Mendoza School of Business

Notre Dame launches new pathways framework for MBA

Starting with the Class of 2024, Notre Dame MBA students will experience a more career-focused program with new majors and minors for added flexibility.

Published: November 10, 2022 / Author: Brandi Wampler

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Each year, the Mendoza College of Business welcomes MBA students to campus with a variety of activities designed to familiarize them with Notre Dame’s cherished traditions, help them get to know each other a bit more and, importantly, start planning for what comes next — their career paths after graduation.

To better support students navigating career decisions, the Notre Dame MBA program revamped its curricular structure as of the 2022-2023 academic year to identify pathways that best align a student’s coursework with his or her career aspirations. The four pathways are consulting, finance, marketing and tech.

“This new pathways approach was developed to support our graduates’ career goals while leveraging the strengths of Mendoza’s leading faculty,” said Joe Sweeney, academic director of the MBA programs. “The goal is to create more flexibility to access our academic offerings for the student, while helping them to be more intentional with the courses and opportunities they pursue.”

woman standing in a hallway at Notre Dame's Idea Center

MBA student Phoebe Tzannes (Photo by Matt Cashore)

Aligned with each pathway is a designated major(s): Strategy, Finance, Marketing, Digital Marketing and Marketing Analytics, and Business Analytics. However, the framework is not rigid. This flexibility provides every student the ability to earn one of the MBA’s STEM-designated degrees and create an experience that best fits their career needs.

Additionally, for the first time in the MBA program’s history, 13 minors have been developed to increase the versatility of the curriculum.

“With the pathways framework, it was important for us to integrate flexibility and improved career support,” said Sweeney. “This broader ecosystem offers dedicated career coaches that specialize in each pathway, separate tracks in our Career Leadership Course to provide more targeted information and a strong network of student-led clubs that support career development goals. This ensures all students have the ability to customize their optimal Notre Dame MBA experience.”

Each pathway has an experiential learning opportunity. For example, one of Mendoza’s signature experiences for MBA students is the eight-credit, two-week immersive Business on the Frontlines course, offered by the Meyer Business on the Frontlines Program. The course provides a unique opportunity to put education into action by utilizing the dynamic skills of business to address issues including post-conflict rehabilitation, poverty, illicit economies, isolation and prejudice. While it most directly ties to the consulting pathway due to its combination of strategy, innovation and client service, the Business on the Frontlines course remains an experience that MBA students from all pathways are welcome and encouraged to participate in.

Another signature experience is the Silicon Valley Mod-Away, which launched at Mendoza in 2021. The Mod-Away allows MBA students to live and study for seven weeks in Palo Alto, California, while engaging with alumni, instructors and firms in the tech industry. Mendoza faculty developed new courses in partnership with industry practitioners to create relevant and real time applications of business principles. As part of the MBA’s continuing commitment to the technology field and expanding analytics training offerings, the Mod-Away has now been identified as part of the tech pathway.

“It is important for us to continue the growth of the Notre Dame MBA in a way that continues to make a clear connection to hiring markets and this view simplifies and strengthens our offerings to help students navigate decision making and focus their career outcomes,” said Sweeney. “As we move forward, we will look to innovate around our curricular and program offerings in order to serve our students, foster an inclusive community, and advance Mendoza’s unique brand of business education.”


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