Student Perspectives on Mendoza’s Updated Core Curriculum

Author: Elizabeth Prater

First started in the 2022-2023 school year for first-year undergraduates (class of 2026), the Mendoza College of Business updated its core curriculum. This included a 24-credit hour reduction of Mendoza’s requirements, freeing up space for eight additional courses in potentially other disciplines. Classes such as Business Technology and Analytics, Accountancy II, and six other courses no longer were required for business majors at Notre Dame.

Ellie Villaruz pictured with SIBC project in the Social Impact Division (a
collaboration between KPMG and Nuestros Puquenos Hermanos).
Ellie Villaruz pictured with SIBC project in the Social Impact Division (a collaboration between KPMG and Nuestros Puquenos Hermanos).

In addition to this class reduction, starting with the class of 2026, Mendoza students are required to take three “broadening electives” which should be taken in at least two business departments outside of the student’s primary major. Comprehensively, the revisions to the curriculum aim to allow students to take “ownership of their own curriculum” and ideally, pursue another major more easily.

Observing from the following school year (2023-2024), students have certainly taken advantage of Mendoza’s updated core curriculum. Cristina Lahud is a sophomore student studying marketing and strategic management with a minor in constitutional studies. She was part of the first class of Notre Dame students affected by the curriculum changes. She says that the updates “opened a door for me to explore passions and interests that I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to do with a greater credit load.”

In addition to adding a minor in constitutional studies, Lahud has always “begun taking Italian in pursuit of learning another language.” She says that the changes “has allowed me to take advantage of all of the academic opportunities for growth that the university offers.”

Ellie Villaruz is also a sophomore at Notre Dame studying accounting with minors in social entrepreneurship & innovation and Italian. She describes that taking the introductory classes in the first few semesters allowed her “to get a taste of each of the different disciplines and decide what I wanted to study and major in.”

She says that the curriculum change “opened up the option to double major, which I did not end up doing, but heavily considered and appreciated the option of having.”

She also says that the decrease in 24 credits allowed her to take accounting classes earlier which helped her professional development.

“I had a better idea of what an accounting career would look like and knew more of the material necessary to secure an internship,” Villaruz shares. “I am grateful for the change and feel as though it has had a huge impact on my education.”

Some Mendoza students like Villaruz took advantage of the curriculum change to add additional minors in other disciplines. Others, such as Henry Anderson, used the curriculum change to double major within Mendoza. A sophomore in Keenan Hall, Anderson majors in both accounting and finance.

Anderson describes that he decided to complete a double major within the Mendoza College of Business because finance “has a lot of related concepts to accounting, and as a result, I feel that I’m gaining a deeper level of understanding in my classes. Getting to go in-depth into both accounting and finance gives me a better understanding of the entire process of being successful in the business world.”

He also shares that through his double majors, he has gained growing relevance to his interests on a semester-to-semester basis.

“While my friends with a single major in Mendoza typically take around two major-related classes per semester, there are semesters where I will be taking four classes related to my majors.”

Ultimately, the versatility of the curriculum change allows students to explore their interests more fully, whether that be an expansion in the liberal arts, or diversifying one’s business disciplines.

“While many of my friends are taking advantage of the double major within Mendoza, many are also taking advantage of the lighter credit load required and adding double majors and minors outside of Mendoza,” Villaruz says. “It has allowed us to take advantage of all Notre Dame has to offer and diversify the classes we take to really get [a] holistic education.”