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Meet Georgetown McDonough’s MBA Class of 2017

Members of the Class of 2017 at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business

Members of the Class of 2017 at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business

Ask anyone. Business revolves around financial hubs like Wall Street or creative corridors like Silicon Valley. It’s the natural order, right?

Here’s an alternative view. If you’ve ever driven into the nation’s capital, you’ll notice how brand logos are slapped on nearly every high rise lining the interstates. And that’s not by accident. Business and government gravitate towards each other. The free market may be the hidden hand, but the public sector is the one that touches everything. For some, that hand can swipe away barriers or push reform and innovation. For others, it simply chooses winners and losers. A stable democracy and a vibrant economy requires striking a balance between the two.

This proximity to power may explain why Millennials, chomping at the bit to leave a mark, are so drawn to Washington. A transient town soaked in tradition, D.C. is the seat of decision-making, the place where rules are set and every faction wrestles for resources. Not surprisingly, businesses are among the biggest players on K Street. They understand that the crucial choices – the ones that reverberate across the globe – aren’t made in some mythic basement in Daly City. They are instead rendered in D.C. As a result, achieving the greatest good often requires leaders who can think long-term, build bridges and follow principle.

A BUSINESS EDUCATION WITH A HIGHER PURPOSE

If location, like character, is destiny, you won’t a better situation than earning an MBA at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. Just three miles from the White House, McDonough offers a ringside seat to where the action is. But the school doesn’t rest on unparalleled internship opportunities and jaw-dropping speakers. Instead, it focuses on a higher purpose: Translating the university’s Jesuit mission to the rough-and-tumble world of business. Here, the vocation is fashioning students into “nimble innovative thinkers and principled leaders in service to both business and society.”

Prashant Malaviya

Prashant Malaviya

And the Class of 2017 epitomizes such seriousness of purpose, says Prashant Malaviya, senior associate dean for MBA programs at McDonough. “We have done something with our incoming class that we have always managed to do, which is to attract students who are here for a “Georgetown” education,” Malaviya shares with Poets&Quants. “They want to become principled leaders; have a global, inclusive mindset; and think about business and society rather than business or society. It is inspiring to see them seek out our brand of business education and come here to transform their lives.”

Hoya MBAs are serious no doubt. But they follow a “Work hard, play hard” ethos. On Thursdays, you’ll find their puckish spirits on full display during “Kegs in the Commons.” And this fun-loving community goes all in for soccer tournaments and grill offs too. Indeed, the 2017 Class comes from all walks of life, including a Fulbright Scholar, an Apache helicopter pilot, and a campaign manager for a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. They have worked for companies ranging from Ogilvy & Mather to Sesame Street to the Peace Corps. And they dream of everything from launching social impact ventures to snagging a seat at the next Presidential inauguration.

In fact, Malaviya looks at the incoming class with a mixture of fascination and admiration over their diverse backgrounds and inspiring narratives. “There are varying reasons why the students are special. Some stand out for their sheer perseverance. We have one student who recently lost his leg in an accident. Most students would have been devastated and completely changed their plans. We offered to defer his admission, but he wanted to continue with his plans and enroll now. I was blown away by that courage and determination….There is a student from China who has a simple objective for his MBA — to raise venture capital to create a startup. He wants to use that money to develop a hi-tech, app-based surgical mouth mask for helping people deal with the pollution in China. We have another student who successfully lobbied Arizona to pass a law to protect children from abuse — when he was 14. There’s another student who at a young age launched a startup, made it profitable, and sold it. He has come here to learn how to do it better. I am surprised by his humility — he has been successful and still wants to learn.”

APPLICATIONS JUMP BY 16%

The class is just as impressive by the numbers. From 2014-2015, McDonough received 2,034 applications – a 16% spike in applications over the previous year. In the end, the school enrolled a class of 270 full-time MBA students, good for an acceptance rate of 39.6%. Overall, students collectively averaged a 692 GMAT, up one point from the previous year, with a median GMAT of 700 (and a GMAT range of 640-740). The class’ undergraduate GPA also rose slightly to 3.36 average with a 3.33 median (with GPAs varying from 2.92-3.77).

In terms of class composition, women make up 31% of the 2017 Class. At the same time, the percentages of international and U.S. minority students both fell with the new class, going from 41% to 33% and 32% to 25% respectively. However, the school retained its distinctly global mindset. Overall, 40 countries are represented in the class, with Malaviya noting that 84 percent of the class had either studied or worked abroad before arriving at McDonough. And such credentials will come in handy during the school’s required Global Business Experience, which takes students to locales across the globe partner with firms like Citi or Samsung on consulting projects.

The class also arrives with 4.97 years of work experience, with a quarter of the students holding a financial services industry background. Beyond that, the class is remarkably diverse, with large swaths of the student population coming from consulting (9%), consumer goods and retail (8%), government (8%), new media and technology (8%), not-for-profit and social impact (7%), manufacturing and construction (5%), energy and cleantech (5%), and healthcare (4%). Another 2% of the class possesses entrepreneurial backgrounds.

Academically, the school leans on the poet side, though 22% of the 2017 Class earned undergraduate degrees in areas related to engineering, math and physical science, and computer science. At 29%, business-related majors account for the largest bloc of students, followed by economics (16%), humanities (12%), social science (10%), and government and international studies (6%).

Go to next page to access student profiles of this year’s incoming class.