Meet Notre Dame Mendoza’s MBA Class Of 2020

Mary Coghlin

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

Notre Dame Alumna, Military Brat, Marketing Expert, Avid Traveler, Karaoke Enthusiast, Brunch Connoisseur.”

Hometown: Colorado Springs, CO

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have lived in 9 states in the U.S.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business – Bachelor of Business Administration, Marketing Major

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Google. Title: Sales Coach and Vendor Operations Lead, Google Marketing Solutions

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: During my time as a Sales Coach and Vendor Operations Lead, I led the restructuring of new salesperson training, as well as the revamping of sales quality and compliance frameworks in a number of global markets. I partnered with global partner teams and internal engineering teams to implement these data-driven, customer-success focused systems. Through this innovation and execution, I was able to impact the development of hundreds of vendor salespeople as well as improve their clients’ advertising results.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? I would describe the classmates I have met so far as service-focused. During just two days at Welcome Weekend, I met classmates who had served our country in the military, created non-profit organizations and were involved in volunteer activities outside of their careers. Beyond structured service, it is clear that the classmates I have met display strong servant leadership, helping each other with activities ranging from pre-MBA program interview preparation to helping fellow classmates move to South Bend. I am honored and excited to be a part of this group.

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? Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business is known for its saying, “Ask More of Business.” This focus on business as a means for doing good was a driving factor in my decision to come back to Mendoza. As an undergraduate Mendoza student, I appreciated that in every class, from marketing research to accounting, we discussed ethical dilemmas associated with the subject matter. I believe that business should not only be conducted ethically, but should also advance the common good. During my time in the corporate world, I continued to prioritize these values, and was fortunate to work with managers, colleagues and clients who also put ethics and the common good above a bottom line. In choosing a business school to train me for the next phase of my career, I knew I wanted to continue to learn in an environment that promoted these values.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am most looking forward to contributing to the Women in Business Club. I was able to attend the Forté Conference in Atlanta this summer, and left the conference inspired to support fellow women MBAs as well as partner with allies to address opportunities faced by women in the corporate world.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career?  Through examining my career goals as well as prior corporate experience, I recognized the opportunity to build upon my digital advertising expertise to impact brands and company strategies at a higher level. After further research into the MBA program, I determined that pursuing an MBA would provide me the best “business toolkit” to achieve my goals.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I assessed my career goals as well as trajectory and earning potential with or without an MBA. Given the accelerated career trajectory in my target field of brand management, as well as the strong earnings potential throughout my career if I were to attain an MBA, I was able to see that the MBA was clearly worth the investment.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied only to Notre Dame, as I knew I would receive an admissions decision in December, giving me time to apply to other programs should I have been denied admission to Notre Dame. I was considering applying to other business schools in the Midwest.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? While considering various MBA programs, I brainstormed which factors were important to me. The most important factors were a focus on business serving the common good, a strong school culture and network, as well as challenging academics. I spoke to colleagues and acquaintances who had completed their MBAs at various programs, as well as studied forums and school-provided materials about different programs. In addition to my knowledge of Mendoza from an undergraduate alumna perspective, my expansive research confirmed that Mendoza would be the right fit for my MBA journey.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? During the summer between high school and college, I worked in a well-known handbag and luggage store. I was planning to study math in the College of Science, as math was my favorite subject during K-12 and I believed that a math major was the clearest way to put my love of math into practice as a career. During the summer, a corporate manager came to the store for a meeting. During her time at the store, she explained the reasons the store had been merchandised the way it was: based on turnover, seasonal and regional trends, as well as profit margin of each piece. I was intrigued and inspired by her description of the business using both math, which I had a talent for, and fashion, which I had a passion for. After that day, I researched marketing and a variety of other aspects of business and decided to pursue a career in business and major in marketing. I had never considered a career in business until that day, but upon realizing that I could combine both my talents and passions, I knew I had found direction that would guide my career path. This decision has led me to find remarkable mentors and colleagues, as well as contribute to teams in corporate retail and digital advertising. This defining moment showed me the power of combining passions and talents, as well as the value in being willing to change plans.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I plan to work in a brand management or marketing strategy role within a CPG or retail environment. I would like to leverage my background in digital marketing combined with skills gained during my MBA to innovate and grow brands.

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