At the University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business, all students are engaged in the process of identifying and evaluating major issues and trends impacting society in the future and exploring potential business implications that can drive sustainable innovation. After all, they are to be the leaders of tomorrow.
The research-based course is titled Junior Research Challenge: Foresight in Business and Society compels students to think about poverty rates, the wealth gap, natural resources, and supply and demand, instead of learning about classroom theory in a manner that is separated from the real world. Regardless of their majors, Mendoza students in their junior year are expected to be ready to begin thinking about the world’s most pressing challenges.
“Our graduates have a real desire to contribute to the improvement of society, and it’s because we combine a strong grounding in business disciplines, with a broader perspective,” Interim Dean Martijn Cremers, said. “Half their education is in the school, and the other half is outside.”
The University of Notre Dame is a private, non-profit Catholic research university in Notre Dame, Indiana, that was founded in 1841 by priest Rev. Edward F. Sorin. Today, the university has 75 undergraduate majors and 8 colleges and schools, with 8,530 undergraduate students and 1,309 faculty members. Mendoza College was founded in 1921.
Mendoza College of Business is focused on developing business people who believe in the greater good, and one of the biggest changes the school has made in recent years is to move from being a three to a four-year program to better serve their students. First-year students can now take at least two core business courses.
“The change allows students to have more time to discern their majors, start working on their careers earlier, and be more prepared when interviewing for internships and jobs,” Cremers said.
In Fall 2018, the school received 4,477 application to join the undergraduate business program, and in total, 840 students were admitted, giving the program an acceptance rate of 19 percent. The acceptance rate for transfer students to the university is slightly higher at 23 percent.
Of the incoming class, about 47 percent chose to report their SAT scores, and the average score was 1429, while 67 percent reported their ACT scores that averaged at 33.
Choosing Mendoza will cost a student an estimated $195,356 in tuition and fees, and an additional $68,838 in expenses on food, lodging, transportation, and supplies. About 47 percent of students received some form of scholarship support after being accepted into the business school in the average amount of $32,307. Over 60 percent of alumni from the Class of 2016 told P&Q that they absolutely believed their business degree was worth its cost in tuition and almost another 30 percent agreed that the price was well worth it.
About 5 percent of the incoming Fall 2018 class are first-generation college students, about 6 percent are international students, and about 13 percent self-identified as being underrepresented minorities.
MANY OPTIONS FOR STUDENTS
Students at Mendoza College can choose to major in Accountancy, Business Analytics, Finance, Marketing, Management Consulting, and Information Technology Management. But regardless of which major they choose, they are expected to take 9 Sophomore Core business courses in accountancy, business ethics, business law, contracts & agency, statistics, financial management, management, marketing, and IT management applications. Those with junior standing must take classes on process analytics, strategic management, managerial economics, and macroeconomic analysis, on top of the Junior Research Challenge.
On top of their business requirements, the university also required that students take about 20 classes in the liberal arts, believing it essential to the holistic development of an individual.
With the liberty to choose from a list of electives to fulfill their liberal arts requirements, Cremers says that many students at Mendoza choose to pursue a second major or minor in the liberal arts or sciences in addition to their business major. Many choose to combine areas of study such as accounting and math, and finance and economics.
“We think students benefit from the humanities, and that it’s important to be inquisitive and articulate,” Cremers said. “The aim is to help them become real team players and we have a strong collaborative culture on campus.”
In a survey conducted by P&Q, over 86 percent of alumni from the Class of 2016 said that they would recommend the program at Mendoza without hesitation to a friend or colleague, and about 90 percent said they believed the program had prepared them well for the world of work.
BUSINESS ANALYTICS MAJOR RECENTLY ADDED
The school has recently made several innovative changes to the program to help ensure their graduates are attractive and desirable by employers in the industry. A new major in Business Analytics was started in Fall 2017, and the Marketing major was expanded to include five major electives. Marketing majors can now also choose to specialize in either Marketing Decision Analytics, Brandscaping, Consulting and Market Development, and Digital Marketing.
The college also recently shared that 40 percent of its new faculty hires were in IT, Analytics and operations and that the chair of the IT, Analytics, and Operations department is working to further expand the offerings to students interested in the area.
The Notre Dame Institute for Global Investing was recently set up to help “bridge academic and traditional college coursework and the practical application of technical concepts.” Students who choose to engage with the institute can participate in educational events nationwide, attend practitioner-led workshops on campus, and connect with industry experts on investment. Though some of its services may serve finance students best, students from all majors can benefit from many events that they host as well.
For those who are interested in entrepreneurship, the college recently entered into a collaborative agreement with the Notre Dame IDEA Center in support of those working on an Innovation and Entrepreneurship minor, and the minor is now available to non-business students with a passion in innovation and startups.
To help students figure out their career paths, Mendoza College has five dedicated full-time academic advisors to work with students. Students are also invited to reach out to department Chairs and Assistant Chairs for advice on choosing a major, or to instructors and faculty members for guidance or mentorship.
Another way for students to find out if a career is for them is to learn by doing, and the school has 25 courses that offer significant applied experiential learning opportunities. From participating in the Tax Assistance Program, or taking up the Social Venturing Internship, or choosing the Venture Funding Practicum class, or Experiential Consulting course, students not only get to experience what it’s like to be in the industry, they often also get to meet with industry professionals while working with the community in many instances.
The school shared that about 94 percent of students in both the classes of 2017 and 2018 had at least one business-specific internship before graduation. And alumni in the Class of 2016 shared that many of them had done between three and four internships while working on their undergraduate degree.
About 43 percent of the Class of 2016 who responded to the P&Q survey said that they had been engaged in a “signature experience”. From semester-long projects where they predicted the future of an industry, product, or business sector, to invitation-only classes where students worked alongside MBA students, alumni said that the experiences they had were vital in helping them decide the career paths they took.
Samuel Gerstemeier, Class of 2016, shared that he participated in a course run jointly by the college and the Notre Dame Investment Office called Applied Investment Management (AIM), where students were responsible for the then $11 million portfolios of investments for the endowment. As part of the course, the students were also connected to AIM alumni through visits to private equity and investment groups during a fall visit to San Francisco. Today, Gerstemeier is the Director of Regional Development and External Affairs for Centra Health Inc.
THE GLOBAL MENDOZA EXPERIENCE
For Mendoza students who wish to add to their resume that they have received a truly global business education, the school offers an International Business Certificate Program to students who complete the required foreign language, international business, and cultural based courses.
The certificate, awarded at graduation, is only available to Mendoza undergraduates, who must take five approved courses and a minimum of 15 credit hours, including one foreign language course at intermediate level and above.
Mendoza undergraduates can also choose to study abroad from 44-semester programs that take place in countries including Australia, France, Ireland, China, Israel, Switzerland, Singapore, and Japan.
Cremers shared that most students have study abroad experiences in London and Dublin, Ireland and that 55 percent of students have a global experience before graduation.
Kate Hermeling, Class of 2016, was among those who chose to travel to Dublin, where she said she had a great experience. “The program allowed me to learn about international business relations, work with talented and diverse students, and discover differences in the accounting/tax fields in the US/ Ireland that enhanced my learning,” Hermeling, who works as an experienced audit associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said. “This time abroad and the classes were a key piece in my development and interest in business. My problem solving and project management skills were developed through group projects with many foreign students.”
STRONG JOB AND CAREERS REPORT
The college shared that 84 percent of students in the Class of 2017 found full-time employment soon after graduation and that 80 percent of students in the Class of 2018 did the same. Both classes saw average salaries of about $65,000 among students who secured full-time jobs, but while 2017 graduates received an average signing bonus of $5,000, this increased to $7,000 for 2018 graduates.
An impressive 95 percent of alumni who spoke with Poets&Quants said that their first job after graduation was in their desired function, and about 83 percent of them said that their first job was also at their desired company. And at the end of the day, 80 percent of them said they believed their business degree from Mendoza College of Business would be instrumental in helping them reach their dream careers.
“We are practicing the foresight to encourage students to think of the future and the potential of the world and not just their own,” Cremers said. “They need to begin imagining what things could be like in ten years if they used business to contribute to solving problems and get to work. Our business is a force for good.”
What Alumni Say:
“The University of Notre Dame requires a semester-long project that challenges students to research and predict the future of a particular industry, product, or business sector. It was an intensive process involving a large group paper, continuous presentations, and research tasks. I improved my presentation, research, and project management skills.” – Recent Alumni
“As part of the business curriculum at Notre Dame, each student is required to participate in class called Foresight in Business and Society, in which students work as a team to complete a semester-long analysis and research project on their selected topic to deep-dive into their selected industry to understand past trends and analyze and project the future of that area through the lens of a selected critical question. At the end of the semester, students present their research findings into faculty, staff, and other students.” – Recent Alumni
“I participated in a course run jointly by the Mendoza College of Business and the Notre Dame Investment Office called Applied Investment Management (AIM) where we were responsible for a then $11M portfolio of investments for the endowment. As part of the course, we also were connected to the AIM alumni through visits to private equity and investment groups in San Francisco during a fall visit.” -Recent Alumni Class of 2016 alum
Where The Class of 2018 Went To Work:
Deloitte – 41
EY – 28
KPMG – 17
PwC – 13
JP Morgan – 12
Bank of America – 10
BMO Financial Group – 8
Citi – 8
Goldman Sachs – 8
Accenture – 6
Bain & Company – 6
Epic – 6
Nielsen – 6
PNC – 6