How to Interact with a Mendoza College of Business Major

Author: McElroy, Meredith

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At Notre Dame, a school renowned for its business opportunities, Mendoza majors are easy to spot. They can be found in the career center, off campus at one of the local bars or looking refreshed and wide awake while students from every other college are sleeping in the dining halls after taking rigorous midterm exams. While the most-cited advice in a recent survey of Notre Dame students suggests the best way to interact with them is “don’t,” here is a list of actions in case this interaction is unavoidable.


  1. If you do not know or were not at all listening to what they have just said, nod sagely and say: “I hear Deloitte is working to implement that more broadly in this current economic climate.”
  2. Ask them about a topic not related to the jobs they want this summer or after graduation. Keep trying to stay on that topic despite their inevitable re-routing to that auditing job that is definitely in their future.
  3. If you don’t know his name, it’s probably Charlie or Matthew.
  4. If you don’t know her name, it’s probably Caroline, Jessica or Tiffany.
  5. If you have time to prepare for this interaction but cannot get out of it, research unfamiliar terms such as “dividend yield,” “supply-side economics” and “SWOT analysis.” Realize that these all make sense, that your GPA would have been higher had you been in Mendoza and that the curve is implemented to prevent people from acing all classes in their major, which would provoke alumni and rankings websites to suggest that Mendoza grades are overinflated.
  6. If you have the time today, listen to a breakdown of what they did in their internship. Analyze if their responsibilities decreased over time until their manager decided to have them input data, get coffee and call it a day. Ask them how they see themselves progressing up the ladder of a workplace, or if they expect to be a manager right after college.
  7. If you’re an Arts and Letters major talking to a management consultant major, end the conversation in tears because you’re both doing similar research to draw conclusions and provide ideas for future research and implementation techniques, but the management consultant will get hired by McKinsey after graduation. 
  8. Bonus points for keeping your cool when they say, “Oh, do you want to be a teacher?” in that voice.
  9. If you’re an engineer tuning in, smirk visibly as you silently tell yourself you could learn finance in half the time it would take a Mendoza student to learn electrical engineering. Proceed to fail your differential equations exam the next day.
  10. If you’re an architecture major — just kidding, you’ll never meet. You’re at Walsh Family Hall on a Saturday night and business majors are at Newf’s.
  11. Exit a conversation gracefully by asking a finance major, “How is your portfolio doing today?” He’ll pull out his smartphone to look, and you can make a dash for it. (Know your audience for this one — there’s a chance he checks it every morning, so this has a 50-50 shot.)
  12. To leave conversations with other Mendoza majors, say you’re headed to DeBartolo, Fitzpatrick or O’Shaughnessy. Having only entered those buildings for university-required classes and swearing that their philosophy teacher was “out to get them” after the student said the professor’s twenty-five years of research is entirely false since the competitiveness of the stock market clearly shows humans are individualistic and only look out for themselves, they won’t offer to accompany you further.


(Photo by Matt Cashore/Universtiy of Notre Dame)