Mendoza School of Business

Leading Values First

One MSM alum is empowering communities and driving social impact through business education

Author: Angela Sienko

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Daniela Mancera (MSM ’24) leads with her values. With a passion for contributing to causes larger than herself and a desire to address real-world challenges affecting marginalized communities, she sought a graduate business program aligned with her priorities. She found what she was looking for in the Notre Dame M.S. in Management (MSM) and spent her year on campus giving back as much as she received.

Daniela Mancera MSM ’24

Originally from Bogotà, Colombia, Mancera earned her bachelor’s degree in design with a minor in business entrepreneurship and innovation from the Universidad de Los Andes in 2022. Looking to hone her user-experience design skills, she joined the marketing team for an organization called Uniandes Women in Business (WIB), a multidisciplinary group of students from Universidad de Los Andes who create spaces for reflection and dialogue on the role of women in Colombia – and the world – from different perspectives and life experiences.

The longer Mancera consulted with WIB, the more she realized that the data she relied on to inform her marketing decisions was qualitative in nature instead of quantitative. She knew she needed to hone her quantitative skills to be a better marketer, so she began exploring graduate business programs.

“While it was important for me to find a program that would provide a solid business acumen, it was equally important that I find an institution that fully aligned with my values,” Mancera said. “I wanted to focus on using my business skills for social impact.”

Enter the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business. “I heard so much about the values and the culture at Notre Dame,” Mancera said. “I got the sense that Notre Dame understands the importance of nurturing spaces to create social connection, which goes beyond just building a career – it’s about generating a community that supports you in building the connections that will last a lifetime.”

From the moment Mancera began the Notre Dame MSM program, she knew she made the right call. “I connected so much with Mendoza and its mission to grow the good in business,” Mancera said. “For me, growing the good in business means getting everything I can from my education to pass along my insights to my network and communities. I want to be successful, so I can return to help others succeed.”

Right off the bat, Mancera immersed herself in the Mendoza community by joining the University of Notre Dame Women In Business (WiB) Club, an organization that fosters a strong and supportive community of prospective and current students and alumnae of the Mendoza College of Business.

“One of the first things I did was reach out to some MBA members to discuss adding representation for specialized masters students to serve in leadership roles within the club,” Mancera stated. “I wanted to ensure we were listening to the voices of all women in Mendoza.” Her leadership in this effort resulted in Mancera being elected as the first executive vice president of specialized masters for the club.

“I learned so much from my MBA peers in the WiB, especially when it came to creating and managing events,” Mancera said. “Not only did I get tips on things like the best way to approach a professional to participate in a panel discussion, but I also learned how to bring different groups together to create community and networking.”

Mancera helped plan events and initiatives for WiB, including a panel with women who serve on the Mendoza Corporate Advisory Board (CAB). This group helps develop relationships with corporate partners to help Notre Dame graduate business students find jobs. The club also sponsored other events, including a Galentine’s celebration for women in Mendoza, a paintball event with the Mendoza MBA Vets Club, and other initiatives.

Reflecting on her experience in the WiB, Mancera emphasized the transformative power of collaboration between different student cohorts. “There’s immense value in bridging the gap between MBA and specialized master’s students,” she said. “From organizing events to networking opportunities, I’ve gleaned invaluable insights from my MBA peers, fostering a culture of shared learning and mutual support.”

Mancera’s contributions extended beyond WiB to include active participation in the Latin American Club at Mendoza (LACaM), where she served as events manager. Through initiatives like Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations, LACaM provided a platform for cultural exchange and networking, uniting students from diverse backgrounds under a common purpose.

“We’ve had the opportunity to create spaces to celebrate our culture with LACaM,” Mancera said. “In the fall, we hosted Hispanic Heritage Month, inviting the Mendoza community to share food from different countries while playing trivia. It was amazing to see – just bringing people together – not just from different programs, but from different cultures, and it has been a good networking experience.”

For Mancera, these endeavors epitomize the essence of community support and collaboration. “Finding my niche within these clubs has been transformative,” she reflected. “By engaging with individuals from diverse backgrounds and industries, I’ve experienced a rich tapestry of experiences that have given me personal and professional growth.

“For me, growing the good in business entails leveraging my education to empower underserved communities,” Mancera continued. “I aspire to be a catalyst for change, nurturing a culture of inclusivity and collaboration wherever I go.”

And Mancera continues to do just that. Shortly before graduating from the MSM program in May, she represented the Mendoza College of Business at the Latinas in Tech Summit – the largest tech summit for Latinas – in San Francisco, California.

“The summit gave me the unique opportunity to network with tech leaders who understand the challenges of being part of an underrepresented community and paving a successful career path,” Mancera said.

At the conference, Mancera engaged in networking sessions and connected with industry leaders, including Rocio Van Nierop, the co-founder of Latinas in Tech.

“The summit offered valuable insights into advancing diverse leadership in tech through effective communication, strategic networking, and supportive mentorship,” Mancera said. “The most important lessons I learned were to use your strong voice, especially when facing unconscious bias; don’t be afraid to promote yourself and develop a personal brand; and when seeking a mentor, ensure it is a mutually beneficial relationship that provides value, time, and support in exchange.

Offering advice to future students, Mancera emphasized the importance of openness to new experiences and active engagement within the community. “Embrace opportunities to connect with diverse communities,” she urged. “Whether through cultural clubs or professional organizations, these interactions enrich our perspectives and pave the way for meaningful change.”