2018 Best EMBAs: Corey Mays, Notre Dame (Mendoza)

Corey Mays

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

“Retired NFL Linebacker Tackling Entrepreneurship and Advocate For Mentorship, Support, and Change for Other’s Lives.”

Age: 34

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Family Members: Not married, No kids

Fun fact about yourself: I am the greatest R&B shower singer in the world.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

University of Notre Dame B.A. 2005

University of Notre Dame EMBA Candidate 2018

Where are you currently working?

A-Maysing Enterprises LLC (Founder, Manager, Investor)

Obama Energy Corporation (VP of Global Marketing)

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

  • NFL Alumni Chicago Chapter (Board Member, Mentoring, Event Planning, Strategy Implementation, Volunteering)  
  • Notre Dame Club of Chicago (Volunteering)
  • NFLPA (Mentoring, Volunteering)
  • NFL Heads Up Ambassador (Mentor, Speaker)
  • 100 Black Men of Chicago ( Mentoring, Volunteering, Speaker)
  • Omega Psi Phi, Fraternity, Inc ( Mentoring, Volunteering)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of taking lessons I have learned in the classroom and applying it to the mentoring of youth affected by gang violence and economic business development problems and issues facing the South and West Side of Chicago.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of helping to make an economic impact by investing in entrepreneurs as an angel investor. Individuals are able to receive capital in order to build their business and create jobs and opportunities for others. It is inspiring for people to reach their dreams and I feel like I can share my experience of reaching my childhood dream of making it to the NFL, but on a business level.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? One of my favorite professors was Chuck Bamford, who taught strategy. He was truly unconventional and challenged us to really think outside the box. His teaching style was not for the faint of heart, but neither is the business world. I am certainly more prepared and intentional about developing strategy, no matter the situation. I will never forget his no nonsense approach.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? “Leadership Communication” was my favorite course. I serve in leadership roles in both business and in the community. The biggest insight was that I have not been communicating as efficiently and effectively as I should. Making minor changes in the way I interact with others has paid true dividends.  It is imperative to have the emotional intelligence to know how to manage and lead others in a successful manner.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? I chose the Notre Dame executive program because there was an emphasis on asking more of business. As an entrepreneur, who wants to do business in an honest manner, ethics favored heavily in my pursuit of a business graduate degree. I have been taken advantage of, and unfortunately, been on the receiving end of unscrupulous transactions. I never want others to experience to experience that when doing any deal with me. Also, as an undergrad of Notre Dame, I fully knew the high expectations that would be required to be successful in the program.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? Learning about new techniques, terms, and personal experiences was beyond rewarding. I could immediately apply what I learned directly into my life to see what worked and what didn’t. I also equally enjoyed the amount of drive and brilliance that my classmates displayed each time we all met together. I will miss that creative energy.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? One of the biggest lessons that I learned is that no one can afford to be polarized or stuck on one position. We all have to be open to the thoughts, points of views, and perspectives of others. I have applied this mentality to my work environment and it has allowed my business partners, colleagues, customers, and anyone I have to interact with feel at ease about communication. There are times when we all must stand firm and make a decision, but being fluid and flexible will make us all better executives.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? I quickly had to learn what was and wasn’t important in my life. It became a strategy game each week for me to discover whether I needed to wake up a few hours earlier, or stay up a few hours later to get things accomplished. It was a delicate balance to add 25 to 30 plus hours of school work to my already full schedule. Within the first month of starting the program, I began to realize how much time I was presently wasting on things like social media and television, and how I could give that time back to my family and businesses. It is amazing how much my time management has improved over the past 17 months and evolved into an intentional laser focus. I will no longer confuse activity and “being busy” with actually getting something done.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? My advice would be to begin to cut things out of your life that both take up time and do not add value. In addition, embrace the moment and spend as much time as you possibly can getting to know your classmates.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? People think they won’t be able to adjust back into being in the classroom and doing school work again. While this can be an adjustment at first, it will soon feel natural.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I have no regrets. I have had a great experience.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? One of my classmates that I most admire is Matt Swan. He brings an incredible amount of positive energy and humor to the classroom atmosphere. He had a military deployment overseas for this current last semester. It was sad to know that he will not finish with us this year, but he will be coming back to finish next year. I admire his courage and strong mentality to go represent the country overseas and also come back and finish what he started. He is really an amazing person.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…the language in many of my higher level meetings was growing increasingly foreign to me.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…missing out on tremendous personal and professional development.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My ultimate long-term professional goal is to use my businesses to help bring economic resources and developmental infrastructure to underdeveloped and developing cities and countries.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like my peers to remember me as someone who cared about them and can be called upon to help them at anytime.

Favorite book: A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

Favorite movie or television show: Silicon Valley

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

See all the Wonders of the World.

Make a positive social impact in every country of the world.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
What made Corey such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“Corey Mays is an incredible addition to the class of 2018 thanks to the unique blend of talents and experience he brings to his class. What makes him an invaluable addition is his energy and his commitment to the “team.”

Corey has a spirit and genuine enthusiasm that inspires his classmates. He literally brought his class together. At the end of their first week, he pulled the class of 2018 into a locker-room style huddle and welcomed them into the Notre Dame family. His contribution to the class goes well beyond his professional experience. Corey’s contribution is measured by the relationships he builds, the mission he lives and in the impact he makes, both in the class and in the community.”

Nicholas Farmer
Sr. Associate Director, Admissions and Recruiting
Stayer Center for Executive Education

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE LIST OF 100 BEST & BRIGHTEST EXECUTIVE MBA GRADS OF 2018