Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Funmi Owopetu, Notre Dame (Mendoza)

Funmi Owopetu

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

A third culture individual who constantly leverages her experience to empower others.”

Hometown: I call 3 places home! Osun State, Nigeria; Calgary, Canada; Houston, TX.

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have spent most of my life as a student; I currently hold 5 degrees.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Ibadan, Nigeria (Botany & Microbiology), Texas Southern University (M.Sc. Environmental Toxicology)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Innovation, De-risking, Enterprise, and Acceleration (IDEA) Center – Insight Analyst

When you think of Notre Dame, what are the first things that come to mind? How have your experiences with the Mendoza program thus far reinforced or upended these early impressions? When I think of Notre Dame, I think about the values that hold the school together. This includes ethical leadership, spirituality, and inclusivity. These early impressions continue to be reinforced by my experiences daily. For example, ethics is not a course; it is a part of every course (e.g., Finance, Accounting, Analytics, etc.) I’ve taken so far. “Welcome to the family” is not just a phrase uttered when offered admission. The support faculty, staff, and 2nd year MBA students provides to me makes me feel like I am with family.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the Mendoza MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? A key part of the Mendoza MBA programming is the Business of the Frontlines (BOFL) Program. This program applies business skills being developed to real life issues (e.g., poverty alleviation, post-conflict rehabilitation, etc.) in various countries around the world. As someone who volunteered with the Red Cross, I understand the impact issues such as conflict and natural disasters have on the economy of a country. Being able to participate in a program that is focused on rehabilitating societies impacted by such issues is something I am really looking forward to.

I also like Mendoza’s smaller class size. When deciding on the right MBA program, one of the things that was top on my list is the class size. I wanted an opportunity to easily access faculty and staff and get to know my classmates beyond just sitting in class. Mendoza has given me all of this within the short period I have spent here as an MBA student, and I look forward to more of it.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Mendoza? The Leadership Launch stands out to me so far at Mendoza. This is a 4-day intensive leadership program designed to create a strong foundation for your journey at Mendoza. My most memorable experience was when we were asked to bring a value artifact and tell a story around it. My colleagues brought artifacts ranging from picture frames to a cello. This helped me better appreciate the diversity of our journey and it reinforced the fact that we all bring something to the table though we are from different backgrounds with varying experiences.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest career accomplishment is getting my organization a global certification that doubled our client base. The certification was a stamp of approval to major clients – it reinforced our commitment to the highest quality standard on every project. This is a major accomplishment for me because I had to wear different hats to ensure the project was a success. Some of my tasks involved convincing my managers, directors, and senior executives that this is a good investment for the organization. I also had to get the buy-in of every department in the organization as all departments had to be audited by external auditors. Then I had to do my job as a project manager to ensure the project was within budget, on schedule and the certification was approved. The successful completion of the project helped me to believe in myself more and know I can achieve anything with hard work and resilience in the face of challenges.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? My biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far is stepping out of my comfort zone. As an introvert, I prefer to spend a lot of time by myself. One of the things I committed to when deciding to pursue an MBA is to step out of this comfort zone. I am achieving this by actively participating in clubs and organizations, taking on a leadership role as the co-chair of the International Student’s Advisory Board (ISAB), and providing support to my colleagues as we navigate the internship recruitment journey.

Mendoza is known as a purpose-driven MBA program that asks students to “Grow the good in business.” What is your mission and how has Mendoza been helping you realize it? I am committed to making a difference. I know it sounds like a cliché, but I have been motivated by this for as long as I can remember. This is one of the reasons why I chose Notre Dame; the program’s commitment to building business leaders who are dedicated to the greater good. Making a difference requires the ability to champion and implement change. Mendoza is affording me the opportunity to expand on this ability through my work to create an organization that is aimed at improving the onboarding experience for international students.

Also, I currently have a scholarship program that financially supports college students from low-income households in Nigeria. I hope to be able to continue in this light and expand this initiative to support more people, leveraging the business skills that I am developing at Mendoza and the network of like-minded business leaders that Mendoza exposes me to.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the Mendoza MBA program? Know that your story is unique, and it is what makes you stand out from all other applicants. So don’t be afraid to tell your story and be authentic.


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