Mendoza School of Business

Student Perspective: Emily Clark

Published: March 12, 2019 / Author: Emily Clark

I had never seen the movie Rudy before attending Notre Dame. After watching the film on the football field inside Notre Dame Stadium with my classmates last August, I understood why the story is so cherished by students and alumni. There are many parallels between the story of an undersized benchwarmer who simply believed he could play football at Notre Dame and the countless prospects hoping to become one of the University’s students.

Rudy was hard-working, driven, and resilient—just like us. The movie also embodies my favorite mantra: ‘Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.’

That phrase described my life through high school, college, and Division I athletics. It also applied to my career in consulting and my choice in an MBA program. To develop as a leader, you must grow outside your comfort zone. Notre Dame has afforded me the opportunity to grow outside my comfort zone while supporting me with fantastic classmates and an unparalleled alumni network.

During Notre Dame’s preview weekend last April, I heard current students say many times that the University is like a family. When I talk to prospective students now, I, too, repeat that statement. I can describe the collaborative nature of the MBA program ad nauseum, but I can’t make you, the future student, feel its full effect until you walk the halls.

In my seven months in Notre Dame’s MBA program, I have developed as an individual and a leader by collaborating with classmates and developing pivotal relationships in my life. Notre Dame truly is a family.

The sense of togetherness begins when an incoming class of candidates arrives for orientation. We went through an Integral Leadership Development (ILD) program where we identified strengths and areas of development as leaders. We met our cohort before the pressures of classes and recruiting begins in September. During my session, a facilitator instructed us to recall past experiences and identify patterns of activity that indicated what we enjoyed doing and what our strengths might be. I realized I enjoyed finding opportunities to make an impact and leave a situation better than I found it.

As a high schooler, I sought to attend a smaller Division I college where I could make an impact on a field hockey team over joining an historically strong team where I would be just a number. Following graduation from college, I decided to join a Big 4 consulting firm, but in a growing service line where I had the opportunity to create initiatives and help build the practice. I had impact in mind when I searched for an MBA program. I looked for a program where I could have an impact and make lasting connections with classmates — great football was a bonus. Notre Dame was the absolute right choice for me.

During a presentation to our MBA Consulting Club, an alumnus remarked that, ‘the ethos of Notre Dame is servant leadership.’ As someone who saw this concept exemplified by my parents and later in college teammates, I thought I had a solid understanding of servant leadership. But through working with classmates on MBA Consulting Club strategy and program improvements and collaborating with Professor Joe Holt to develop a course on accelerating inclusion and leadership opportunities for women in business, I have witnessed and been inspired by the spirit of servant leadership that is key to Notre Dame.

I hope you can say you felt the nature of our leadership as soon as you got to campus. I’m fortunate to be the incoming president of the MBA Consulting Club, where we are already thinking of incoming first-year candidates as our customers and tailoring our strategy for you. In executing this student-centric strategy, I am developing as both a leader and problem-solver along with my leadership team and club members.

To prospective students, I would love to talk to you about how special Notre Dame is, but to truly understand it, you must walk the halls of Mendoza (I also highly recommend watching Rudy – it’s great!). I am thrilled I chose Mendoza for my MBA, I can’t imagine a better place to grow by getting outside my comfort zone.

Topics: Student Life