Q & A

Associate Dean and Director of Executive Education Leo Burke talks with Notre Dame Business about ND's new Executive MBA Program in Chicago

Q. What sets The University of Notre Dame's Chicago Executive MBA (EMBA) program apart from peer institutions?

A.The program differs in both structure and content. The structure integrates a variety of functional academic disciplines. For example, instead of organizing classes along traditional lines like "finance" or "marketing," our integrated classes focus on practical business issues, such as "Mergers and Acquisitions" or "Market Dynamics Competitive Analysis."

The content differs in that we are committed to helping business leaders deliver results while upholding a consistent set of values. This is not just a reaction to some of the recent well-publicized collapses of corporate behavior. Business leaders make ethical decisions every day in the office, and we've taken a similar "every day" approach to ethics in our classroom. This is an essential tenant of Notre Dame's philosophy of education-and it's been part of our philosophy since the University was founded in 1842.

Q. Why is ethics an important component of business school curricula? How does Notre Dame address this in its courses?

A. The fundamental challenge for all for-profit organizations is striking a balance between "shareholder value"-the bottom line-and "stakeholder value"-or how an organization can improve the lives and livelihoods of employees, customers, vendors and the community at large. We've addressed this challenge of "value" and "values" at Notre Dame with a unique offering called the "weave." Rather than limiting discussions of ethics to just a class or two, the "weave" takes a holistic approach-in addition to classes on ethics, we include discussions of ethical issues in many of our classes.

Q. Why did you establish an EMBA program in Chicago?

A. Chicago has a number of attractive features that persuaded us to establish a program here-not the least of which is ND's network of more than 12,000 Notre Dame alumni in the Chicago area. Also, with advances in telecommunications, we envision the Chicago campus eventually serving as an educational hub for students in the western part of the country.

Q. Why should an executive enroll in Notre Dame's EMBA program?

A. Most of our students are seasoned professionals in their mid 30s with more than 10 years of management experience. They are looking to move up to the next level with their MBA degrees. Perhaps they are running a department-like accounting or human resources-but they hope to run an entire business unit. With an MBA comes a broader understanding of different facets of business. This broader understanding often qualifies them for higher levels of management. Why Notre Dame? Reputation is an important factor when choosing a school, and a degree from Notre Dame carries considerable credibility-especially since a nationwide Wall Street Journal poll of corporate recruiters ranked ND's business school 15th overall and first in recruiter satisfaction.