2016 Best EMBAs: Ruth Riley, University of Notre Dame (Mendoza)

Ruth Riley Notre Dame

Ruth Riley

University of Notre Dame EMBA (Mendoza)

If there is a more generous, kind, and determined advocate for making the world a better place, I personally have not met that person. … Having taught more than 1,700 students including more than 500 EMBA students, I have been blessed to work with some extraordinary people, none more so than Ruth.”

Age: 36

Location: Notre Dame, IN

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Notre Dame BA psychology 2001

Where are you currently working? NBA Cares Ambassador

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: Spokesperson for United Nations Foundation NothingButNets Campaign, spokesperson for Share Our Strength’s NoKidHungry Campaign, co-founder of Inspire-Transformation, adviser for Rosenthal Leadership Academy for Notre Dame Student Athletes, Advisory Counsel member for the WNBA Players Union

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Traveling on behalf of the State Department for a Women’s Empowerment Envoy to Saudi Arabia.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Olympic Gold medal for basketball in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Who is your favorite professor? Kristen Collett-Schmitt taught with such passion and energy. I was doubly inspired to learn as a student!

Favorite MBA Courses? Micro Econ, Leadership & Negotiations

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? I am passionate about using my knowledge to positively impact the world, particularly in the realm of women’s empowerment and global health. Notre Dame’s values based and leadership focused EMBA program was the perfect combination of high academics with integrity and purpose.

What did you enjoy most about business school? I have enjoyed getting to know the incredible men and women who are my classmates, particularly those who are on my teams. There is something special about the Notre Dame family, and I have loved returning to my alma mater.

What was the hardest part of business school? Definitely the time management.

What is your best advice for juggling work, family and education? Everyone is different. Find a system that works for you. It is important to be very intentional about prioritizing your time and making sure that your values are reflected appropriately in the prioritization process.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your executive MBA program? Embrace the challenge, seek to build relationships with your classmates and make sure you have a good support system around you.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when …” I first started traveling to the developing world and realized that I needed the business knowledge to go with my humanitarian spirit in order to maximize the impact I could make.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be …” Getting my MNA, master’s for nonprofit.

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire Elizabeth Gore: entrepreneur in resident at Dell, advocate for the United Nations Foundation, incredible mother, inspirational woman and much, much more.

What are your long-term professional goals? Leadership in the WNBA league office and being an influential figure in global health and women’s empowerment.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My mom, because she taught me to be grateful for what I have been given, to dream big, and then to work very hard to achieve those dreams!

Fun fact about yourself:  I have moved 42 times in my life

Favorite book: Bible

Favorite movie: Hoosiers

Favorite musical performer: Pandora set to the mood of that moment

Favorite television show: “Blacklist”

Favorite vacation spot: Miami (home for the last 15 years)

Hobbies? All sports to play or watch, love to travel and cook

What made Ruth such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“If there is a more generous, kind, and determined advocate for making the world a better place, I personally have not met that person. Ruth Riley’s resume speaks to her commitment to support and empower young women throughout the world, but particularly in parts of the world where they are most suppressed.

“I have been teaching at Notre Dame the past for years after about 40 years in business. Having taught more than 1,700 students including more than 500 EMBA students, I have been blessed to work with some extraordinary people, none more so than Ruth. Shy by nature, she has not allowed that to hamper her commitment to doing good. In the class, Ruth has added much with her thoughtful approaches to challenges. My class is Change Management and Ruth is all about leading change for those that need it.

“Ruth came back to earn her EMBA because she wanted to be better equipped to affect change for the good. A caring, thoughtful, spiritual person, Ruth Riley embodies the characteristics I believe Father Sorin sought in the commitment of Notre Dame students when he stated: ‘This college will be one of the most powerful means for doing good in this country.’

“I do not believe even Father Sorin could envision that one of his students, Ruth Riley, would stand as a shining example of ‘doing good in the world.'”

Christopher Stevens,
Adjunct Management Professor
University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business 

DON’T MISS: CLASS OF 2016: THE BEST & BRIGHTEST GRADUATING EMBAS