Meet Notre Dame Mendoza’s MBA Class of 2018

The University of Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame


If you asked the Class of 2018 what drew them to South Bend, nearly all would cite “values” in one form or another. Walter C. Pruchnik, a former seminarian who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Notre Dame, touts Mendoza for its global vision, which starts with each student looking inward before they seek to make a difference. “I chose the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame,” he says, “for its emphasis on promoting business as a force for good in the world and the corresponding focus on forming and preparing each individual student to be the best that he or she can be to influence their companies and the world around them.”

This mission, which prizes integrity and giving back for everyone’s benefit, hits home for Jiang, who hopes to become a R&D manager some day. “Since I am passionate about developing new life-saving drugs and making them affordable even in poor regions of the world,” he says, “I feel my passion overlaps with the values of lifetime members of the Mendoza community.”

A desire for community is another theme that runs across the 2018 Class. Notably, the class sought out alumni both to open doors in business and as guides. It’s no secret: Mendoza boasts one of the most active alumni networks, which recently ranked third in The Economist’s latest MBA survey on alumni effectiveness. The program, for example, maintains a graduate business alumni board to help coordinate mentoring to existing students. The school also works closely with alumni to pair students with graduates in their field. Often, you’ll find alumni popping up in class as part of live cases to share their biggest lessons. That doesn’t even factor in the larger school’s brand and reach, which numbers nearly 140,000 alumni in nearly every corner of the globe.

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business


This unparalleled support system is what sold Guadarrama on earning his MBA at Mendoza. “Notre Dame will give me access to a powerful and like-minded alumni network,” he says, “again an opportunity to connect with those who also believe our responsibility is to use business as a means for making a better world.”

Indeed, global responsibility is a central tenet of the Notre Dame experience. Each semester, students enjoy inter-term intensives, week-long breaks from the regular curriculum where students travel abroad to study or assist nonprofits, or stay home to partner on global efforts with firms like General Electric or Coca-Cola. This stress on global business starts immediately, with all first-years competing in a case competition involving corporate social responsibility during their first inter-term. Such experiences, coupled with Mendoza’s small class sizes and overarching mission, forge tight bonds that last a lifetime. Natasha Fritz, a Duke grad who worked at Fortune 500 firms in finance and informatics, could see the difference immediately when she stepped onto campus during her visit. “Everyone had so much school spirit and was genuinely proud to say they attended the University of Notre Dame,” she says.

But the selfless values, community vibe, and global nature inherent to the program would be for naught if they weren’t connected by a thread that holds together every great endeavor: leadership. That training starts as soon as first-years arrive on campus, with Mendoza’s Integral Leadership Development program, McAndrew says. “This intense, five-day program asks them to do some serious reflection about core values and individual strengths and weaknesses,” she explains. “This happens before they even learn where the classrooms are. The purpose of ILD is to help them develop from the start a holistic view of the leaders they intend to become, and they enthusiastically embraced the experience.”

Interior of Mendoza College of Business

Interior of Mendoza College of Business


Once they graduate, the Class of 2018 intends to take this Fighting Irish spirit, along with the business fundamentals they master, into an array of avenues.  Guadarrama hopes to channel his love for mergers and acquisitions into the insurance market. His goal: “expanding services to Latin America and Mexico — my home and a nation currently underserved by insurance companies.” Jiang is equally ambitious in his passion to serve others. He hopes to someday launch a pharmaceutical company to develop cheaper drugs that are easier to distribute. “China has about 20% of the world’s population,” he explains, “but domestic pharmaceutical companies only account for about 2% of the global market share. Although China is the largest producer of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), it does not have the ability to produce a lot of new life-saving drugs.”

In contrast, Jones plans to take a page from the B-school experience — and Team of Rivals — in embracing diverging viewpoints to come up with the best possible ideas and outcomes. “Lincoln surrounded himself and populated his cabinet with different-minded people, valuing candor and diversity in order to seek out creative solutions to some extremely complex political situations. My goal is to work in a very challenging environment with a vastly diverse group of people, solving intricate problems utilizing each member’s unique, God-given talents.”

When it comes to their legacy at Mendoza, the class wants to remembered for how they gave back to others. Pelzer, for one, would like his peers to think of him as the guy who tried to make them look like rock stars. “Success,” he says, “only comes when everybody has each other’s back.”


To read profiles of incoming Mendoza students — along with their advice on tackling the GMAT, applications, and interviews — click on the links below.

Amita Balasundaram / Mumbai, India

Sir Martin Cortez / Quezon City, Philippines

Bradley Egbert / Eugene, OR

Natasha Fritz / Chambersburg, PA

Jose L. Guadarrama / Toluca, Mexico

Charles Jintao Jiang / Xuchang, China

Tom Jones / South Bend, IN

Jack Pelzer / River Forest, IL

Navya Poovathingal Radhakrishnan / Bangalore, India

Walter C. Pruchnik, III / Windber, PA

J. Walter Sterling / Annapolis, MD

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