Every MBA needs a guardian angel to watch over them. At Notre Dame, alumni embrace this role as a higher calling. For them, a Notre Dame diploma is a pledge to serve as advocates, coaches, and models for the students who follow them. This commitment is driven by more than an impulse to pay forward past blessings. It is a means of expressing the values and sharing the experiences that profoundly shaped them. And it is a continuation of the apostolic tradition of bringing light from darkness – and being stewards who mentor and recruit the next generation into positions where they too can make a difference.
This mission can be tough to fathom away from the shadow of the Golden Dome. Just ask Lou Holtz, a former football coach, whose famous maxim sums up the Notre Dame mystique: “Those who know Notre Dame, no explanation’s necessary. Those who don’t, no explanation will suffice.” Kristen McAndrew, who heads admissions for the Mendoza School’s graduate business programs, echoes Holtz, claiming in a 2017 interview with Poets&Quants that “until you come and experience it, you don’t truly understand it.” This point was recently underscored when McAndrew asked a Mendoza graduate for advice to share with incoming students.
“TRUST THE NETWORK”
“She said, ‘Trust the network.’ As a student, she reached out to 15 alumni and thought she would hear back from three or five. She said, ‘I was appalled. Every single one of them wrote back to me. I had more coffees and phone calls than I could handle.’”
She wasn’t alone. In 2016, Mendoza MBAs gave their alumni the 4th-highest score for effectiveness in The Economist student survey. Not surprisingly, Mendoza grads gave their alma mater equally impressive marks in the Bloomberg Businessweek alumni survey. McAndrew traces this back to the program’s strong emphasis on ethical values, a bridge that connects Mendoza MBAs of all classes.
“The focus on ethics, the focus on being part of something bigger than yourself that students experience when they are part of the community is why the network is as strong as it is,” explains McAndrew. “A Notre Dame alumna knows that when they graduate, they can think back to why they chose Notre Dame, what they cared about, and what their values were. They know the way they were taught in the classroom to think about the impact that their decisions might have in the business world beyond just the bottom line. They have confidence that we are still teaching that way. They have confidence that they are the same kinds of students that are drawn to Notre Dame. So they feel very comfortable passing your resume along to a colleague or making an introduction even if they’ve just met a new Mendoza grad because they know what Notre Dame is about and they know who chooses Notre Dame.”
Read the individual stories of the 12 students highlighted: