Senior Program Director, Green Communities
Enterprise Community Partners
As a young professional seeking to develop skills that are of great value to a career in the nonprofit sector, the University of Notre Dame’s Master in Nonprofit Administration was a perfect fit. Upon beginning the program in 2003, I was immediately impressed by the intensity of the coursework as well as the knowledge and expertise of each of the professors. As the program is offered through the Mendoza School of Business, courses were structured in a way that truly prepared me for the real working environment. I still rely on lessons learned from my grant-writing course to this day.
Immediately after graduation in 2005, I joined Enterprise Community Partners, an organization that provides capital and technical expertise toward the development of affordable housing across the country. I am Senior Program Director of Green Communities, the first national green building program focused entirely on affordable housing. I manage Enterprise's comprehensive evaluation efforts to assess the costs and benefits of green affordable housing. I also support activities related to retrofits of existing homes and speak to national, regional and local audiences about the Green Communities program.
In October 2009, my efforts were documented in the release of “Incremental Cost, Measurable Savings: Enterprise Green Communities Criteria”, a first-of-its-kind study showing the cost effectiveness of meeting the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to collect and share great stories about the tangible benefits of green, healthy affordable housing.
The practical knowledge I accrued through our coursework has proven to be valuable tools in my career. I truly cherish the lessons learned as well as the friendships I have made as a result of taking part in the MNA program.
Wellness Advocate, Obesity expert, coach and consultant,
Core Wellness Life Coaching, LLC
My MNA experience was fabulous. I remember we had to do an activity in our capstone course that just made me realize and appreciate how much I'd truly learned about the non-profit organization and how all the financial, marketing, strategic, legal aspects fit into the puzzle. It really gives me a great, high-level perspective that has helped me tremendously in my non-profit work. What meant the most to me though, was the network of people I met in this program. I've made some wonderful friends. We are a small group and we all come from different areas. Our individual experiences in the field, and passion for our work not only made for wonderful discussions in the classroom, but a support system that you can't find anywhere else.
Center for the Homeless
The MNA program was an ideal fit for me in several ways. It armed me with the business acumen I was after but never lost sight of what brought me there -- mission. Professors did an excellent job providing us with the fundamentals of their disciplines while gearing discussions and case studies toward the industries relevant to my classmates and me.
While the intensive summer segments constituted an endurance test, the requirement of full-time employment throughout the program created what I consider to be the perfect mode of learning -- one in which concepts in the classroom are immediately implemented on the job. The fact that I could bring home a paycheck, combined with the relative low cost per credit hour, has allowed me to stay committed to the work that the sector needs without facing a mountain of loans. This demonstrates not only the Mendoza College of Business' insight into the motivation behind the students it attracts to the MNA program, but also Notre Dame's dedication to its overarching mission -- "to create a sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good that will bear fruit as learning becomes service to justice."
The rigor that characterized the coursework was both engaging and satisfying, and I find myself well-prepared to tackle the complex issues that face nonprofits today.
Vice President of College Relations,
Earning my MNA degree from the University of Notre Dame was one of the smartest things I have ever done. Looking back, every class in the program was helpful in my growing as a nonprofit CEO. Even now, a few years since graduation, I continually refer to what I learned in making my daily decisions on my new job.
Before I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the MNA program, I searched nationally for an MBA program that would help me as the president of an international nonprofit organization. I wanted to find a graduate program that would help me to be a better leader and manager. Thank God I found the MNA program at Notre Dame. The curriculum was well designed to help me with the specific business knowledge I needed to succeed in the nonprofit world. Offering the core classes in the summer was genius! Although the time and demands are grueling, the experience and knowledge gained are invaluable. I really enjoyed journeying together with my classmates throughout the program. I think the friendships formed have actually helped several of us in our professional careers. I'm still in touch with many of my classmates and professors on a regular basis. These connections alone have already proven to be worth the investment of the program.
I appreciate how the MNA program emphasizes strong ethics and sound business principals. Most of us who work in the nonprofit field have a strong desire to serve and help others. We see the value of reaching out to our fellow man/woman. And I know the MNA program is responsible for helping me do a more effective job as a nonprofit leader because of what I learned.
Three years ago I made the transition to the world of higher education. The opportunity to teach at a university and run an entrepreneurship program was intriguing. I knew right away I could reference some of my class notes and books to prepare for my classes and develop a strong entrepreneurship program. In just a few short semesters, the results have been very positive. Today, as a member of the executive management team for the university, I find myself using my Notre Dame education daily. As the Vice President of College Relations, I am constantly pulling out my notes from the MNA marketing and financial management classes (among others). Yes, Notre Dame continues to teach me.
Thank you to the University of Notre Dame, especially to the MNA staff and faculty, for providing me with an education that seems to keep on giving.
CFO, St. Mary's/Jewish Hospital,
There are many reasons why I chose the University of Notre Dame's MNA program. Besides the apparent traits of the Mendoza College of Business as a consistently ranked top ten program nationally, its outstanding faculty and staff, the rich and challenging curriculum, and its very selective process for candidates, the most important aspect of the MNA program is Notre Dame's commitment to the nonprofit industry. It is the oldest program in a tradition-rich educational environment at the university. To me, this is what differentiates Notre Dame from other schools and the MNA program from similar offerings.
The MNA program embodies what Notre Dame holds true in its beliefs. It promotes service by its undergraduates to nonprofits. Similarly, one would expect that a master's program dedicated to teaching nonprofit leaders by the university to be outstanding in every aspect. And for me, it was. I had the opportunity not only to be taught by leaders in the nonprofit industry, but also to interact with fellow classmates who had great diversity in experience with different types of nonprofit organizations. Even while in the program, I was able to work on projects that related to my current position in my organization. I learned new concepts and ways of applying previously learned concepts that was a benefit to me and my organization. Already having a Master's in Business Administration and being a Certified Public Accountant, I believe this program complemented both my professional learning and my years of experience in the nonprofit sector.
For me, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that was flexible with my career demands and yet will afford me great opportunities in the years to come. It was truly an affirmation of my commitment to the nonprofit sector.
April Specht Redzic
Director, Public Relations,
United Way of Metropolitan Chicago
In 2006, I joined the Notre Dame MNA program after a two-year search for a master’s program that would give me the curriculum of an MBA and the practical applications I needed for within my sector. The program did not disappoint.
From human resources to marketing, from accounting to law, the MNA program gave me a solid knowledge base from which I can build my career as a nonprofit leader. In addition, I was able to make wonderful friends and business contacts through the program.
I found that there were two things that made my experience at Notre Dame particularly special: the quality of the professors and the community that they are able to create with each cohort. Our teachers were stellar. I was privileged to learn about board management from Roxanne Spillett, President & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Each Mendoza professor with whom I studied began the first day of class by explaining exactly why my program mattered to him or her personally, and that Notre Dame had a commitment to advancing the health and human services sector.
The camaraderie created by grouping students into cohorts helped enormously in the learning process. Our study groups were thoughtful, and everyone in my year became very close during a short amount of time. We went through the process together, from the day we began orientation to the day we received our diplomas.
I would strongly recommend the MNA program to anyone who is looking to advance his or her education within the nonprofit field, and I am proud to be a 2008 graduate of Notre Dame.
Finance and Administration Manager,
Living Cities: The National Community Development Initiative in New York City
The MNA program has a great balance of cost, quality and flexibility. Going into the program, I knew I had the option of keeping my job and completing the modules during the summers. However, I decided to put my career on pause, and return to school full-time. The MNA program is unique because the classes are taught by the faculty at the Mendoza College of Business. You also build life-long friendships with the colleagues in your cohort. We share laughs, stories and notes through the weeks of intensive intellectual journey. The resulting value of the program is only limited by how much effort one puts into it.
Not having looked for a job for several years, I was anxious about jumping back into the workforce. The economy was already into a deep recession and the outlook for the future seemed even bleaker. However, I was optimistic and confident, because through the MNA program I had developed skills and character sought by the nonprofit organizations. Having worked on team projects in almost every class, I built important presentation and teamwork skills and a deep understanding of the diversity of our sector and its people. It is important to be able to run regression models and build budgets, but I think the employers appreciate a candidate who brings innate ethical leadership qualities. The Mendoza College of Business, the faculty and the MNA staff work extremely hard to encourage every one of its nonprofit leaders to become a leader. In order to achieve success in the program, one has to actively lead.
Whether it is the warmth of the golden dome, the tranquility of the lakes, or the cheerful voices of children in summer camps, a part of Notre Dame always stays within us. In this time of unprecedented economic challenge, we are quietly reminded of what we are fighting for and what we consider of value. This intrinsic quality of the program will provide a permanent stabilizing force as we brave the turbulent times ahead.