2017 MBAs To Watch: Tiffany L. Lee, Notre Dame (Mendoza)

Tiffany L. Lee

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

“Recovering entrepreneur, with an orientation towards optimism, experimentation, leadership, and passion for success.”

Age: 33

Hometown: Hampton, AR

Fun fact about yourself: My hometown population is approximately 1500, and my high school graduating class had 59 students.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Marquette University. Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? PwC as an Assurance Senior Associate

Where did you intern during the summer of 2016? N/A; One-year MBA

Where will you be working after graduation? Bank of America in Charlotte, NC – Consumer Banking Products & Strategy Associate Program

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: School Inc. tutor at a local Montessori school to 4th-6th grade students; Junior Achievement; Dean Woo Leadership Award Recipient for dedication and positive impact to classmates, Notre Dame, and the wider community; Admissions Preview Day Coordinator and Host; Lead Admissions Ambassador; Corporate Ambassador Program; One-Year Class Summer Social Activities Chair

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I truly enjoy tutoring at the Montessori school as it’s the highlight of my week to see the kids. I’m blessed to be a part of their intellectual development, and it’s amazing to witness their growth. When I was their age, the older kids on my street often helped with my homework so I love finding ways to continue paying it forward.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In 2011, I left a very stable position in the Washington, DC area to move to Chicago, IL to start a record label with a friend in the industry. I spent four years with the label before deciding to leave. It was the most challenging experience of my life, but provided the perfect opportunity for me to learn great deal about myself professionally and personally as a new entrepreneur.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Viva Bartkus – I’m currently taking her Judgment class, which involves article discussions about key components of judgment as well as research and judgment on several past business decisions. Then the executive who made the decision visits our class to discuss the implications. We experience judgment full circle in this manner. She’s the toughest instructor I’ve had thus far and pushes us in ways that effectively facilitates learning and evolved thinking.

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? “Ethical Leadership in Sustainable Enterprise” – The professor was knowledgeable of neuroscience and leveraged it to create an individualized ethical and practical leadership experience. I learned how to be a more effective leader and how businesses and leaders connect with others emotionally with creating a business with a mind for sustainability.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Notre Dame for its culture, small class size, and faith-based education. Over the course of my career, I’ve learned that I thrive in environments in which I can be my authentic self. There was no doubt that Notre Dame would provide this type of environment once I came to campus, met with students, and interviewed. I got the same feeling from everyone, which proved that it was real.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? Learning from my peers. One of my main reasons for getting an MBA was to change my perspective and expand my thinking, which is often achieved during class discussions. Listening to my classmates’ perspectives provides an incredible learning experience that cannot be replicated elsewhere.

What was the most surprising thing about business school for you? It would be the number of demands on your time outside of actual class. While business school provides a level of flexibility that a full-time job doesn’t, the amount of time spent on school-related activities can be extremely high.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program?  Be yourself and make sure it’s a great fit. Let yourself shine through your application and interview. Connect with as many students and alumni as possible to learn more about the school from diverse perspectives. An applicant should understand that Notre Dame is the perfect mix of intellect, camaraderie, values and culture. It’s important to demonstrate how to contribute to that mix.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I think the biggest myth is more about South Bend. People coming from the city, including me, may think it will be boring and difficult to spend 1-2 years here. I moved here from Chicago and truly love it. There’s plenty to do around campus, such as athletic events, performing arts, and local events. Also, the cost of living is extremely low.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I don’t believe in regrets. Life happens exactly as it is intended so accept and learn from your experiences.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Dan McCarthy. His wife gave birth to twin boys during our first fall quarter. He only missed a few classes. Somehow, he became a master at time management because he is always prepared for class and group assignments while balancing the demands of new parenthood. Further, Dan has a great personality and always has a smiling face.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I recognized getting an MBA was the perfect vehicle to integrate my various professional experiences in auditing, consulting, tax preparation, entrepreneurship, and finance.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…stuck with the blind spots identified during my entrepreneurial journey that I gradually overcame during the program.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I would provide an opportunity for students to network and collaborate with the Executive MBA students on campus.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I want to be in a role or capacity that leaves a better roadmap for others to follow in their own paths to leadership and also consistently provides me with challenges and opportunities for growth.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My mentors – I’ve had a number of them along the way, both formal and informal. They’ve helped me through some difficult decisions, celebrated my achievements, and encouraged me during difficult times. Also, my parents, including second parents and godparents, have always been supportive of me and forced me to make my own decisions. I’d like to acknowledge my dad for my risk-taking spirit.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As someone who is unselfishly supportive and enthusiastic yet direct, fully involved, and always motivated to get the job done.

Favorite book: The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan (It shattered my beliefs about multitasking!)

Favorite movie or television show: Batman Begins

Favorite musical performer: Beyonce

Favorite vacation spot: San Pedro, Belize

Hobbies? Yoga, journaling, going to brunch, and traveling

What made Tiffany Lee such an invaluable addition to the class of 2017?

“Tiffany is a student in the Notre Dame MBA class of 2017, and I’ve known her for over 12 years. She’s impressive on paper but even more so in person. Even though she’s busy with her academics, Tiffany made a name for herself as a smart, talented leader who’s dedicated to the service of others.

At the start of the program, she immediately got involved. She’s a student leader with the MBA Admissions Department and the Corporate Ambassador Program. She tutors for two local schools as part of the School, Inc. program, involved in Women in Business club and was the Social Activities Chair for the Summer MBA program.

Community service isn’t required at Notre Dame, but it’s part of the culture and also part of Tiffany’s commitment to the program and Notre Dame. In recognition of dedication to the program, her classmates awarded her the Dean Woo Leadership Award for her commitment to service to the program and the greater South Bend community.

Tiffany has done a great job building community within the program and made a lasting impact on the Notre Dame MBA brand. Her commitment to Our Lady’s University is steadfast, and she upholds the mission and values of Notre Dame. We are proud that she’s a member of the ND MBA class of 2017.”

Lisa Hemming

Director of Notre Dame Graduate Business Programs Student Services



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