Abigail Oduro, MBA '17

Author: Lynn Freehill-Maye

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The Definition of ‘True Calling’

Three reasons why MBA graduate Abigail Oduro couldn’t say no to the Dome

After taking the Graduate Management Admissions Test, Abigail Oduro received MBA program packets from many schools--but the one with the golden Dome called her name. The University of Notre Dame invited Oduro to “Ask More of Business,” and that motto resonated with her. So did the University’s broad range of international opportunities, many of which provide the opportunity to develop business skills while giving back to local communities.

“I couldn’t get past it,” Oduro, MBA ’17, remembers. “I chose Notre Dame because of the motto, because of the Business on the Frontlines course, and because of the alumni network--something I could lean on and give back to once I left Notre Dame.”

Two years later, Oduro has found every opportunity she expected from the University--and many beyond what she’d imagined. A native of Ghana, Oduro entered the program hoping eventually to return and work in her family businesses. While that remains her long-term goal, she now plans to further develop leadership skills first.

In the fall Oduro will join New York-based Corning Inc. as a Business Strategy Manager. Professor Mike Mannor’s Business Strategy course, which included a product-launch simulation, helped Oduro realize how much she liked strategic challenges. At Corning, she’ll draw on the areas of entrepreneurship, finance, strategy and marketing to help launch new products into the marketplace.

The knowledge gained from her diverse classmates and the international experiences at Mendoza will also contribute to her success in that role and beyond, she says.

“The business lessons that I’ve taken from Notre Dame are so applicable,” she says. “How do you interact, network, motivate your team, and bring out the best in people, or get past team dynamics or a challenging team member who probably has a lot to offer? The people skills and the technical skills will be very helpful.”

Early in the program, Oduro traveled to Brazil and Chile, meeting with leaders at a broad range of companies in order to understand their national business climates. Later she helped local Haitian entrepreneurs develop accounting, strategy, and other business skills through the Entrepreneurship Growth Initiative Haiti.

And through the Business on the Frontlines course, Oduro and a number of her classmates worked on five business-development projects to improve daily life in post-conflict countries. Her team worked on combating child malnutrition in the Pacific island nation of Kiribati; others worked on areas like closing down a mine in Ghana and issuing the first-ever development bond in Uganda. When talking about her experience, Oduro lights up. "Professor Bartkus and the Frontlines course drove home the fact that I belong on the front lines, that is where the greatest impact can be made."

“There are so many opportunities at Notre Dame. Working on those kinds of projects really broadened my horizons and gave me experiences I wouldn’t have considered,” Oduro says. “I want to work not just for a business that does good but makes a difference in the most ethical way possible, really bettering the world. I would not trade my time at ND for anything.”