The Big 5-0

By Carol Elliott | Spring 2017

In the 1960s, launching a new graduate business degree program at Notre Dame was an audacious move.

The nation’s economy had gained steam after World War II, and it was a time of increasing demand for “broadly educated but rigorously trained employees who could assume managerial positions.” Existing MBA programs were growing twice as fast as undergraduate business or master’s degrees in general, with some 7,000 MBAs awarded in 1962 — an 85 percent increase over 1955.

The College of Business at Notre Dame previously had created a business training program for administrators in not-for-profit and Catholic organizations in the early 1950s — a precursor to the Master of Nonprofit Management program.

But College Dean Thomas Murphy and his assistant, John Malone, envisioned something much greater. “We thought it time to join the major leagues, time to play big-league ball,” said Malone. The first cohort consisted of 50 MBA students, who attended class first in the Hurley Building, the original home of the business school, then in the newly built Hayes-Healy Hall.

Today, Murphy and Malone’s “much larger” vision has resulted in nearly 7,200 students proudly graduating from the Notre Dame MBA program. They’ve gone on to rise to C-suite positions, start tech companies, take over family businesses, found wineries and micro-breweries, reinvent the online florist industry, established sustainable farms on the rooftops of New York, launch ventures to help women and children in war-torn countries, teach, volunteer, join boards. In other words, ND MBA alums have carved professional paths as diverse and meaningful as each individual’s vision.

To celebrate the Notre Dame MBA 50th Anniversary, we want to collect stories from our ND MBA alums of all classes. They can be a reflection on being a student, a recollection of a favorite professor, your career experiences, or what the Notre Dame mission has meant in your life beyond the shadow of the Dome. A selection will appear in the fall edition of Mendoza Business magazine. Please send to by August 1, 2017.

Editor’s Note: History of the Notre Dame MBA program excerpted from O’Hara’s Heirs: Business Education at Notre Dame (1921-1991), by Kerry Temple (ND ’74), Notre Dame Magazine editor