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Georgetown McDonough’s Flex MBA Online Students Find Community & More

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The Georgetown McDonough Flex MBA Online program offers a dynamic and flexible educational experience designed for working professionals seeking to advance their careers without compromising their current commitments. This program combines rigorous academic coursework with practical, real-world applications, providing students with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in today’s competitive business landscape. With access to Georgetown’s renowned faculty, comprehensive career resources, and a diverse network of peers, students are empowered to achieve their professional goals. The program’s flexible online format allows for a customizable learning experience, ensuring that students can balance their studies with their personal and professional lives.

In this special feature, current McDonough Flex MBA Online students, Aaron Brown and Shriya Khonde, share their personal experiences, insights, and the unique opportunities the program has provided them. Brown comes from an engineering background and wanted to continue his work at Disney while developing his business acumen. Khonde is using lessons from the MBA program in real-time in her current role at UBS. Read on for a firsthand look at how this flexible and comprehensive educational path is shaping their careers and lives.

Aaron Brown, Georgetown McDonough Flex MBA Online Candidate, Class of 2026

Age: 25
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Georgia Institute of Technology, Industrial and Systems Engineering
Pre-MBA Work Experience: Revenue Management Data Engineer, Disney, 2 years, Entertainment

Clear Admit: Why did you choose an online MBA vs. in-person program? What factors figured most prominently into your decision?
Aaron Brown: I have a great full-time job, but I realized that I needed an MBA to complement my undergraduate degree in engineering and continue growing within my company. An online MBA would allow me to develop my business competencies without pausing my career. Attending Georgetown shows how serious I am about my trajectory in the firm. The opportunity to attend a respected and highly ranked business school while continuing to work full-time is still rare in the workplace.

CA: What is your initial impression of the Georgetown McDonough Online Flex MBA program?
AB: I was very impressed with the onboarding experience with McDonough, especially that admissions counselors and faculty were readily available to answer my questions about the program prior to classes starting. All of my interactions with faculty and staff have been excellent, well organized, and highly responsive. As this is an online program, I place a lot of weight on organization and structure to promote a more traditional MBA experience, with the tremendous benefit of flexibility. 

CA: Given the plethora of online MBA programs, why specifically did you choose one that was cohort-based and primarily synchronous (as opposed to asynchronous)? Are there additional factors that led you to choose Georgetown University?
AB: A large selling point to MBA programs in general is the collaboration that comes through networking and developing working relationships with your cohort and professors. Georgetown made it clear that we would be working very closely with our peers in project groups through our courses, which is exactly the environment in which I want to learn, the same kind of environment I encounter when managing a project team at work.

I also wanted to attend a business program with a strong focus or angle in International Affairs. Many of the MBA courses are taught from an international business lens. Additionally, I have been fortunate in attending joint classes between McDonough and Walsh School of Foreign Service.

CA: What is the format of the classes in the Flex Online MBA program? What has been your favorite class so far and why?
AB: Most of the legwork for our courses is completed asynchronously on a weekly basis, followed by synchronous lectures and assessments. Every week, we are assigned readings, cases, and pre-recorded lectures to prepare case arguments and discussions on the material prior to synchronous class time at night. Occasionally, we have knowledge checks before our meetings in the form of case write-ups or brief quizzes. Most of the learning in the class comes from deep discussions and debates in our case-focused courses. Friendly debate between students and the professor enhances learning of the course material.

One class in particular that brought out great insight during debate was a course on Chinese politics and diplomacy. We dove deep into the political, diplomatic, and economic structures of the Communist Party of China, debating from both sides of the question, ‘how do we build the best economic system?’ The debate-style discussions helped me develop friendly rivalries with my classmates and learn about the intricacies of the People’s Republic of China’s economy and foreign trade. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to take more classes like this one.

CA: How do you build community in an online environment?
AB: In our first week of the McDonough program, we attended classes in person, allowing us to form interpersonal relationships with our classmates and teammates in a tangible structure before our mostly virtual classes began. Having completed my undergraduate degree during COVID and thanks to great virtual communication tools, my classmates -now friends – communicate frequently outside of class. Beyond video calling one another, a few initiatives by our Flex Online cohort representatives have brought us together in a virtual environment as well. Our gingerbread decorating competitions are more intense than one might realize among highly accomplished MBA students.

CA: What are you most excited about in the next few years?
AB: Outside of traditional MBA material, I also participate in AI research through Georgetown’s Pedagogy research group. I’m researching the impact of the use of Generative AI in higher education on digital and technical literacy. As Georgetown welcomes the use of AI tools in our studies and AI is increasingly pervasive in the workplace, I’m excited to have the opportunity to assist the institution in defining guardrails and methodologies for our students. I hope in the coming years of my research project, I can help ensure that through rapid advancements in our tools, we derive positive benefits and remain ethical in our use of these technologies.

CA: What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process to the Flex Online MBA program?
When applicants are invited to interview with admissions, they may have the option to interview in-person. I would highly recommend interviewing in-person if possible. I not only had the opportunity to interact with admissions, but I spoke with a few members of faculty who would later be my professors in the program. The application process is about finding best fit – just as the school evaluates the prospective student, the student should evaluate the school. This was a great opportunity to get the feel for what it would be like working with these professors and attending occasional in-person intensive learning courses.

CA: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
The Flex Online faculty and staff have assembled a great cohort of brilliant, diverse, and highly driven students. I’m grateful to have been selected to participate in this inaugural class and am excited to see and contribute to the growth of this program and school. Hoya Saxa!

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Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.