2021 Best & Brightest EMBAs: Megan Mergener, Notre Dame (Mendoza)

Megan Mergener

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

Age: 40

“High energy, curious, continuous learner who loves family, friends, and adventure.”

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Family Members: Dan Vital (husband), Evelyn Vital (daughter, age 4)

Fun fact about yourself: As a study break and alterative to all my homework in high school, my dad taught me to throw knives.  I can still do it!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Georgetown University, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Finance and Management

Where are you currently working? JP Morgan Chase, Business Manager and Head of Business Office for Commercial Banking Client Onboarding

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Taking the first step and enrolling; sometimes the hardest step is the first one. I had plenty of excuses to postpone, but I am so excited and proud that I moved forward with the program.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I have yet to achieve it.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Shane Corwin, Professor in the Department of Finance and Research Director of the Notre Dame Institute for Global Investing. Professor Corwin did a great job taking a subject that could be intimidating for students outside of the Financial Services industry, Investments, and made it accessible. He has the skill to engage the whole class, regardless of experience level or career field. He was patient and adjusted the plans for class when we needed to dig in more on a concept.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? When I found the Notre Dame Executive MBA program online, I decided I wanted to learn more after seeing the wide range in the curriculum. At an information session, the program’s mission, Grow the Good in Business, resonated with me. Ultimately, it was the people I met who were the deciding factor. I immediately felt welcomed and a sense of community; I wanted to be a part of it.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education?  This happens all day, every day. I am constantly prioritizing my time, outstanding tasks, and family activities. I may have to pick between fine tuning a presentation for work, taking my daughter to the park, date night with my husband, or reading a case study. I have had to learn to let go of some tasks and outsource others. I focus on what really needs to get done and will fulfil me the most.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Ask yourself why you want to get your MBA and find the program that matches your goal. For me, I wanted to get my Master’s degree, but more importantly I was looking for a community. I wanted to find a group of people with which I could learn and grow.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? Since I was a previously a business major, prior to going back to school I expected the classes to be very similar to undergrad. However, my work experience really framed the subjects differently. I spent a lot of time looking at how I could apply the concepts to my work. In undergrad it felt more theoretical.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I do not like thinking of it as a regret, but I wish my cohort had been able to spend more time together. COVID-19 has restricted us in many ways and limited what we can do socially. I would have loved more time to integrate our families, friends and even children with the experience.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Kevin Graham is an MBA classmate and team member I admire tremendously. Kevin is a veteran, husband, father and passionate leader. He has not only kept our whole class organized throughout the program, but advocates for the group and keeps us motivated. He tackles unfamiliar subjects head on and has worked extremely hard to understand them. He has done all of this while learning remotely. I am constantly impressed with his work ethic and dedication.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? I was looking for a group of people in a similar phase of their career. It has enabled us to share our experiences in class discussions and build on each other’s ideas, both in class and outside of it. Additionally, the cohort experience was extremely important to me. I have loved having a group of people moving through the program together.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I would like to be a senior executive at a middle market company. Ultimately, I see myself pursing a COO position; l want to run a business and find ways to continuously improve.

What made Megan such an invaluable addition to the class of 2021?

“Through her contributions both inside and outside the classroom, Megan was a valued addition to the course that helped to enhance the experience for the entire group. Her individual performance on assessments was consistently among the best in the class. However, her impact extended well beyond this individual work. In the classroom, she was a significant contributor, drawing from her strong experience at JP Morgan Chase to enhance our discussion with insightful comments and real-world examples. As the only person in her group with a finance background, she was also a valuable resource to her colleagues outside of the classroom, being willing to discuss course topics one-on-one and taking a lead role in much of their group work.”

Shane Corwin
Finance Professor
Research Director of the Notre Dame Institute for Global Investing
Mendoza College of Business
University of Notre Dame

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.