The missing piece
Author: Jim Zwald (MBA '90)
When considering graduate business school, I was looking for a place that would provide academic rigor and an exciting place to study. That place was Notre Dame. The experience that I had in the Notre Dame MBA program allowed me to further my professional goals, broaden my thinking in a moral and ethical way and make lifelong friends. Even though it has been over 30 years since our graduation, I feel like it was just last week that we were going to class and enjoying the camaraderie on the beautiful Notre Dame campus.
The MBA was a piece that was missing for my future career as a healthcare executive and consultant. After obtaining an undergraduate degree in hospital administration, I managed a hospital outpatient department for several years but realized that I needed an MBA to advance up the executive tree. The degree allowed me to attain management positions that would most like normally take longer to achieve.
The comprehensive MBA studies also taught me the nuances of business especially with financial and operational skills. This education gives me confidence in facing professional challenges and pressures inherent in dealing with an often diverse and complicated patient population.
The program also taught me the importance of ethical and considerate decisions in business practice. In a field like healthcare, focus on empathetic and accessible care for the patient requires one to have a strong humane outlook while at the same time keeping and improving the financial bottom line. While many of my classmates landed positions in consulting and financial services, I was able to parlay my Notre Dame education into a rewarding career where I could make a difference helping people. I was so entrenched in the healthcare industry that I even married a doctor.
The friends that I made at Notre Dame whether from the program or campus life are forever friends that I certainly do not see enough. I moved from my hometown in Atlanta, Georgia, and lived in Saint Joseph Hall where I was fully immersed in the campus environment. Students in my dorm and our MBA class came from all over such as Texas, Kansas, Michigan, New York, California, Germany, Holland, etc. The special connection made during our time in the program grew from the intense period of study and play time we had together. Our class came up with “Pictures with Lou” where a life-sized cut out of Coach Holtz made for a great fundraiser and many a photo op in front of the Knights of Columbus. Extended study hours at the Senior Bar were required and enlightening. Bookstore basketball, trips to Chicago, tailgating and even long study hours in The Huddle computer lab or Hesburgh Library were special.
The opportunity that I had to attend the ND MBA Program, at that time in my life, is one that I am so grateful for. As we age, the experiences and memories become even sweeter, and I look forward to the next reunion where we can again break bread and catch up on our lives.
Thank you, ND, and friends, I am truly blessed.