After earning their MBAs together at Notre Dame, this husband-and-wife team (both ex-Army) landed in the Big Apple.
Carly performs private-wealth management for JPMorgan Chase, providing high-net-worth individuals with advice on wealth planning, investments and credit. Jered advises client companies of Barclays on debt and equity transactions.
Carly says they both have fond memories of Notre Dame.
"That was the best two years of our lives."
Notre Dame can only take partial credit. It was also the first two full years the couple were able to live together.
The DaCostas wed two days after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, as captains in the Army. The military then sent them to different locations for training. Then came a series of assignments – separated – to Korea, Iraq, Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Alaska. For a year they were both in Alaska but at bases eight hours apart.
The separations were a big reason they decided to leave the military after five years, Carly says. Jered was the first to consider doing an MBA. Together they began visiting universities.
"I was kind of along for the ride,” recalls Carly. “But when we got to Notre Dame the spirit overtook me, and I absolutely loved it."
She says the traditional architecture of the campus reminded them of West Point. And they discovered that, like the military academy, Notre Dame was a place that coveted tradition and protected its values.
"That’s something that we really appreciated"
The program’s core classes were ideal for them, she says, because they were both making a complete career change. Carly had been in communications; Jered served in an Airborne infantry unit. The coursework also integrated well with the leadership training they’d received in the Army, she says.
One of the highlights of their MBA experience, she says, was studying abroad, in South America and on a trip to China for two weeks over a spring break.
"Those were the most exceptional trips," Carly says. “The industry experts ND arranged to have speak with or teach us on a daily basis were so experienced and insightful. Both trips profoundly affected my understanding of the Chinese and South American cultures and how they relate to global business."
Carly DaCosta (MBA '11)
JPMorgan Private Banking
New York City
Jered DaCosta (MBA '11)
Barclays Capital Investment Banking Division
New York City
Jason Frei thinks it would be illustrative to line up all the logos of the organizations one has chosen to be a part of in life. It would show what really matters to the person.
In his case the lineup would include the insignia of the U.S. Marines, in which he served for 10 years (field artillery), Notre Dame, where he went for his MBA.
He says the Marines appealed to him because he wanted a challenge and to be part of an organization that valued camaraderie and a commitment to excellence.
As for Notre Dame…
"For me it was about the quality of the education and the quality of the institution … it’s finding a place that has the same values you do, that's an institution you really want to be part of for the rest of your life."
Frei says students and faculty alike “self-select” to be at Notre Dame because they share such values as a commitment to faith, a belief in helping other people, and a desire to make ethical decisions. They are also committed to excellence.
Those shared values, combined with the college’s excellent reputation and program offerings, make it a great place to transition from the military into the business world, he says. It led him to Boeing.
As a student he met Notre Dame alumnus Pat Finneran ’67, formerly president of Boeing Support Systems, while Finneran was visiting campus. The Support Systems division is a $7 billion business unit that services war fighters. Frei says he mentioned to the executive that he was interested in working in the defense industry. Finneran, a former Marine himself, invited him to St. Louis to check out the organization.
He joined the company after graduation and has been there ever since. It’s another organization whose insignia he's proud to wear.
Jason Frei (MBA '06)
Defense Logistics Agency, Land and Maritime Program
The Boeing Company
Duncan Stewart came to Notre Dame to get his MBA while still on active duty. He was a captain in the Air Force at the time, stationed in Alaska.
It was quite an opportunity. At age 30, married with two children, his wife from the Midwest, he was essentially being paid to leave Alaska and go to Notre Dame to study full time.
"I didn’t even have to wear my uniform," he recalls.
The Air Force wanted Stewart to get his MBA so he could then teach at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Which he did, for three years, leading courses in marketing, entrepreneurship and strategic management.
His next assignment was at the University of Denver, where he was sent for a Ph.D. But he left the service a year later, he says, to accept a civilian job. He was CEO of the Colorado Springs Technology Incubator.
Stewart says he fell in love with Entrepreneurial Studies through the courses and business-plan competitions of Notre Dame’s Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship. The current lieutenant colonel in the Air Force reserve now heads a start-up of his own. Grant Dental Technology, formed in November 2010, manufactures dental implants and surgical tools.
Stewart says he wasn’t even considering Notre Dame for his MBA until he took the GMAT and was invited for a visit.
"After that, it became my first choice."
He says he could tell right away that it was a military-friendly campus, starting with the prominent ROTC programs and facilities.
His impression of Notre Dame as a patriotic place was later confirmed when he attended his first Fighting Irish football games. The pregame ritual for home games includes not only the playing and singing of the national anthem but of "America the Beautiful" and a recitation of excerpts from the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. The ceremony sometimes includes a fighter-jet flyover.
As Duncan mentions, Notre Dame has also always played Navy and other service academies in football "when they probably shouldn't have," because it doesn’t help the team's strength of schedule, a factor in national rankings.
For a big-time college football program, there may be no more military-friendly a gesture than that.
Duncan Stewart (MBA '03)
President and CEO
Grant Dental Technology Corporation
Colorado Springs, Colorado