Mendoza School of Business

Student Perspective: Laura Labate (MSM ’21)

Published: April 19, 2021 / Author: Laura Labate

Meet Laura Labate, a student in our Master of Science in Management program. Here, she shares how her passion for human resources sprouted into a leadership role at Aldi, thanks to Mendoza’s integrated curriculum and supportive alumni community.


Choosing Notre Dame’s M.S. in Management

I chose Notre Dame’s Master of Science in Management (MSM) program because I wanted to learn how to lead and manage with prestige and integrity prior to entering the workforce. I trusted Notre Dame would provide me with a rigorous workload that would allow me to grow, and this has certainty been the case. Given my desire to pursue a career in human resources, I recognized the power and value that comes from a deep understanding of business. In order to be an effective professional, I wanted the business acumen that would allow me to understand the intricacies of work throughout various departments within a company.

The MSM courses are designed to provide students with a complete overview of the essential knowledge needed to be effective professionals no matter the career students choose to pursue. I also chose this program realizing management is a skill that must be studied and developed prior to entering the workforce. There is a misconception that management is a fixed ability, but if this program has taught me one thing it is that successful managers share common characteristics and skills that can be learned. This realization has motivated me to excel in the program.

A rich learning opportunity

The MSM cohort is made up of students of various ages and from various backgrounds. The diversity within the program has been invaluable to me. My peers’ willingness to share their lived experiences in the classroom has created a rich learning opportunity. It is this exposure to diversity that I am incredibly grateful for. The program does a great job attracting students with different strengths and abilities. I was confident when choosing Notre Dame because I knew I would be surrounded by credible people, but I never could’ve imagined my peers would be so influential to me.

The classes and content are extremely relevant to the world you are about to enter, no matter what your field of study might be! Soak it all up. I found myself to be intrinsically motivated throughout the program because I knew this was material I wanted to learn and retain in order to apply it in a professional environment. This program taught me how to learn for the sake of learning, not for a grade or a degree but rather for a core business acumen I could take with me into the workforce.

Laura Labate, a student in Mendoza's Master of Science in Management program.

August 17, 2020; (Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame)

Building toward success

The program helped me broaden my predetermined professional goals by providing me with the resources to thoroughly understand my career aspirations and the professions that best suited me. I entered the program set on pursuing [a career in] human resources. While many of my interests still lie in this field, the Bridge to Success course helped me recognize I find meaning in work beyond human resources.

Through a career panel discussion with an MSM alum I became aware of a district manager position. The nature of the work seemed to fit the type I had been seeking. The role allows me to be autonomous in a diverse environment, while gaining management experience. With this I began the interview process and landed a role with Aldi as a district manager.

If it weren’t for this program, I don’t think I would’ve had the confidence to explore professions outside of human resources. The Master of Science in Management has provided me with invaluable resources and insights I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.

Adapting and leading through adversity

There is much to be said for the short amount of time I have spent at Notre Dame thus far. Despite the oddities of the academic year, Mendoza has modeled the power of resilience. I am bound to face unpredictable challenges throughout my academic and professional endeavors. While I can recognize many of these challenges may be out of my control, Notre Dame has empowered me to adapt and lead during difficult times. The faculty and staff have demonstrated how to lead with compassion and empathy, by listening to and working with students to ensure an optimal learning environment. I hope to replicate their admirable leadership styles in my professional endeavors.

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