A Leader’s Dream Achieved
Andrew Cornick, MBA ’17, changed industries, led his peers, and made a lifelong goal come true
A key internal question led Andrew Cornick to make a career change and, in the process, achieve a childhood dream: To graduate from the University of Notre Dame.
The Chicagoland native came to Notre Dame for a hockey tournament at age 8 and recalls telling his parents he would get back to ND for college someday. He wound up pursuing an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering elsewhere, then spent five years in environmental sales within the clean-water market. Knowing he wanted to stay in business, Cornick questioned what he would need for higher-level leadership roles.
“I asked myself, ’If someone asked me to be the CEO of their company tomorrow, would I know what to do?’” he remembers. “I realized what I was lacking were internal operations like finance and accounting, and I wanted to learn all of it.”
An MBA provided the chance for that learning, and Notre Dame proved an ideal place. His wife, a physician assistant, kept working at her job in Chicago, and the couple found the 90-mile distance from South Bend easily manageable for weekend and even mid-week trips.
Cornick even found time to serve as president of the Notre Dame MBA General Management Club. He also co-founded Mendoza Professional Services, a pro bono, student-run consulting service.
The student leadership opportunities proved formative to his experience at Notre Dame. “Being able to lead your peers gives you a new view of what different jobs and corporations are like, and what it’s like to lead a team,” he says.
Next Cornick will join EcoLab, working at its St. Paul, Minnesota headquarters as finance manager. His new role at the environmental and sanitation leader blends his engineering background, his interests in the environment and clean water, and his newly acquired financial skills.
Then there’s the immense personal satisfaction Cornick feels at graduating as the Domer he long dreamed about becoming, with everything the degree connotes. “For me growing up in Chicago, Notre Dame was always the symbol of integrity and excellence and class, and now I get to be someone who embodies that,” he says. “It gives you an official source of pride that you can carry forever.”