March 16, 2015

Georgetown McDonough Teaches Business with No Borders

At Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, being global means more than learning about international business in a classroom.

Since 1995, over 4,500 McDonough graduate students have gone abroad to work on more than 800 international consulting projects across the globe.

Building on this success, the McDonough School is now expanding its global opportunities to undergraduates through a new elective course and fellowship program.

Global Business Initiative

In 2013, McDonough launched the Global Business Initiative in order to ensure that the global mission of the school permeates all aspects of the student experience.

According to Global Business Initiative managing director Ricardo Ernst, the initiative aims to capitalize on Georgetown’s global trajectory in order to develop the school into a premier destination for global business education.

The initiative builds on Georgetown’s longstanding partnerships with multinational corporations through international consulting projects known as the Global Business Experience. For over 20 years, the Global Business Experience has paired graduate students with international organizations in order to address complex business challenges.

Since its inception, students have traveled to 26 cities in 17 countries across four continents.

New Undergraduate Course

In spring 2014, the Global Business Experience was offered as an elective course to undergraduates for the first time.

Ernst selected the Spanish confectionary industry as the course’s first focus, dividing students into small teams that were assigned to different companies within the industry.

Throughout the semester, students conducted research in preparation for a class trip to Barcelona over spring break to meet with executives, visit factories and distribution centers, and present their industry recommendations. Their travel was supported by a generous benefactor.

Shilpa Chandran, a senior majoring in international business and finance, was assigned to Mondelez, a multinational food and beverage conglomerate.

With her team, Chandran examined how Mondelez could respond to the trend of growing health consciousness among its consumers, navigate emerging markets, and manage its large portfolio of brands.

“It’s easy to underestimate yourself, but you have a fresh perspective,” Chandran said. “It’s amazing how prepared you are after all these classes in the business school and how even as an undergraduate you can come up with creative ways to address challenges.”

For students like Diego Bacci, a senior majoring in finance and operations and information management, the experience helps to solidify an interest in global business.

“That’s what the MSB is about—giving you global skills because that’s what you are going to face in your career,” Bacci said.

Combining Business with International Affairs

As of January 2015, McDonough and SFS undergraduates will have the opportunity to further explore global opportunities as Global Business Fellows, part of a new joint program between the McDonough School of Business and the School of Foreign Service.

Students in both schools can apply to the program during their sophomore year. Those selected as fellows will take courses in both business and international affairs, engage in public policy programming, and participate in the Global Business Experience.

The program aims to educate leaders who can solve global economic challenges by acquiring a solid foundation in business as well as an understanding of the impact of international policy on the worldwide economy.

Business skills alone are not enough to navigate today’s business world, said Ernst. “You have to bring the tools you learn in the School of Foreign Service and combine them with what you learn in business school about the global economy.”

As Global Business Fellows, students will be uniquely positioned to deal with an increasingly globalized world.

“The right question is not whether globalization is good or bad,” Ernst said. “The question is how you engage in it. Georgetown doesn’t just talk about it. Georgetown does it.”