Here Come the Irish

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I took my usual walk home from campus on Friday afternoon.  On a typical Friday, there may be a few unlucky students with Friday afternoon classes roaming around.  Today, however, there was an almost audible buzz that I could hear in the bustle of thousands of additional visitors.  It wasn’t just any Friday: it was Football Friday.  They were surrounding the stadium, walking towards Touchdown Jesus, and taking pictures at every stop.  Many of them were reconnecting with the campus they once called home, the place they once called “Our Lady” in French, that they now refer to as “Nourishing Mother” in Latin.As I took my usual pathway home in a state of peace, I saw that silent crowds had gathered around statues of Jesus and Notre Dame Founder Father Edward Sorin, lining the many walkways between them and the Golden Dome.  I heard a whistle from the drum major, immediately followed by the sound of 100 individual voices, in unison as one voice, yell: IRISH.  This was the first group cheer I had heard this season.  It got my heart pumping.I had cleared through the crowd and was continuing on my walk, staring up at the Golden Dome glistening in the soft summer sun.  A few more whistles were immediately followed by the intro to the Notre Dame Victory March.It was at that moment that it happened.  First a slight chill up my spine, and then goose bumps consumed my entire being as the familiar tune was played in a way that only this marching band can make it sound.  In this moment, college football, in all its purity, tradition, and spirit flooded me.  The game is forever a part of me and I felt elated to be so close to it.But it wasn’t the tranquility of a walk through just any beautiful campus, or the observing of the comings and goings of thousands of fans inaudibly cheering any team through their attire, or the sound of any university band that made this moment special.  I was walking toward the Golden Dome, clad in my own green shamrock-covered ND shirt, and hearing the University of Notre Dame marching band play my song.This was not just a moment of clarity about college football, but it was the moment I knew for certain that the Fighting Irish had etched their logo on my very soul.  I grew up a non-believer in the ‘Burbs of Chicago in the 1990’s, rooting on my Northwestern Wildcats, looking for any reason to head to Ryan Field to watch a team that always outperformed based on its talent, a team that occasionally ended up in the top 25 without ever having top 25 talent.  Notre Dame was the exact opposite in my mind.

But today I felt what I never thought I could, what I never did even last season as I fell in love with the 2012 Irish Football team and its players.  I understood in a deeper way than ever before that Notre Dame cares more about what really matters than it does about the business of football.  Yes, they have participated in the business and had a lucrative go at it.

As I walked past the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, I realized that just 20 hours later, a group of young men would assemble there to hold communion with our Lord.  These men are the latest in a long line of greats to play to this game for this university.  But the game is greater than any single one of them.  And what they will do in that sacred edifice on Saturday is bigger than the game.  On the walls below the entry it reads: God.  Country.  Notre Dame.

That is the essence of what Notre Dame teaches them: there is more.  These young men are not only held to the same standard as other students, but, in many regards, they are held to a higher standard.  They are not hidden in the easiest majors, poor judgment is met with a just punishment, and there are no free passes.  A few hundred miles south of here, schools preach (or at least practice) exactly the opposite.  While this may make it difficult for the Irish to win on football’s biggest stage again, the university understands and protects what matters: God.  Country.  Notre Dame.

As I walked further, I approached the Grotto and saw scores of people lining up to light a candle for their Irish.  In the distance, I heard the sweet, soft tones of a man, wearing a plaid skirt, playing the bagpipes.  I again gushed with affection for the great game of college football.  No other reason or venue exists for such a spectacle: people asking God to intervene in a game while a man wears a dress and yet attracts people’s attention for an entirely different reason.

What I failed to understand in my youth is that Notre Dame does many things right in college football.  Their stadium has been renovated and expanded, but it has never changed what it is.  It is uncluttered and unadorned with advertisements.  The grass is the same natural green that Rockne coached on, the Four Horsemen galloped on, and the ball was first thrown the “other direction” on.  Generations of players won championships, Heisman trophies, and accolades over the course of decades in front of the same bleachers, absent of the luxury that NFL or newer college stadiums enjoy.  Its scoreboard is traditional, familiar, and without the burdens of a jumbotron.  Notre Dame Stadium stands as a true memorial to the legends who built a sport through generations of success and class.

As thousands descend on South Bend this weekend, coming to cheer for their Irish, and not against their opponent (unless it’s Michigan or USC), I realize why they came, and why they keep coming back.  It is the same reason I will keep coming back.  Notre Dame represents the greatness of the past and the path of hope for the future.  The Irish aren’t building a football program, they are building men, and teaching them hard lessons at times.  They want to graduate men that understand their years at Notre Dame were about more than football; they were about more than NBC, Touchdown Jesus, and NFL prospects; they were about life and an understanding that the world needs them to truly be men.  God.  Country.  Notre Dame.

 

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Michael Heath
2nd Year MBA Student

My Summer as an Irish Amazonian

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In the annual Christmas letter, my mom reflected that not only did I start to bleed “blue and gold” this year but that her and my Dad had “never seen me happier.” Mom nailed it. Somewhere between the football games, group projects, and meeting new friends, I fell in love with Notre Dame and my incredible classmates.  Although I was excited to start my internship, I was sad to be leaving a place I had come to call home over the last nine months.

However, when I drove through the I-90 tunnel into sunny downtown Seattle, it occurred to me- do you know what would make Notre Dame even better? –if it was located in Seattle! Seattle is an incredible city, it has mountains nearby for skiing and hiking, restaurants good enough to satisfy any foodie, great running trails, a Starbucks on every corner, and there are few sights as breathtaking as Mount Rainer towering over Lake Washington.  The Emerald City is one of my favorite places in the world. I knew then I was going to have an amazing summer working and playing in Seattle.

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My internship is working with the Vendor Negotiation and Customer Trust Team at Amazon. Amazon is unlike any company in the world. Employees are encouraged to be peculiar and remember that is it always Day 1. With over 88,000 worldwide employees and over 1,500 undergrad and MBA interns in Seattle this summer, Amazon does an impeccable job of sharing its corporate culture through the leadership principles. They are not lip service but a creed that employees are inspired to live up too. As you can imagine, with its massive campus and high density seating it is easy to feel a bit overwhelmed–Notre Dame to the rescue!

First, I am very fortunate to have two classmates at Amazon with me this summer. Two incredible guys who are always willing to meet up for lunch or for a weekend adventure. We have really become each other’s cheerleaders this summer, checking in after big presentations and giving prep talks when the stress levels are running high. This support network really came as no surprise, as it was a continuation of what our class has been doing for each other all year. What an advantage! Other interns may have more classmates at Amazon but they seem to be missing this embedded support.

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One of the things that drew me to Notre Dame was the alumni network. This summer I have seen it in action. ND Amazonians reached out to us not just to fulfill the perfunctory hello and welcome but to help us to succeed. I have had alumni make introductions for me at Amazon, offer to read and help edit my end of summer paper (Amazon uses whitepapers instead of PowerPoint) as well as just check in to see how things are going. I assumed this was the norm and that other interns were reaping the same benefits from their alums. Last week on the shuttle bus, I discovered this was not the case. Some schools had a happy hour for the interns and others had no contact. I could see the envy in their eyes as I was describing how much help the ND alumni had been and how I easy it had been to tap into this resource. We may have a relatively small program but the Notre Dame community surpasses with quality, the schools that have the massive quantities. What I have come to discover this summer what it really means to be part of the Notre Dame family. There is a Notre Dame in Seattle because the Alumni network continues the spirit of the school here.  I truly “Love Thee Notre Dame.”

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Katie Beltrone, CFA
Rising 2nd Year MBA Student
Summer Intern with Vendor Negotiation & Customer Trust Team
at Amazon

ND MBA Spouse Perspective: Looking for a Community but Finding a Family

Visiting ND Stadium

When we moved to South Bend last July, everyone kept saying to us, “Welcome to the Notre Dame Family!” I kept wondering if this was just one of those phrases that everyone says, like, “Have a nice day,” or “Let’s have lunch sometime!” But it didn’t take long to learn what it really means to be a part of the Notre Dame Family. It’s a real thing. And it’s incredible.

My husband, Aaron, spent five years in the Army prior to our move to South Bend, and our five-year-old daughter was about to move to her fifth home. Needless to say, we had learned a thing or two about moving and meeting new people. What we hadn’t yet decided, though, was which school was the right fit for our family. In the military, everyone’s in the same boat – they tell you where to go and you go.  When you get there, you meet tons of other spouses and significant others who are in the same position. But this was the first time in our married life that we had the chance to make our own decision, so we wanted it to be the right one.

We visited four other schools before we got out of the car in South Bend, but none of those places felt right. They didn’t have that family-welcoming feel or that, “Hey, we’d love to meet your wife and kids!” vibe that we were hoping for. But all of that changed the minute we got to South Bend. Our entire family was welcomed with open arms, and we knew immediately that Notre Dame was perfect for us. It was icing on the cake that Notre Dame has an excellent business school and a fantastic reputation. We had already put Notre Dame at the top of our list but now it was circled in red with big exclamation points all around it. When the phone call came from Notre Dame, that was it. We knew we were moving to South Bend.

After living here for about a week, we had fully settled into our apartment and I knew it was time to go on the hunt for new friends and a new community. During the MBA orientation, I attended the Family Life Committee’s welcome session, hoping this would be the perfect place to meet some new friends. There, I learned about the committee’s weekly playgroup, weekend outings, mom’s night out activities, book/movie club, cooking classes, and adult outings to area wineries and vineyards. Yes! I was in the right place. I started attending playgroup the very next week, and I immediately had a fantastic group of new mom friends from all over the country. We were able to revel in each other’s joy regarding new babies, happy toddler milestones, and great new restaurant and shopping finds. We were also able to commiserate about unpredictable class schedules, Mendoza group projects, and not-so-fantastic toddler milestones. It has been such a relief for Aaron to know that his family is just as happy hereat Notre Dame as he is.

Many of our playgroup outings take place at local museums, playgrounds, parks, and pools, and the goal is to keep things cheap, easy, and adventurous. We try not to go to the same place more than twice so that we are constantly discovering something new. We all know that navigating a new city is hard, and often we fall into a rut of doing the same thing over and over because it feels comfortable and safe. But when you’re with a big group of moms and kids, you feel freer to try something new because you’re not doing it alone. In the past year, we’ve done and seen so many interesting things, and it has given me so many ideas about what to do with both of my girls during the long summer months. My oldest daughter is going to four different day camps because of the adventures and fun that her little sister had during play group. These are camps that I never would have known about, had I not been a part of such a wonderful group.

The wonderful thing about the FLC is that it’s not just about families with kids. Those students who brought along a boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse are just as involved with the FLC as the MBA parents. The FLC sponsors group outings to sporting events, picnics in the park, excursions to the local Lake Michigan beaches, and classes taught by other FLC members who are interested in sharing their skills. I taught preschool before moving to South Bend, so I lead a story time once a month for the playgroup kids. Other members have sewing or knitting skills that they share. And an MBA husband, who was also a talented chef, led the FLC cooking classes. There’s no end to the possibilities for fun with the FLC.

Now, halfway through our time in South Bend, we are still incredibly happy with our choice to come to Notre Dame.We’ve enjoyed the revelry of football season, the excitement of ice skating at theCompton Ice Arena, the great music of the Notre Dame Marching Band (which practices in the parking lot every evening, in the fall!), the beauty that Notre Dame’s campus has to offer, and the wonderful community fellowship of believers (of all faiths!) that make Notre Dame an incredible family to be a part of.

So, I say with all my heart, “Welcome to the Notre Dame family.” It’s far-reaching and it’s the most wonderful community that you’ll ever be a part of.


Emily Coulter
Co-Chair of the Family Life Committee

If you’re interested in learning more about all of the fun that we have through the FLC, you can check out our blog at WeAreNDFamily.com. Also, once you arrive in South Bend, you can ask to join our Facebook group at ND MBA FLC. If you have any questions, you can email the FLC at WeAreNDFamily@gmail.com.

Spring time in South Bend

March Madness

March Madness is one of my favorite times of the year in sports. A weekend deluge of upsets, buzzer beaters, and ridiculous plays as teams play for their university’s pride – what’s better than that? Well, one answer, I suppose, is an entire month of one exciting event after exciting event at the Notre Dame MBA program. Here’s a recap of some of the awesome activities March brought to some of my classmates and me…

South America Interterm Intensive

 One of the options for this semester’s interterm is a two-week trip to South America, beginning with a thrilling week in Santiago, Chile followed by a great week in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Both weeks consisted of activities that were a nice mix of business and pleasure. In Chile, we received presentations on some of Chile’s main industries – wine and copper mining – in addition to learning about Chile’s economic history and current business challenges. For fun, we were able to explore some of the beautiful areas and views of Santiago, go to some delicious restaurants and wineries, and spend an entire day in the Andes Mountains white water rafting, zip-lining, horseback riding, and hiking. In the Notre Dame MBA’s first trip to Sao Paulo, we got some really good insight into what is known as the “business capital of Latin America.” Sao Paulo offered interesting presentations of local businesses, such as Gol Airlines and Natura, a beauty product manufacturer, as well as educational visits to the Brazilian stock exchange and other financial institutions. Furthermore, we got the opportunity to tour the city, attend a soccer game, and experience an authentic Brazilian steakhouse. All in all, the South American trip will be remembered as one of my favorite MBA experiences during my time at Notre Dame.

MBA Bowling

March also marks the mid-season point of the Notre Dame MBA weekly bowling league. Every Monday, 100 MBA students take over the local Mishawaka bowling alley for a night of camaraderie and good times. Whether you are aiming for strikes and spares every bowl or are interested in a pitcher of beer, a pizza, and a couple of hours with good friends, the MBA bowling league is one of my favorite out-of-class extracurriculars at ND.

The Start of Mod 4

March signifies the start of Mod 4, and for us second years, our last mod of the program. Even with seven mods behind me, I am still finding classes that really interest me and inspire me to learn as much as possible. It is crazy how fast two years fly by when you are used to four years of undergrad experience and four years of high school. I am really hoping to take everything in and enjoy time in classes and with friends as graduation nears.

Bookstore Basketball

Every year Notre Dame hosts the world’s largest 5-on-5 outdoor basketball tournament in the world. The tournament consists of over 700 teams comprised of students, faculty and staff who choose creative team names and take their (debatable) skills to the pavement. The tournament begins every March and continues into April, which leads to some potentially long basketball games played in somewhat difficult weather conditions. Regardless of the conditions, the games are a great way to get outside, get some exercise, and donate to a good cause – all proceeds of the tournament are donated to the Jumpball Basketball Programme, which provides the youth of Jamaica a fun and structured way to use basketball for teaching valuable life skills. Update: My team (Brittany Parrish Fan Club) has just won its 1st round game and faces a tough, upcoming opponent in the Sista Wives.

Easter Vacation

To conclude an awesome March month, Easter came early this year, which means a nice four-day weekend vacation for all the students. While this year the Easter break only came two weeks into the mod, it provided a much-needed moment to take a deep breath and prepare for the amazing weeks to follow. I am really looking forward to these remaining weeks to enjoy the warm weather (hopefully it comes soon), finish up classes, have a blast during graduation week, and celebrate graduating from a great university.
Lloyd DoyleDan Wolff 2nd Year Student from St. Louis/Texas
Concentrating in Business Leadership
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My Bucket List

I have prepared a bucket list.  I am not going die (I hope), but I am about to graduate.  There are a few things (10 really) that I really want to do before I leave South Bend.  Without further ado:

  1. Get Inside Soldier Field – I just accomplished this one!  I have wanted to do this by going to a Bears game since I arrived, but I ended up going to the Hockey Winter Classic and watched Notre Dame beat Miami (Ohio).  Coupled with a few hours of cold tailgating with friends, this was an awesome experience.
  2. Take a Really Fun Course – I’m going to sign up for undergraduate golf with a few classmates in the spring.  Trust me, I could use some lessons.
  3. Compete in a race – I ran the Domer run last year (5 km around campus) and loved it.  This spring, I’ve signed up for a Tough Mudder in Ohio at the end of April.  I am part of a team of 8 students that will be running 10 miles, jumping in ice water, climbing over walls and likely getting electrocuted.  For some reason, I’m really excited about it.
  4. Visit 3 Floyd’s brewery – If you like good beer, please try some 3 Floyds.  The Gumball Head is light and delicious and the Robert the Bruce will satisfy any dark beer lovers.  The brewery is about an hour west of South Bend and I’m definitely going to get out there.  In fact, I hope to include it on a brewery tour that I am organizing for the class as part of the Family Life Committee.
  5. Go to Wrigley – I’ve only seen Wrigley field from the train in Chicago and it looks awesome.  Our graduating class will be having a party in grad week on a nearby rooftop to watch a Cubs game.  That’s cool enough to check this one off the list.
  6. Compete in a Case Competition – I’ve done a few case competitions that have been located at Notre Dame, but had never traveled to one.  I wrote this list originally a few weeks ago and have since checked this one off!  I went to San Diego and took part in a Sports Business Competition.  It is was an intense, 24 hour affair, followed by a night out in the Gas Lamp District and a day strolling the ocean side.
  7. Meet Father Hesburgh – Father Hesburgh was the President of Notre Dame for 35 years before retiring in 1987.  He advised Presidents, stood up with Martin Luther King and oversaw the greatest period of expansion at Notre Dame.  He still lives on campus and sees students in his office in the Hesburgh Library.  It would be an honor to meet such a man.
  8. Plan something fun to celebrate being done – I’m going to go from the very flexible life of a student to the working world, so I want to take a bit of a break and enjoy being down my MBA.  This may be a cruise with classmates, backpacking in South America or hiking in the Mountains.  Whatever it is, it has to be big enough to remember in 5 years!
  9. Take advantage of the time I have – This one is a little vague and tough to quantify.  However, what I mean here is that I need to ensure I spend quality time with the good friends I’ve made while at Notre Dame.  My wife and I will be having guests over for dinner and when the question comes up: “Should I go out bowling, or stay in and watch a movie?”  I want to go out.  Before all my new friends scatter around the world, I want to make sure I spend time with them.
  10. Graduate – Finally, I want to graduate!  I can’t see this one being a problem, as I’ve only got 3 classes remaining.  My parents will be coming down from Toronto and graduation week will be a lot of fun.  I’m even sneaking it in right before my 30th birthday.

 

mike Mike Donald
2nd Year Student from Toronto, Canada
Concentrating in Marketing and Business Leadership
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The End is (Regretfully) Near

To be honest, the past several weeks have been mildly sobering.  I have the sense that a number of my fellow second years feel similarly, to one degree or another.  The reason, though, isn’t because winter’s in full swing (which it is) or the workload is unmanageable (which it isn’t).  Instead, it’s because as of February 7th, we have less than 100 days until graduation.  It’s an interesting feeling because on one hand, we’re all ready to get out there and work.  But on the other, it means we’ll be pulled away from an environment and group of peers that have become an integral part of our lives.

You may not consider it initially, but the people you go to business school with will end up being a major part of your life for years to come.  And this doesn’t just hold true for the future business partners and colleagues you may meet during the years you spend as a graduate student, but more importantly for the group of friends you know will be around for years to come.  The big change is that they aren’t going to be living up the hall from you.  You’re not going to bump into them on your way to class or work on projects with them.  And you’re not going to be able to count on them being at the Backer when you roll in on a Saturday night.

Not to start it this post off on a somber note, but just as something to keep in the back of your minds.  It is a hell of a time while it lasts though – and the two years you will spend in business school are well worth the experiences (both educationally and socially).

But moving on, the plus side is that we’re getting near springtime at Notre Dame.  It’s really a wonderful thing.  Please know that I’m not necessarily talking about the weather, since there are good odds it will snow well into April.  But there’s so much that goes on.  Academically speaking, for first years, you finally start to get taking the classes you’re really interested in, not just the core classes.  For the second years, you get to pretty much work on anything you want (being a glutton for punishment I’m overloading with predominantly quantitative classes).  There are also a bunch of great case competitions to participating in, like the CFA Equity Research Competition or the Commodities Future Trading Challenge.  You also have spring interterm to look forward to.  China was great last year, and a number of my classmates will be heading to South America for a couple weeks.  I myself will be traveling to India for a while to represent Mendoza at the Graduate Business Conference, which is a yearly gathering of the top business schools in the world.

On the fun and social side of things, you’ve got the always entertaining Bengal Bouts competition starting this week.  If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, I would definitely look into it and, if you’re able, donate to a great cause.  There’s also Notre Dame Men’s Basketball.  Although it can have downs, like regretful losses to UConn and Syracuse, it also has some phenomenal ups.  If you happened to miss the Irish victory over Louisville in the fifth overtime Saturday night, I’d definitely recommend watching the highlights (feel free to skip the first 38 minutes of regulation play, but the rest is great).  And finally, as the semester gets closer to its midpoint, there’s always fun to be had going out (especially if you’re a second year with a job offer and a lot of free time on your hands).

We also believe very much in giving back.  Not only through serving the community, but more importantly those who come after us.  The only way to build upon the success that our program has had thus far is for every graduating class to take initiative and make sure the alumni support is readily available.  As the graduating past president of the MBA Association, I’m working closely the current SVP of Alumni Relations and several alumni advisors to ensure that the gift our class leaves for the program is the best one possible.  In past years, these gifts have ranged from scholarships, to building improvements, to new team rooms and technology.  With the process underway, but no firm gift in mind yet, the number one priority is working to achieve 100% participation amongst those graduating in 2013.  This will be our lasting legacy on Mendoza, for now at least, so we hope to make it as good as possible.

Joe Sciarrino
2ndYear Student from New York
Concentrating in Finance and Investments
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My Notre Dame Family

I never expected to come to Notre Dame. Being Canadian, I knew the school by its football team only, with some vague idea of academic excellence. My friends and family generally thought Notre Dame was on located on the east coast, somewhere near Boston. I applied after the admissions office reached out to me with a handwritten letter. (On a side note, I have since realized that those small details can make all the difference) Upon arrival in South Bend for an interview, I was shocked to learn how small the student population actually was (8,000 undergrads, 3000 grads). I was also blown away by the beauty of the campus and the abundance of athletic facilities. This happened 2 years ago this month and it already seems in the distant past. You see, I already feel a part of this school, a part of this community, a part of this family.

Arriving on Campus

Friends were easy to make when I showed up on day 1. There were a lot of people like me, who had decided to move their lives to South Bend for the next 2 years and wanted to connect. Students entering year 2 even reached out and made sure my wife was getting connected to the family as well as me. The rather intense work and abundance of social events created a very quick bond with my classmates. Football season, with tailgates and the entire student population cheering together, helped to cement the feeling of belonging that first fall. After going back to Canada for Christmas, I was so excited to return and see my friends again, after only 4 months!

The Final Stretch

Fast forward to the present and I am almost sad to realize that this time in life is coming to a close. I will be graduating in May and will watch as my new found family disperses around the world. This past year has included way too many fun nights to count, BBQ’s and Superbowl parties, weekend trips with friends to Northern Michigan, Madison and Chicago and an entire week with some my closest friends in Mexico (not just my closest friends in the program, but who have actually become some of my closest friends in life). I’ve celebrated when people landed great jobs and encouraged others who have had setbacks. I’ve delivered meals to members of the Notre Dame family who have had babies and grieved with people who have experienced loss.  I’ve even experienced the Notre Dame extended family, with so much guidance and help from alums.  As I prepare to leave this place, I know I will always be welcomed back and I know that I also likely have a place to stay and friends to catch up with wherever I go.

Mike Donald
2nd Year Student from Toronto, Canada
Concentrating in Marketing and Business Leadership
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What to Expect When You’re Expecting (at Notre Dame)

A guide to business school from a first time father-to-be

I was really excited about a bunch of movies this holiday season: Django Unchained, The Hobbit, Jack Reacher (and maybe even Les Mis). So far this holiday season and break from my first year of business school hasn’t been as much of a movie marathon as I expected it to be. Instead, I’ve spent the majority of my time prepping for the arrival of my first child. Did you know it takes TWO HOURS to install a car seat?!? We have a perfectly good armoire, but my wife wants me to paint it white. Something about things having to “match” in the baby’s room…whatever.

Having missed the big screen fantasy epic and latest crazy wild-out Tom Cruise moments, my wife and I did have time to catch a video rental: What to Expect When You’re Expecting. The baby epic captured plenty of pregnancy baby-mama-drama –from super-hormones to an out of wedlock one-night-stand pregnancy to infertility and even adoption –but failed to grasp the trials and tribulations of “what to expect when you’re expecting” when you’re a full-time business school student. So here’s some additions:

Expectation #1 – Expect Not to Be Alone

I want to be clear –especially since my wife may be reading this –I am not complaining. But hypothetically just say that I was complaining (just a little); then you should call me a whiner. While I may be having my first child in less than a month, it still is only my first child. My buddy Ben, who is a fellow first year, just had his third three days ago. Aaron, who lives in the same housing complex as me, already has two kids. Beverly has an eight-month old son at home. Additionally, Braden had a son in September, Jon had his first child in November and Brett is expecting a daughter in February. And I am just cracking the tip of the Notre Dame baby iceberg here.

The honest truth is that it really is nice not to be alone. We are yet to start the Pregnancy Club (the Consulting, Finance and Marketing Clubs seem to be a tad bit more popular), but just seeing and talking to my fellow “pregger” classmates even just in passing gives me comfort. They are doing it, I am doing it and you can do it. So if you and your partner get pregnant and you are on your way to Notre Dame, don’t’ freak out. We got your back.

Expectation #2 – Expect To Be Supported

I do want to make one thing clear: just because I (or you) may be expecting a child while in school, does not mean I receive any special treatment. I take the same tests, have the same deadlines and go through the same interview process as my non-pregnant cohorts. But, you do get some support…whether you like it or not.

One of the big reasons why I chose to come to Notre Dame was because the Dean of Admissions called me himself to offer me acceptance. I can’t express how great that made me feel. Ever since I set foot on campus in August, that feeling of acceptance hasn’t changed. I became part of a great group of individuals, the Notre Dame Family, and everyone from my professors, advisors and classmates works synergistically to make me feel at home.

When I got stressed out, they’d tell me how great of a dad I am going to be. While working on my group projects, my team helped divide up the work appropriately so I could get home to my pregnant wife. My career coach is working with me to find jobs and internships that will be just right for me and my budding family. While no one is going to make excuses or do the work for me, we are all working together to help each other succeed. That’s what I value most about my experience at Notre Dame. Everyone realizes we can accomplish more together than as individuals and we work together and understand that each person has their own strengths and limitations.

And I can’t leave out the Notre Dame Family Life Committee. This organization is run by current students and their partners. We get together for family-centric events and play-dates, recommend local doctors and pediatricians and even make and deliver home-cooked meals to new student parents to help ease the load during the first couple of weeks after the birth. See what I’m talking about? Here’s that “working together” stuff I was talking about in action.

Expectation #3 – Expect to Prioritize Your Prioritizeable Priorities

So there is A LOT to do at business school. Even if I didn’t have a pregnant wife at home, I can confidently say that it would be impossible to do everything, from schoolwork to club commitments to career deadlines to a social life. But that is pretty much the same as it is in life: you can’t do everything.

I believe one of the biggest lessons I will take away from business school is learning to prioritize, succeed and have a good time. As hard as it may be to imagine, life after business school is probably going to be even harder. So while you need to work hard, be sure you play hard. Even though you have midterms on Monday, be sure you drag your seven-month pregnant wife to a football game. Oh, and please be aware, the student section stands for the ENTIRE game. That’s like 4 hours of standing, so please, give my wife a round of applause for making it!

 

Ah yes, and don’t forget one added perk of having one or more kids while in school: for every legal member of your family you can purchase additional season tickets at the discounted student rate. While you’re rolling in bathtubs full of ND football tickets, you will be the envy of all your single classmates who can only get one!

Expectation #4 – Expect to Enjoy Yourself

Look, I’m not going to lie. It’s tough. I didn’t get a ton of sleep during the first semester and can’t imagine what it’s going to be like next semester once the baby is actually around. Regardless, I can see the opportunities I am opening for myself, know my commitments are paying off and, with a baby on the way, feel even more driven to succeed. But most importantly, I am building strong relationships with my classmates. They are all helping me learn, grow and succeed, and that would be happening regardless of my family’s status.

Go Irish.

Will Corbett
1st Year Student from New York, NY
Concentrating in Business Analytics
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A Christmas Tradition….

We are now in the post-Thanksgiving time-of-the-year, and that means its time for a time-honored ND MBA tradition…the annual MBA Christmas Party! With projects piling up and finals around the corner, it’s a perfect time to take a pause from the school madness and enjoy some social time with fellow classmates. The Notre Dame MBA program has a few students that make up the Student Activities Committee who do a great job planning events like this Christmas party, football tailgates, MBA Prom, and MBA Family Feud – just to name a few. These events are a fantastic way to get out of the confines of Mendoza and explore the fine venues that South Bend has to offer, and this year’s Christmas Party was no different.

T’was the night of the MBA Christmas Party….

The night began with some fine dining and refined entertainment with a group of friends at downtown South Bend’s LaSalle Grill. South Bend has some surprisingly awesome restaurants around town, and LaSalle Grill is definitely in the mix as one of the best. It feels nice to branch out of the daily routine of Mendoza café lunches and oven-cooked salmon dinners (I am not the best cook and like to maximize my efficiency in the kitchen while I’m back at school) to enjoy a delightfully prepared meal with some laughter-filled conversations and joke-telling to begin the evening.

On to the venue….

This year’s venue is the Century Center Convention Center, located in the heard of Downtown South Bend along the St. Joseph River. As its Facebook description explains, the facility is the perfect location for conventions, meetings, trade, shows, wedding receptions, and banquets….and I would like to add MBA Christmas parties. The place was looking real nice with a ballroom sectioned off for the Christmas festivities. The DJ was blaring a good mix of classic dance songs and familiar holiday tunes (think Mariah Carey), some light appetizers were simmering in the corner, and an awesome turnout made the many conversations even more enjoyable. They say Christmas is a time of cheer, and that’s exactly what happened this past Friday at the MBA Christmas Party.

 

Dan Wolff 2nd Year Student from St. Louis/Texas
Concentrating in Business Leadership
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Life after ND

When I wrote my last blog entry a couple of months ago, I was wrestling with some pretty big questions about my future – as most, if not all, second-year MBAs (and prospective MBA students for that matter!) will at some point.  While I can’t claim to have all the answers just yet, I do have some semblance of a plan – not only for life after ND, but also for my last semester here in the spring and my last month-long winter break (I better make the most of this one, since they don’t really exist in the “real world”…).

Life After ND: The plan for next year

First and foremost, I had to make a decision about one of the most pressing questions by November 1st – namely whether or not I would accept my offer to join DuPont’s Marketing Leadership Development Program next summer.

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a tough choice for me.  Sure, I wanted to get back to the East coast, and I was really looking for an opportunity that would provide ongoing education and give me flexibility to explore different roles.  But DuPont’s location in Wilmington, Delaware (a 45 minute commute from Philadelphia without traffic) wasn’t necessarily ideal for me, and the length of the program (up to five years) seemed like a huge commitment.  I felt like I needed to be pretty sure that this was the right next step for me…

After much soul-searching, the verdict was ultimately “yes” – so I’ll be moving back to Philadelphia and joining DuPont’s MLDP starting in July 2013.  Now on to exciting decisions about where I’m going to live and what I’m going to do between graduation and July 1st!

The Homestretch: The plan for next semester

It’s hard to believe, but I’m almost in my last semester at Notre Dame.  I just registered for my spring classes and I’m really looking forward to them.  I wanted to focus on strengthening some of my quantitative skills, so I’m taking Financing the Corporation, Strategic Cost Management, and Business Forecasting.  I was also accepted into a semester-long interdisciplinary course called Business on the Frontlines.  My team – which consists of four MBAs, one Law student, and one Peace Studies student – will travel to Nicaragua during spring interterm to work on the ground with Catholic Relief Services (CRS).  I’’m excited for what promises to be a both challenging and incredibly rewarding experience.

I also plan to continue to my involvement with ND’s Net Impact chapter.  Although I will be transitioning my leadership responsibilities over the next couple of months, I want to help the new leadership team to continue to build the club’s presence on campus – there are still so many opportunities for growth!  Perhaps most importantly, I want to enjoy some quality time with my ND friends before leaving the Midwest, since we are all headed off in different directions and may not see each other for a little while.  So I’m going to really try to resist my natural tendency to sign up for any more activities – it’s going to be hard though!

Winter Break: The plan for next month

With the job situation locked up and winter break just a few short weeks away, I have already started to think about what I will do with the full month off from classes.  I hope to spend most of my last winter break doing three things: catching up with friends and family, going to the gym, and reading for enjoyment (don’t tell my professors, but my course readings aren’t quite cutting it!).   Above all, I look forward to Christmas parties with my Philly friends, my mom’s side of the family, and my old co-workers from Deloitte (I still crash their parties sometimes).  I’m also going to head down to DC to visit one of my best friends from Penn State.

Secondly, I want to spend some serious time at the gym.  Earlier this month, I participated in Notre Dame’s women’s boxing tournament.  It’s called Baraka Bouts and is the female equivalent Bengal Bouts (which Joe and O’Neil described in their blog entries below) –  except that the money that we raised goes to a school in Uganda.  Almost immediately after my bout, I got hit with a nasty cold and fell off the exercise “wagon.”  So while it’ll take me some time to get back up to 100 pushups and 1,000 crunches, I’d like to use the first few weeks of winter break to get in shape for my trip to the Cayman Islands in early January.  And it looks like I may be heading to Miami for a few days too now that ND will be in the National Championship game!  Finally, I want to read a couple of books just for fun – it’s been so long since I’ve had the time to do that!  While I could of course turn to the running list of titles that I keep, I’ve realized that they are almost all business books (I guess that’s what happens when you’re in business school).  So if you have any good suggestions for an enjoyable read, let me know!

Until next time… GO IRISH!

Andrea Caldwell
2nd Year Student from Philadelphia
Concentrating in marketing and Business Leadership
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