By: Mark Faldowski
When I was elected as president of the Notre Dame MBA Vet’s Club in December 2015, I had one vision: To make Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business the veteran-friendly business school in America.
With the hard work of my fellow veterans, buy-in from the Notre Dame administration, and the support of generous donors, we have created the best environment for veterans who choose to separate from the military. Each Notre Dame MBA class is made up of about 17 percent veterans, the highest percentage of any B-school in the U.S. Our efforts have raised $400,000 to endow the club, and our goal is for every veteran in the Notre Dame MBA program to attend the program for free.
We have taken a three-pronged approach as our strategy:
1) Recruit quality veterans to apply to the Notre Dame MBA program. Our club members attend events such as the Service Academy Career Conference, network with peer organizations at other top 25 B-schools ultimately to aid veterans to find the best program for them, and leverage word of mouth. Instead of veterans always reaching out to us, we more often than not reach out to them first to share our experiences. Our chair of recruiting heads this initiative.
2) Enhance the opportunities for student veterans to be leveraging networks both internal and external to Notre Dame. I strongly believe that one of the most important decisions to make when choosing an MBA program is the influence and participation of the alumni network. There are few schools in the world, if any, that take care of their own like the Notre Dame family does. Our chair of internal outreach ensures that we are maximizing the network to its potential.
3) Continue to keep veteran alumni of the Notre Dame MBA program involved and part of the family. Just like the military, camaraderie is our strongest attribute. Students must rely on our alumni for advice and mentorship, and alumni must rely on students to continue to build the brand.
Some other facts about and accomplishments of the Vet’s Club:
- We have 39 members (including two international veterans).
- We have covered the cost of annual Veterans Conference for all club members.
- We have subsidized travel for all members to attend Notre Dame MBA-sponsored Wall Street and Bay Area Treks.
- We hold biweekly social events. Camaraderie, camaraderie, camaraderie.
I will leave you with this: Attending the Notre Dame MBA program has been one of the best professional decisions of my life.
Mark lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, prior to business school. He is concentrating in finance and investments, and attended the United States Military Academy for his undergraduate studies. His favorite memories at Notre Dame include Friday nights at The Linebacker.