Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Jay Brockhoff, Notre Dame (Mendoza)

Jay Brockhoff

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

“Intellectually curious and taking calculated risks allowing me to better myself and those around me.”

Hometown: Cincinnati, OH

Fun Fact About Yourself: Before my MBA program, I completed a cross country road trip from New York City to Los Angeles.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of South Carolina, Global Supply Chain Operations Management and Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Inmar Intelligence and Manager, Trade Optimization

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? Notre Dame has always been synonymous with community to me. Growing up in Cincinnati, I was exposed early on to the Notre Dame brand. Some of my closest mentors are alums who carry with them the Notre Dame values. The sense of community was an important part of my ultimate decision to Mendoza. I felt like I was able to be a part of something bigger than myself, but also the smaller cohort size allowed me to take on more leadership roles and have a chance to get to know my entire cohort. So far, my experience with the program has reinforced that sense of community. Everyone is incredibly collaborative and willing to help others succeed. It’s not surprising for MBAs to conduct mock interviews together, practice casing, or just spend 30 minutes getting coffee to catch up. Additionally, the sense of community and involvement becomes a part of every day life for students. Personally, I was elected as one of the First Year Representatives for my cohort, but we have numerous members of the Cohort taking on leadership roles within Mendoza. Some of my friends are TAs for our Business On The Frontlines course and others are leading our Grow The Good Gala.

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? For me, I believe there were three elements of Mendoza’s MBA program that made me choose it. The first was the small cohort size. This has allowed me to get to know each and every one individually in my cohort. Not only are these individuals going to be my classmates for the next two years, but they will also be life-long friends and contacts. The second element is the move to the Pathways approach of learning. Joe Sweeney and the team have focused the educational element of the class to be geared towards four buckets: Finance, Consulting, Marketing, and Technology. This has allowed my cohort to really focus in on these individual paths and tailor our course structures to fit our choices. I personally have chosen the Finance path and am working with our Finance career coach. Lastly, and to me the most important, is the alumni network. It has been incredible the responses I have received when I reach out to Notre Dame alums to talk about career paths and advice. Everyone has been open to speak, and I think everyone sees it as paying it forward because they were in my shoes at one point.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Mendoza? The passion the professors bring to class each day make each class incredibly enjoyable. But two who have stood out are Finance with Professor Robert Battalio and Business Problem Solving with Viva Bartkus. Professor Battalio brings a wealth of knowledge from his Finance experience. For fans of Michael Lewis and his book Flash Boys, Battalio was Brad Katsuyama’s Expert Witness when Katsuyama and IEX was called to testify in front of Congress in regards to High Frequency Trading. The video is on YouTube.

Business Problem Solving with Professor Bartkus is one of the more interesting classes for First Years. I’ve found the course to really challenge my thinking of conventional problem solving. It’s a heavy case-focused course, but it really teaches you how to break down a problem and understand how to formulate an appropriate solution. The cases are crafted from real world problems executives had to address and each culminates with a presentation of recommendations to the executives who worked on solving the problem. It can be intimidating, but the course provides an incredible opportunity to learn directly from business executives and really stretch the brain muscles. Professor Bartkus also teaches the Business on The Frontlines course, and this is a course I recommend prospective students read about. It is such a unique opportunity to get hands-on work experience in emerging countries.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I think signing my first client working for Inmar Intelligence was exhilarating. But the biggest accomplishment I have achieved has been the way I have been able to navigate working and building networks in cities and industries where I had no connections. I’m very proud of the relationships I have built. I moved to Winston-Salem in 2016 not knowing a single person and now I have countless friends and mentors from Winston-Salem. When I joined Inmar Intelligence, I didn’t know anything about grocery retail besides what the brands were on the shelf. I quickly built trust and relationships with my peers and learned the market. Being open and having a growth mindset has always been a priority for me. It has allowed me to keep and continue to develop relationships even after I left the company. I called a work colleague the other day because we had a project due for one of my classes and I knew he would be able to share some insights on the industry. Fortunately, he had some flexibility to help; he was incredibly helpful in steering our team in the right direction towards developing our recommendations to solving the problem the case was asking.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? I was elected as a first-year representative for my cohort. Being a member of the greater MBA Association has really allowed me to continue to connect with my classmates and the greater MBA leadership. I’ve been able to get involved with different recruiting events for prospective students, talk about priorities with class signups for future mods, and give feedback to our MBA directors about the first couple of mods and how we can set everyone up for success when we come back from Winter Break.

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? The “Grow the good in business” ethos of the Mendoza MBA program is very important to me. It’s something that resonates with me and who I am and who I want to become as a grow into a future business leader. Notre Dame is providing me the opportunity to do this in building up those around me and live out the values of a “servant leader”. The Mendoza MBA requires two ethics courses to graduate, and I was fortunate to have Professor Chris Atkins for my Foundations in Business Ethics course. Here, we really dove into what it means to be ethical, but more what values we prioritize as leaders and how we give voice to those values through our actions. This has been something I have tried to focus on, living out my values as a servant leader on a day-to-day basis.

What has been your best memory as an MBA so far?  Storming the field after the Clemson game was an incredible experience. But I think my favorite memory so far was the way the cohort rallied around an individual who was dealing with a family emergency earlier this fall. This individual quickly had to return to their home country for a medical emergency their family was dealing with. I was reminded there are good people in this world by the way the cohort quickly reacted. They made sure this individual’s pets were taken care of, in addition to sending her a card, and checking in with her on a regular basis to reiterate that this individual will always be a member of our cohort and in our thoughts.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the Mendoza MBA program? First, reach out to current students. I’m happy to share my perspective with those who are interested in learning more about the Mendoza MBA program. I think it’s important to get the perspective of those within the program and learn what made them go back to get their MBA, why Mendoza, and what they plan to do after graduation. It will help you see if it aligns with your story and what you’re looking to achieve with your MBA.

When writing your essays, be your authentic self. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable when sharing your story. It’s easy for anyone to share their successes and talk about when things went well. But you see someone’s real perspective when they are talk about the times they struggled, dealt with adversity, and how they overcame that adversity.

Lastly, when deciding about an MBA, figure out what is best for YOU. As a prospective MBA, you have great mentors, parents, and friends who have helped you get your applications in a good spot to get accepted. When it comes down to deciding which program to matriculate to, you must do what is best for you. You’re the one attending classes, networking, and leveraging the MBA to accelerate your career. So you need to examine which program you think will help you achieve those goals. Plus, you need to look at which programs will make the experience enjoyable and help you develop lifelong friendships and connections.


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