Alumni Perspective: Mark Faldowski, MBA’17
Published: May 13, 2019 / Author: Mark Faldowski
Mark Faldowski, MBA ’17, and current Investment Banking Associate at UBS and Co-Founder of Legacies Alive, reflects on his time at Notre Dame and his life since graduating.
Put Your Relationships First
I graduated West Point in 2009 and served five years of active duty in both the 25th Infantry Division as well as the 75th Ranger Regiment. During that time I was deployed three times to combat, once to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan.
When I transitioned out of the Army, I co-founded a non-profit organization called Legacies Alive, which supports the Gold Star families of our nation’s fallen heroes and brings national awareness to the life and character of all service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
I spent a year walking the country with my fellow co-founder of Legacies Alive, Mike Viti. We walked a kilometer for every soldier killed in Iraq and Afghanistan: 7,100 kilometers total, thanking Gold Star families across the United States.
After my time in the military and the first Legacies Alive journey, I’d been removed from education for a while. I wanted to go back to school to learn the technical business skills and apply the leadership I’d developed at West Point and in the military.
I felt like I could learn the numbers in any MBA program. I chose Notre Dame because I was looking for a more holistic experience.
During my time at Notre Dame, I found not only a world-class institution—which afforded me the opportunity to travel internationally and learn from some of the best professors I’ve ever encountered—but world-class people, many of whom I developed relationships with that I maintain to this day.
One of my most memorable experiences was the Business on the Frontlines (BOTFL) course with Viva Bartkus. Our team of five traveled to Ghana and worked with Newmont Mining, one of the world’s largest gold mining companies, to address a vitally important question: What is a corporation’s obligation to repair or help the communities disrupted by gold mining? We were presented a real problem, with real lives and real repercussions. In return, we took advantage of the opportunity and delivered a real solution with tangible metrics for Newmont’s implementation. BOTFL best prepared me to pursue a career in finance and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to study under the supervision of Professor Bartkus.
While studying at Notre Dame, I interned at UBS in investment banking and accepted a offer to return full time, where I currently work in our Leveraged Finance and Financial Sponsors Group.
People that I’ve encountered, whether on Wall Street or in general professional settings, have a high standard that they expect from Notre Dame graduates. They expect a wholesome person, a hard worker, somebody who’s intelligent, and above all, someone who uses their powers for good.
My father raised me on the principles of honesty, integrity, and loyalty. From a young age he taught me the importance of relationships.
If I had one piece of advice for graduates, it would echo my father’s—and Notre Dame’s—ideals: put your relationships at the forefront of all you do. Grades are important, but once you know your trade, the relationships you form will be paramount to your success.