You would expect Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business to focus its teaching on making profits from the world as it is instead of asking students to explore how to fundamentally change it.
But that means you probably haven’t met business Professor Leo Burke — a former entrepreneur, Motorola executive and, in his student days, manager of the Notre Dame football team.
At first glance, Burke ’70 hardly seems a rabble-rouser. Wearing tassel loafers, navy blue slacks, a tasteful blazer and wire-rim glasses, he looks exactly the part of a business professor. Yet when standing at the podium in an Executive Leadership Seminar — so slender it appears a strong breeze would carry him away — he sounds like a community organizer crossed with a moral philosopher. “When we are able to work out of our deepest values, we can work with a compassion for others that changes systems.”
He’s speaking to students in the executive MBA program who travel to South Bend once a month for an intensive four-day battery of classes. They are successful business leaders, many of whom have already climbed far on the corporate ladder and believe a Notre Dame MBA will boost them to the top, so you might expect some eyes to roll at this outspoken display of idealism. But everyone sits riveted by Burke’s message, scribbling notes in unison when he asks, “What inner capacity do you need to access in order to make a difference?”Read the entire article published in the Winter 2011-2012 edition of Notre Dame Magazine.