MSBA Student Kristen Litgen on the bonds formed with Notre Dame Professors

Author: Kristen Litgen

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"My undergrad experience was that professors lectured, perhaps stuck around for a few minutes for simple questions if they had time, then they were off to the next class. I didn’t know anything about them beyond what was written in university bios and the professors certainly knew little to nothing about me-- most times not even my name. Help was delivered during office hours. And if you still struggled, well, the norm in my major was it was on the individual to sort it out. So when selecting an analytics program, while “who” was going to be teaching was definitely a factor in my decision in terms of credentials, I didn’t have any expectations of interactions with the professors beyond that they would likely be more invested than my undergrad professors.

From the first day or two of our classes in January, I immediately knew that interactions with the program’s professors were going to be the total opposite of my expectations. At the beginning of each new class, many professors not only gave an outline of the class, but they also provided an overview of who they were beyond their resumes, sharing stories and pictures of their families. Throughout the year, we’ve had the opportunity to learn more from them as they join us for meals and interact with us during breaks. Many times those interactions are extensions of class topics, but just as often, we are learning about lighter, more personal topics like their favorite podcasts or predictions for the finale of Game of Thrones.

A key distinction is that the concept of office hours doesn’t really apply in this program. Being cognizant that we are all working fulltime and going to school, most professors have worked around our schedules rather than us working around theirs. I’ve received immediate email responses to questions as I struggled with R on a Sunday night, had detailed statistic conversations with a professor when he was in transit to his son’s lacrosse game, and had weekly team meetings late at night with professors who patiently helped us work through our Capstone project challenges for longer than the time we scheduled. As we near the end of the program, I can honestly say that I feel like the professors are all rooting for our success."