There is a scene in the movie
Admission where the protagonist—a
Princeton admissions counselor played by Tina Fey—stumbles outside the
sacrosanct chamber of the admissions office and into a room full of prospective
students and their uber-aspirational parents. The anxiety level of the already
tense group notches up to near tachycardia as they realize Fey is that most powerful
of college administrators. The One They Must Impress. The Decider of Fates. The
Kristin McAndrew found the movie entertaining enough. “I love Tina Fey, so if Tina Fey
wants to play me for a day, that’s great,” she laughs.
But that’s about where her connection
to the movie ends. As someone who has spent 18 years in graduate and
undergraduate admissions, looking across the desk at young women and men as
they lay out their life plans, she takes a decidedly different view of the role
of an admissions professional.
“My job is to find men and
women whose leadership skills, work experience and goals are in line with the
mission of the University,” says McAndrew, admissions director for the Notre Dame
MBA and the Notre Dame
Master of Science in Business (MSB)
programs at the Mendoza College of Business. “When I sign an acceptance letter from Notre
Dame, I’m offering that student an opportunity to become a part of an
experience and a network that will change their lives.
“To me, the admission process
is more about discovering who each person is and what he or she would bring to
the program. It’s about crafting a class of men and women who bring compelling
experiences and knowledge to the classroom. It’s not about holding the door
McAndrew joined the Notre Dame
MBA and MSB programs on Jan. 8. She previously worked as director
of Admission at Saint Mary’s College for four years. Before that, she served in
a number of positions at Emerson College, including as the director of Graduate
Admissions. She also worked at Simmons College as the assistant director of
McAndrew earned her BA in
English literature and humanistic studies at Saint Mary’s College and her
master’s degree in integrated marketing communication from Emerson College.
“The educational experience at Notre Dame is
so personal; that’s attracted me to the position. The faculty know the
students. The Career Services staff members devote themselves to understanding
the career goals of each person. Then there’s the legendary Notre Dame alumni
network, which is without peer when it comes to providing a sense of
McAndrew, who describes
herself as “half-Irish, all Italian,” loves to cook and relaxes with yoga.
After living for 13 years in Boston, she’s an avowed fan of the Red Sox and the
Patriots. But her father, Tom McAndrew, is a Notre Dame alum, so when it comes
to college sports, “I grew up bleeding blue and gold,” she says.
In her new role at Mendoza
College, McAndrew oversees a comprehensive set of responsibilities related to
the admissions process for two fairly different graduate programs—the traditional
MBA, offered in both one-year and
two-year formats, which is intended for individuals who have three to five
years of work experience; and the newly launched 11-month Master of Science in Business, which is
intended for non-business majors just completing their undergraduate degrees.
She sees a significant role
for Mendoza alumni in promoting goals of the College and the MBA program
“There are formal ways for
alumni to be involved – volunteering to speak to students, mentorships,
attending College events. All of those activities are very important in keeping
student connected to those who have gone before them,” she says.
“But one of the best things
alumni can do is to tell their story and be a source of referrals, both for
prospective students and as recruiters. They know what it takes to be successful in
the program, so they can see potential for success in those around them. Their
personal accounts provide the most compelling case for why Notre Dame is
different and the true value of the educational experience here.”