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MCOB adopts “Worthy” brand image

Matt Bramanti | Monday, December 8, 2003

The Mendoza College of Business’ award-winning branding campaign has continued with Dean Carolyn Woo’s latest report, entitled “Worthy.” In the report, Woo answers the question, “What makes a business college worthy?”The report, which covers 2001 to 2003, continues the college’s efforts to reflect Notre Dame’s overall business brand image. The previous report, called “Bursting,” discussed the expressive nature of business scholarship. The report before that, entitled “Impact,” put forward a theme of the college’s responsibility in the broader environment. Though the report won a Gold Award for design excellence from the League of American Communications Professionals, Woo is pleased with the report for other reasons.”One faculty member told me he left it on the coffee table for his guests because he’s proud of what the college stands for,” Woo said. “That means ten times more to me than the fact that it won an award.”Woo, now in her seventh year as dean, said the report aims to capture the spirit of Mendoza’s involvement in the University. “It’s not just what we do, but about life happening through our work,” she said. “We have a sense of mission and contribution to what’s important.”The report uses illustrated examples of undergraduates, graduate students and alumni to demonstrate the “worth” of the Mendoza College, which comprises nearly a third of the undergraduate population of Notre Dame.One of those examples is Kristen Rodriguez, a senior marketing major from San Antonio. Rodriguez, a life-long cheerleading enthusiast, created Revolution in the Hood, an organization dedicated to organizing inner-city cheerleading squad. The report praises her “worthy passion” and pays tribute to Rodriguez’s efforts to “give even more disadvantaged youths something to cheer about.” Rodriguez said she was happy to be included in the report. “I think it fits really well with how the university is attempting to brand the college of business,” she said. “[Companies] are seeking undergraduates and MBA students with a strong sense of purpose.”The report also highlights several quantitative improvements in the business school’s performance. For example, the trade publication Public Accounting Report ranked the undergraduate accounting program fourth nationally. The college’s graduate-level efforts improved as well, as MBA applications have more than doubled from 1998 to 2003, while MBA students’ mean grade point average rose from 3.15 to 3.36 over the same period. “When we commit to do something, we’re committed to do it very well,” Woo said.The college has jumped in national prominence since receiving a $35 million contribution in 2000 from Tom and Kathy Mendoza, who run Network Appliance, a California-based technology firm. At the time, the gift was the largest single contribution in Notre Dame history. “We’ve had tremendous resources in terms of talents, financial resources, and blessings,” Woo said.She also proposals to limit the size of the college, saying the college’s leadership suggested the move in its strategic plan.”We have one-third of the students and one-eighth of the faculty,” she said. “That imbalance needs to be addressed.”Woo said that limiting the size of the college might continue to improve the quality of students’ education. “Faculty play a major role not only as not only as teachers, but as mentors and elders,” she said. “It’s not only what happens in the classroom … that really allows relationships to develop.”She also responded to criticism that business education should not be a major focus at a Catholic university. “Notre Dame isn’t a liberal arts college. Notre Dame is a Catholic research University,” she said. “The liberal arts as well as the other disciplines and professions all play important roles.”