Meet Notre Dame Mendoza’s MBA Class Of 2023

MBA students take the field in the famed Notre Dame football stadium during their orientation. Football and other sports provide an exciting element to student life on campus. (Photo by Matt Cashore)


When people hear “Notre Dame”, they picture the Golden Dome and the Basilica, Saturday afternoon tailgates and Sunday morning mass, the Four Horsemen and winning one for The Gipper (or Rudy). Sure enough, the first year has lived up to the lore for the Class of 2023. The Grotto has been Dan Chapman’s favorite spot on campus. To him, it epitomizes what makes the school so unique.

“The Grotto is a special place to spend a few quiet moments in reflection, he notes. “For me, the Grotto has been a place where I can go to reconnect with my WHY and light a candle for my lost loved ones. Like the Grotto, the Mendoza program encourages students to take the time to reflect. Reflect on their purpose. Reflect on their values. Reflect on how business can be a source for good in the world. From my perspective, that sentiment is what separates Mendoza from other business programs.”

It’s not just the mission, but the people living it every day who make Notre Dame so special. Tanique Philogene lauds the school’s alumni support, hardly a surprise considering Mendoza posted the 2nd-highest average in The Economist’s annual survey of alumni. And it wasn’t just the alumni who made an impression on her.

“Before starting in the Fall, I had heard a myriad of stories regarding the amazing alumni network, the passionate professors, the committed academic staff, and the camaraderie amongst cohorts. Since being here, I can honestly say that all of it has held true.”

The Golden Dome, or Main Building, is perhaps Notre Dame’s most iconic landmark on the University’s 1,200-acre campus in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Peter Ringenberg Photography)


Philogene was equally stirred by the Mendoza faculty. “Mendoza staff has gone above and beyond to create a wonderful program for the professors to teach (to quote Professor Mike Meyer) “as if every day is the best day of their lives.” I am beyond ecstatic to have joined such a passionate community.”

The careful selection of classmates, coupled with Mendoza’s distinct view of business, makes the MBA experience all the more transformative, adds Napoleón Astorga Solano.

“Mendoza…motivate[es] each of the students to go beyond what the business customs might be to find better ways – often through collaboration and teamwork – to have a stronger positive impact in the local and global communities. The school offers core and elective courses related to ethical and inspirational business leadership, creating a sense of camaraderie within the cohort. Incorporating a multi-cultural and multi-background learning team from day one, the program is able to shape competent leaders with a global vision who maximize well-being to all the stakeholders of a business.”

Faith is an important part of the Notre Dame MBA student journey. The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes provides a place of reflection and prayer for those seeking a quiet moment. (Photo by Peter Ringenberg Photography)


That vision is solidified by the signature experience of the Mendoza MBA: The Meyer Business on the Frontlines program – or BOTFL for short. For nearly two decades, Mendoza MBAs have headed to struggling nations like Honduras, Lebanon and Ethiopia to tackle issues ranging from stopping sex trafficking to sparking entrepreneurship. Thanks to new funding, the school can send 100 MBAs annually to these regions. At the same time, Mendoza expanded the BOTFL brand two years ago, offering a Frontlines in America course. Here, students address issues like poverty, violence, and addiction in areas ranging from South Chicago to Appalachia.

For Annie Crider, BOTFL represents the best of Mendoza’s curriculum. “This unique program offering merges academic learning with development of self, all oriented towards doing good for others. In this course, students partner with NGO’s and organizations in areas of poverty and strife to provide consulting services. Mendoza’s clear alignment of its values and actions is showcased in this course, and I am looking forward to participating in 2023.”

And you can expect a further expansion of the BOTFL experience according to Joseph Sweeney, academic director for the Notre Dame MBA Program. This spring, P&Q reached out to Sweeney to learn more about what current and future Mendoza MBAs can expect from the program. Here are his insights on this question, along with further thoughts on the Business on the Frontlines and Frontlines in America programs.

August 11, 2021; Professor Chris Atkins speaks at the 2-year MBA welcome session in the Stayer Center. (Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame)


P&Q: What are the two most exciting developments at your program and how will they enrich the MBA experience for current and future MBAs?

Sweeney: “The continued expansion of the Meyer Business on the Frontlines Program through the development of new courses is creating new ways for students to apply their business problem-solving skills to some of the world’s toughest problems in real time with dedicated action partners. For fourteen years, the full semester Business on the Frontlines course has served partners in communities facing some of the world’s toughest challenges, including post-conflict rehabilitation, illicit economies, isolation, and extreme poverty. Last year, the program launched its first domestic course, Frontlines in America, to tackle similar issues around the United States. This year, two additional courses were launched to create new ways for students to engage with new and on-going partners.

Joseph Sweeney (Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame)

Frontline Engagements builds on the work of the full spring semester Business on the Frontlines class by working with partners in Latin America during the fall semester in a more limited engagement. Students participate in foundational discussions related to situational context and the role of business while working on live projects with partners in Honduras and Colombia, including a week in the field in October to problem solve around the financial viability of businesses being developed by ex-FARC combatants and the strategy to develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem in rural Honduras that can provide sustainable livelihoods.

Ways of Rebuilding Community (WORC) brings the same principles of the program home to our local community. By partnering with organizations within driving distance of campus, students are able to participate in class discussions and spend time working directly with the partners each week. Initial partners included a solar panel manufacturing start up with a mission to employ former felons, a local neighborhood looking to enhance economic development while preserving the diversity of the neighborhood, and an employee retention program focused on providing support services to remove barriers to work among at risk populations.

Each of the experiential service learning opportunities in the Meyer Business on the Frontlines Program draws on the multi-disciplinary skills that students gain throughout the MBA program and leverage them in real time to create actionable recommendations for partners. The rigor required to reach these recommendations helps to prepare students for the strength of market forces that will impact and drive their business careers.

Another key development this year is an update to the physical home of our MBA program. Following renovations to update existing spaces, creating additional lounge space, team rooms, and individual work and study spaces, the Stayer Center adjacent to the Mendoza building will become the permanent home to the full time MBA program and our Executive MBA programs. Originally built in 2013, the building previously housed executive and non-degree programs. MBAs currently have some classes in the building but through a series of expansion projects over the past two years and this coming spring, the facility will be ready to fully house the program and serve as a dedicated space for all of our MBA programs. In addition to classrooms, office space, and team rooms, lounge space includes one of the best views on campus, Notre Dame’s iconic Golden Dome.”

Social activities such as outings to the local zoom and other area attractions allow students, faculty and staff and their families to have some fun and get to know each other. (Photo by Peter Ringenberg Photography)

P&Q: What are two biggest differentiating features of your MBA program? How do each of these enrich the learning of your MBA students?

Sweeney: “At our core, Mendoza is about impact. This theme is woven throughout our curriculum so that students learn viscerally the power of business to shape the world around them. While individual courses may focus on specific topics like capital markets or business strategy, instructors and case examples continually reinforce the positive influence that well-run businesses can have not only for shareholders, but for customers, employees, and society at large. This helps to create future business leaders with a perspective that their enterprises can benefit more than just their own bottom line.

Hand-in-hand with a focus on impact is the support of an outstanding network. A truly global network, the Notre Dame Alumni Association features over 250 alumni clubs worldwide. In addition to geographically-based clubs, students and alumni can engage in affinity groups such as Black Alumni, the Diversity Council, and the Asian-Pacific, Hispanic, and Native American Notre Dame communities.

Beyond the formal club structures, Notre Dame alumni can be found in the top MBA hiring companies around the country. As one of the most responsive networks in the world, fellow Domers are quick to offer tips, perspective, and friendly advice remotely in addition to staying engaged with key courses and recruiting activities on campus. Their unique perspectives from industry help to provide additional context for students as they explore new industries and opportunities. Pro tip for alumni interaction: sign-off with a hearty ‘Go Irish!’.”

Notre Dame’s IDEA Center provides students interested in entrepreneurship with coaching and support in launching new ventures. (Photo by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame)

P&Q: In recent years, there have been several areas that have gained increased prominence in business school programming, including STEM, analytics, artificial intelligence and digital disruption. How does your full-time MBA program integrate these concepts across its curriculum?

Sweeney: “The rise of analytics across business disciplines is undeniable and has become a core part of the MBA curriculum at Mendoza. With five STEM-designated major options, students have a variety of pathways to navigate a highly analytical curriculum. These course offerings include experiential learning opportunities with industry and functionally specific topics such as Applied Digital Marketing.

In addition to the range of on-campus course offerings, we are excited to launch the Silicon Valley Mod Away program this year. Housed at Notre Dame’s California facility in Palo Alto, students have the opportunity to network with prospective employers across Silicon Valley while also engaging industry experts through experiential learning opportunities. In the seven weeks between fall break and Christmas break, the program provides the opportunity to connect with key alumni in the Bay Area while taking classes focused on digital innovation such as Digital Product Management, Digital Innovation, and Smart Supply Chain Innovation. The program also facilitates discussions with leaders from key companies such as Google, Meta, IDEO, LinkedIn, and Adobe.”

Next Page: Profiles of 12 members of the Class of 2023

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