Meet Notre Dame Mendoza’s MBA Class of 2018


J. Walter Sterling

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: I love being tested — intellectually, practically, physically, spiritually. And my family brings me my greatest joy.

Hometown: Annapolis, Maryland

Fun Fact About Yourself: I completed an Ironman triathlon.

Undergraduate School and Major: St. John’s College, Annapolis (Liberal Arts) for undergrad, and Emory University (Philosophy) for graduate school.

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Philosophy Instructor (Loyola University Maryland, Temple University, Gwynedd Mercy University), Adult Learning Instructor and Coordinator (Project H.O.M.E., Philadelphia), Tutor (faculty member) and Dean of St. John’s College, Santa Fe.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: It was my work as dean at St. John’s: in so many ways, but especially trying to assist students, faculty, or staff facing academic, professional, or personal crises or challenges.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? Don’t let yourself be defined down to a skill-set or a resume, much less a test score. Cultivate and stay true to your vision of yourself as a whole human being pursuing a meaningful career and a meaningful life within which your business education will find its place and purpose.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? My belief that the Mendoza community is particularly well-suited to students with deeply held convictions and a sense of the greater purpose of our careers and organizations. The admissions team’s judgment that my eccentric path to the MBA, through a career in academia, as a teacher and administrator, is also a good fit for Mendoza.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? I have already had my dream job at St. John’s College! Now, I am open to putting my background and my experience at Mendoza to use in a number of ways, by continuing to help my alma mater flourish for the next generation, by supporting other non-profit organizations whose missions resonate with me (such as Project H.O.M.E.), and by exploring entrepreneurial opportunities, specifically in education and in healthcare.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? Well, I often quote the Greek statesman Solon that I want to “grow old learning many things.” But I truly believe that — however voracious my appetite for learning, books, ideas, travel, and conversation, might be — none of that means anything if it is not put to use to serve others and the common good. So I hope that my friends and colleagues see in me a desire and ability to work for the common good, and that they expect my career to reflect that.


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