ND MBA Students hone much sought-after problem-solving skills

Author: Mendoza College

Of all the characteristics recruiters seek in MBA graduates, problem solving is a highly prized skill. With a keen ability to solve problems, a manager can yield dramatic organizational results by innovating, improving processes, viewing situations in a new light and, ultimately, influencing the performance of an organization in marked ways. Change driven by globalization, new technologies and process complexities can only be addressed with a methodical, yet open, mind.

Our signature Problem Solving course engages students to think beyond artificial boundaries. “The course ensures that are analysis of a problem is thorough, so our solution addresses all aspects of a given case,” said Bill Rayball, ND MBA ’10. “I have found that most business problems are vague, and sometimes it is not always clear that a problem even exists. This class prepares us to identify problems, work around the uncertainty and drive toward a viable solution."

The management principles and analytical skills taught in the required course mirror the framework for solving complicated business problems set forth inGetting it Right: Notre Dame on Leadership and Judgment in Business, a book co-authored by two faculty members in the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame—Ed Conlon, Associate Dean and Professor of Management, and Viva Bartkus, Associate Professor of Management.

During their time at Notre Dame, our MBA students also have the opportunity to put their newfound skills to work, solving real-life business problems for Fortune 500 organizations. Each fall and spring, the MBA students help shape business strategies for companies such as Hewlett Packard, McDonald's, Coca-Cola, General Electric and Boeing, while others apply problem-solving skills to entrepreneurship projects, with all the inherent challenges, in places including Mexico, Jamaica and Africa. With these advanced problem-solving skills, Notre Dame MBA students are ready to hit the ground running upon graduation.