One of the hallmarks of a Notre Dame MBA occurs once you graduate: it’s an incredibly strong alumni network, especially for a school that is not ranked in the top ten. Outside of the University of Southern California’s Marshall School, where the Trojan network is known to be exceptional, a Notre Dame MBA delivers enduring value thanks to those close-knit connections.
Otherwise, with the exception of the school’s emphasis on ethics and values, and several options for studying and doing projects abroad, this is a fairly straightforward MBA program. In the Mendoza two-year MBA Program, students attend classes for four semesters and complete 64 credit hours. In the first year, students study the core business disciplines. At the end of the first year, they select from a variety of concentration tracks that will further their interests and future prospects.
Each semester consists of two seven-week modules, which gives students flexibility in choosing courses to suit their individual interests, and allows them to layer in additional electives to complement their concentration track selections. Mendoza currently offers seven concentrations: business analytics, business leadership, consulting, corporate finance, entrepreneurship, investments and marketing. All first-year students are required to enroll in a case competition, during the Fall Interterm session, that is focused on Corporate Social Responsibility.
Those “Interterm Intensives” weeks in every semester generally allow students to enroll in short courses to deepen or broaden their expertise or, when coupled with break week, enables students to study abroad. Interterm Intensives involve Mendoza MBA students analyzing, investigating, and offering solutions for real-life problems presented by global organizations such as Boeing, GE, and Starbucks. There also are several international immersion trips, including two week stints in Beijing and Shanghai, China, as well as Santiago, Chile, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
For those who want it, there’s also a seven-week immersion in Santiago allowing students to gain Spanish language skills, and broaden culturally diverse perspectives with trips to neighboring countries, such as Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, and Brazil. Finally, a summer internship, managed through the school’s Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, provides the chance for a select group of students to spend eight weeks in locations such as South America, Kenya, Cambodia, Haiti, and Egypt working with organizations to help people in South Africa.
Rankings Analysis: After Notre Dame’s Mendoza School scored the best rankings year of any top 25 business school on Poets&Quants’ 2012 list of the top full-time MBA programs, Mendoza slipped seven places in 2013 to a rank of 32nd from 26th. The primary reason: The school chose to bow out of The Financial Times’ ranking where it had placed 45th best in the U.S. and 85th globally in 2012. The FT ranks were Mendoza’s weakest showing in the five most influential rankings of MBA programs, in part due to the comparatively low percentage of international MBA students in the program: just 21%, when many U.S. schools are now at a third or more.
If you forget about The Financial Times, which has a methodology that favors non-U.S. schools, Mendoza does remarkably well across the board. It’s highest rank comes from Bloomberg BusinessWeek, which ranks programs largely on the basis of graduate satisfaction and corporate recruiter sentiment. In 2012, the last time BW ranked MBA programs, Mendoza had a highly impressive 20th place finish.
On its graduate satisfaction survey, BW ranked Mendoza 17th in 2012, up from 24th two years earlier. But there were even bigger gains from the companies that come to Mendoza to recruit its MBA students. The BW recruiter survey ranked the school 18th, up from 33rd in 2010–a very big improvement that may be hard to sustain.
The Economist, meantime, put Notre Dame 25th among U.S. schools in 2013, up four spots from 29th a year earlier, and 36th best in the world, up a full 13 places from a 49th place finish in 2012. Mendoza also improved its performance in Forbes’ biennial return-on-investment ranking, rising to 29th among U.S. schools in 2013, up two spots from a 31st place finish in 2011.
The school lost a little ground in U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 ranking, slipping two spots to 27th. U.S. News uses a variety of metrics to rank schools, from average GMAT and GPA scores to starting salaries and job placement at graduation and three months later. But it also tosses in opinion surveys of B-school deans and recruiters. All in all, a very impressive showing.
As one Class of 2012 graduate told BusinessWeek: “Notre Dame is a special place. The quality of people in the administration, as well as teachers and students, sets it apart from any other school in the world. Notre Dame has a stronger focus on ethics and doing things the right way than any other school around. The alumni network is incredible as you will always be a part of the Notre Dame family. I could have gone to many other business schools but Notre Dame was the only one for me. You can’t understand truly how special the place is unless you spend a day walking around the campus.”
Watch Poets&Quants’ John A. Byrne interview Mendoza’s Associate Dean Jeffrey Bergstrand. Watch the full interview.
MBA Program Consideration Set:
Stretch Schools: Emory, Indiana, USC
Match Schools: Georgetown, Minnesota, Washington University, Rice, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Wisconsin, Michigan State, University of Washington, Brigham Young
Safe Schools: Southern Methodist, Rochester, Maryland, Boston University
Estimate of Total Pay over a 20-Year Career*: $2,261,000
Notes: MBA Program Consideration Set: If you believe you’re a close match to this school–based on your GMAT and GPA scores, your age and work experience, you should look at these other competitive full-time MBA programs as well. We list them by stretch, match and safety. These options are presented on the basis of brand image and ranking status.
* 2014 Payscale study for Poets&Quants.