For many people, business school is an additional investment that you have to make to switch careers, obtain the job you want or earn a promotion. But those reasons only skim the surface of the true power of an MBA degree. At Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, earning an MBA is about more than the result; it’s a transformational experience.
Discover Your Strength
Have you ever wondered what you’re capable of or how much you could achieve? That’s what the Full-time and Evening MBA programs at Georgetown McDonough set out to demonstrate with a curriculum that is designed to prepare students for the global stage.
Inside and outside of the classroom, McDonough MBAs gain hands-on knowledge from some of the best practitioners in the world of business. Plus, students have the unique opportunity of leveraging their location in Washington, D.C., to study the intersection of business, policy and society.
When you earn your MBA at Georgetown McDonough, there’s no need to wonder how much you could accomplish. You’ll know exactly what you’re made of when you graduate.
Don’t take our word for it. We interviewed two recent MBA graduates and a current second-year student to get their perspective on the life-altering Georgetown McDonough MBA experience.
A Global Perspective
Carlos Martinez, MBA ’16, started his career in Mexico City after graduating with an undergraduate degree in international business. For a little while, he was happy working as a financial analyst at a large company, but he soon realized that it wasn’t enough for him; he wanted international exposure.
“McDonough brought me from 0 to 100 in six months.”
Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico
Pre-MBA Career: Senior Operations Analyst at Inter-American Development Bank
Post-MBA Career: Investment Officer at Inter-American Investment Corporation
Student Involvement at Georgetown:
- Emerging Markets Network
- Energy Club
- Finance Club
- Latin American Business Association
“So, I decided to take a scholarship and go study abroad,” Martinez shared. “I went to Spain to earn my master’s degree in international trade. I was there for a year, but while it was interesting, something was still missing. It wasn’t a strong program academically, and I needed that foundation.”
Martinez graduated from the program feeling like there was still more he needed if he was going to achieve his dream career. So, after working a few years for Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), a multilateral institution similar to the World Bank, he decided the only way to grow in his career and boost his international profile was to go back to school one more time to earn his MBA.
“I decided to attend Georgetown because of its international profile and because of its location in Washington, D.C., which is very close to the IDB headquarters,” said Martinez. “Also, Georgetown is known for superior academic quality and global business experience, both of which interest me.” And it was those specific qualities that made Martinez’ experience at Georgetown McDonough a transformational one.
A Defining Moment
“For the first six to seven months of the MBA, the work was pure study and incredibly difficult,” he shared. “In the moment, I really struggled to keep up with the academic work, but looking back, I appreciate it. McDonough brought me from 0 to 100 in six months. Those first six months were instrumental in developing my critical thinking and getting me into shape. Before the MBA, I didn’t have the knowledge of finance or global markets that I needed. I have developed an analytical mindset. I’m able to see problems as challenges that should be analyzed from different perspectives to find a solution.”
But it wasn’t just the academics that made a difference for Martinez; it also was his exposure to a diverse group of classmates alongside his Global Business Experience in the Middle East. Both experiences opened his world to new ideas and opportunities that taught him the importance of surrounding himself with unique individuals and businesses in order to grow.
“I feel really good, and I’m happy that I took the risk of entering an MBA program because, at the end of the day, it is a risk, but it worked out,” Martinez said. “It required a lot of work, and when I was there, I struggled. But now that things have worked out, I’m able to look back and be grateful. In fact, I really miss it. Now, my concern is that I never want to forget what I learned from my peers and the school itself during those two years.”
Now, Martinez is still at IDB but in a completely different role that better suits his new skills. He’s currently assigned to the Inter-American Investment Corporation, a private sector arm of IDB that lends money to funds around Latin America. It’s a role that lets Martinez use his global business and academic experiences.
A Peek Into Venture Capital
Unlike Carlos, Benjamin Ebenezer, MBA ’16, chose to attend Georgetown McDonough because he had no idea what he should do. He wanted to see what was out there, and McDonough provided numerous opportunities to peer into a variety of different industries and sectors to see what stood out. At first, Ebenezer thought he’d stay in the sales and marketing field or get a job at a large tech company such as Google, but everything changed during his first year when he participated in the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC).
Benjamin Ebenezer, MBA ’16
“I took courses that kicked my butt, and they made me, reshaped me, reformed me, and pushed me beyond whatever I expected to do. Going through the Georgetown McDonough program taught me that I have a higher gear. It’s out there, and it’s just a matter of making it happen.”
Hometown: Roseville, CA
Pre-MBA Career: Sales and Marketing at Verizon Wireless
Post-MBA Career: Senior Associate at Blu Venture Investors
Student Involvement at Georgetown:
- CGSM Fellow (Consortium for Graduate Study in Management)
- Venture Capital Investment Competition
- MBA Venture Fellow Program – Inaugural Cohort
- VP – Georgetown Operations and Management Association
- VP – Graduate Marketing Association
- VP – Georgetown Wine Society
“Before VCIC, I had very little exposure to venture capital other than the few things I might have read or from watching Shark Tank,” explained Ebenezer. “At first, I participated in the competition just to learn something, and then I got really competitive. My cohort and I stayed up all night, spending over 36 hours digging into industries that we had no knowledge about and trying to do due diligence in order to put together a term sheet. It felt insane at the time trying to learn everything, including the terminology.”
A Defining Moment
However, by the end of the competition, after overloading on energy drinks and candy bars just to survive, Ebenezer realized something, “I could actually do this.” He discovered over the course of the competition that even though venture capital was far outside of his comfort zone of managing sales, it was a legitimate career path he could consider. “That was truly my McDonough moment,” Ebenezer remembered.
After that, Ebenezer decided to change everything around and to participate in the newly launched Venture Fellows Program. “It’s why you come to an MBA program like Georgetown McDonough, to do something like this,” Ebenezer said. “I knew that I could always get a normal job at a typical company after graduation, but it’s not often that you get a window into venture capital, especially if you don’t come from an investment banking background or pedigree, so it was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse.”
The program worked like a 10-month-long internship for Ebenezer. It started in the spring where he earned partial course credit while immersing himself into a venture firm. During this time, he not only received training in venture capital, but he also learned the academic theory behind it. Then, by the summer, he already knew infinitely more and was able to hit the ground running and actually be part of a project team and complete due diligence. It allowed him to experience a project closing, something that wouldn’t have been possible with only an eight-week summer internship. Benjamin was offered a full-time job at his Venture firm because of the impact he made and is now working there post-MBA.
In the end, Ebenezer’s experience at McDonough was all about changing the boundaries of his comfort zones. “It was surprising and refreshing to really be able to push myself beyond what I thought and where I was comfortable,” he said. “I took courses that kicked my butt, and they made me, reshaped me, reformed me, and pushed me beyond whatever I expected to do. Going through the Georgetown McDonough program taught me that I have a higher gear. It’s out there, and it’s just a matter of making it happen. Whatever you thought your limits were, you’re probably wrong. That’s something I discovered about myself that I probably have two more gears in me beyond my limits.”
A Future Business Leader
“McDonough has allowed me to exceed my own expectations of myself by opening doors to learning opportunities beyond the classroom,” explained Burnham. “While the academic rigor of the program has been instructive and a critical component to my development as a future business leader, the leadership and ‘real world’ opportunities I have been able to pursue thanks to McDonough have been the most transformational components of my MBA experience.”Clare Burnham, MBA ’17, chose Georgetown McDonough because she was looking for an opportunity to grow personally and professionally. She saw an MBA at McDonough as an opportunity to create a positive impact quickly and to leave a legacy behind. And so far, the experience has surpassed her expectations of herself and the program.
“It was at this moment I realized the McDonough experience would accelerate my growth as a person, a creative thinker, and a business innovator far faster and more deeply than I could have hoped or imagined.”
Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
Pre-MBA Career: Retail Product & Operations: Buyer, Abercrombie & Fitch; Director of Product & Operations, Spiritual Gangster; Manager of Outlet Strategy & Operations, lululemon athletica
Post-MBA Career: Senior Product Manager at Amazon
Student Involvement at Georgetown:
- President of the MBA Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club
- Fellow and Vice President of Partnerships: InSITE Fellowship, DC Chapter
And two of her most transformational experiences have been leading a board of her peers by serving as the President of the MBA Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club, and acting as a Fellow and Board Member of the DC Chapter of InSITE Fellowship.
“My leadership at McDonough has taught me that, while I have many opportunities and areas for growth, my biggest strength as a leader is the ability to build, lead, and inspire a team to innovate, achieve results, and leave an organization better than it was before,” she said. More than that, each role taught her how to solve real business challenges and gain relevant skills that will be immediately applicable post-graduation.
A Defining Moment
Another defining moment for Burnham was her experience during Startup Weekend. She was presented with the challenge of creating, building, and launching a company within 72 hours. By the end of the weekend, she’d pitched a full-fledged company to a panel of real and elite investors. “It was at this moment I realized the McDonough experience would accelerate my growth as a person, a creative thinker, and a business innovator far faster and more deeply than I could have hoped or imagined,” she shared.
“Experiences such as Startup Weekend and the InSITE Fellowship revealed to me that, while I loved the excitement of early-stage ventures, I was not ready for the risk or personal uncertainty that often comes hand-in-hand,” explained Burnham, who interned as a. Senior Product Manager at Amazon and will return full-time this June. “Amazon is an incredibly entrepreneurial company and one that values the innovation and ideas of its employees. It lacks the traditional corporate structure I dislike, but offers stability and greater guarantee than a startup can due to its size and scale. While I ultimately hope to pursue my own venture, McDonough helped me to discover that a company like Amazon is the perfect launch pad to learn, develop, and grow as a professional and a place that will, just as importantly, support my personal goals and the lifestyle I hope to lead.”
So, while Burnham originally came to Georgetown McDonough expecting to leave as an entrepreneur, her experiences taught her that it wasn’t the right fit for her, and she never would have discovered the truth without the program.
“Because I was clear on what I was interested in, I was able to immediately dive into a niche of extracurriculars that aligned with my professional interests, which allowed me to meet fantastic and relevant mentors who guided me to things like InSITE, my Amazon internship, and other equally transformational opportunities,” Burnham said.
Learn more about how Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business can help you discover your moment of truth by visiting the school website, here.