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Georgetown McDonough MBA: The Intersection of Business and Policy

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An MBA experience that occurs in a vacuum is worthless. The best MBA programs accept candidates from around the world and create their experience using every tool available. In fact, that’s why so many of the top business schools reside in large cities and cultural hotspots such as Paris, Chicago, London, New York and Philadelphia.

But if a realistic and well-rounded experience is your goal—something that revolves around the nexus of business, economics and public policy—one city rises above the rest: Washington, D.C., which is home to Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

“McDonough sits just blocks away from the Capitol, the White House, the World Bank and 177 embassies,” explained James P. Moore, the managing director of the Business, Society and Public Policy Initiative at McDonough. “Given this location, the prominence of Georgetown and the university’s Jesuit heritage, there is no better business school anywhere in the world to address the critical issues that future business leaders will face in addressing the concurrent challenges of business, government and society.”

Washington, D.C., is home to government agencies, international bodies, global business leaders and non-governmental organizations on a scale that is almost impossible to find anywhere else. These organizations also host a significant number of global business and political leaders who take the time to speak to students, whether on campus or in the city. This concentration of power, influence and unique opportunities means that Georgetown McDonough’s MBAs gain a view of business that extends well beyond the classroom.

Whether you work on Wall Street, in marketing or on the Hill, you need to understand how business impacts and is impacted by policy and society. Even if you want to do business overseas, you have to understand how international economies will or won’t support your strategy. It’s not enough to learn accounting, finance, and marketing alone; you have to understand how each applies to the business world.

A Georgetown McDonough student has countless occasions to engage with local leaders and to enter into discussions and debates that could have a nation-wide impact. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that has been carefully designed to teach MBAs how to conduct business in the real world, and it’s all thanks to a few key elements.

Policy and Business Experts
An MBA program can’t claim to be knowledgeable about the business world and the intersection of business and policy if it doesn’t offer the experiences to back it up. That’s not a problem at Georgetown McDonough. Thanks to its location in D.C. as well as its prestigious reputation, the school regularly hosts events that bring in global political and business experts to speak, network and interact with MBAs.

At Georgetown, you can name almost any topic in the business world, and the school will have a relationship with an expert that can bring that topic to life. As an example, distinguished guests have added to the conversation through three separate programs and initiatives:

  • Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI): Founded five years ago, GSEI has hosted leaders and practitioners from across sectors at McDonough. “Through our founding partner Bank of America, our Leadership Series events welcomed Warren Buffet, who spoke on philanthropy, and musician and activist Bono, who spoke to the role of commerce in making a social impact,” shared Natalia Galloway, the sssociate director of GSEI. “Both shared the stage with Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, who also took the time to speak in a more intimate session with GSEI student leaders.”
  • Financial Markets Quality Conference: The conference, held on October 12th, welcomed a myriad of distinguished guests to talk about a variety of subjects such as market structure, the regulatory policy environment and more. The panel of experts included Michael Piwowar, the commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; Deborah Fuhr, managing partner and co-founder of ETFGI; Tom Farley, the president of the New York Stock Exchange; and others.
  • U.S. Department of State: In partnership with the State Department, McDonough has hosted a variety of events focused on the impact of the economy and the role of private investment in climate change. These events have welcomed such individuals as Hal Harvey, CEO of Energy Innovation, and John Morton, COO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), as well as government officials like Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and General Wesley Clark.

“Our students also have benefited from leaders in GSEI’s executive in residence program (from companies such as Green Mountain Coffee, Hershey and Tides) and through our senior research fellow, Leslie Crutchfield, a leading authority on social innovation and philanthropy,” said Galloway. “Other executives and leaders brought to the school through our efforts have included Diana Aviv, president and CEO of Feeding America; Liz Sidoti, head of corporate communications for BP; Fortune Editor Alan Murray; Jean Murray, CEO of the Case Foundation and more.”

Business and Impact MBA Curriculum
And when it comes to the classroom, McDonough doesn’t believe that the textbook is the end-all guide to business. In fact, most of the courses offered in the MBA program focus on how business functions in the real world, not just on paper. Some example MBA courses include:

  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Environmentally Sustainable Operations and Business Models
  • Financing Social Impact
  • Global Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurs
  • Investing for Impact
  • Leadership and Management of Nonprofit Organizations
  • Ocean Law, Sustainable Development, and Global Security
  • Policy Issues in CSR and Impact Investing
  • Principled Leadership for Business and Society
  • Social Innovation

“As with all classes at McDonough, MBA classes are infused with the school’s mission of graduating principled leaders with a global mindset, in service to business and society,” explained Senior Associate Dean of MBA Programs Prashant Malaviya. “Being and working in service to business and society is part of the university’s wider Jesuit ethos, and it informs everyday practice and study at McDonough.”

McDonough’s courses also draw heavily on field practitioners. For example, most recently, the Corporate Social Responsibility course welcomed Katie Loovis who directs CSR efforts at Glaxo Smith Kline, which topped Fortune’s 50 Companies Changing the World list for 2016. In fact, almost every course within Georgetown McDonough’s MBA program takes learning out of a vacuum and provides hands-on experience to demonstrate real-world application.