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Meet Notre Dame Mendoza’s MBA Class Of 2020

Brendan Reardon

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

Semper Paratus. Always ready.”

Hometown: Branford, CT

Fun Fact About Yourself: Every foreign country that I have visited that has been actively involved in a World Cup while I was visiting has won that World Cup. No thanks necessary, France and New Zealand.

Undergraduate School and Major: Davidson College, Philosophy

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: HCI Equity Partners, L.L.C., Associate

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I began working in private equity shortly after graduating from college with a philosophy degree. Because my working knowledge of the financial sector was limited, most of my professional education had to come from practical experience. While the challenge of “learning by doing” was sometimes difficult to navigate, my experiences provided a great framework within which I could grow and develop. I was able to step outside of my comfort zone, assume greater responsibility, and fully immerse myself in our companies and their operations. I regard the accompanying perspective and confidence gained from this experience as my biggest accomplishment.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? In a group defined by its diversity of cultures, backgrounds, and interests, passion seems to be the one quality that binds us all together. In talking with classmates, I have heard many different stories about careers and aspirations, but the same conviction and enthusiasm has permeated each conversation. More than anything, I think that the Class of 2020 is passionate about becoming part of the Notre Dame family and making a positive impact on both the school and the community.

Aside from your classmates, 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? Mendoza’s emphasis on values-based learning was the most significant differentiator relative to other MBA programs. I think it is true that an organization is only as strong as its people. Mendoza strives to create a community of bright and driven students, but perhaps more importantly, a community of students determined to lead with purpose and integrity. This commitment to “asking more of business” and creating strong, professional leaders was a crucial factor in my decision and helped to elevate Mendoza above comparable schools.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Outside of Saturdays at Notre Dame Stadium, I most look forward to surrounding myself with a diverse group of individuals whose experiences and perspectives differ from my own. Whether it is in class, at a meeting of the

Finance and Investment Club, or at Monday Night Bowling, Mendoza presents a great opportunity to augment my own worldview and see business through a different lens.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After nearly five years of working in private equity, I had reached a crossroads in my career. While HCI has provided me with a wealth of experience, I thought that an MBA would allow me to diversify my professional skill set and fill some of the void caused by studying Plato and Aristotle (great for critical thinking, less so for developing business acumen). I think most importantly, an MBA provides me with the option to chart my career path going forward and opens up doors that might have otherwise been closed.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? Determining the economic return of pursuing an MBA was fairly straightforward. I knew that I wanted to go to school and based on available salary information, determined that I could justify it financially. Equally as important and somewhat more difficult, however, was determining what other returns I wanted a business school to provide. While a number of schools offer quality educations and strong job placement, far fewer place equal emphasis on continued personal development and growth outside the classroom. Once I realized how important this element of the experience was for me, it became much easier to narrow my focus and determine what schools could help me best achieve this goal.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Darden (UVA), Fuqua (Duke), Tuck (Dartmouth), Olin (Wash. U. in St. Louis), Owen (Vanderbilt), Ross (Michigan), Carlson (Minnesota)

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Some of the important considerations to me were class size (I preferred a small, intimate environment), efficacy of alumni network, collaborative working environment, and an emphasis on personal, professional, and academic development. It was also helpful to review industries that alumni had recently entered and evaluating how those lined up with my own ambitions. Beyond looking at school websites (and Poets & Quants), I found the most useful resource to be students. Most b-school students were very honest and forthcoming about both the positives and negatives of their experience. While looking at employment reports for schools was helpful, I think that the best tool for evaluating career opportunities was speaking with career services representatives. In most instances, they were very open to speaking about their respective school’s reputation, strengths and weaknesses, and company / industry pipeline.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? Moving to an unfamiliar city (Minneapolis) to take a job in an unfamiliar industry (private equity) helped me discover the importance of stepping outside of my comfort zone. In addition to allowing me to grow both personally and professionally, the move has also given me the confidence to pursue career paths that I might have otherwise shied away from given their unfamiliarity.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? Immediately after graduating, I would like to work in a corporate finance or business development role at a large, multinational corporation. One of the drawbacks to private equity was getting to know companies and industries extremely well only to move on to a new company or industry after exiting our investment. Working within a captive finance group at a large corporation would allow me to better understand the dynamics and operations of a company while also allowing me to continue working in a field that I enjoy.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Professionally, I hope to be at the same company that I joined following graduation. Most importantly, I want to be working in a role that challenges me daily, presents new and exciting opportunities, and provides me with the ability to continue to advance my career. I think that the skill set developed at Mendoza will serve as a great platform for realizing personal and professional success for years to come.