Mendoza School of Business

Alumni Perspective: David Olivencia, MBA ’04

Published: May 13, 2019 / Author: David Olivencia

David Olivencia, MBA ’04, and current Managing Director, Cloud Advisory, at Accenture reflects on his time at Notre Dame and his life since graduating. 

Build and Nurture Your Notre Dame Network

In 2001, I was working for Ford as an enterprise architect, helping align their multi-billion-dollar IT investment with their overall business and IT governance standards. I was well-versed on the technology side of things, but business was a different language; I didn’t feel like I had the competency to speak it with authority. At the same time, I started looking at leaders that I admired. One common trait that I saw was that they all had an MBA.

So I sought out MBA programs that would increase my competency and give me a little more freedom in the career choices I could make in the future. Even though I’d been a lifelong Notre Dame fan, I’d never looked at the MBA program.

I walked on campus and it hit me and I fell in love.

I’d been to campus before, but I hadn’t been looking to study there. I learned the values of Notre Dame and what they teach in the business school—not only the academics but the integral leadership component, the integrity—all of those things that I’ve since learned and that I’ll always keep with me. They were a vital part of why I wanted to go Notre Dame.

My experience did not disappoint.

In addition to being part of a great student cohort team, I had some amazing professors: Matt Bloom for Innovation, John Affleck-Graves for Finance, Jeff Bergstrand for Macro Economics—all of them provided valuable learnings that helped me think more strategically.

Getting my MBA from Notre Dame was like pouring fertilizer on my career.

It gave me a broader view, increased my competency and afforded me the confidence that I could walk into any room and be able to talk about any component of the macro and micro economy and accounting. I’ve become a stronger leader, and I’ve been able to integrate my faith into my leadership style in a way that differentiates me in the workplace.

Also, the Notre Dame degree has a strong reputation in the professional world. The alumni are doing very well and, as a result, the degree is well received. But it is also a huge responsibility to be a Notre Dame graduate. You’re an ambassador for the brand and you don’t want to disappoint anybody in the Notre Dame family.

I would encourage all graduates to tap into that Notre Dame family—whether it’s by joining alumni clubs or giving societies. Get involved, get back to campus and build and nurture that network.

The Notre Dame network is a special network where people share a lot of the same values. It makes it easier to meet and connect and it should be leveraged—for the ways in which you might benefit from it, and for how you might help out your fellow Fighting Irish and your alma mater.