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Notre Dame / Mendoza Essay Topic Analysis 2023-2024

The following essay topic analysis examines the Notre Dame / Mendoza (Mendoza) MBA essays for the 2023-2024 admissions season. You can also review essay topic analyses for all of the other leading MBA programs as well as general Essay Tips to further aid you in developing your admissions essays.

Notre Dame / Mendoza MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2023-2024

Applicants need to respond to a short statement about their goals and the Notre Dame MBA. Then, they have a choice between two prompts for Essay 1, followed by a required essay slide presentation. Let’s take a closer look at each prompt.

Statement of Purpose 

Please share your short term professional goals. How does the Notre Dame Master of Business Administration help achieve your career goals? (100 words or less)
Given the short length of this response, you’ll want to be clear and direct about your short-term goals, identifying industry, function and even a few target firms. Then, forge specific connections between Notre Dame’s offerings, whether courses, clubs, projects, etc., and your plans. You’ll want to stay focused on the skills you hope to gain through your education that would help you pursue your goals.

Essay 1

The University of Notre Dame was founded in 1842, by Father Edward Sorin, C.S.C, with a mission to become “one of the most powerful means for doing good in this country”. In 1879, Father Sorin’s vision for Notre Dame seemingly came to an abrupt end when a massive fire destroyed the main building that housed the entire university.

Instead of giving up, Father Sorin interpreted the fire as a sign that his dream was too small. He then decided to rebuild, bigger and better. The now iconic main building still stands today, topped by the gleaming Golden Dome, as an ongoing symbol of perseverance and vision.

Tell us about a time, in your personal or professional experience, when you persevered and overcame obstacles or you had to start over and rebuild. What did you learn most about yourself, and how has that influenced how you show up in the world? (500 words or less)
This prompt is rather open ended, as candidates may choose from their personal or professional lives. While candidates are ultimately asked to account for overcoming a challenging experience, the situation should have some weight to it, as the preamble details a rather devastating loss—but also a powerful comeback—for one of the most important people in the school’s history. Hence, for example, this should not detail one’s struggles with time management or a minor setback in a project that was easily overcome, but rather a major hurdle that inspired an even greater change. Given the preamble, there is also a hint that the adcom will be looking for a sense of vision in executing one’s ultimate goal.

Overall, this essay is a good place to highlight instances of resourcefulness and persistence, and to provide insight into one’s personal and professional maturity over the course of a narrative. An effective approach might be to describe the initial obstacle and its broad implications in a few sentences, followed by a discussion of how you dealt with it—along with a brief illustrative example—before concluding with a reflection on the lessons you’ve learned and how they’ve influenced you. Ultimately having a long lasting impact would also parallel the elements of the preamble anecdote. To conclude, it could work well to account for how you would bring the lessons forward as a student at Mendoza or even in one’s future career. Accounting for specific ways in which you would contribute to Mendoza based on this experience would not only support one’s sense of vision, but also understanding of one’s fit with the program.

Slide Presentation

The holistic nature of the application evaluation process takes into account multiple aspects of one’s profile. In addition to a resume and transcripts, this slide presentation allows you to show aspects of yourself that cannot be seen elsewhere. Tell us about yourself and your unique qualities outside of your academic and professional experience.

  • Please consider the following guidelines when creating your presentation:
  • Please submit four (4) slides.
  • You may create your slides in any software that works for you, but you must save and upload as a PDF document.
  • Do not use audio or video files.
  • You are free to share anything about yourself that you think would be of value to the Admissions Committee. You can have some fun and be a bit more lighthearted in this portion of your application. Your tone should reflect your personality.
  • Please be assured that the Admissions Committee will read your essay, your resume, and your transcripts in detail. Your slides are an opportunity to go beyond your academic and work history and show the Committee who you are as a person.

This does speak to Notre Dame’s interest in a candidate’s passions and personality. An easy way to approach this process is to ask oneself a few simple questions. What new and important information about yourself can you introduce to the adcom through this slide presentation? In terms of organization, are there four separate topics to which you would like to devote a slide each? Or would you prefer to use the four frames to create a sense of progression through a current activity, past experience, “day in the life,” etc.? We’re hesitant to provide too much guidance given the free-form nature of the task; the best advice we can offer is to think about who you are (and how this might be of interest to the Mendoza adcom), consider how you could translate this into words and images, and then give it a try.  Showing the initial result to someone who knows you well could be a great way to determine the effectiveness of a working draft.


If there is information that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee that does not appear elsewhere in your application, you may choose to submit a supplemental essay. For example, if your undergraduate GPA does not represent your true capabilities, a supplemental essay is your opportunity to address any relevant circumstances that impacted your performance. (Optional, 1 page maximum, double-spaced, 12pt font)
Review the rest of the application first, to ensure you are not repeating material. If you need to address issues such as gaps in employment, a weak academic record or other potential issues, applicants should keep their responses brief and to-the-point, offering explanations without making excuses and humbly bringing mitigating factors to the reader’s attention. That said, it’s possible that there are other elements of one’s background that would be appropriate and not covered elsewhere in one’s application, for example an anticipated promotion or an element of one’s identity not covered in the program’s data forms. While applicants should make an effort to fully represent their candidacies within the required elements of the application, this leaves a bit of room for short exceptions.

Clear Admit Resources

Before you start writing your responses to the Notre / Dame MBA essays, check out some of our Mendoza College of Business resources: