Tuesday, December 16, 2008

University of Notre Dame

The time has come for that all important next career step. Lajuana has dreaded this moment since I graduated knowing I wanted to go on and get my MBA. But she has been fully supportive in my application process (which has been over a year now) and now starting the program; she's the best! Many of you know me as one who plans well in advance, uses strategy, and is very thoughtful in my decisions. With that said I researched and checked out tons of programs and types or formats of programs; full-time, part-time, and executive. I ended up choosing the executive MBA format, which is set up for little bit older professionals, a condensed program length, cohort style (you all start at the same time and take the same classes at the same time), and classes set up not as often as part-time. I ended up narrowing down my choice and applying to the University of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame. The subsequent interview and visit made me realize that Notre Dame is where I wanted to go. It was an interesting process, praying to know what university to apply too and having the answer include Notre Dame and then later praying to know if I should attend since I was accepted. The overwhelming answer was yes, I think there are several reasons as I look back now why that could be but I'm just so glad prayers are answered.

I have a friend in my Ward that got his Masters degree there and said its "where every good Mormon goes". He is a funny guy. The University of Notre Dame MBA program is ranked 20th in the nation and is highly respected especially here in Chicago. As I looked more into the program it felt like a good choice. Interesting stat, 5% of the MBA students at Notre Dame are LDS. Here is how my program works; every other full Friday and Saturday are spent in downtown Chicago campus (they own the entire Santa Fe building), several one week immersion weeks on the Notre Dame campus (about 100 miles from home), and one international week (I think we are going to China). Last week was orientation on the main campus. We had introductions, a campus tour, social events, math and accounting reviews, and got together with our team. The director selects teams that consist of very different backgrounds; I'm on a team of 5 that will stay together through the whole program. On Friday night Lajuana drove up, leaving our kids at our good friends house, for a dinner at the press boxes at the football stadium (not sure if you know but ND is kind of known for its football). It was a fun dinner talking with other couples that are in program. The next day Lajuana and I went to class :) We had this great presentation and interaction on personalities. It was very fun. The overall all experience was amazing! As the first person in my family to graduate college and now the first to go to grad school I feel very fortunate to be involved in such a great program. Is it going to be hard? It will be amazingly hard for me as well as for Lajuana and the kids. Will it be worth it? I have complete faith it will be.

As a side note, attending Notre Dame opens up conversations with lots of people. At orientation I was able to talk to several people about my faith and their faiths; a Jewish person, Protestants, Catholics, and non-practicing people. The environment there enables open discussion of religion, business, and goals. It is neat and I look forward to taking in the whole experience.

-- John

The Dome

Inside the Dome

The football stadium. Seats 80,000! The current University undergrad count is 8,000 and grad count is 3,000. Often the stadium is packed and another 100,000 tail-gating in the parking lot. As a student I get two tickets in the student section, so heck yea I'm planning on going!

You can't tell from this picture but the business building is super nice inside. The undergrad business program ranks 3rd in the country.