Meet Notre Dame Mendoza’s MBA Class Of 2020

Audrey Walker

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

“Avid equestrian who loves applying lessons from the saddle to business.  And vice versa.”

Hometown: Wilmington, DE

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am a secret adrenaline junkie. In 2016, I visited Antarctica and jumped into the freezing (literally) cold ocean. On purpose. For fun.

Undergraduate School and Major: College of William & Mary, Psychology

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: ModernThink, Project Coordinator

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Working at a small company gave me plenty of opportunities to solve all sorts of interesting problems. One key problem I tackled related to ongoing inefficiencies with our help desk email account. To gather data and determine which issues were most pressing, I implemented an error tracking system to categorize the issues and questions customers were raising. Based on that information, I proposed revamping our email communications and worked on the team that came up with the new design, which improved our customer service and increased our efficiency.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Everyone I’ve met is excited to be a part of the Notre Dame community. When students ask each other how they ended up at Notre Dame, there are two common themes: the sense that Notre Dame is a special place and the program’s focus on ethical leadership and decision making.

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? In a sea of school rankings, GMAT scores, and admissions statistics, one thing that stood out was Notre Dame’s mission to “Ask More of Business.” As I weighed the pros and cons of various programs, I kept coming back to that phrase. It encapsulates so much of how I think businesses can and should function, existing not only to make a profit but to make a difference in their communities. The chance to be a part of that mission was one I couldn’t pass up and I’m excited to learn more about how to best carry it forward with me throughout my career.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? One of the first organizations that caught my eye when researching what Mendoza had to offer was the “Women in Business Club.” It seems like a great way to get involved in the community and meet other dynamic women who are looking to make a difference in business.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career?  Early on in my career, I realized how much an MBA would enhance my skill set and give me more tools to tackle the kinds of problems I wanted to be solving. One of the best pieces of advice I received was to spend a few years focusing on my career to gain real-world experience and to help me decide what exactly I might want to do when I finally got my MBA. That plan worked out well, as it gave me the opportunity to better understand the kind of work environment I was looking for and the time to research potential programs and prepare for the GMAT. By the time I had my GMAT score and knew which program I wanted to apply to, the work experience I had gained helped me round out my application and better understand what I was looking for in my post-MBA career.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I knew that any kind of MBA program would be a significant investment in terms of time and resources, so I spent a lot of time researching programs, part-time and full-time options, tuition costs, and scholarship opportunities to make sure I picked the program that was going to help me make the most of that investment. Looking at Notre Dame’s full-time program, I weighed where I would be at the end of two years in terms of the skillsets I would have developed and career opportunities I would have against where I would be if I had remained in a full-time job. It was hard not to get too excited about all the doors an MBA would open!

What other MBA programs did you apply to?  From early on in my research, Notre Dame stood out as the program that would best mold me into the type of business person I aspire to become. It was either Go Irish! or go home!

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I love making data-driven decisions, so I started by looking at the rankings of different schools to get a feel for what concentrations were available, class size, tuition, etc. From there, I spent a lot of time on schools’ websites to see what student life was like, where students were employed, and what their career services offered. I knew I was looking for a full-time program with an engaged and collaborative student body, as well as top-notch career resources.  The most valuable pieces of data were the conversations I had with those in admissions offices and with current students. After spending time on Notre Dame’s campus, I knew Mendoza checked all the boxes, and then some!

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are?  Some of the more obvious paths for a psychology major are counseling and research, so I surprised a lot of people (including myself) when I signed up for William & Mary’s Business Bootcamp. After one of the most intense weeks of my life, I came away with two incredibly valuable insights. First, I learned the types of hands-on problems you get to tackle in a business setting.  Second, and most importantly, I learned that hands-on problem solving was something I loved doing and wanted to focus my time and efforts on. That week completely shifted the course I had set for myself and ultimately lead me to apply to business school.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?  After graduating, I’d like to return to the east coast and join an organization where I can work in a collaborative environment to solve important and interesting problems while continuing to develop a values-based approach to leadership.

Where do you see yourself in five years?  Five years from now, I want to still be “asking more of business,” no matter where I am employed or what I am doing.  I want to be at a company where I can leave the office every day knowing that the work I did helped make a difference, either in the lives of fellow employees, customers, or the community.  Apart from my career, I plan on being an active alumna, continuing to horseback ride, and checking items off my never-ending travel and reading lists.

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