I like big data and I cannot lie

More and more business headlines are talking about data. Big data, data mining, data uses, what data companies are collecting, how they are using it, what they are doing with it – it’s all about data. When looking for an MBA program, I knew I wanted something that would stand out and set me apart. Enter the MBA/MSBA dual degree program at Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.

What is it and how is it different than an MBA with a concentration in Business Analytics?
Both programs are two years in length, and participants in both are considered to be part of the same cohort. The dual degree is 68 credit hours with 10 of those hours being in MSBA electives in addition to the required MSBA courses and 11 hours in general electives (where you have the ability to complete a concentration track). The MBA is 64 credit hours that include the completion of at least one concentration – which could be the Business Analytics track. Essentially, the MSBA requires that more of your courses be related to Business Analytics. Classes related to analytics include: Predictive Analytics, Machine Learning, Data Visualization, and Data Storytelling.

More requirements, more perks
As an MBA/MSBA student, I have all the same resources as the rest of my cohort – the career center, graduate business programs, and all the facilities. Moreover, I get priority registration. Because there are additional requirements for the MSBA, those in the dual degree program register for classes first – ensuring we get all the courses we need and giving us first pick of time slots. I picked my schedule and completed registration before the rest of my cohort had even started registering.

International Opportunities
As an MBA student, we have multiple opportunities to go abroad – either in an International Immersion or in the Mod Abroad program. The International Immersions are 10 day programs in China, Chile and Argentina, or South Africa while the Mod Abroad is in Santiago, Chile. International Immersions can be done the spring of your second year as an MBA/MSBA student, and the Mod Abroad takes place in the fall of your second year. Being an MBA/MSBA student does not exclude you from these opportunities, and the advisors in the Graduate Business Programs Office are there as a guide to ensure you can take advantage of these opportunities as well as completing your MBA/MSBA requirements.

STEM Designation
Speaking of international..The MBA/MSBA is a STEM designated degree program that is part of the traditional two-year MBA cohort. Successfully completing a STEM designated degree program may allow international students to remain in the United States for an extended period of time to help with the demand for STEM professionals.

To learn more about the dual degree MBA / MSBA program, visit Notre Dame’s Website.

Hurricane Maria’s Aftermath | An MBA Candidate’s Perspective

What could five MBA students do to help hundreds of thousands of people who had been without running water, reliable power, and basic services for over a year when organizations like FEMA, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Department of the Interior, and countless other government contractors had already failed? Well, the truth was, we didn’t have a clue (I know I didn’t) but we were about to find out.

Notre Dame MBA Candidates On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria smashed into Puerto Rico after rapidly strengthening into one of the strongest storms ever recorded. The small island territory which had already been struggling with decades of corruption and decaying infrastructure, didn’t stand a chance. Much of the island was destroyed, and although Puerto Rico had boasted a densely-packed population of 3.3 million people prior to the storm, nearly half a million would make their exodus in the months that would follow it.

Many hoped aid would come quickly, believing the federal government had learned valuable lessons from Hurricane Katrina over ten years before, but complexities which surfaced between the federal government and the territorial government of Puerto Rico were proven to be quite formidable. Rigid bureaucratic policies designed for FEMA responding to state emergencies proved ill-suited for the unique situation confronting the government of Puerto Rico, and, for the most part, prevented the needed personnel and resources from reaching the island to offer assistance. This left the people of this already struggling island to largely fend for themselves.

Over a year later, on October 8, 2018, myself and my four classmates—Dan Weathers, Corey Waldrep, R.J. Dulin, and Tyler Shields—were dropped into San Juan, PR, to see what kind of difference we could make. We had all volunteered for this assignment, and were all selected based off of our backgrounds as veterans with experience in working in remote, struggling areas with limited resources. Specifically, our task was aid in the restoration of access to clean water. Even a year later, much of the island still did not have basic access to this valuable resource. The water infrastructure and supplies remained dysfunctional, and many citizens were forced to rely on weekly water deliveries that were unreliable at best.

We began our trip learning about the organization we would be partnering with and gaining familiarity with their strategy and the simple device we would be distributing. Waves for Water (W4W) was a non-profit organization founded by professional surfer Jon Rose when he experienced the 2009 7.6 magnitude earthquake in Sumatra. Thanks to his desire to help and the water filters in his possession, Jon was credited with saving over 15,000 lives in the 24 hours following the event. Since that time, Waves for Water has responded to numerous natural disasters and remote areas in an effort to give struggling people access to clean, sanitary water.

MBAs Supporting Puerto RicoThe device they used was simple: a $50 Sawyer filter that can be bought online. However, because of the filter’s unique design (similar to that of a dialysis machine) it could supply enough clean drinking water to a hundred people for up to five years. This was our task—to assist Waves for Water in getting these filters into the hands of struggling Puerto Ricans who needed them, all while looking for opportunities to improve Waves for Water’s operations.

We traveled all over island, from Puerto Rico’s capital and largest city of San Juan, to the east coast community of Isabella which was one the hardest hit communities, to remote areas in the island’s interior, where getting clean water was especially challenging. We helped seniors in a nursing home with limited resources, farms in remote and rugged areas, and even went door to door in an effort to find people who needed help. The first thing that struck me was how suspicious people were upon first meeting them. After months of being abandoned and promised help that ultimately never came, it was understandable how suspicious and disheartened these people were when someone from elsewhere offered help. However, the second (and more powerful) thing that I walked away with, was just how grateful these people were after they understood our mission and what a difference our water filters could mean for them.

It has been a while since Hurricane Maria, but people outside Puerto Rico have moved on. Conditions on the island are nowhere near normal, and they won’t be for many years. As Americans, we tend to have news appetites for only so long. Once a particular event runs its course we typically move on to something else. However, sometimes that event is of a level of seriousness that it deserves our national attention and focus for a sustained period of time. If, by writing this, I only can accomplish two things, I will be happy. Those things would be: 1) Hurricane Maria was devastating, and people in Puerto Rico are still dealing with its effects, even today, and will be for years. Please keep them in your hearts, and do not forget them. And 2) something as small as a $50 water filter can mean the world someone who was struck by tragedy and faces a long road to recovery. We often wonder how to help people in horrific natural disasters half a world away, but, as you can, if five students with these water filters can make a difference, anyone can.

Executive MBA Highlight | Dick Podiak

Dick PodiakI grew up in Dayton, Ohio as the youngest of eight kids. Dayton is the home of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and when I was little, I always saw these cool planes flying overhead. I think that is what motivated me to want to serve in the armed forces. After high school, I earned my undergraduate degree in Finance from Marquette University in 1992 where I also earned a commission as a Naval Officer via the Navy ROTC program. I am the first person in my family to have graduated from college.

Once I graduated, I chose to serve onboard ships as a surface warfare officer. My first duty station was Key West, Florida where I served on a ship whose primary mission was to interdict drug running and just by the nature of the location, we inevitably picked up hundreds of Cuban refugees. My second ship was a guided missile destroyer based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where I served as navigator for an Arabian Gulf deployment and several other critical missions.

While I was stationed in Hawaii, I met and married my lovely wife, Bonny, who is a United States Naval Academy graduate and served as a Cryptology Officer in the U.S. Navy. We loved living in Hawaii because we got the opportunity to hike, explore, and learn to surf. After some fantastic experiences, we both decided to leave the Navy in 1997 and we joined Procter & Gamble in Brand Management.

At Procter & Gamble, I was fortunate to learn a ton about marketing and general management on some fantastic brands ranging from Crest toothpaste to Pampers as I made my way from Assistant Brand Manager to Associate Director. In my just over 11 years at P&G, I got the opportunity to reinvigorate several brands as well as set the global sustainability strategy for the $9 billion Pampers brand which included new product development, health claims, and social responsibility efforts.

In 2009, I joined the Kellogg Company in Battle Creek where I have had some incredible roles and experiences. These include leading the company’s U.S. Olympic Sponsorship for the 2012 London Olympics, Serving as Marketing Director for Pop-Tarts, and leading the $2 billion cracker portfolio as a Senior Director which included the consumer-favorite Cheez-It brand. In my current role, I serve as Vice President of Marketing and Innovation for Kellogg Frozen Foods where I lead the marketing function for the business unit and lead a team in managing the Eggo and MorningStar Farms brands. A couple of things that I’ve become known for are turning around declining brands, successful new product launches, and leveraging sports and music sponsorships to drive consumer engagement. I’ve had some cool opportunities such as start a NASCAR race, attend the summer Olympics, meet countless Olympians, and start a concert series.

Bonny and I have two children. Claire is finishing her freshman year at the University of Michigan studying Engineering on an Navy ROTC scholarship. Molly is finishing up her senior year in high school and will be attending the University of Michigan in the fall also with a Navy ROTC scholarship. We live with our Labradoodle, Sam, in Portage, Michigan.

Why did you select Notre Dame for your Executive MBA?

I considered several school options when deciding pursue my MBA. Earning my MBA is something that I have wanted to do for a long time. However, as I left the Navy, I spent time working on developing my skills at Procter & Gamble and then we had two kids in quick succession and didn’t want to take the time away when they were younger.

Notre Dame has two important factors that set it apart from the other programs I considered. First is the values-based curriculum. In visiting and learning about the school, I truly felt that the idea of Expect more from Business closely matches my personal values. The second is the faith-centric nature of the University. My faith is extremely important to me and is a strong part of who I am as a person. As a lifelong Catholic, how could I not love the fact that the two central features of the campus are the Basilica the Golden Dome with Our Lady at the top?

What career advice would you offer students and graduates as they begin their internships and full-time positions in the next two months?

Use these experiences to learn and grow. You are developing the foundational skills at Notre Dame that will make you successful in your career. Now is the time to combine that with your leadership skills that you have developed as a leader in high school, your undergraduate work, and prior work experience. That will help set you apart.

A critical piece of advice that I would give that may seem old school but highly relevant is to take time to build relationships in these organizations. Do not try to just manage by e-mail. Set up meetings with your counterparts and try to get to know them before getting down to business. If someone is in the building, get up and go talk with them at their desk. You’ll find that you taking the time to do more for them will result in them taking the time to do more for you.

You’ve learned at Notre Dame how important it is to value others. Don’t forget that in the work place.

What is your favorite ’90s jam?

The ‘90s were an incredible time for music. Picking a favorite song or band is like choosing my favorite kid. But if pushed, I think that All I Want by Toad the Wet Sprocket is one that I always love listening to.

What do you work toward in your free time?

I am an avid runner and have run several marathons. I love to travel and explore new places. Some of my favorite places include Rome, Florence, London, Hong Kong, Dubai, and Sydney. I also love to cook, bake, and grill. I make a mean deep-dish pizza, awesome steaks, and delicious Panettone all through the Christmas season.

What is your favorite part about your role, or working with, Kelloggs?

I love leading brands that have such consumer fans. Whether it is Pop-Tarts, Cheez-It, or Eggo, it is always fun to see new products in store and talking with people about them. These are part of the American culture and to have had an impact on them and be trusted to lead them is an awesome experience.

Favorite author and/or book?

When I read, I like to do it for leisure. Books by Dan Brown or Daniel Silva are captivating, and I get new ideas of places to visit.

Favorite class, professor or subject?

I’m one year into the program and I have really loved learning and applying the curriculum to current events and my work. Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Accounting, Corporate Finance, and Supply Chain Management have all helped me broaden my skills to be more effective serving on a business unit leadership team.

The Comeback

By: Terrence Malloy

I grew up a Notre Dame fan, the son and grandson of a family of subway alumni who threw a party the day my undergraduate acceptance letter arrived in the mail. We were all grateful. The Notre Dame Family’s generosity enabled me to come here the first time after a great deal of hard work, gracious mentorship, and good fortune.

After I graduated, I didn’t visit campus for about seven years. My first trip back for a home game reminded me how beautiful this place is, and how closely its essence aligned with the type of person I aspire to be. Continue reading “The Comeback”

The First Ever ND MBA Technology Innovation Challenge!

By: Vinod Krishnadas

The ND MBA Technology Club was borne out of student interest and passion in technology, and today is one of the fastest growing and most popular clubs on campus! The mission of the Club is to make Mendoza the top MBA program for students with a passion for technology. With this mission in mind, the Club is proud to present the first ever ND MBA Technology Innovation Challenge, sponsored by Thomson Reuters. The theme of the competition is the innovative use of Blockchain technology to transform businesses, functions and industries. Teams from across the country will come up with innovative product and  go-to-market strategies for implementing this exciting technology and go head-to-head competing for $10,000 in prize money. Continue reading “The First Ever ND MBA Technology Innovation Challenge!”