As an incoming U.S. Diplomat, when I made the decision to attend business school, many thought it was an odd choice. My colleagues in the United States Foreign Service asked 'why didn’t you choose International Relations school?' With even more bewilderment they’d tell me 'you can go anywhere -- why choose Notre Dame?' To them, a policy school in Washington, New York, or a shining European capitol would have made much more sense.
But understanding what the world required of me, the type of experience I was yearning for, and the type of leader I wanted to be, the Mendoza College of Business made the most sense. Mendoza has given me everything I needed and more. Just a few months short of graduation, I already feel ready to effectively and ethically tackle the challenges of a challenging world.
I need not tell anyone the world can be a chaotic, cold and dangerous place. I know that my values will be the guiding principles that help me navigate through that chaos. When applying for schools, I needed a program that would match and honor my commitment to authentic, values-driven leadership. Like no other program, Notre Dame has done just that, and it is pervasive throughout the curriculum.
Integral leadership Development (ILD), an intensive program for all new Notre Dame MBA candidates, really helped me articulate my values, understand how those values shaped my worldview, and helped prepare me to put my values into practice. The focus on ethics and values has been consistent throughout my time at Mendoza. From the core ethics class we all take, to discussions around exhibiting your values in accounting and finance class, Mendoza’s focus on values based leadership is much more than just words. It touches us every day, on and off campus. South Bend has proved to be that quiet place to not only learn about the man and leader I wanted to be but put those values into practice in meaningful ways.
From the moment I stepped on campus, Mendoza provided opportunities to both practice my values and work on the skills I’d need to be an effective foreign service officer. The strength and quality of curriculum have been an obvious value-added for me – specifically, the core finance, economics and accounting classes that go so far in helping me be a dutiful public servant and shepherd of tax payer funds.
Outside the classroom, I had the opportunity to lead the Black Graduates in Management Club in my first year. In addition to working closely with Mendoza personnel to work on the college’s diversity, inclusion and collaboration goals, I was able to hone the management and leadership skills that come with running a student organization. In addition, serving as a teaching assistant for Mendoza’s premier course, Business on the Frontlines (BOTFL), I have been able to use my problem-solving skills to ask more of business and serve the least among us around the globe.
Building partnerships, consulting with global businesses, and providing opportunity for the world’s most vulnerable has been one of the most impactful and meaningful experiences of my life. BOTFL and everyone involved have helped me in innumerable ways further craft the values-driven, empathetic leader I always knew could be.
When I graduate from Mendoza in May, I know I will depart with a family and extended network full of people committed to making the world a better place. As an admissions ambassador tasked with welcoming prospective students to campus, I find no greater joy than in bragging about my classmates who have become close friends and confidants. Mendoza had everything I was looking for in a program, including a cohort of people who lead with their values and fundamentally believe that business can and should be a force for good in the world. By the time I graduate, my MBA experience will have spanned four continents (United States, Rwanda, Singapore, Chile) from all corners of the world. I have proved to myself and the global communities that I have served that I am a more capable public servant because of my time with them.
For any individual considering an MBA and wanting to change the world, specifically through business, Notre Dame should be on your radar. The candidates that end up here are all connected by the belief that business can be the great stabilizer and a true force for good in the world. The people here combined with the opportunities to put your skills into meaningful practice and the rock-star curriculum, make Mendoza a place that truly prepares you to make the world a better place. No matter where you have been, the Notre Dame MBA can take you where you want to go, wherever life may take you. I am proof of that.