College News Briefs

Fall 2014


Executive MBA

Notre Dame Executive MBA jumped 11 spots to rank No. 15 in the Poets&Quants ranking of global EMBA programs released in May. Poets&Quants, a resource website for individuals interested in graduate business school education, ranked 48 programs using a composite score based on the four latest ratings on EMBA programs from Bloomberg Businessweek, The Economist, The Financial Times and U.S. News & World Report. A school must be ranked on at least two of the four lists to be included. Bloomberg Businessweek and The Economist both ranked ND EMBA as 15th in their most recent respective surveys.


The undergraduate and graduate accountancy programs both ranked No. 4 in the nation in the most recent Public Accounting Report Annual Professors Survey, published in August. The PAR ranking is based entirely on the peer assessment of hundreds of accountancy faculty from nearly 200 U.S. institutions. 

Alumni Network

A strong alumni network is an increasingly critical factor that prospective students consider when choosing a graduate business program, and Notre Dame’s legendary network pushed Mendoza to the top of a recent ranking. The College ranked No. 3 on “20 Best Business Schools for Networking” survey released in September. The website allows students to score their schools in a variety of categories. The ranking was determined by scores for “Value of Network.” 


Gianna Bern became the director of the Notre Dame Master of Science in Finance, a new graduate degree program launching in January in Chicago. Bern, who also is an associate teaching professor of finance at Mendoza, is a founding principal of Chicago-based Brookshire Advisory and Research Inc., a research and consulting firm focused on the energy sector. She formerly served as a senior director of Fitch Ratings’ Corporate Finance Latin America Group, a division of the global ratings agency that focuses on oil, gas and utilities research in emerging markets of Central and South America. 

Bern also has held managerial positions at BP Plc. and Amoco Oil in energy economics, market analytics and risk management. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Illinois Institute of Technology and an MBA in finance from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. A frequent media commentator on energy markets, Bern authored Investing in Energy: A Primer on the Economics of the Energy Industry, (Wiley & Sons) in June 2011. 

Don N. Kleinmuntz was named director of the Notre Dame Master of Science in Business Analytics, also a new graduate degree offered in Chicago starting in 2015. Kleinmuntz is a widely recognized industry expert in decision and risk analysis, business analytics and leveraging information technology to improve organizational decision making. He founded and previously served as senior executive at Strata Decision Technology, a provider of financial analytics software to the health care industry.

Kleinmuntz, who earned his bachelor’s, MBA and doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago, also has held tenure-track or tenured faculty positions at the University of Texas at Austin, the MIT Sloan School of Management and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as a part-time research appointment
at the University of Southern California.

Celebrating 60 Years

The Master of Nonprofit Administration has used the tagline “Servant Heart. Business Mind.” in recent years to describe the program’s signature mission to provide nonprofit leaders with a solid business education to create a greater social impact.

During the program’s 60th anniversary celebration, held Sept. 26 in Purcell Pavilion’s Club Naimoli, it clearly was the “heart” on display. More than 200 MNA alums, faculty and program leaders were on hand to celebrate the program’s legacy. Moyer Foundation founder Karen Moyer and UN Foundation’s NothingButNets spokeswoman and former Irish women’s basketball standout Ruth Riley served as keynote speakers, both recounting deeply personal and faith-centered stories about their respective charitable foundations and endeavors. 

Each guest was given a copy of Alumni Reflections, a collection of MNA alumni letters created especially for the anniversary event, as well as the book 27 Seconds by MNA alum Jack W. Rolfe. The title refers to the amount of time it took Rolfe to walk across the stage to receive his diploma when he graduated in 2013.

Father Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., created the program originally for the vowed religious of the Catholic Church. First called the Master of Business Administration, it went through several name changes and broadened its scope as lay people increasingly began managing nonprofits sponsored by religious congregations. About 1,800 people have earned the degree to date.

Wendy’s CEO advice to students: Say ‘I’m in’

Emil Brolick, CEO of Wendy’s, started his talk with an explanation of brand relevance in a changing world, and ended with a quote from Michelangelo. Brolick, a top executive with more than 30 years leadership experience in the quick-serve food industry, spoke on Sept. 19 in Mendoza’s Jordan Auditorium as part of the College’s annual lecture series, Boardroom Insights. 

In his wide-ranging talk, Brolick discussed why certain brands were able to stay relevant, while others went by the wayside. He tied a brand’s “journey of growth” into a personal challenge to students. 

“Have as many fabulous experiences as you can in your life and your career,” he said. “All the time when someone says ‘Emil, we’re thinking about this for you,’ I say, ‘I am in.’ It is a new experience; I can get excited about this; I want to do this; I want to demonstrate that I can make a difference. I am in.”

Brolick closed the lecture with a Michelangelo quote: “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.”

Boardroom Insights is a signature series of the Mendoza College that presents top executives discussing issues and trends in their industries and companies, which range from banking and financial services, to mining, retail food and products, and philanthropy.

In addition to Brolick, other speakers include Mary Dillon, CEO of Ulta Beauty; Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation; Wayne Murdy, former CEO of Newmont Mining Corp.; Michael O’Neill, chairman of Citigroup; Richard Lenny, former CEO of The Hershey Co.; and Paul Purcell, CEO of Baird Financial Group.

Irish Impact across the globe

His story arc included Thoreau, a mountain in remote Alaska, a blind 7-year-old boy, cat-eye glasses, George Soros, the Trans-Siberian Railroad and an estimated 700 million people worldwide who suffer from poor vision.

A crazy-sounding mix of people and places to be sure. But for optometrist Jordan Kassalow, they represent just a few of the milemarkers on the deeply personal journey that led him to found VisionSpring, a not-for-profit based on a market-based model that provides affordable eye care to the world’s poor.

Kassalow, a noted social entrepreneur recently named to Forbes Impact 30 list, was the keynote speaker for the third annual Irish Impact Social Entrepreneurship Conference. The conference, held Sept. 17-19, gathered social entrepreneurs from around the globe to network and learn from top thought leaders. 

Other participants included Rick Klau, a product partner at Google Ventures; Greg Van Kirk, co-founder of Community Enterprise Solutions and director of social ventures of SmartVision Labs; Jonathan Ng, global legal director and in-house counsel for Ashoka Global; and Gary Gigot, benefactor and CEO and co-founder of marketing strategy startup Vennli.

The Zielsdorf Family Pitch Competition, part of the Irish Impact event, awarded two prizes:

  • Crisp! Mobile Grocer, an affordable server with more than 300 items available for delivery right to a customer’s door, won the grand prize of $8,000. The primary initiative is to provide Chicago residents access to fresh, healthy, local food.
  • Jubilee Initiative For Financial Inclusion (JIFFI) won the “Coffeehouse Favorite” prize of $2,000. JIFFI is a nonprofit financial services provider based in South Bend. Run exclusively by ND students, JIFFI provides micro-loans in the form of cash advances to replace predatory payday lending. 

The program also gave the 2014 Irish Impact Award to Fr. Tom Streit C.S.C., the founder of the Notre Dame Haiti Program (NDHP). The program has specifically targeted elimination of lymphatic filariasis (LF), a disease that affects roughly one-third of the Haitian population, by the year 2020. With assistance from multinational firm Cargill, NDHP has set forth a commercially viable plan to manufacture and distribute fortified food-grade salt products from Port-au-Prince.

Irish Impact is organized by the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship in partnership with Fellow Irish Social Hub (FISH), an independent, nonprofit organization that invites Notre Dame students, faculty, alumni and local community members to help develop socially innovative ideas into for-purpose enterprises. 

TAP Staffer Recognized with Values Award

Thomas Bullock, a Mendoza College staff accountant who works with the Tax Assistance Program (TAP), received the Notre Dame Presidential Values Award during the 2014 Service Recognition Dinner in May. The Presidential Values Award is given to employees whose performance reflects the University’s core values of integrity, accountability, teamwork, leadership in mission and leadership in excellence. 

TAP was launched in 1972 by Accountancy Professor Ken Milani to provide tax preparation assistance to low-income people in the local community. The program has grown exponentially over the years, preparing more than 4,000 tax returns for 2013. Bullock works especially with international students—a complex task requiring knowledge of the peculiarities of tax law for aliens who are obliged to file U.S. tax returns.

In bestowing the award, the University lauded Bullock for serving as an excellent role model to the student volunteers, and for providing essential logistics support to the program, which operates nine help centers and organizes “SWAT” teams to visit homebound or hospitalized residents. 

Dancing for a Good Cause

On the last day of the spring semester, Mendoza undergraduates dressed up in their finest for an evening of fun for a worthy cause. About 250 students, faculty and staff members turned out for the Mendoza Undergraduate Gala, held April 30 in the Morris Inn ballroom. Band du Jour, a student band featuring accountancy student Elizabeth Curtin (’15) as one of the singers, provided the music.

The inaugural event was sponsored by the Mendoza Student Leadership Association and underwritten by a donation from the Mastrovich family, which allowed all the proceeds to go to the Declan Drumm Sullivan Fund and Horizons for Youth. 

“The MSLA wanted to create a signature event for the college that celebrated the hard work done throughout the year and build on the sense of community within the college,” said Alison Levey (FIN ’84), Undergraduate Studies academic and MSA adviser. “It was very important to them that it have a charitable aspect as well, and honoring a Notre Dame student who had been part of the college seemed a perfect fit.” Sullivan’s sister Win, an ND senior, and his brother Mac attended the gala.

Sullivan was a junior at Notre Dame when he died in October 2010 after the tower he stood on to videotape football practice collapsed in high winds. The Declan Drumm Sullivan Fund and Horizons for Youth offer mentoring and college preparation to low-income children.

Competition MBA Style

In the past year, Notre Dame MBA students have racked up an impressive list of case competition wins against some of the top-ranked b-schools on a range of topics from marketing the Ironman triathlon to promoting diversity. Here’s a select list of results:

  • 1st Place BYU Social Entrepreneurship Case Competition
  • 1st Place University of Louisville Business Plan Competition
  • 1st Place Key Bank Ohio State Diversity Case Competition
  • 1st Place San Diego State University Sports Case Competition
  • 2nd Place EY Diversity Case Competition
  • 2nd Place Association for Corporate Growth Indiana M&A Case Competition
  • 2nd and 3rd Place Arthur Page Case Writing Competition
  • 2nd Place Leeds Net Impact Case Competition
  • 2nd Place Regional VC Investment Competition

Liz Tucker: NCAA Woman of the Year

Elizabeth Tucker (ACCT ’14) was named the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year, the first Notre Dame student-athlete in history to be selected for the prestigious honor. The award honors graduating female student-athletes who participated in NCAA-sanctioned sports and distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership. She was the first soccer player ever to be chosen.

Tucker, who currently works as a consultant at McKinsey & Company in Chicago, emerged as the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year recipient following a rigorous selection process that began in June when NCAA colleges and universities nominated 446 student-athletes for the award. Her athletic prowess, academic achievements and commitment to service were cited in the award announcement. 

“This is a landmark day for Notre Dame and Fighting Irish athletics,” said Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame vice president and director of athletics. “Elizabeth has been a tremendous ambassador for our University and our women’s soccer program during the past four years. The contributions she has made are almost endless and will live on well after her graduation from Notre Dame. She is selfless, caring, intelligent, competitive and compassionate. In short, Elizabeth is everything we could ever hope to find in a Notre Dame student-athlete, and we could not be more proud to celebrate Elizabeth’s selection as the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year.”