2018 Best & Brightest: Katie Eilert, Notre Dame (Mendoza)

Katie Eilert

University of Notre Dame (Mendoza)

“Coffee-fueled optimist (and former perfectionist) who believes in a good world and bad puns.”

Fun fact about yourself: I have webbed toes. I even wrote one of my college essays about them.

Hometown: Leawood, Kansas

High School: Notre Dame de Sion High School

Major: Marketing, Supplementary Spanish

Favorite Business Course: Business Law, Marketing Analytics, Consumer Behavior

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Honors: Dean’s List 2014-present, Indiana Outstanding Student of Spanish Award
  • Teacher’s Assistant for Marketing Department: I help run Marketing Speaker Series for underclassmen, and am working on the marketing plan for my professor’s book.
  • Marketing Advisory Council, Mendoza Peer Mentor, Member of Student International Business Council
  • Writer for HerCampus online publication,
  • Member of women’s Boxing Club
  • When on campus, part of dorm hall council (Media Commissioner, Signature Event Commissioner)
  • Community work: Volunteer at La Casa de Amistad after-school program
    • Participated in 3 community-based Spanish courses that included service at La Casa de Amistad, Harrison Primary School, and El Campito day care
    • Fall break service immersion in Appalachia
    • Involved in community-based research seminar that collected geotagging data on a South Bend neighborhood to look at housing quality and vacancy trends

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Indigo Wild, Sales and Marketing Intern – Local all-natural goods company in my hometown Kansas City, MO
  • Global Mamas, Social Media / Marketing Intern – Non-profit organization in Cape Coast, Ghana, that partners with local female entrepreneurs to produce clothing/textile goods for the Western market
  • Intouch Solutions, Account Intern – Pharmaceutical marketing agency in Chicago, IL

Where will you be working after graduation? Nielsen, as a Buy Analyst in the Chicago office

What did you enjoy most about your business school? I think Mendoza and Notre Dame in general are really special in the unique spirit of collaborative ambition that they foster. You can always count on your peers and professors to push you to your limits, but at the same time everyone is rooting for each other to succeed. Then, once you graduate, it only expands your horizons as you become part of such an extensive, active alumni network of business professionals.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Business is in everything. The modern world runs through business, and it can take on so many different forms that anyone can study business and find something meaningful in it. Because of that, I’ve also learned that social impact must be at the forefront of business and not an afterthought. Before Mendoza, I always pictured myself in the nonprofit sector, but now I have realized that corporate social responsibility demands that just as much, if not more, from for-profit companies – and marketers especially.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? I would emphasize the huge importance of hands-on experience and making personal connections over anything else. As a student, take it all in and take advantage of being surrounded by so many of the most driven, ingenious faculty and peers that you’ll ever meet. Get to know as many of their stories, their passions, and their words of wisdom as you can.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…either Graphic Design or Business Analytics, depending on which side of my brain would end up winning that battle. I have always been drawn to how design encourages you to creatively tell a story and look at the world through a different lens. At the same time, I am also interested in the “why” behind the numbers that analytics forces you to consider.”

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Even if I didn’t know it at the time, my dad was probably the biggest influence on my decision to pursue business. I went into college still undecided and open to a lot of different paths, but he encouraged me to give business a shot and see it as more than just profits and corporate climbing. He grew up on a Kansas farm, but ended up working incredibly hard to make a name for himself in healthcare sales and marketing. I am just now realizing what a great role model in humble determination my dad has always been for me.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of my decision during sophomore year to apply for a grant to intern with a fair trade-focused nonprofit for nine weeks in Cape Coast, Ghana. Living and working in a third world country for a summer was a huge step out of my comfort zone, but also a step that I needed to take for myself. It helped me grow up quickly and find my independence, and it changed the way I look at the world and my place in it. I was able to do things I never anticipated I would – like getting trained by a Google team working there, or hand-feeding a monkey on my shoulder!

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school? I would encourage more collaboration among the different business majors. Even with other non-business colleges, instead of keeping upper level classes strictly confined to whatever your area of study is. I think it would be incredibly valuable to be able to work with other diverse perspectives because, in most companies, a Marketing major will be working alongside analysts, accountants, designers, etc. and not just other Marketing majors.

Which classmate do you most admire? I most admire my friend and classmate Claire Kramer, who I have known since high school and has always carried herself with the same ambition and selflessness. Although not in the business school, she is pursuing journalism and already writes freelance for the Associated Press when she is not working with the Athletic department on campus. She does it all, and she does it with admirable faith.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Everyone who has given me a helping hand, which after 22 years is quite a lot of people. Especially my parents, who never once pushed me to do or be anything other than myself, supported me financially and emotionally, and set me up for success however I wanted to define it.

What would your theme song be? My theme song would be “Beautiful Day” by U2 because not only is it a ridiculously catchy song from a classic band, but I think it captures the optimism I usually try to have about the world and the future.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? 1. Retire and open up my own hybrid bookstore coffee shop. 2. See a Ted Talk live… or maybe even give one myself someday

Favorite book: All the President’s Men, by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

Favorite movie: Kicking and Screaming

Favorite vacation spot: Lisbon, Portugal

What are your hobbies? Running, reading, watching college basketball

What made Katie such an invaluable member of the Class of 2018?

“I first met Katie at a post presentation social in fall, ’16, with guests from the speaker company (Mindshare, in this case). I had never even seen her before that. At the social & related Q&A, Katie immediately stood out with her spot-on questions and intent listening and follow up queries as well as the quiet confidence she exhibited. Overlaying that with a ready smile, she instantly stood out from the group. Since I did not have her in class at the time, I immediately followed up to personally chat with her and get more background. Her resume (only a 1st semester Junior at the time) wowed me instantly. Not only the 3.95 GPA (which she maintains today) but with her wide-ranging leadership experiences and selfless activities (e.g., 2016 summer spent at a mission in Ghana, where she was involved in substantive social media and marketing activities – ask her about it).

In this one on one interchange, I found an absolutely engaging, humble, instantly likeable personality. This was someone I wanted to work with. On the spot, I asked her to become one of my TAs, with the thought of putting her on one of my ‘ever-ongoing’ writing & social media marketing efforts. This past fall, after spending her spring ’17 semester in the ND Toledo overseas program, she did indeed become my TA, where she played a key role helping to organize and run our Contemporary Marketing Practices Speaker Series for over 300 sophomores. This coming semester (her last at ND, unfortunately) she will be teaming with me and one other student to develop and launch a full scale digital marketing and social media program for a book I recently published (“How to Land Your Dream Job in Marketing).

This past fall (’17), Katie was also in my Marketing Planning for Growth class, not surprisingly excelling (in a relatively large class of 33 students) with a 98% average. She complemented that with her stand-out ‘Insights’ writing assignments and, more importantly, contributing enthusiastically and effectively nearly every day in class. Her magnetic personality was/is evidenced by the clearly-evident admiring respect of her in-class teammates and the class in general. This is a special person.

Every year I seem to find one or two students who I wish could remain my student and TA forever. Katie heads that list this year.”

John Weber
Marketing Professor Emeritus