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Life After Graduation

This weekend, over 400 graduate business students became members of the Notre Dame alumni network. This experience leaves many with mixed emotions… excitement to be moving on to a new chapter of one’s life, a feeling of accomplishment for everything that has been achieved while at Mendoza, along with a sense of unease with trying something new. Most of the students graduating will already have jobs lined up for post graduation. With new jobs on the horizon, it is easy to neglect paying attention to your career, and to just focus on the new job you are about to start. However, there are a few key things that every business person should do, regardless of their current job status.
• Update your LinkedIn account whenever you take on new responsibilities, complete a big project, receive a new certification or win an award. It is better to do it right away than to try to do all of the updates at once and potentially forget something important.
• Go on LinkedIn once a week and connect with new people. If you just had a new hire on your team or if you recently started volunteering at a new nonprofit, go online and search for the people you have recently met, and make sure to connect with them.
• Stay up-to-date on what is current, trending and topical in your industry and/or the industry you would ideally like to work in one day. Pick 2 or 3 websites, newspapers or periodicals that you will read every week. There is so much content available now, it is important to focus on a few key publications that are specific to your industry. Also, set Google Alerts for particular key words, competitors or topics. Google Alerts will send you an email any time there is a new article posted focusing on those key words.
• Share articles of interest to you. While writing your own content and sending it out to the world is probably the best way to brand yourself, sometimes creating your own blog can be intimidating, time consuming and cumbersome. However, sharing content that is relevant to your industry, company and career is a great way to continue to brand yourself on Facebook and LinkedIn.
• Go to networking receptions. Even if you are not in the job hunt, receptions can be beneficial when it comes to making connections that may help you out two or three years down the road.
• Use a professional headshot for your LinkedIn photo.
• Attend industry seminars and conferences when possible. Sometimes our jobs give us great expertise, but specific to our company. Expand your horizons by attending relevant seminars and conferences for your industry.
Staying on top of your online professional image and always networking will go a long way toward putting you in a good position if and when you suddenly find yourself in a new job search. And don’t forget to keep your contact information updated with your alumni association!

Lessons from Omaha

Recently, I had the opportunity to travel with a group of Notre Dame MBAs to meet with Warren Buffet. Mr. Buffet annually hosts a group of business students , and ND is fortunate enough to be involved in each session (other schools rotate). Students visit local holdings  of Berkshire Hathaway, including Nebraska Furniture Mart, attend a town hall forum where he answers  questions from each school, then are hosted to lunch and a photo op at a local restaurant that is a favorite of Mr. Buffett’s.

Many of the questions posed to the ‘Oracle of Omaha’ focused on his investment hits and misses, which he adroitly sidestepped; clearly he has developed a knack for not singling out successful decisions  and others he would like to have back. The session quickly morphed into a series of observations about life and his philosophies outside of the board room. Would he do anything different? Not really, just maybe work harder. Do not dwell on mistakes; just learn and move on. Any risky investments? He has not sought out risky stuff; he is not a gambler. Do the research and due diligence and make your decisions  based on that. Make sure you decide wisely when it comes time to pick a spouse, and raise/teach/develop your children. Your imprint on children is key;  there is no do-over. He has lived in the same primary residence for 57 years; he never saw a need to keep moving just because he amassed more wealth .  Certainly his children had an advantage and met a lot of fascinating people, yet they attended the same public high school as their mother and they were never given the impression they were better than anyone.

Mr. Buffett likes to talk about the luck of the ‘ovarian lottery.’ The audience of mostly-US business students  have a lot of things going for them that even John D. Rockefeller did not have, given the quality of life (eg. health care, life expectancy,  travel and  entertainment options) in the this country. Yes, there are issue in the US, but would anyone in the audience really trade his/her life for a one-in seven billion chance to wind up  somewhere else in this world?  And risk having differ parents? Be a different  gender? Have below average intelligence level? Less attractive economic options?

One behavioral thought he offered was asking students to think about who they would bet on amongst their classmates. Is it better to be smart or rich? Or better to be someone people want to work with; someone who does not cheat or take shortcuts, come in late, or take credit for other’s work? Stick with those who develop the right personal qualities rather that rest on ordained benefits.

He did observe that his jokes seem to be well received the wealthier he becomes. I guess when you are worth $71 billion, you are one funny guy.

Michael Crehan – Graduate Business Career Services

Career Advice from Father Ted

By John Rooney, Graduate Business Career Services

Many of us at Notre Dame have spent the last few days sharing stories of how Father Theodore Hesburgh touched our lives and made us better people. His impact has been profound on a global scale and on a personal scale to his Notre Dame family. It has been moving to hear the memories my colleagues have shared about how Father Ted has impacted their lives. His wisdom, kindness, vision, and passion for excellence are weaved through the countless stories I have heard over the past few days. It was clear in each of these stories that Father Ted was able to connect with each individual on a personal level and to help him or her in some way.

Here in Graduate Business Career Services, we wanted to share a theme that runs through many of the stories. We hope it will help you as you reflect on Father Hesburgh and in your career development. Father Ted had the unique ability to connect with people from all walks of life. He was equally adept at connecting with the man on the street and with heads of state. Everyone who met him, from freshmen to our most successful alumni, came away feeling that they were important to Father Ted and to Notre Dame. This inspired them to do more for others and themselves. Father Ted’s humility was profound, and his ability to be present in every personal interaction was powerful. I once heard one of Father Ted’s close friends quote him, saying, “I am no better than you and you are no better than me. This is the way the Lord sees it and this is the way you should see it.” Anyone who has been fortunate enough to meet Father Ted knows that this rings true. He believed that everyone was special and had something to offer. This belief allowed Father Ted to demonstrate incredible empathy and understanding of other folks. He combined this understanding with his incredible gifts and found ways to help people on both a local and global level.

You can do this, too. The next time you are connecting with a senior executive or you are in an interview, do not think about how nervous you are or how this person might not see what is truly special in you. Take a deep breath and connect with this person from an equal footing. Try to get to know them and what they are trying to accomplish. Communicate that you understand them and explain how you can help them with your skills and experiences. The next time you are out with a group of friends and you see someone on the fringes, engage them. You know who these students are, but you may not know how much they have to offer. Share with them why you came to Notre Dame and what your career goals are and ask them the same questions. See the expression on their faces change and how their light burns a little brighter. Chances are you, too, will benefit greatly from engaging this person. Father Ted always engaged, and always valued the interaction, teaching us all that we are equal in the eyes of the Lord. Go out and share what is great about you and find out what is great about other people. It is in this way that we can honor Father Hesburgh and his beloved Notre Dame.

The Twelve Days of Christmas Tips for Job Seekers

There seems to be a conclusion among job seekers that hiring comes to a complete halt during the holiday season. Some even believe it makes sense to sit back, enjoy the season and wait for companies to post new jobs in conjunction with the New Year. However the holidays are not a time to let up on job search efforts. Consider the following twelve tips to make sure you skate into the New Year strong!

1. Make a list of people you should reconnect with and check it twice. The holidays are a great excuse to send a note with nothing more than well wishes.
2. If you had interviews this fall and are still awaiting closure or next steps from the company send them a holiday card and stay on their radar screen.
3. Pick up the phone and have a live conversation with a former classmate, colleague, or friend.
4. Let people know if you will be visiting a city or town where they live. Ask for get together for coffee or some eggnog.
5. Update your LinkedIn profile. Make sure it is not simply a copy of what is on your resume.
6. Review your resume and make sure it documents accomplishments and achievements, especially if it has not been updated in the last six months.
7. Make a timeline of what you want to accomplish over the next three months starting with January and a plan to stick to that.
8. Spend time researching companies of interest. Go beyond just looking at the company website. Look for books or whitepapers that executives in the company may have written and become familiar with what it important to them.
9. Establish a process for keeping track of your contacts, outreach, and follow-up. This can be a simple spreadsheet.
10. Download one or two job search apps to your phone. Consider: Job Search by Indeed.com (Free) or Job Search Engine by LinkUp.com (Free)
11. Read in general. Pick up a business magazine and read articles on topics you might typically overlook. This may come in handy during an interview or networking event.
12. Practice interviewing. Record yourself answering behavioral interview questions that you can easily find online. Think about how confident you sound and how compelling your response is.

Wishing you a Wonderful Holiday Season and Prosperous New Year!

Military Veterans Excel At Notre Dame

By Jeff Morris
Assistant Director, Graduate Business Career Services, Mendoza College of Business

I’m sitting in my office on a Friday afternoon in early March. It’s hard to believe but I can actually see the sun today – and snow melting. I was just reflecting on this week’s activities. The Notre Dame MBA program hosted a number of companies and organizations this week. Our students partnered with the companies and organizations and provided consulting services to them so they could solve real-world problems. One of the organizations present on campus this week was the Wounded Warrior Project. Over the course of four days representatives from the Wounded Warrior Project and Notre Dame MBA students collaborated in developing actionable ideas for a key Wounded Warrior Project initiative. As the student teams presented their ideas to the Wounded Warrior Project representatives I was proud of the work they produced. I was also proud that a good number of the MBA students who were assisting the Wounded Warriors Project were military veterans themselves.

It’s always nice to see veterans successfully transitioning to the next phase of their life. Some have separated from active service. Some are still in the Reserves. And a few are still on active duty. The trend in our MBA program is that an increasing percentage of the student body possesses some military experience. In fact, veterans in our program comprise 9% of the total student body. And 12% of our first-year students are veterans. It’s a joint effort as each branch of the United States Armed Forces is represented.
The camaraderie I experienced during my military service is the same type of camaraderie I see among the veterans in our program. It’s true that no one is shooting at us during business school. Yet I still see a tremendous level of respect and understanding among our veterans – and between them and their classmates. It’s perhaps most apparent during formal meetings of the Notre Dame MBA Veterans Club meetings. The MBA Veterans Club meets periodically throughout the academic year. It doesn’t meet as often as the Finance Club or Marketing Club. Given the nature of our veterans’ strong bonds with each other the club doesn’t need to meet that often. Outside the club structure there is some sort of informal interaction among the veterans in our program on a daily basis.

In addition, our veterans integrate well with the larger student body. One reason for this seamless integration is that the core values of the University of Notre Dame in general and the Notre Dame MBA program specifically align closely with the core values of our armed services. With significant leadership experience as young adults, our veterans display that leadership – as well as enthusiasm and class – during their time at Notre Dame. Our MBA Veterans serve in leadership positions right alongside their classmates who do not have military experience. It’s a great combination of complementary personalities and skill sets.

Most veterans correctly assume that Notre Dame is not an inexpensive business school. But some veterans probably assume incorrectly that the Notre Dame MBA costs are beyond their means. Tuition and expenses can be very reasonable when you factor in the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Yellow Ribbon Program, and available fellowships. Most veterans are eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. And Notre Dame is a Yellow Ribbon School (agreeing to pitch in $15,000 above what it is covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill). That $15,000 is then matched by the VA. Some fellowships are available too. So veterans can find it financially manageable to attend the Notre Dame MBA program.

Whether you’re a recruiter looking for outstanding MBA talent or a veteran considering business school the Notre Dame MBA program is an excellent choice to further your goals and I encourage you to check us out further. I can be reached at jmorris4@nd.edu. Our MBA Veterans Club President, James Rapuzzi, can be reached at jrapuzzi@nd.edu. Additionally, our Admissions Office Military Recruiting Liaison, Mauri Slater, can be reached at mslater@nd.edu. Finally, you can always learn more about veteran life here at Notre Dame at: http://business.nd.edu/mba/student_life/military/.

Don’t Forget to Get the Answers to the Test

By John Rooney – Senior Associate Director of Graduate Business Career Services

I am consistently amazed at the support Graduate Career Services gets from our alumni. We tap alumni to be mentors, give mock interviews, and to help build relationships with companies. They frequently come back to campus to conduct workshops. One of my favorite workshops was put on by an alumnus that was in the C-Suite with Johnson & Johnson. He came back to help students with resume writing and interviewing. A valuable piece of advice he gave was to make sure you thoroughly review the job description before you interview. This is seems obvious but you would be surprised how little time candidates spend reading the job descriptions. My favorite quote from his workshop was, “The job description gives the answers to the test – it contains the skills and experiences we scan for in the interview – I do not understand why more people do not fully digest the job description.”
Based on the advice given by alumni and our own experience, we encourage our students to take the time to study the job description. As you do this, you can break it into two pieces:
Key Responsibilities

In this section you will learn what the role entails, how the role interfaces with other departments, and how the role fits into the strategic structure of the company. Understanding the key responsibilities will help you succeed in the interview. Key questions in the interview are Why our company? Why this industry? and Why You? By communicating an understanding of the job responsibilities when answering these questions, you can demonstrate a connection to the company and the role based on the work of the role. The interviewer will gain a deeper level of comfort that you have the qualifications and passion for the role if you frame your interview answers in the key responsibilities.
Required Skills and Experience

This section usually contains 5-10 bullets of skills and experiences the company wants in an ideal candidate. Keep in mind, not every candidate will meet all of these requirements. Your job is to communicate that you possess the important skills and experiences listed. Many times the interviewer will use behavior based questions to see if you have the skills and experiences listed in the job description. An example is “Tell me about a time you lead a cross-functional team and what the result was.” The listed of required skills should give you an idea on what interview questions will be asked.
Job hunting and interviews can be very stressful. Make this a little less stressful by getting the answers to the test: read and understand the job descriptions. Good Luck.

Diversifying Your Job Search by Cynthia Proffitt




Surrounded by apps downloadable to our phone and technology customized to our user preferences, it’s easy to viewing a job search as a luxury coffee labeled with our name and uniquely brewed for us by our neighborhood Barista.

For several reasons, your job search may be more like a wine-tasting than a custom coffee experience. Prevailing conditions including labor force, financial, and industry variables affect the likelihood you will immediately find your preferred career opportunity. Managing your career effectively may require job search diversification—exploring and experimenting with options that you don’t know exist.

Diversify your job search by leveraging some or all of these tactics:

  • Avoid assumptions: proactively seek current information from professional publications that verify data and use the information to inform your decision-making
  • Seek diverse input: gather current and future market insights by networking with several knowledgeable people to identify emerging trends and opportunities
  • Expand your network: meet people outside of your target industry or job function to uncover new paths and leads •Become comfortable with being directionless: develop an “elevator pitch” that presents your diverse strengths and experiences—a combination of which may be exactly what your next employer needs
  • Track results: document ideas and insights as well as follow-up items; check the list daily to ensure you are converting viable ideas to implementable actions •Journal your emotions: write about your highs and lows, venting frustrations and preserving successes as motivation for the next challenge or plateau
  • Remain positive: trust the disciple of the job search process and exercise this discipline as if it was your job—for now, it is!


An abundance of online career resources are available to support your job search. One particular resource, LinkedIn’s advanced search function, facilitates making new connections to diversify your job search efficiently.