Meet Notre Dame Mendoza’s MBA Class of 2019

Bridgar Nayiga

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less Work-hard-play-hard business consultant by day, with a mild case of enviable undiagnosed OCD

Hometown: Kampala, Uganda

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have 11 brothers and sisters; to borrow a leaf from Ed Sheeran’s song Nancy Mulligan, my parents had 4 sons and 8 daughters

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Iowa, BSc Mathematics – Finance track

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

  • Steel & Tube Industries (U) Ltd (steel manufacturing company, family business):
  • Director, 2010 – todate
  • Grant Thornton Consulting Limited (audit, tax & advisory firm):
  • Associate 1, 2014 – 2014
  • Associate 2, 2014 – 2014
  • Associate 3, 2015 – 2015
  • Assistant Executive 1, 2015 – 2016
  • Assistant Executive 2, 2016 – 2017

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I successfully led an ERP project implementation for the largest healthcare services group in Uganda. This was the first time my employer had ever taken on such work, and what this entailed was figuring out what the client needed its new system to do, and then communicating it to the system developer in order to deliver an all-encompassing solution for all the client’s business processes. Actually, one of the reasons for the steady and quick rise in ranks, as showcased above, was because of the manner in which my team and I were able to accurately and efficiently see this project through.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? At the risk of sounding cliché, the best advice I can give to future applicants is this:

“Portray yourself as the best version of you, not the very best of someone else. Your past, present and future are uniquely your own. It makes no sense trying to pass all this off as someone else’s, under the premise that it might be better suited to the school you’re applying to. As applicants, it is difficult to try and gauge the exact applicant profile the school needs, and then use those assumptions to attempt to pass yourself off as that type of person. You could do it – and do it successfully – but then you stand the risk of getting admitted into a school you have no business being in, making it a recipe for disaster for the next two years of your life. We all have a school that will be a great fit for us, and this, in my opinion, can only be achieved if our best self matches with their best self.”

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Notre Dame’s religious background. As an aspiring mogul, I’m ready to do whatever it takes, within the right limitations, to attain that level of success! I strongly believe that beginning this journey in an environment whose values are similar to my own, will shape the way I do business forever: my work, my wit, my timing, and all the decisions that will be made to allow me to get there.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? Maintaining a good enough GPA to be on the President’s list, but ultimately being able to already look back on the first year’s experiences and confirm that those lessons learned are all still part of the right path to ultimate success, which for me, is getting “listed.” By getting listed, I mean attaining global recognition by making it onto one of the list businesspeople covet: Forbes 30 under 30, Top 25 business leaders, Executive Watch, and the like.

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