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Real Humans of the Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business Class of 2025

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mendoza college of businessAndrew Shea, Mendoza College of Business MBA Class of 2025

Age: 32
Hometown: Barrington, RI
Undergraduate Institution and Major: United States Naval Academy, Political Science
Pre-MBA Work Experience (role, company, years): U.S. Navy (10 years) – Helicopter Pilot; Liaison to U.S. House of Representatives

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I grew up in a Navy family, and for 32 years of my life, the Navy had been the hand that fed me and told me where to move every two to three years. While I have loved my time serving, my wife and I were ready to start calling the shots, put down roots, and have a family. Getting an MBA allows me to take my leadership experiences in the Navy and help operationalize them in the business world. Walking away from the “family business” was a difficult decision, but we’re excited for what the future holds. 

Why did you choose Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
When my wife and I came to South Bend for admitted students’ weekend, we felt immediately at home thanks to the incredibly welcoming nature of the MBA Class of 2024. We figured, if these were the kind of people that chose to get their MBA at Notre Dame, then the Class of 2025 would be no different, and we would be lucky to be a part of it. 

Mendoza’s small class size (104 for the Class of 2025) would give me an opportunity to get to know all of my classmates, and access to the entire Notre Dame alumni network of “Domers” who always love connecting with fellow alums put Notre Dame over the top. 

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2025?
As one of the older members of the class and one of 15 veterans, I hope to bring an experienced perspective from a world that not a lot of my classmates have experienced, whether it’s sharing stories about my time in the Persian Gulf or navigating a difficult conversation with a Member of Congress. I hope these stories add value, but I’m looking forward to setting them aside and contributing to the class beyond my past experiences. 

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
In college, I raced to Bermuda twice on a sailboat. The second time only using celestial navigation. 

Post-MBA career interests:
Management Consulting; Marine Industry; Secondary Education / National Service

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
For Veterans, plug in with you target school’s vets’ networks early and often. They’ll shoot you straight on where your GMAT/GRE scores fall out, if your essays need work and give you the unvarnished truth about their programs. For non-veterans, connect with alumni of your undergrad institutions or employers for the same advice. People with similar professional backgrounds want to see each other succeed so take the chance and reach out. 

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?mendoza mba
If you are lacking confidence on the GMAT/GRE, pay the money for a well-recommended prep course then tell your family members and friends you’re doing so in an effort to hold yourself accountable. I let the test scare me away for a long time and it took me a while to rip the band-aid off. 

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Am I allowed to say the GMAT/GRE again? If it is not clear already, this was my least favorite part of the application process, like it is for most. I’d happily write essays and sit for interviews again and again, but eventually found a way to frame the test as being a necessary hurdle to endure for long-term MBA gain. 

Don’t associate test with MBA and MBA with test. Compartmentalize the test experience so it doesn’t sour you on the MBA. Visit schools, talk to current students, and look at the course catalog as ways to stay excited about what’s ahead for you. Doing this will help ensure the test doesn’t bog you down.  

What is your initial impression of the Notre Dame Mendoza students/culture/community?
Given the small class size, the program naturally lends itself to being incredibly close-knit. This class size has allowed me to take the time to have more personal conversations with my classmates instead of rushing around to meet everyone on a surface level. I’ve learned quickly that Mendoza MBAs really are here for more than a typical MBA outcome and the vast majority of my classmates feel a strong pull towards Mendoza’s rallying cry to “Grow the Good in Business.”

While the program offers lots of opportunities for fun, football is king in the fall and it only takes one game in the Notre Dame student section to make Irish fans out of those who weren’t necessarily into sports before arriving in South Bend. MBAs tend to sit together, which makes for a fun atmosphere and allows you to see another side of your classmates outside of tclassroom and networking events. 

What is one thing you have learned about Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business that has surprised you?
Most business schools exist on the periphery of a school’s culture, but not at Notre Dame. From day one, business school students are brought into the fold and made to feel a part of the rich ND culture and gain an appreciation for what makes alumni so passionate about their time in South Bend. 

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
The first quarter gauntlet of Accounting, Statistics and Finance. Graduating way back in 2013, I know there will be a little academic rust to knock off, and Mendoza starts off with a bang.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Notre Dame Football running the table in the College Football Playoff!  

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.