Mendoza School of Business

Alpha Phi Alpha alum creating new opportunities for himself and his community

Mike Williams, MSM '22

Author: Angela Sienko

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One year after announcing their partnership, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the first intercollegiate Greek-lettered fraternity for African American men, and the Mendoza College of Business are working together to advance the leadership of African American men through graduate business education.

Now, the inaugural cohort of young men has completed their first semester of classes in Notre Dame’s MBA and M.S. in Management (MSM) programs. One of those students is Mike Williams, who is pursuing his MSM. Here he shares his insights and reflections on what it means to be an Alpha Phi Alpha and how he’s building on that foundation in his own mission to Grow the Good in Business:

On Alpha Phi Alpha:
Alpha Phi Alpha taught me how to manage my time, maintain and excel in my academics, and impact the diversified culture in my community. To me, being an Alpha means never squandering an opportunity to positively impact your community and peers. It gave me the confidence to break oppressive barriers by excelling above and beyond in my classrooms to set the tone for my peers, which has positioned me to graduate with a Masters’s degree from the University of Notre Dame.

On Notre Dame’s M.S. in Management Program:
It has been a pleasure to be a part of the 2023 MSM class. From day one I felt appreciated and accepted by my cohort and faculty. The classes and experiences have led to me doing a deep dive into improving my strengths, developing my weaknesses, and transforming my leadership. The MSM faculty is wonderful! They do everything possible to ensure you leave with the skills, opportunities, and connections that will accelerate your career. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity and appreciate them so much for guiding me in the best direction.

On Growing the Good in Business:
I want to pursue a career that will bring immediate business opportunities to my community in Cincinnati. As I look around the city, I see talented people across the board. Young men and women who excel in sports, media, music, and art are significantly culturally diverse. I want to build a homegrown agency where I can grow, develop, and maximize the potential of my community. An MSM degree from Notre Dame would effectively help me turn this dream into reality.

On Success:
I measure success both personally and professionally by the number of people I inspire and motivate. I hope people realize that accomplishing your goals is a marathon, not a sprint. I never tried to have it all figured out and nothing about myself is self-made. I’m in this position because I trusted in God to guide me out of some dark moments, my tremendous support system in my family, and my ‘bend but don’t break’ mindset. Success isn’t about a showcase of my achievements but I want it to be used as a guide for young people in my community to see you have a purpose in life and you can accomplish anything they set their
mind to do.

Mendoza School of Business

More About Alpha Phi Alpha

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., headquartered in Baltimore, was founded on Dec. 4, 1906, at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The fraternity has long stood at the forefront of the African American community’s fight for civil rights through Alpha men such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, Adam Clayton Powell, Thurgood Marshall, Paul Robeson, The Hon. Andrew Young, Edward Brooke, and Cornel West. The fraternity, through its more than 720 college and alumni chapters and general organization members, serves communities in the United States, Canada, Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean.

As part of the partnership, which was announced in October 2021, Mendoza offers Alpha Phi Alpha members a designated fellowship program, waives application fees to its graduate programs including the Notre Dame MBA, waives fees for the Graduate Records Examination (GRE), and the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), and provides test preparation programming, early access to Mendoza Graduate Business Career Development coaching and alumni mentoring.

“The partnership with Alpha Phi Alpha allows us to directly support members of the fraternity interested in furthering their impact through a graduate business education while providing us with the opportunity to attract an increased number of talented, diverse candidates to our programs,” said Martijn Cremers, the Martin J. Gillen Dean of Mendoza College of Business. “We are honored to start this partnership with this venerable organization.”