Georgetown Dean’s Big Plan to Boost The B-School’s Rankings

McDonough Dean David Thomas aims to increase the school's diversity and boost is place in B-school rankings

McDonough Dean David Thomas aims to increase the school’s diversity and boost its B-school rankings

David Thomas digs BHAGs – short for big, hairy, audacious goals. So much so that only a few months into his deanship at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business he was already dropping jaws and drawing stares of disbelief.

Thomas left a two-decade-long career at Harvard Business School to accept McDonough’s top post on August 1, 2011.  On August 30 he delivered the annual State of the School address and laid out the school’s mission: To develop and educate principled leaders with a global mind-set to be in service to business and society.  Most deans are adept at outlining pie-in-the-sky ambitions. But Thomas’ timeline was the real jaw-dropper. He was ready to overhaul the curriculum, extend the full-time MBA pre-term and retool the global experience – in a year.

The faculty was shocked. B-schools typically move like tankers – with a grudging resistance to changing course. Curriculum redesign can take years, not months. But Thomas took it one step further with another BHAG. He wanted each of McDonough’s programs to crack the top 10 in at least one of the major rankings – Businessweek, U.S. News and World Report and The Financial Times. “I had reactions that ranged all over the map from people who said, ‘You know, I’m glad you dared to say that,’ to people who asked me later, ‘Are you serious?'” Thomas recalls.

He is. The dean is two years in to his five-year contract with the school.  So far, he’s managed to shake up the B-school curriculum, and he’s confident a rankings boost will soon follow.  For starters, he tacked two weeks on the MBA pre-term.  Incoming students now start in early-August and attend an intensive three-week module from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.  They get a crash course in everything from global supply chain management and microeconomics to financial statements and ethics.

During the pre-term students are also expected to develop a global business and steer it through economic and ethical shocks.  They must navigate simulated situations, such as the U.S. government flying off the Fiscal Cliff or finding out that one of their manufacturers is using child labor in China.  Thomas is confident that MBAs should be exposed to global, high-level issues early on. “We’re introducing business, but the context for understanding it is a global one.  Students need the experiential piece – they’re not simply going to learn by lectures,” he says.

Thomas has also revamped McDonough’s global experience. Originally students would be assigned to teams in January, they’d examine a real-world issue facing an international business, draw up their recommendations and then deliver their conclusions overseas during a seven to 10-day trip. Then it was over. Thomas wanted to deepen that experience, so the school added the Global Business Conference where, upon returning to campus, students come together to share their findings with classmates. For instance,  three teams working on real estate projects might visit China, Dubai and Brazil.  During the conference, they’d compare notes on how each country’s culture, government, property rights and geography impacted their work.

Under Thomas’ leadership, the school also developed and introduced a second-year course on principled leadership, which explores what it means to create a business around the idea of shared value, where everyone the business touches sees benefits – not just the shareholders.

Finally, Thomas went to employers to get their feedback. He learned they were impressed with McDonough MBAs’ education, but they really needed nimble thinkers with sharp problem-solving skills. Real-world issues don’t always offer clean solutions – people and logistics can cloud things up.  So the school introduced two required courses –  Leadership & Social Intelligence and Analytical Problem Solving – to give students the tools and theories to tackle issues outside of the classroom.

  • Global Citizen

    touting diversity doesn’t meant anything…does the students mingle and take the time out to interact with minorities and international students? Or its all very clique. That’s the essential question here.

  • RossMBA2

    Bias? I have quoted official facts and figures released from GTown. You have accused me of bias/insecurity. Ironic.. So jpm/gs have gtown as a core school yet the school took none at GS, and less than 3 at JPM.. right..

    Yes Ross students aren’t interested in IB but I see armies of top tier IBs coming to Ross to hire students, but relatively few students turning up to meet them. The ones that do get the pick of the jobs. You get excellent opportunities to network with bankers that come to campus, i.e. you don’t get 20 to 1 circles of death like you do at other schools.

  • HOYASAXA

    That reflects on your reading ability, this ranking is just another way of looking at the brand recognition that Georgetown has in NORTHEAST.

  • HoyaSaxaMOFO

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  • IBMBA

    Was going to respond but now clearly seeing your facts aren’t straight and your opinion is simply formulated by your own ross bias or insecurity (gtown is a core school at jpm/gs..one example).

    If Ross students aren’t interested in iB, then you are feeding the argument why those in pursuit of IB should look elsewhere for MBA.

  • IBMBA

    If we are talking no scholly from any of the above, I would probably agree (except maybe cornell/darden vs. gtown for ib). Speaking as someone with 5+years IB experience and assuming your goal is to stay in IB and not a short term switch into PE – gtown with the money is a great play. At the end of the day, the 7 options you listed will all get you IB. If your getting your MBA and not sold 100% on IB then go to the higher ranked school. You want NYC IB, gtown hangs with all the aforementioned.

    Caveat that darden/duke don’t place as well as the others in nyc. Gtown doesn’t place as well outside of NYC.

  • RossMBA

    This is just wrong. As I said only a small portion of Ross students are interested in IB. So you can’t compare it. GT is definitely not as good as any program in M7-15 ranking, looking at the 2012 employment report the school had less than 3 hires at GS, JPM, MS, Barclays, Lazard. Well actually 0 at Barclays, GS, MS and Lazard. Even Ross places several students to those banks (with the exception of MS), how you could even infer it is better than Duke or Darden is beyond me. This is weak for a so called IBD powerhouse.

  • RossMBA

    Placing well in IBD does not make a better school. A small proportion of Ross students recruit for IBD. It is more of a consulting / marketing school. The opportunities to recruit for IBD for those who are interested are seriously good. The vast majority of students get offers. A little known secret is that it is a great contrarian play to recruit IBD at Ross. Very few students are interested, yet all the big banks come to campus to recruit, so you get great opportunities to connect with bankers (without the competition)

    Seriously if i was interested in IBD i would’ve gone to NYU, Tuck, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Darden over GT. Get real people.

  • MbaTime

    That might have to do with the fact that only a small portion of Michigan Ross MBAs recruit for IBD. But the ones that do place very well, and I would be surprised if Georgetown MBAs had a similar success rate.

  • KWJ15

    This is a ranking done by Vault, not P&Q. I think someone in the
    comments below hit the nail on the head with respect to its validity.

  • GTAlum@Booth

    The main idea here is that Georgetown MBA places very well in NYC IBD. Even better than programs than many programs that are supposedly ranked higher such as Ross, Darden, Fuqua, and UNC. Look, if you get into an M7 — go there for sure. But if your goal is IBD in NYC, then consider Georgetown, especially if you get a scholarship. Compared to some of the schools being slandered these last few months (ie. Michigan Ross), I can guarantee that Georgetown doesn’t have that fratty, whites only exclusive culture and is inclusive of everyone.

  • WhatAJoke

    I just looked up that article. It’s an “employability” ranking that Vault came out with in 2010. It emphasizes geographic location, not the number of placements or the quality of the program. Stanford and Haas didn’t even make the top 5 for “employability” in San Francisco. Now that’s a ranking that makes a lot of sense.

  • mba ib info

    The P&Q national IB rank for those not wanting to search:

    Top Business Schools for Employability in Banking Nationally

    1. Columba Business School
    2. New York University, Stern School of Business
    3. University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
    4. Harvard Business School
    5. University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School
    6. Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management
    7. Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business
    8. Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business
    8. University of Michigan, Ross School of Business
    10. Emory University, Goizueta Business School

  • mba ib info

    Not my ranking. Done by P&Q in 2010. I’m not able to post the link.

    I assure you it is not making a comparison between a Georgetown and Wharton MBA. The take away should be that anyone considering a career in IB should have Georgetown near the top of their list. It is possible that Wharton IB grads are more nationally/internationally placed or their aspirations are PE/VC with IB as plan B (I’m a Georgetown undergrad at top 10 MBA and this is my personal reason for passing on another stint in DC).

    If we are talking strictly IB in NYC, then yes, Georgetown can be just as competitive as Wharton. Talk to recruiters, explore linkedin profiles or ask those in the IB world. It’s a reality that for some reason seems a tough pill to swallow for those of “higher ranked schools.”

  • Nope

    I’ve read some pretty silly things over the years, but any ranking in which a gtown MBA is tied with a Wharton MBA is one that I’m going to ignore.

  • Haha

    I suppose some posters will be happy because your ranking shows Georgetown above Michigan Ross, Duke Fuqua and UVA Darden.

  • mba ib info
  • mba ib info

    Slightly outdated but relevant P&Q take on IB MBA’s:
    How important is business school prestige in banking employability?

    But don’t think you won’t get anywhere in finance without a NYC MBA. The finance industry is not as geographically focused as the legal industry and lacks the prestige obsession of consulting. Aside from the broad geographic reach of New York schools, employment patterns in finance show a slight regional tilt. In each region, a local school is No. 1 in our employability rankings.

    Top Business Schools for Employability in the Northeast
    1. Columba Business School
    2. New York University, Stern School of Business
    3. University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
    4. Harvard Business School
    5. Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business
    5. University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School

  • GT IB MBA

    Slightly outdated but relevant P&Q take on IB MBA’s:
    How important is business school prestige in banking employability?

    But don’t think you won’t get anywhere in finance without a NYC MBA. The finance industry is not as geographically focused as the legal industry and lacks the prestige obsession of consulting. Aside from the broad geographic reach of New York schools, employment patterns in finance show a slight regional tilt. In each region, a local school is No. 1 in our employability rankings.

    Top Business Schools for Employability in the Northeast
    1. Columba Business School
    2. New York University, Stern School of Business
    3. University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
    4. Harvard Business School
    5. Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business
    5. University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School

    http://poetsandquants.com/2010/11/02/columbia-nyu-chicago-rank-as-top-b-schools-in-banking/

  • GT_Top10_IB_MBA

    Slightly outdated but a relevant P&Q take on IB MBA’s:

    How important is business school prestige in banking employability?

    But don’t think you won’t get anywhere in finance without a NYC MBA. The finance industry is not as geographically focused as the legal industry and lacks the prestige obsession of consulting. Aside from the broad geographic reach of New York schools, employment patterns in finance show a slight regional tilt. In each region, a local school is No. 1 in our employability rankings.

    Top Business Schools for Employability in the Northeast
    1. Columba Business School
    2. New York University, Stern School of Business
    3. University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
    4. Harvard Business School
    5. Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business
    5. University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School

    http://poetsandquants.com/2010/11/02/columbia-nyu-chicago-rank-as-top-b-schools-in-banking/

  • Anjit

    How about that, Dean Thomas puts the money where his mouth is. If Georgetown achieves self prescribed goals within timeframe, he should get a bonus. But if it misses targets, he takes a pay cut. This should put a stop to new business school deans to overpromise and underdeliver.

  • haha

    Whatever helps you sleep at night bro

  • Youaremisinformed

    As a Georgetown MBA alum I take great offense to this comment. There never was no mention that the school believes “it’s God’s gift to finance” but that we consistently send recent graduates into top firms compared to schools that are considered higher in ranking at approximately the same rate. This should correlate with a higher ranking. It’s a fact that we send IBD at the same rates as many top 15 programs and that we are even better than some as another GT grad pointed out (ie. Michigan Ross).

  • Agreed

    That and the other million fabrications mentioned. I trust that the P+Q community has the sense to see through this garbage

  • It’sAboutTime

    Finally something that resembles a candid comment on this article. I don’t purport to understand the history of Georgetown’s MBA program, but this comment is certainly more in line with reality than the bs about the school’s MBA grads being god’s gift to Wall Street.

  • Shanta

    Dean Thomas has plenty big plans for McDonough and funky soundbites to reach for the sky, but can he really deliver? Frankly, his statements reminds me of a gifted politician’s statement to voters and little follow up after the election.

    McDonough’s track record has been less than stellar compared to its peers in terms of student quality and satisfaction, faculty output, career center and financial aid. McDonough is a mediocre School piggybacking on a strong Georgetown brand. In most rankings, it barely makes top25. With regards to global experience, ranking rise and improved student body, this is an old hat and can be heard by previous McDonough administration for the past 15 years.

  • JohnAByrne

    Thanks. Those are very good suggestions. I do moderate many comments and delete the remarks of users who are offensive to others or who pursue a personal agenda. But I try to be fairly liberal and I can’t catch everything. I will explore your suggestions because I want to keep the conversations on the site thoughtful and helpful to others. Sorry for the delay in responding. I am on vacation and had my laptop stolen. My access to the Internwt is limited and only via an iPhone.

  • SupportSnowden

    Great post. But why isn’t John responding? He’s usually pretty good with this stuff and responds promptly to post directed at him.

    John?

  • CounterArgument

    So skip over the comments you don’t like. I actually enjoy the unfiltered commentary because it’s genuine. You are an adult and you can pick and choose what comments you put value in, but it’s important that all information is out there for you to make an educated decision regarding your 200k+ business school decision. If John only allows positive comments, then what value does this site provide?

  • levfin

    I agree with JP. I’ve been a regular reader of P&Q for two years, but the comments have been so ridiculous lately that I’ve considered abandoning the site altogether. I think it’s in your and P&Q’s best interest to address this issue. Tracking IP addresses and eliminating guest posts are a start, but may still fail to prevent malicious posts. Regardless, more effective moderation of the comments on this site is sorely needed.

  • JP

    Dear Mr. John Byrne,

    I’ve been a regular visitor to your website over the course of the last couple of years and have found your articles to be of great value. But the one area of concern for me has been the the comments section. I would highly encourage you to create a system that does not allow people to post anonymous comments or create multiple screen names and post some drivel targeted at some program or culture or gender or ethnicity or nationality. Websites such as yours that are geared towards highly educated and ambitious professionals must ensure that the same standard is maintained in the comments section as well.

    I have a few suggestions in mind:

    1) Please do not allow people to post comments as guests. Registration with a valid email ID must be needed to post comments. Comments should be linked to one’s email ID.

    2) Please track the IP addresses (can be easily done using some basic software) and flag comments that are posted from the same IP address.

    3) For prospective applicants who are researching schools, P&Q is an invaluable source of knowledge and wisdom. It’s a very serious matter when people constantly post about certain schools being racist etc. In my opinion it’s tantamount to online bullying and seriously affects the credibility of all parties involved including the website.

    4) There’s a fine line between encouraging an open dialogue and letting the inmates run the asylum. P&Q seems to be under the deluge of anti-XYZ school and race-related comments for the past several months. This might be the handiwork of a handful (or maybe even one) individual. I hope P&Q will look into this matter.

    Sincerely,
    JP

  • Applicant

    How many MBB offers does Georgetown have and how does that compare to other top schools? Can anyone confirm that MBB is pulling out of Ross or reducing their recruiting investment effort there?

  • OSUFisherAluminIB

    Just like Michigan’s football team. Once again, you reveal your true colors to show that you are overrated and full of entitled people. While OSU Fisher does not have MBB recruiting here, in a few years, neither will you!

    Hail to the Mother ****ers,
    Hail to the Big **** ****ers,
    Hail Hail to Michigan the cesspoll of the West,
    Hail to the Fornicators,
    Hail to the Masterbaters
    Hail Hail to Michigan the cesspoll of the West!

    _______________________________________

    Here is the “U of M lowly Trite Song”
    What is a “Victors Valiant”
    Who are the conquering heroes?
    Fail! Fail! U. Michigan
    You must be second best

    Mice from the Wolverine State
    Cats have decided your fate
    Fail! Fail! U. Michigan
    The armpit of the west

    _______________________________________

    Fail! Fail! We Missed-Again!
    Fail! To the second-rate finishers!
    Fail! The return diminishers!
    Fail! Fail! To Michigan!
    We always flunk the test!

    Fail! But remember our cheer:
    Fail! But just WAIT ‘TIL NEXT YEAR!
    Fail! Fail! We Missed-Again!
    Forever second best!

    _________________________________________

    Haul! Haul! To Michigan!
    Haul! In your huddled masses!
    Haul! In the lazy ***es!
    Haul! Them All! To Michigan!
    Human refuse bin!

    Haul! In the hopeless losers!
    Haul! In the crap school choosers!
    Haul! Them All! To Michigan!
    Where they will fit right in

  • banker

    I’ve met this person too. Rumor has it has it, he went to Ross for the casual sexual relationships he could have with morally questionable UMich undergrad girls. Thankfully, he will not be returning to GS.

  • Currentmba1234

    It is totally and completely unnecessary for you to name this person so specifically, especially while you are anonymous. It is pathetic that P&Q has come to this.

  • DontHateUMich

    As a Michigan undergrad, I will say that Michigan as a whole is a very welcoming community to all students regardless of their background. I am sad to hear that the Michigan MBAs are not as open-minded and have a culture that is does not represent what the University believes in and strives for. Please do not hate the University of Michigan because of incompetent and entitled Ross MBAs.

  • Banker6303

    I will also agree that I’ve never heard that about Fuqua, but I did hear it about Ross. In fact, last year, Ross had a military GS intern named Bill Schmidt who fits the description below. Sadly, this gentleman is also a West Point Grad, which pains me since he has the same degree as my grandfather, who was an honorable American soldier who treated everyone, no matter where they came from with dignity and respect, from the minority janitors to his military superiors.

  • GTOWN&UMICH

    Michigan is one of the more represented undergrad schools of Georgetown MBA’s. Plenty of love. Go Blue!

  • TuitionHikeRoss

    No wonder – “Michigan Regents Approve a 4.4% Tuition Hike for Ross MBA”. Ross needs to increase tuition while they can say they are a top 15 school. Once they MBB and Top IB drop recruiting there, they will have to reduce tuition.

  • Sure Buddy

    Sure buddy, spoken like a true Fuqua reject. Anyone can see your hate from a mile away, as the other commentator below said, it’s the first time anything like this has ever been said about Fuqua grads.

  • WhySoMuchRossHate

    Why does every graduate from UNC, Fuqua, Emory, Vanderbilt, and Georgetown hate Michigan Ross so badly. Are their graduates that overrated and terrible?

  • Obvious

    This is probably true, but that’s because Michigan is self-destructing, not because GT is infinitely getting better.

  • VPinIBD

    Georgetown undergrads in IB are fantastic. The MBAs are solid and definitely underrated. The schools (MBA only) that I feel it’s a mixed bag in IB would be Darden, Ross, and UNC. Surprisingly, for all the talk that Kellogg is soft is untrue, at least their grads are excellent in both the technical and interpersonal skills. I will echo the comments above about Ross MBA grads being a mixed bag – few are fantastic (usually with prior IB experience aka looking to upgrade firms), but the ones which are bad are usually terrible and that’s about 40% of the Ross MBAs that make it into banking, which is a number that’s too high for any school, especially one considered top 15. I will say that my BB firm has had more successful Georgetown MBA grads than Ross ones, and it’s surprisingly why we haven’t increased our GT recruiting while being more selective with Ross. GT for IB recruiting should be a top 15 school while Ross should be more in the top 25, and Darden and UNC should be 15-20.

  • CBSIB

    As Latin American M7 alum in IB, I’ve noticed the same thing about MBA Ross grads (avoids ethnic minorities unless forced to interact with them). They tout their school as a general management school so they have an excuse for their poor modeling skills. I will say Ross grads interview well because they seem to fit well with the firm culture and are prepared for the technical questions, however, that level of preparedness is lost once they begin the job. They may have similar GMAT scores as other top 15 schools but their work product is often severely sub-par. I don’t know if it’s the schools lack of quantitative rigor or the culture being too much of party school, but most (noticed I didn’t say all) Ross MBA grads lack the stamina, analytical rigor, and attention to detail to be a success IB. However, I will say the Ross undergrads in IB are rock solid and why my firm continues to recruit at the school. The MBA grads are another matter.

  • Neither

    As a prospective student this is the first time I’ve heard this opinion of Fuqua. Fuqua touts its diversity (40% intl?) and I would imagine (hope?) that your experience is more the exception than the norm at a school such as Fuqua.

  • Current IB

    Been in IB for 7 years, Georgetown has a larger wall st presence then most the schools you mentioned above. Atleast in NYC IB, I would put the school on par or better than most of the top 25 not named HBS, Wharton or Columbia.

    Frankly, think it would serve the school well to market themselves as the IB factory they are. Maybe admin feels the negative stigma around wall st. would work against them. Regardless, I’ll keep recruiting from there.

  • RimondeAH

    first time to learn mcdonalds has business school!! i thought they only make burgers!!

  • InvestmentBanker

    The McDonough grads at my BB bank have all been pretty amiable. They have fit in well with the firm’s culture and I have been impressed with them. The one school that has really rubbed me the wrong way is Duke Fuqua. Most of the grads I have met have really avoided having any meaningful conversations with African-Americans. They rarely mix with any of the minorities at our bank unless they have to. I don’t know if it’s a southern thing or a Fuqua thing, but I find it very insulting. I’ve also noticed that they are not as prepared in their analytical abilities as hires from other top 15 schools. If this continues, I wonder how soon it will be before we drop them. Although I am not an alum of either school, I would hire a McDonough grad over a Fuqua grad anyday!

  • GT IB

    Past year, ~30-35 FT MBA students ouf of 250 pursued (legitamately go thru the IB “courtship” process) IB at Georgetown. Roughly 30 of that crew landed atleast one IB gig (GS, CS, BAML, CS, JPM, WF, Citi and some mid market IB). Georgetown may not be M7 but that’s some incredibly impressive matriculation into IB.

  • Arturo

    GO HOYAS!

  • HOYASAXA

    HOYA SAXA!

  • IBfromMcDonough

    As a GT IB alum, we place as well as Darden, Fuqua, UNC, Emory and we are better than Vanderbilt and Michigan Ross. We might not be at the levels of Wharton, Columbia, HBS, Kellogg, Booth, MIT and Tuck, but we are as good as any program in the M7 – Top 15 ranking.

  • GTalum

    In 5 years, Georgetown will have more MBB hires than Michigan Ross and beat it in all rankings.

  • Johnny Money

    They absolutely do not place as well as anyone–Columbia? Wharton? Booth? Not even close to these Finance powerhouses. Lets not exaggerate.

  • IB Summer Associate

    Definitely a school that places grads on Wall Street, especially in banking. Definitely punches above its weight class there. Alumni – both undergrad and grad levels – are proud to be associated with the brand and really willing to meet with current students. It would only be a matter of time before Georgetown cracks the top 15 in B-School rankings.

  • Gtown IB

    After meeting with students/alum, I’m incredibly impressed w/ the career placement (salary/employers). I’m an aspiring IB and after a campus visit and my own due diligence, I’ll now be a RD 1 hopeful. Not sure why Gtown doesn’t get the ranking love they seem to deserve? They place as well as anyone in IB (MBB increased presence on campus I’m told). BUY!