2023 Best & Brightest Business Major: Maxim Manyak, Notre Dame (Mendoza)

Maxim Manyak

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

“Empathetic, selfless and fierce competitor who has never survived a day without cracking a joke.”

Fun fact about yourself: Something a lot of people don’t know about me is that I absolutely love art, but I struggle sometimes as I am color-blind. If I could, I would spend hours a day drawing, painting, and sculpting. I am quite good at it as well, which does not match up with my being a student-athlete and pursuing a dual degree.

Hometown: Sherman Oaks, CA

High School: Oak Park High School

Major: Dual Degree | B.B.A in Finance & B.S. in Pre-Professional Health

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: Behavioral Finance with Professor Kelly

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles per During College:

Senior Captain | University of Notre Dame, Division I Men’s Lacrosse Notre Dame, Indiana | 2019-2023

Midfielder, #16, perennial Top 10 NCAA Division 1 Program traveling to compete for a national championship at the highest level the sport has to offer as a leader on the team (in both a player and coaching roll during injury). Developed exceptional work ethic, discipline, resilience, time management, and teamwork skills in an intense, competitive environment through 30 hours weekly dedicated to our craft: greatly translatable to intense real-world work environment.

Student Athlete Advisory Board, Athletic Advancement Council Notre Dame, Indiana | 2021-2023

Student Athlete panelist & representative directly involved with donors who provide multi-million-dollar funding opportunities for athletics. I have been especially involved in athletics advancement in mental health, athletic performance & career opportunities.

President Student Athlete Advisory Council, Student Welfare & Development | Notre Dame, Indiana | 2019-2023

President of the Athletic Student Body. Team Representative — team leader and liaison for student-athlete voice on a National Platform & representing my team as a force for good in our greater. After leading our mental health initiative, I’m now the Student-Athlete figurehead for Notre Dame Athletics & interact with the Athletic Department, Community, Academics, and various others.

I was awarded the ACC Service award for my exceptional commitment to serving our broader community (one of only 6 Student-Athletes at Notre Dame).

President Fighting Irish Fight for Life: Pediatric Oncology Leader | Notre Dame, Indiana | 2021-2023

Leading fundraising and engagement campaigns to pair athletic teams with pediatric oncology patients in the local community. Leading all 800 athletes and their interactions with 20 children with a fundraising goal of $80K for Beacon Children’s Hospital and various events on campus.

Community Service | Notre Dame, IN & Los Angeles, CA

Mentorship: Team Lead for South Bend B&G’s club mentorship program, O.W.Ls Lacrosse Playing for Peace Charity (Chicago, IL), South Bend Robinson Community Center, Lincoln Elementary School (DreamTeams), Studebaker Elementary School, Youth Lacrosse Coach & Mentor, Injured Athlete and Welfare Mentor, South Bend Underrepresented Children Book Drive.

Led/Started campus-wide mental health fundraising initiatives, South Bend Homeless Shelter Volunteer, “American Boy” Rehab Charity Participant, Athletic Mental Health Advocate, Immigrant Healthcare Translator (Ukrainian/Russian).

Mental Matters Game Notre Dame, Indiana | 2022

I coordinated and held a mental health awareness week in 2022 that was a joint effort between Athletics, ESPN, SAAC, the GLD Center, Sports Psychology, and the University Counseling Center in order to spread awareness for mental health and suicide prevention whilst also fundraising for two suicide prevention foundations.

Where have you interned during your college career?

Pediatric Pep Talk-Non-Profit: Founder & CEO (Non-Profit Organization) Notre Dame, Indiana | 2021-Current

Nationwide collaboration with pediatric oncology hospitals: connecting terminally ill children with collegiate athletes across the country, changing the lives of children with critical illnesses, their families, and treatment teams, one smile at a time.

Involved with 28 teams and projected to have delivered 2,400 smiles by May 2024 — working with the Notre Dame IDEA Center to continuing developing the start-up and to fundraise to expand and change the world one smile at a time

MDB Capital Holdings (Venture Capital Internship & Externship) Dallas, Texas| 2021- Current

Built and analyzed landscapes of intellectual property to evaluate financing development stage companies that possess meaningful & disruptive innovative technology with the potential to impact large commercial markets & benefit humanity in bio-tech & beyond.

Alfred E. Mann Institute-USC (Biomedical Internship & Externship) Los Angeles, California | 2021-2022

Product development, financing and marketing for medical startups through intellectual property portfolios in the stem cell, artificial intelligence, and other innovative technologies in the biomedical engineering sector to save and improve people’s lives.

VMW & Co., LLP (Accounting Internship) Encino, California | 2017-2021

Responsibilities include using QuickBooks for data entry, bank and credit card reconciliation, light bookkeeping, entry level tax return preparation and administrative tasks – learned to manage my own sports start-up: applying coursework in a real-word setting.

Cancer Immunotherapy Research | Harper Cancer Institute Notre Dame, Indiana | 2020-Current

Studying the impacts of diet and metabolism on the immune system as it battles cancer and discovering the mechanisms by which various metabolites activate a greater immune response to innately cure cancer. Multiple publications expected in early 2023

Beach 888.com (Real Estate Project Development) Las Vegas, NV & San Jaun, PR | 2017-2021

I had the opportunity to be involved in a recent emerging market housing investment which provided me with unique opportunities to e navigate international Real Estate financing. My main responsibilities included market analysis, construction financing oversight/allocation, preparing financial statements, tenant management, exploring additional property acquisitions, and marketing techniques in a varied and challenging market environment.

Where will you be working after graduation? I am planning on pursuing a Master of Science in Business Analytics here at Notre Dame while playing another year of Lacrosse before furthering my education in Medical School.

Who is your favorite business professor? My favorite business professor is Professor Peter Kelly, who teaches courses in behavioral finance. He is my favorite professor because of how he challenged me to do more, to expect more, and to ask more questions – he opened my mind and allowed me to develop a more well-rounded perspective.

He helped me find the convergence between my degree in Pre-Professional Health and my degree in Finance. I always tried to keep my two areas of study separate, but Professor Kelly encouraged me to allow my dual degree course of study to help supplement how I view financial institutions and the problems they face. He helped me realize that having a diverse background and skill-set are priceless when it comes to business; it enabled me to provide a varied perspective and think outside of the preset framework of most of my peers. He encouraged me to challenge the set notions of how business should be conducted; and ask more questions. He continued to ask me questions – about not just the course material but about my career aspirations which allowed me to apply new ways of thinking to my future plans. I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to cross paths with Professor Kelly. I appreciated the extra time and care he took to broaden my horizons and realize that there is so much more to business than I had originally realized – so much more that there is ample room for me and my dreams.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I gained from studying business is to be relentless and resilient; it takes just one person and one great idea to change the world. Business is the vehicle of change for good in this world, and I learned that we cannot wait for greatness to come to us. Instead, we must take a risk and just knock on opportunity’s door. Opportunities will always present themselves. While connections, teamwork, networking, and experience are great, there is nothing that trumps being good, honest, and kind. Let business enable and empower you to do good because you are always one knock away from changing the world.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? Something that has surprised me the most about majoring in business is how many opportunities there are to change the world on a massive scale. Throughout my time in Mendoza, I came to realize that there is so much more to business than crunching numbers. Business is all about the people, the relationships you can create, and finding those who can help you pursue your dreams. I always worried that I would not be fulfilled pursuing a career in business, but have since come to realize that majoring in business enabled me to do more, and achieve more than any other major. I am surprised that majoring in business has taken me further than anything else and has gifted me with incredible opportunities to make a true difference in the world. I learned that it takes just one droplet to create a ripple. Through business, that ripple can become a cascading wave of change across the world for many generations to come.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? One thing that I would do differently in business school is to ask more questions. I found that I would limit myself early on in business school. I would worry that I am not asking the right questions, that I am missing what I should be asking. That was ironic, because I was doing just that. I was missing the opportunity to challenge myself and those around me to think outside the box. Business school is unique in that you must go beyond the textbook and into the real world to truly understand and learn. I wish that I would have asked more questions early on, not just about my classes but about the real world. There is no wrong question, only those who are not brave enough to put themselves out there and ask it first. Especially in business, the more questions you ask of your professors, peers, and those you network with, the less you limit yourself to dream big and achieve the impossible. Anything is possible in business, so why struggle through it alone when you can ask those that have all the answers?

What business leader do you admire most? A business leader that I admire most is Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong. He is the current CEO of the venture capital firm, NantWorks, LLC, which operates in the healthcare, education, science, and technology sectors in Los Angeles. Dr. Soon-Shiong is the scientist and inventor of the first nanoparticle chemotherapeutic agent Abraxane. He has since made it his mission to drive technological advancements and accelerate innovation in this space. He is a physician, surgeon, and entrepreneur who continues to develop and commercialize innovative and improved healthcare technologies for the betterment of society. His pursuit of disruptive innovation is exciting and will lead our society into the future.

I greatly respect and admire Dr. Soon-Shiong’s leadership in the business space. He is known for his commitment to patient-centered care, extensive global vision for the future of global healthcare, and for his philanthropic efforts. His innovative efforts and incredible dedication to advancing healthcare is impressive. Dr. Soon-Shiong is never afraid to fail; his only fear seems to be not trying to do everything in his power to advance the world one step at a time. I hope to one day imitate his passion for helping those who are not as privileged and are not as represented in healthcare. What I admire most is that Dr. Soon-Shiong has a strong and powerful vision for the future of healthcare and will work tirelessly and relentlessly to courageously forge a path into the future for the betterment of all.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am proudest of founding my own non-profit, Pediatric Pep Talk Foundation, which connects critically ill children with collegiate athletes across the country through an app-based platform. With our impact-driven team of athletes, Pediatric Pep Talk goes beyond the realm of athletics, catalyzing change in the lives of those who look up to them the most – children. This combination allows us to take a new approach on name, image and likeness in order to do good and deliver smile. We do this through a simple, easy, and scalable platform, by allowing these teammates to join a team no matter where they find themselves. One patient at a time, one smile at a time.

Our story started two years ago when I changed the life of my 12-year-old teammate. He also changed mine, and together we committed to changing the lives of thousands more. What started as a simple promise between my teammate and I has continued to grow and expand, with us now working with 25 little teammates who are actively engaged with all 26 Varsity teams at Notre Dame. We are continuing to expand to include four more schools within the next year, with plans to grow to half of all Power 5 conference schools within the next few years. Our mission is to change the lives of children with critical illnesses, their families, and their treatment teams, one smile at a time. We are Pediatric Pep Talk, where a smile a day keeps the doctor away.

I am proudest of this accomplishment because it has been the most rewarding venture I have ever set out on. It is difficult to even begin to explain the impact we have been able to have on these young teammates of ours and their families. There is nothing quite like the power of a smile to completely revolutionize someone’s day, especially when paired with a team of college athletes that supports them every step of the way. I have truly found this to be my greater purpose and I could not be more grateful to be in the privileged position I am in as a Student-Athlete at Notre Dame. They have provided me with a tremendous amount of resources they have provided me with in order to build out and execute my dream of providing a smile a day to keep the doctor away for little children across the country.

Which classmate do you most admire? Choosing just one classmate that I admire most is difficult, as Notre Dame is littered with some of the most impressive people I have ever met. They come from all walks of life and I continue to strive to model my actions after them.

That being said, the classmate I admire most is Sam Assaf. Sam is one of the smartest and most driven people I have ever met. His work ethic continues to leave me impressed both on and off the field. He is an economics major with a concentration in financial economics and econometrics, with a minor in data science and a minor in classical studies (Greek/Roman History). I was lucky enough to have met Sam when he walked onto my lacrosse team last year while also being a walk-on for the football team here at Notre Dame. I remember being with Sam when he learned that he had received an A- last spring. It was his first semester balancing both lacrosse and football and was his first time not finishing the semester with a 4.0 GPA. It was motivating to see how he responded, never blaming his circumstances or anything else, just committing to working harder the next semester to continue to chase perfection.

It is admirable and outstanding that Sam is able to balance an incredibly difficult course load while competing for two of the best and most-time consuming teams here on campus. However, what I admire most about Sam is his dedication to his teammates, friends and family. You will always find Sam smiling and making time to be a servant leader for his teammates. He will always volunteer his time, even when he doesn’t have any, for the betterment of his team and his friends while continuing to maintain an incredible work ethic on the field and in the classroom. Sam is incredibly selfless and humble and is someone that I hope to emulate and make proud one day.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my lacrosse coach, Coach Kevin Corrigan, for my success as a leader. Doing good for others and helping those in need is a driving principle that has been instilled in me by my parents and my coaches throughout my entire life and continues to inspire me in everything I do. It embodies me as a human being. Coach Corrigan always speaks of how it is our responsibility to represent not only ourselves. We are also representing all those who came before us at Notre Dame and have paved the way for us to flourish here and in the world and to leave a lasting legacy for those who will come after us. It takes a village to get us where we are, and it is our duty to give back, especially as Notre Dame student-athletes.

Among many things, one of Coach Corrigan’s one message that continues to resonate with me every day is a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: ​​”If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

Coach Corrigan has shown me that there is no perfect way to do things. We must find our purpose and execute that to the very best of our ability in absolutely everything we do. He has inspired me to be better, to do better, and to dream bigger. The most amazing part is that he has continued to challenge me to do so while supporting me every step of the way. He knows that I can do more and should do more and his relentless spirit to bring out the best in me is why I am where I am today. My success is simply because I continue to do the little parts of my job as well as I can. It is that easy and Coach Corrigan has proven that to me time and time again.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Develop and facilitate ways to provide cost-effective innovations in treatment options to those of lower socioeconomic status specifically in the cancer space
  2. Mentor the younger generation to be successful and achieve their dreams

What are your hobbies? Playing/coaching lacrosse, the outdoors: hiking/camping, art, reading, the beach, and my favorite is making people smile.

What made Maxim such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“I had the pleasure of getting to know Maxim Manyak when he took my Introduction to Process Analytics course during the fall of 2022. As Max’s professor, I had frequent opportunities to interact with and observe him both in and out of the classroom and was extremely impressed by his motivation, character, and willingness to serve.

Max stopped by my office one day and he mentioned a non-profit organization he founded called Pediatric Pep Talk. You could tell he was very passionate about the organization so I asked him to tell me more about it and I was blown away by its mission. In short, Pediatric Ped Talk is an app-based platform that connects children’s hospitals, and chronically ill patients, with athletes across the country so the patients can virtually join a team to help support them in their battle. Max shared a story of a young boy who virtually joined Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team as part of the program and the story brought me to tears it was so touching. I shared Max’s story and information about his non-profit organization with Notre Dame’s public relations team and it went viral being picked up by major news outlets such as CBS Evening News.

Max is an exceptionally bright student with an outstanding character, but what makes him an invaluable addition to the class of 2023? The answer is: his heart. Max’s coaches, teammates (he is a member of the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team), classmates, and professors would all tell you he is one in a million. We all care about chronically ill kids, but Max did something to help these kids each and every day as they fight for their lives. Stories like this and students like Max make us all want to be better people. If that isn’t enough to make Max an invaluable addition to the class of 2023, I don’t know what is.”

Kaitlin D. Wowak, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of IT, Analytics, and Operations
Robert and Sara Lumpkins Associate Professor of Business Analytics


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