Meet Notre Dame Mendoza’s MBA Class of 2019

Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes

The increased class size tended to benefit women and American minorities. In particular, the percentage of women rocketed from 18% to 28%. In real numbers, that represents an increase from 22 to 37 women in just one year! The underrepresented population also rose from 7% to 13% — though this didn’t necessarily make the class more diverse. The reason being: the percentage of international students dropped form 30% to 23%.

Academically, the program is increasingly drawing students from beyond its business roots. Already known for housing one of the world’s top undergraduate business programs, Mendoza has historically reserved a third of its class for business majors. That number fell to 29% in the 2016-2017 recruiting cycle. Increasingly, the program has become a preferred destination for students with hard sciences backgrounds 36% of the 2019 Class, for example, is comprised of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) majors, heralded by engineering and science majors at 21% and 9% respectively. Humanities (24%) and economics (11%) majors rounded out the remainder of the class, with the former increasing its share by 4% over the previous year.

Looking at work experience, the Class of 2019 stayed true to Mendoza’s profile, with 20% of the class hailing from banking and finance, up 3% over the previous class. Thanks to Mendoza’s trademark focus on character and leadership development, it has also become a popular spot for military veterans, with 12% of the class coming from the various branches of service. Healthcare is another fruitful niche, constituting 10% of the class. The rest come from a variety set of backgrounds including technology (8%), consulting (8%), engineering (7%), law (7%), manufacturing (6%), retail (6%), and media (4%).

THE FUTURE IS PLASTICS? TRY ANALYTICS

Touchdown Jesus

2016 was a historic year for Mendoza’s graduate programs. Notably, the school launched a dual MBA-MSBA degree, which enables students to take a deeper dive into the increasingly in-demand field of business analytics. Applicants quickly took note, with Miller pointing to the degree as a key reason why she chose Mendoza. “Big data is changing everything,” she opines, “and I want to be one of the people who can harness the power of the mass amounts of information companies now collect every day and use it to drive business forward. Earning these two degrees in two years will put me in a unique position to take on challenges involving big data, wherever I choose to work.”

The degree carries a trickle down effect for the rest of the MBA class too. In preparation of the new degree,” McAndrew reveals, “the business analytics faculty and course offerings are being enhanced and expanded, which will benefit all students, not just those in the dual degree. As the business world continues to evolve, analytical skills will continue to gain prominence and the expansion of the analytics faculty and curriculum will continue to provide our students with the tools needed to be successful in their careers.”

That isn’t the only new perk that the incoming class can expect to enjoy. One ambitious project, which is slated for completion in January 2019, is the integration of Mendoza’s services center with the career development centers for all undergraduate and graduate school programs. This all-in-one facility, known as the Duncan Center, will bolster coaching to students and service to recruiters – a crucial step for a school that is just a 90-minute drive from Chicago. The Center will sport new academic and recreational sports facilities for students as well. “With the move,” McAndrew adds, “our dedicated team of MBA career coaches will continue to implement the Career Leadership course, building on the Integral Leadership Development program, while deepening recruiter relationships across campus. Full-scale integration of Career Services across the university increases the ability to leverage the Notre Dame network and maximize exposure with our corporate recruiting partners.”

ASKING MORE OF BUSINESS STARTS WITH STUDENTS LOOKING CLOSELY AT THEMSELVES

Despite the brand name, Mendoza is actually a small and close-knit MBA program, with a 3-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and a formula that relies heavily on personal attention. Such intimacy fosters the program’s trademark: a curriculum that infuses ethical decision-making from top-to-bottom. At Mendoza, MBA candidates are challenged – to borrow the school’s catchphrases – to “ask more of business” and use the tools they gain as a “force for good.” Such messsaging resonates in a pressure-ridden world where students face the never-ending temptation to cut corners, downplay consequences, shift accountability, and glorify the bottom line over the greater good. It is here where students learn how to make the tough choices when people often ask so much of others and so little of themselves.

“All schools of this caliber have great networks and resources to get you started on the career path you wish to go down,” observes Davis, “but few focus on teaching the ethics that you’ll need ten years down the road. One thing I know coming from a software development background is that the real world is not a one or a zero, and I think learning about how to make decisions in the grey area in between is what will distinguish a person in their field.”

With ethics, the greatest question of all is how can you truly know right from wrong – or even the principled from the expedient? Are ethics contextual – or do certain tenets ultimately flush out the penchants and pretenses? At Mendoza, deciphering what’s just starts by learning who one is. That’s why the MBA programs kicks off with a 10-day Integrated Leadership Development program (ILD). Think of it as a period of guided introspection – a time for students to explore their strengths and weaknesses and reflect on the underlying values that shape how they think and act. It is a transformative self-examination process that can leave students feeling puzzled and vulnerable in the beginning – and self-aware and confident going into orientation. This defining event has become each class’ first step in becoming purpose-driven leaders.

Mother Mary standing atop the Golden Dome

“Being a strong leader in business comes from knowing who you are and leading with your values,” McAndrew emphasizes. “You can’t do that effectively if you don’t know what they are.”

A SIMPLICTY IN SUCCESS

This framework of self-study, ethical examination, and leadership development was the perfect platform for Sean Gwaltney, who has learned over his career that being smart just isn’t enough. “One aspect of leadership is the willingness to make difficult choices, even when the mainstream does not see the bigger picture,” he says. “Mendoza’s curriculum empowers students to explore these qualities within the context of complex real-world situations. The development of leadership skills and the application of those skills in competitive and innovative situations sets Notre Dame apart.”

So how would the Class of 2019 define success for themselves after the first year? Bridgar Nayiga, a healthcare consultant who comes from a family of 12, hopes to be confident that she is on the “right path to ultimate success.” Gwaltney is looking forward to applying his experience to helping his peers prep for consultant case interviews. In the same vein, Susan Wang, a storyteller and traveler by nature, would love to bring China’s perspective into the classroom – and help Mendoza draw more students from her homeland in the process.

For Miller, the secret to success starts with simplicity. “I want to be in a position where I can solve interesting problems every day and teach others how to do the same,” she says. “I hope to explain [big data] to my coworkers and clients in much the same way I explained complicated matters of politics, science, and society to my viewers as a TV reporter. If I really understand business analytics, I will be able to explain how to use them to others. That is what is most satisfying to me. That is success. Solving problems and then teaching so that the problem can be solved faster the next time.”

DON’T MISS: Meet Notre Dame Mendoza’s MBA Class of 2018 OR The Pioneering MBAs In The Class Of 2019

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

StudentHometownUndergraduate SchoolEmployer
 Abdul Al Jumaily  Lexington, KY University of Nebraska Indiana University-South Bend
 Hayden Davis Stevensville, MI Hope College Nomadtech, LLC
 Andrew Engvall Barrington, RI George Washington University Capital One
 Sean Gwaltney Anchorage, AK University of Idaho Consolidated Business Services
 Katie McCullough Grand Rapids, MI Northwestern University Fiat Chrysler
 Faith Miller Northville, MI University of Southern California WILX-TV
 Bridgar Nayiga Kampala, Uganda University of Iowa Grant Thornton Consulting
 Shashank Saurav Bokaro Steel City, India Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani State Bank of India
 Robert Singley Ballston Lake, NY United States Military Academy U.S. Army
 Agustin Taussig Buenos Aires, Argentina Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina ICBC Argentina
 Susan Wang Hangzhou, China Zhejiang Normal University Alibaba Group
 Zachary Leonard San Francisco, CA University of Notre Dame Franklin Templeton Investments