My Week in ESTEEM: September 14 - 20, 2020

Author: Nicolette McLean

Nicolette McleanNicolette Mclean

My name is Nicolette McLean and I am from Long Island, New York. I graduated from Providence College and studied Finance and Math. I also was in the honors program, taught yoga and was in the women in business club. During my senior year at Providence I decided I wanted to go a more technical route and steered away from traditional finance roles. Because it was too late to add another major, I figured I would look into my options for masters programs and go back to school. After a lot of searching and consideration, I came across the ESTEEM Program, where I found out I would be able to study business and add in the technical electives that I was missing. Fast forward a few months later, here I am loving every second of ESTEEM. Here’s a glimpse into what my week looked like! 

Monday mornings are always hard for me, so I let myself sleep in a bit. I got up around 10:00 and started my morning off with some fresh coffee and homemade avocado toast (my favorite).  During my breakfast I prepped a bit for my capstone meeting which was at 11:00. This year I am working for the IT consulting firm Avanade and am looking at both the financial and structural sides of data. I got on for my meeting with my sponsor, Dael, after breakfast and discussed my research findings and how I wanted to move forward. We agreed I would prepare a pitch deck for the next meeting to go over potential solutions and whether I wanted to take the project in a more  technical or commercial direction. After the meeting I noticed it was a beautiful day and drove myself straight to St. Joseph's Lake on campus. I always make time to work out despite my busy ESTEEM schedule. I typically run 3 or 4 miles (each lap is about a mile) then light a candle at the Grotto after my run. Going to the Grotto is a great way to stop for a few minutes a day, pray and find some peace of mind despite all the chaos that may be going on in my schedule. Later in the day we wrapped up two classes for the semester – Leadership and Entrepreneurial Immersion. I was sad to leave Prof. Greenspun with Leadership and all of the meaningful stories he has told every week. That class truly did go too fast. Entrepreneurial Immersion was a bit more hands on – it was final presentation day. Luckily for me, fellow classmates Peter Misko and Nathan Santos presented for my group. For our presentation we designed an app to make the tailgating experience a better one. We presented it in front of a panel of judges. I think we have a good chance at winning best idea, but do have to say fellow classmate Kevin White’s presenting skills (with demo, music playing, etc.) might give us a run for our money.  

Tuesday morning I chose to wake up a bit earlier as this was career fair day. To keep myself relaxed in the morning I started my day off by doing some yoga in our yard. After yoga my roommate and I walked over to a local coffee shop, Zen Café. We both ordered iced matcha and Haitian honey lattes with oat milk. Yes, I am that person that always has the most complicated order! Once we got back from our short walk, I got ready for the day. Next was crunch time. I got on a Zoom call with Erik Oswald, Notre Dame's graduate career services specialist, and discussed my resume needs and got advice on how to narrow down my job search based on industry and title. I spent the rest of my day tweaking my resume, creating a cover letter and sitting in on a few virtual information sessions. These went over what each company was looking for, deadlines, etc. After my whole house was done grinding for the day we decided to have taco Tuesday. I live in a co-ed house with Mary, Meg, Kevin and JP so things can be a lot of fun when we have dinner parties together. We prepared guacamole, beef tacos, rice, beans, and all the sides! You name it, we had it. After that we chose to relax and watch a family movie. The guys kept trying for The Hobbit (honestly one of my favorites), but we all settled on one of The Avengers movies.

Wednesday and Thursday were a blur! The class schedule was overall light this week so I only had Design & Fabrication and Launch Strategy on Wednesday. In Launch Strategy we discussed market sizing for our upcoming capstone project. Our professor Sam Miller has a great way of bringing in concepts from classes we have already taken and making them come together. In Design & Fabrication I am currently getting ready to take the Solidworks exam to get certified in using the program. Solidworks is a lot of fun to use because you can think up anything and create a 3D model of it on the computer. I am super excited for our upcoming project where we are able to design anything. I’m hoping my professor lets me create and 3D print new rims for my car!  I scratched my current rim, so my father is not too happy with me right now. In the extra free time I had on both of these days, I focused on some capstone work. Capstone projects typically take about 10  hours a week of work, so it’s good to split it up where you can. On days that I have more breathing room I like to take my nights to relax. I typically make some tea, put on a face mask, throw my essential oil diffuser on and read a book. Right now I’m reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. 

Finally, we got to Friday. After doing some networking during the week I was able to set up a phone call with ESTEEM alumni John Flatley who currently works at Google. Working at Google is a huge dream of mine. Although he is not in the sector I want to go into, he was able to give me good advice on resume tips, how to get my foot in the door and how to leverage myself in the application process. I made sure to prepare a full list of questions and research before going into the meeting. I was very thankful for his time and all of his suggestions. At noon we had an Innovation Rally as part of our Entrepreneurial Insights class. This week Notre Dame alumni Helen Adeosun came in to speak. I love how accepting of risk and persistent she was about starting her own  company. This was something I definitely needed to hear and take wisdom from. Next we had a workshop focused around dealing with stress and anxiety. These past few weeks have definitely been piling on the work and therefore the stress so this was something I really needed. Dr. Wendy Settle was extremely spiritual which was right up my alley! Friday night we had a small 7 person, physically-distanced gathering at one of the apartments for a fellow student's birthday. It’s been hard celebrating with COVID, but we definitely try to find a way to make things fun and still be able to see our classmates outside of class.
Saturday was game day, the first game of the season, Notre Dame vs. Duke. I was definitely the most excited because my college didn’t have football, so this year is finally my shot! When we got to the game we realized a lot of our ESTEEM classmate's seats were in the same vicinity of the stadium, which was a huge bonus (our assigned seats were designed to keep households together and physically distanced from other households). Thankfully the game ended in a Notre Dame win! Go Irish!

Overall, a busy, but successful week in ESTEEM!!