Mendoza School of Business

An Investment in Personal and Professional Growth: Alumna Caitlin Stojanovich (EMBA ’19)

Published: September 3, 2020 / Author: Caitlin Stojanovich

Caitlin’s Journey to the Notre Dame Executive MBA

When evaluating executive degree programs, I was immediately drawn to Notre Dame because of the university’s reputation and strength of the alumni network. I knew that whatever program I selected was going to be a big investment, in terms of both time and finances, and I wanted to make sure I was positioning myself to get the most I possibly could out of that investment.

I selected Mendoza’s Executive MBA program because of the quality of the course offerings and how impressed I was with students, faculty, and staff I met with during my on-campus interview.

At the time I was entering the program, I wasn’t entirely sure which direction I wanted to take my career and I believed the program’s emphasis on strategy would be beneficial in both the long and short run of my development, regardless of what professional choices I made.

As soon as you get to know your cohort, you get to start reaping the benefits of that, but it doesn’t end when the program does.

Setting the Stage for Leadership Development

The things we learned about ourselves in Executive Integral Leadership immediately changed the way I approach leadership and truly set the stage for us to use the remainder of the program to help each other achieve our personal goals for growth.

The ability to have an entire cohort of classmates who have unique experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives that you can discuss real business challenges you are facing with is an incredible asset.

As soon as you get to know your cohort, you get to start reaping the benefits of that, but it doesn’t end when the program does; I still bounce ideas off my classmates and get their opinions as an alumna just as much as I did as a student.

Finding a Community of Mutual Support

One of the things that concerned me most about the program was the quantitative work. Taking accounting as an undergraduate was one of my least-favorite student experiences and, ever since, I doubted my competency whenever financial discussions came up at work.

In the first accounting course of the program, Professor [Tom] Schaefer changed all that for me. He explained accounting in a way I understood and thanks to him, the rest of the accounting and finance courses ended up being some of my favorite in the program.

Now that I have such a strong understanding of those subjects, I am able to ask better questions and evaluate real-life business cases much more effectively. Professor Schaefer gave me the tools and confidence to do that.

Within 12 months of graduation, I was promoted to being one of youngest and very few female vice presidents at my company.

Notre Dame Career Services was also a huge benefit. Having the opportunity to work with a dedicated career coach like Jim Sullivan was a resource that helped me immensely when I was making decisions about what I wanted to do next professionally.

That kind of one-on-one support was something my peers outside of the program didn’t have access to, and I truly believe that impacted my ability to take the next step professionally much quicker than I would have otherwise been ready to do.

Opening the Door to Career Advancement

Graduating from the program had a noticeable and relatively direct impact on my professional life. Over the course of the program, I was able to demonstrate what I was learning to the executive leadership team of my company and start participating in higher-level discussions than I had previously. Not only did that help my company see my development firsthand, it also opened my eyes to new possibilities for my career.

Within 12 months of graduation, I was promoted to being one of youngest and very few female vice presidents at my company.

My advice to someone considering the Executive MBA at Notre Dame would be to just go for it. There is never a perfect time, but there is a reason you are considering it and something that already drew you to Notre Dame.

Participating in the program was one of the best experiences of my life and I am so glad I made a decision that allowed me to become a part of the Notre Dame family. I know I will continue to benefit from that choice for the rest of my career.

Now, I try to grow the good in business every day in my current role, and that commitment was a large motivator in accepting the role I took on after graduation, because my new position offered an even bigger platform to create positive change for our employees.

Knowing that our mission as alumni is to grow the good has been a great personal barometer for me in ensuring that every decision and action we take gets us one step closer to that objective. Without a doubt, it has made me a better leader and set me up to make lasting change for the better – at work and in my community.

To learn more about the Executive MBA programs offered at Notre Dame, visit the links below: