MBA Student Perspective: Audrey Walker
Published: February 20, 2019 / Author: Audrey Walker
When I decided to get my MBA, I knew I was making one of the biggest decisions of my career. Given the plethora of options available, arguably an even bigger decision was where to get my MBA. When thinking about what I wanted from a program, there were some key criteria that instantly came to mind: strong academic reputation, excellent career services and that hard-to-define idea of the “right fit.”
With a background in psychology and research, there is nothing I love more than being able to roll up my sleeves, dive into some data, and begin drafting a game plan. My business school search did not play out that way. There was an overwhelming amount of information available: GMAT scores, concentration options, acceptance rates, academic ranking, estimated post-graduate salary, job placement rate, student testimonials…the list went on and on.
Each piece of information seemed like it had the potential to offer some unique insight and had to factor into my determination of whether or not that school was for me. Over the course of my research, I examined numerous programs that often looked great on paper. However, none of them ultimately felt right. Just as I was resigning myself to choosing the program I disliked the least, I found Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. Once I found Notre Dame and explored what they had to offer, I realized my search was over.
While Notre Dame was competitive when it came to the numbers, it was the unquantifiable qualities that truly set it apart. The school’s mission to “ask more of business,” its incredible sense of community, and the fact that everyone at ND seemed to genuinely love it all signaled to me that Mendoza was the perfect fit for me and my career goals.
Of all the distinguishing qualities, the one that has played the biggest role in my day-to-day life is Mendoza’s sense of community, particularly among my fellow classmates. Notre Dame attracts what seems to be an unusually high concentration of smart and ambitious people who are also genuinely nice and more focused on collaborating rather than competing. Nowhere is this more evident than the internship search. As a first year MBA student, trying to find a summer internship that aligns with your career goals and ideally sets you up for a full-time position after graduation is daunting and takes up a significant amount of time and energy. While the pressure to land a coveted position could potentially turn classmates against one another, it has the opposite effect at Mendoza. Everyone is willing to help their fellow internship-seekers, whether by reviewing resumes, helping with case prep, holding mock interviews, or offering insight into specific companies, even when they are pursuing the same internship position.
Given that one of my chosen concentrations is Business Analytics and that I’ve developed a reputation among my classmates as someone who genuinely enjoys working with spreadsheets, it may seem a bit unusual that my business school decision was ultimately made based on such intangible things like community and mission. Just as my initial research-driven methodology was rooted in my psychology background, so too is the ultimate reason I ended up here at Notre Dame. Famous psychologist Kurt Koffka’s coined the idea that “the whole is other than the sum of its parts.” In the end, there wasn’t one magical statistic or weighted formula that made Mendoza my first (and only) choice. It was the ineffable sense I got from my time spent visiting campus and talking to students, faculty, and staff, a sense best encapsulated in the phrase emblazoned on my acceptance packet: Welcome to the Family.
Topics: Student Life