Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Adrian Villalpando, Notre Dame (Mendoza)

Adrian Villalpando

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

“Mexican-American, baseball-obsessed communications professional with a propensity for cooking average meals and exercising.”

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was at the final A Tribe Called Quest concert at Madison Square Garden in 2013

Undergraduate School and Major: DePaul University | Public Relations & Advertising; Communication Studies

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Edelman, Account Supervisor

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Notre Dame’s positioning, Grow the Good in Business, set it apart from the other programs I was considering and resonated with me when I was making my decision. Businesses in today’s environment can no longer afford to stay silent on social or cultural issues, and I believe Mendoza’s perspective and curriculum will allow me to come out of this two-year experience as a leader prepared for the modern business world.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Inquisitive – we are all eager to learn about and help each other succeed and dive into these next two years together.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? Business on the Frontlines because of its ability to give us real-world exposure solving challenges for communities in need of help. We will be able to drive some real impact through our work during this course.

Mendoza is known as a purpose-driven MBA program that asks students to “Ask More of Business.” What is your mission and how will Mendoza help you realize it? I’m not sure I’ve discovered my mission for my work yet, but the beauty of Notre Dame’s Integrated Leadership Development program is that it’s designed to help us identify how our values, strengths and weaknesses can lead us to uncovering our mission. I think the team here at Mendoza will be instrumental in helping me find my mission during these next two-years.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Executing the 2018 Winter Olympics Communications program for The Kellogg Company.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I want to pivot from being an agency-side communications professional into a career in marketing and brand management. I know in order to make this transition, I need to learn how to run a business and Notre Dame’s MBA program will help me fill this gap in my resume and skillset. It also gives me an opportunity to gain some real-world experience in marketing roles.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? I would say the question, “Who do you look up to?” because I believe it can be tough to convey an authentic answer to this question. It’s easy to go for a cliché answer, which can come across as such to the admissions team.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I prioritized class size, the strength of the alumni network, and each program’s apparent focus on offering coursework reflective of the modern business environment. If it felt as the school wasn’t willing to innovate or adapt – or I would get lost in the shuffle of a large cohort – it wasn’t the right fit for me.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? I don’t believe I’ve had my defining moment yet, but a moment that prepared me for business school was working on my first integrated communications program for The Kellogg Company. Being exposed to true integrated marketing showed me how much I enjoyed working on those kinds of campaigns, and I knew I needed to find a way to work on as many of those as possible.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? Nike. I think business students could learn a lot about how Nike has stayed true to the principles it was founded on and brings them to life through its products, interactions with its customers, supply chain, and external communications. Nike is an example of how a modern company should behave by expressing its perspective on social and cultural issues that are relevant to its core principles.


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