Mendoza School of Business

MBA Student Profile: Rachelle Ollee

Published: July 17, 2019 / Author: Rachelle Ollee

As a native of Seattle, I never saw myself moving to South Bend, Ind. The idea of trading in my raincoat for an ankle-length parka (seriously, a game changer!) was not something I ever anticipated. But, a little under a year ago, I left a job at Amazon and moved more than 2,000 miles from the only place that I called home to attend the University of Notre Dame’s MBA program.

Admittedly, I was a career switcher, and I struggled to find my professional place. I had ideas of careers I wanted to try and I knew broad goals I wanted to achieve, but I was not sure of the right path to take.

Luckily, the Notre Dame MBA program offers a series of mini-panels designed for students like myself who want to explore a variety of different career options. These are called “Career Deep Dives” with topics ranging from marketing and general management to corporate finance, technology and consulting. I have always been interested in consulting, and after hearing various consultants talk about their experiences, I knew this is exactly what I wanted to do.

Eager to learn more about consulting, I got involved in the Consulting Club. Through the club, I learned invaluable tools for interviewing, and I started building a network of like-minded classmates. I became a champion for the Consulting Club where I was later elected as chief communications officer for the 2019-2020 academic year. It was in the Consulting Club where I saw the need to focus more heavily on my quantitative courses.

Although I enjoyed many of my quantitative classes during the first semester, two courses stood out as my favorites: Economics and Accounting. If you asked me during my undergraduate years about my favorite classes, those two would not have been on the list, but the professors at Notre Dame made the difference. Professor Jason Reed is by far one of the best professors I have ever had. His dedication to students is unmatched. Professor Reed used everything from podcasts to videos of game theory to explain concepts, and he made himself readily accessible to his students.

When I learned I would have Accounting for the first full semester, I was not exactly thrilled. But Professor Jeffrey Miller is like no other. His ability to relate concepts through companies and news that we, as millennials, are interested in was exceptional. His accounting jokes were also hilarious. Beyond that, I knew that these were fundamentals that I could use in a consulting internship over the summer. Although professors only teach students for seven weeks, they still become our greatest advocates.

Unique to Notre Dame, every MBA student works in the same project group for the first semester. In this group, I was able to learn, grow and lead others in an adventurous, cultivating place. I had teammates who were born in Seattle like myself and teammates who were born in Serbia. With these similarities and differences, they all became my family. I have continued to build friendships both inside and outside the MBA program, meeting people everywhere from tailgates to clubs to eating lunch in the Duncan Student Center. Through this community, I have built a new place to call home.

Outside of the MBA program, I had the opportunity to pursue my other passions in the Notre Dame community. I focused on fitness and became a Barre instructor at the Duncan Student Center. I had been teaching Barre for more than four years while I lived in Seattle, and I deeply missed it. Teaching has given me the opportunity not only to lead in the MBA program, but across the larger Notre Dame community.

As I reflect on my first year in the MBA program, I am excited about all I have accomplished in South Bend, a city I now call home. In just six months, I have been catapulted into the consulting world. Whether South Bend is your hometown or you live thousands of miles from Indiana, Mendoza can help you find your community. For an individual considering a MBA, Notre Dame should be at the top of your list. Mendoza is a place that changes the trajectory of your life to take you where you want to go.


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