2019 MBAs To Watch: Terrell Hunt, Notre Dame (Mendoza)

Terrell Hunt

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

“Passionate servant leader committed to making the world a better place.”

Hometown: Oxon Hill, Maryland

Fun fact about yourself: As an undergraduate, I sang the national anthem for the Northeastern University men’s hockey games. My most memorable (and nerve-wracking) performance was at the TD Garden for the Beanpot championship game in front of nearly 18,000 fans. I was affectionately known by friends and the athletics department staff as the “Voice of the Huskies.”

Undergraduate School and Degree: Northeastern University, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (International Affairs minor)

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Nike Inc. (Converse Brand), Global Community Impact Team (2015 – 2017)

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Embassy of the United States, Singapore – I served as an economic policy officer and provided critical operational support for visits to Singapore by the President of the United States and Secretary of State.

Where will you be working after graduation? U.S. Department of State, United States Foreign Service Officer

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellow
  • President, Black Graduates in Management Club
  • Teaching Assistant, Business on the Frontlines Course
  • MBA Community Outreach Committee
  • Net Impact Club, Service Corp
  • Volunteer, School Inc. Math Tutoring Program
  • Irish Echoes Student Blogger
  • MBA Admissions Ambassador
  • MBA Representative, University Advisory Committee on Race and Ethnicity
  • MBA-For-A-Day Student Panel Speaker

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? For my Social Innovation course, I worked with two teammates, my professor, and the Boys and Girls Club of St. Joseph County to develop an entrepreneurship and financial literacy program for underserved youth in the City of South Bend. The program, run by Notre Dame MBAs, will provide in-club financial literacy instruction and periodic entrepreneurship programming at Notre Dame for youth to develop life-long business skills. The program provides technical resources to fill financial and business leadership knowledge gaps and works to inspire the next generation of South Bend entrepreneurs. As Domers, we can sometimes get stuck inside the Notre Dame bubble – This program will outlive the class of 2019 and be a reminder that we were here, we cared for our South Bend neighbors, and we believe in the potential of our local kids.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? At Converse, I coordinated a company-wide cause marketing campaign for the 2017 Black History Month Chuck Taylor sneaker. Importantly, I worked to negotiate an agreement to allocate 100% of the sneaker sales proceeds for donation to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston. At the end of the campaign, Converse committed over $100,000 to the Clubs. Because of this initiative, in addition to our sustained community programming, Converse was recognized by the Boys and Girls Clubs as their corporate service partner of the year. Due to my daily role, I knew the clubs to be a safe, consistent place for neighborhood kids to live out their dreams and passions. This initiative was representative of the goals I had for my corporate career – It made me incredibly proud to use my skills to do some good in the world and provide opportunities for others to realize their dreams.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Viva Bartkus – It has been one of the great privileges of my time at Notre Dame to learn under Viva’s instruction. As one of her TAs for the Business on the Frontlines course, I got a see her dynamism, stamina, and world-class intellect up close. Viva encourages me to think broadly about global contexts, my place in the world, my ability to make a difference, and how to problem solve around the prevailing issues of our time. She also pushes and challenges me in impactful ways. Trusting me to lead her BOTFL team serving in Rwanda and various BOTFL projects over the last two years, she has presented me with numerous opportunities to practice, refine, and perfect my leadership philosophy. It has been an honor serving our global partners alongside Viva. In her, I am blessed to have a life-long mentor, supporter, and friend.

What was your favorite MBA Course? Business on the Frontlines (BOTFL) – BOTFL was the culminating experience of my entire MBA career. BOTFL provided innumerable opportunities to practice my leadership skills and engage the world in a truly impactful way. For me, it really differentiates Mendoza from any other business school. BOTFL’s most critical insight is that business truly can be a force for good in the world – Business can be the mechanism to help alleviate extreme poverty, uplift communities, and deliver opportunities to experience the dignity of a good days work.

Why did you choose this business school? The school’s tag line: “Ask more of business, Ask more of yourself.

The school’s focus and commitment to cultivating values-based leaders are the reasons why I chose Notre Dame. That guiding principle not only informs the curriculum but the people who matriculate here. Mendoza MBAs are not just smarter professionals because of our time here, but better people. I’m a bit of an untraditional MBA in that I am coming from industry and going into public service after graduation. When applying to schools, I looked for programs that would not just inform how to navigate within a bureaucracy, but how to lead and innovate within it. The ethics-based program here at Notre Dame encouraged me to see at business as a force for good in the world and prepared me to use my skills to implement positive change.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Show you are a team player and have a commitment to service – The program here at Mendoza is close-knit, highly collaborative, and very involved. Showing you hold a commitment to helping those around you and using your skills for the greater good will be vital.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I continue to hear is that Notre Dame’s location confines MBAs to Midwestern possibilities, which couldn’t be further from the truth. My career at Notre Dame has spanned four continents (classes in South Bend, MBA internship in Singapore, a module abroad in Chile, and BOTFL capstone project in Rwanda). My cohort landed internships and full-time opportunities that are diverse in function and location. Anchored by a global alumni network and incredible opportunities for MBAs, the world is your oyster here at Mendoza.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program?I wish I had known better to think I was tougher than the South Bend weather. I assumed my time in Boston would prepare me for winters in the mid-west. The lake-effect snow and permacloud is real and not for the faint of heart…

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? Finally away from the hustle and bustle of the American Northeast, South Bend has been the quiet place I needed to focus on becoming the leader I always knew I could be. Here at Mendoza, I slowed down, set actionable long-term goals for myself, focused on my faith, and actively cultivated the man I wanted to be. After my time here, I am much more confident in my ability lead and innovate in a complex world. To say Notre Dame was transformative is an understatement. I am better equipped to solve the challenges of today and a better man because of my time spent in B-School.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire SO many of my classmates, but I have to pinpoint my brother Billy Wilkins. In and outside of the classroom, he proves daily to be one of the shining examples of why Mendoza is the special place it is. He embodies everything the Notre Family is about – He has never once been too busy to support, make sure you’re okay, and encourage you when times are challenging. With over 20 years of experience in the U.S. Army, Billy is a natural leader and problem-solver who has taken the time to mentor and guide so many during our short time together. He does this all while being an amazing husband and father. He inspires me, and I’m looking forward to a lifelong friendship with him.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My mother influenced my decision the most – A big believer and advocate for higher education, she helped me align my priorities and see the true value of going beyond my bachelor’s degree. She has always been my biggest champion. Knowing an MBA would better position me to achieve my dreams, she advocated hard for my eventual trip to South Bend.

What is your favorite movie about business? Pursuit of Happyness – Talent is important, but may only get you so far. Resilience, hard work, and character will carry you a long way to achieving your dreams.

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? As much as I loved and was involved with BOTFL (Business on the Frontlines), the acronym is pretty silly. A goofy acronym for a worthwhile, life-changing experience.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…wrapping up my time at Nike working to inspire the next generation community leaders, and planning my transition to my dream job as a U.S. diplomat.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? My MBA and the time I spent here is truly, sincerely priceless. I learned so much more than I thought possible in my two years at Mendoza – I wouldn’t dare put a dollar price on that. I’m leaving here with a toolkit of hard business skills, a refined leadership philosophy, lifelong memories, and a global family of people I love. That is worth so much more than what I paid.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Watch a basketball game in every NBA arena in the country and visit all seven continents (just Australia and Antarctica to go!).

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? A dependable, tireless team player who was never afraid to do the right thing or busy to help a friend in need.

Hobbies? In my spare time, you can find me listening to ridiculous amounts of Chane the Rapper, volunteering, singing in my church choir, being a disgruntled Washington, DC sports fan, and pretending to enjoy working out.  

What made Terrell an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“Some standouts in the program grow into their roles as their knowledge and experience increases and some start to make their mark from day one. Terrell Hunt is one of the latter. Upon meeting Terrell it is easy to see a man with genuine warmth and caring for others. Quick with a smile and a kind word, he easily builds relationships and puts others at ease. In a small community, this kind of personality helps to bind people together and gives them the confidence to be open and honest in an environment focused on personal development and healthy competition.

What takes a little more time to discover about Terrell is a tireless work ethic, attention to detail, and a true heart of service. A great example of each of these is Terrell’s service through the Business on the Frontlines course. As a first-year TA, his contributions helped set the stage for improvements and growth of the course as it expands to serve more students and partners. While first-year TAs carry a full course load of their own and are not a part of the team that travels with the course, Terrell provided invaluable support and problem-solving insight to Team Colombia in 2018 as they wrestled with complex problems of coca eradication and livelihood development for ex-combatants. Now, as a second-year student, Terrell leads a team partnering with education and entrepreneurship focused NGO in Rwanda in an effort to develop its strategic plan and market opportunities.

Beyond coursework and service as a TA, Terrell fully immersed himself in the broader Mendoza and Notre Dame communities. As an MBA ambassador, he has been a ready resource to assist prospective students on their journey toward business school, offering insight, perspective and even occasionally a couch to crash on during campus visits. Terrell helped to reinvigorate the Black Graduates in Management club within the MBA program and he also embraced his passion for music through the Notre Dame Voices of Faith Gospel Choir. This full immersion into the program and the university speaks to Terrell’s tireless drive and engagement with others on a personal level.

As a Rangel Fellow, Terrell will move into public service following graduation. I am confident that the same characteristics that made Terrell a top contributor to the Notre Dame community will also help to drive his career forward as a diplomat with the United States Foreign Service.”

Joe Sweeney
Associate Director of Admissions & BOTFL Advisor

 

Are you a friend of Terrell? Leave a comment to congratulate him.