Notre Dame Executive MBA names new director

Author: Carol Elliott

Suzanne Thoren Waller Suzanne Thoren Waller

The University of Notre Dame Executive Education has named Suzanne Thoren Waller as director of Degree Programs, responsible for leading Notre Dame’s two Executive MBA (EMBA) programs in South Bend and Chicago. In this role, Waller will guide a wide range of strategic initiatives for the top-ranked program, including leadership and administrative oversight of marketing, recruiting, student services, curriculum implementation and operations.

In recruiting Waller to the Mendoza College of Business, Paul Velasco, director of Executive Education, noted, “I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Suzanne for many years, and her impact on the EMBA industry has been remarkable. Her poised leadership, clear understanding of student recruiting and support, rapport with faculty and experience with international programs will add great value to Notre Dame.”

Waller previously served as associate director for executive MBA programs at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Iowa State University and currently is enrolled in the Master of Business Administration/Sustainability program at the San Francisco Institute of Architecture. In her prior positions, some of her key achievements include the expansion of EMBA programs into Latin America and other global markets.

“The Notre Dame Executive MBA program has a strong commitment to equipping and inspiring leaders with the tools to be impactful in their decisions,” Waller said. “This is a unique time in history for the global business community to step forward and make a difference in people’s lives, and I am excited to be a part of that. I care deeply about the student experience and impact that leaders have on the communities they live in.”

Notre Dame Executive Education has seen significant growth recently, including the opening of an executive education facility in downtown Chicago, and most notably with the construction of the Ralph C. Stayer Center for Executive Education. The three-story, 54,000-square-foot Stayer Center is slated to open in March 2013, adjacent to the Mendoza College of Business.

The department also extensively redesigned its EMBA curriculum in spring 2011 to emphasize strategic-thinking skills and the ability to effect strategies through strong values-based leadership.

Waller takes over the directorship from Velasco, who in August was named as the director of the Notre Dame Executive Education department, which includes both non-degree and degree programs.

Founded in 1980, Notre Dame Executive Education provides leaders in the executive and management ranks the opportunity to develop and strengthen their leadership abilities and business acumen skills. Today, Executive Education awards about 120 degrees annually and delivers programs in 10 countries. In keeping with the Notre Dame mission, the program emphasizes values-based leadership in addition to academic rigor. Recent rankings include No. 18 by Bloomberg Businessweek for Non-degree Executive Education Open Enrollment Programs, and No. 6 worldwide among the top-ranked 25 Executive MBA programs by The Wall Street Journal.

More than 1,700 executives, managers and directors have participated in Notre Dame Executive Education’s innovative open-enrollment Executive Integral Leadership, a portfolio of three programs that incorporate moral, spiritual and ethical strengths as well as other personal dimensions into leadership training.

More information about the Executive Education programs, including Executive MBA, is available by calling 800-631-3622 or 574-631-5285, emailing or visiting