiple areas and impact.  I know that I will enjoy staying connected to and interacting with him for many years to come.”

David Vogel
Director, Career Development & Employer Relations
Undergraduate Business Program at UNC Kenan-Flagler



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