Devon R. Weiss
Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business
“Success comes from being generous enough to teach and humble enough to accept help.”
Hometown: Wayland, MA
(Undergrad) BA, Northwestern University, Majors: Asian and Middle East Studies, International Studies, Minor: Chinese
(Grad) MS, Georgetown University, Walsh School of Foreign Service (Concentration: Global Politics and Security)
Where did you work before enrolling in business school?
Lincoln Center, Special Advisor
Hudson Institute, Research Consultant
Where did you intern during the summer of 2015?
(Because I am a dual degree at Georgetown University pursuing both an MBA and an MS, I had two summers for internships. I also interned during the school year.)
EY, Transaction Advisory Services (McLean, VA) – during my second summer
Lockheed Martin, International Strategy (McLean, VA)
International Finance Corporation (World Bank), Public Private Partnerships, Power Sector Project Finance (Johannesburg, South Africa)
Lockheed Martin, Business Development and Strategy, Asia-Pacific (Arlington, VA) – during my first summer
Hilltop Energy Partners, Project Finance (Washington, DC)
Where will you be working after graduation? EY, Transaction Advisory Services, Senior Consultant (McLean, VA)
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:
Georgetown University Women’s Leadership Institute (GUWLI), Founding MBA Fellow
Forté Foundation Ambassador, Georgetown University Graduate Programs
MBA Admissions, Student Ambassador
Business and Government Club, EVP
Georgetown Energy and Cleantech Club, VP
Graduate Women in Business, VP
Georgetown MBA Merit Scholar
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Establishing the Georgetown University’s Women’s Leadership Institute (GUWLI) at McDonough has been one of the most important and rewarding achievements during my time at business school. Transforming Georgetown’s Women’s Leadership Initiative into an Institute, I followed the leadership of Professor Catherine Tinsley to create an Institute focused on solving gender inequities in the workplace. Not only does GUWLI generate scientific insight to empower real-world impact, but it convenes faculty researchers, company executives, policymakers, and students to build a foundation of evidence-based, data-driven knowledge about the attitudes toward and the advancement of gender-intelligent leadership.
I am proud that this achievement represented the capstone of my previous efforts supporting women pursuing business careers: it came after serving as a Student Ambassador in MBA Admissions increasing women applicants and yield, as a VP of the Graduate Women in Business student group augmenting career opportunities for women MBAs, and as a Forte Fellow and Forte Foundation Ambassador working to inspire women to pursue and excel in business.
I believe utilizing this broad foundation, together with promoting public policies that enable women to participate fully in our economy and our society, will change the world for the better.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I was given the opportunity to create a new economic model for Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts by launching an international consulting branch. Through this initiative and with the support of almost every department, I transformed a complex, vague idea into a tangible, sustainable results-oriented business. I created a series of business, operating, and staffing plans for the consulting practice to be expanded and institutionalized, and performed market and data analyses to provide business, operating, and programming models for our clients.
I am most proud of this achievement because I was able to turn an idea into a fully functioning and sustainable reality: the first ever performing arts institutional practice within Lincoln Center’s own institutional setting. The project was an unprecedented effort to create a new economic model for the 21st century performing arts center, enhancing new recurring sources of earned income unrelated to the standard ticket revenue. I was able to leverage my fluency in Mandarin to successfully execute the pilot project in Tianjin, China, that served as the foundation for the launch and impetus for global expansion.
Who is your favorite professor? Professor Allison Koester is able to simultaneously teach accounting courses to students with both CPA and non-business backgrounds. Her ability to explain concepts in a seemingly endless number of ways and from multiple perspectives leaves no student behind.
Professor Arthur Dong has mastered the art of simplifying complex problems and teaching students how to apply MBA fundamentals to generate innovative solutions. He has greatly contributed to my enthusiasm for pursuing strategy and analyzing competitive firm behavior.
Professor Catherine Tinsley’s research enriches her leadership and negotiations courses, leveraging the most recent findings industry-wide. She has helped me learn how I can become a motivating, visionary leader by establishing a leadership style characterized by authenticity and embracing my own unique sources of power.
Favorite MBA Courses? Global Logistics, Mergers and Acquisitions, Economics of Strategic Behavior, Principled Leadership
Why did you choose this business school? Aside from my pursuit of the dual MBA/MS joint-degree, McDonough boasts three main attributes that met the priorities of my search: it 1. Resides at the nexus between business and government; 2. Focuses on international business; and 3. Emphasizes leadership based on honesty, integrity, and humility.
What did you enjoy most about business school? Every day I was surrounded by bright, high-achieving classmates who pushed themselves to excel. Their range of backgrounds, coupled with their respective expertise, enriched my experience far beyond the classroom. I was inspired by our shared penchant to learn for the sake of learning. Aside from each day completed feeling like an accomplishment in-and-of itself, I was exposed to a wide range of industries and functions I had not previously considered and was given ample opportunity to explore.
What was the most surprising thing about business school? Skills and abilities I initially thought were irrelevant to my business career turned out to be at the core of my personal brand. Discovering this early allowed me to develop my unique set of attributes to bring a fresh perspective to business solutions.
What was the hardest part of business school? “Drinking from a fire hose” is the best way to describe the challenge of learning so much at such a fast quip. For those who developed business management knowledge on the job rather than academically prior to attending business school, McDonough’s expectations for fast mastery of the material were both the most challenging and most rewarding.
What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? McDonough’s community thrives on collaboration and active community building through excellence in both academic and professional pursuits. Therefore, students who exhibit principled leadership and a penchant for collaboration are likely to excel.
“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I had been tasked with expanding my international consulting team after a successful pilot project in China. I knew I wanted to go to business school when I realized all the candidates whom I shortlisted to hire were MBAs.”
“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…a marine biologist studying endangered frog species or a constitutional lawyer.”
What are your long-term professional goals? Most importantly, I never want to stop learning. In addition to being a Fortune 500 CEO, I plan to enrich companies and organizations with best practices across business and public sectors. I want to lead companies and organizations toward a greater global consciousness. Underlying my professional goals, I am dedicated to serving others and creating a better world for future generations.
Who would you most want to thank for your success? I have been blessed with an incredible family to whom I am infinitely grateful. My parents have instilled in me a strong work ethic, a moral compass, and a desire to achieve. They have enabled me in all ways possible to fulfill my potential. My aunt has been a guiding force, leading by example. I credit her with my audacity, resilience, and passion for improving the world through business, government, and NGOs.
I have also been blessed with support from countless professors and colleagues whose faith in my abilities, my passion for hard work, and my zest for learning has exponentially increased my growth and opportunities. I am particularly grateful to my Latin Language Professor Shirley Lowe and to my Chinese Language Professor Annie Ku for their contagious passion for languages and high achievement that influenced me from an early age.
Fun fact about yourself: My first time flying an aerobatics aircraft, I kept it down after a dsfhammerhead turn followed by a barrel roll.
Favorite book: A Prayer for Owen Meany
Favorite movie: Interstellar
Favorite musical performer: My brother
Favorite television show: Anything and everything on HGTV
Favorite vacation spot: Maui, Hawaii
Hobbies? Rowing, squash, snowboarding, horseback riding, hiking, and walking my dog.
What made Devon such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?
“Devon Weiss clearly exemplifies the best of the Georgetown McDonough MBA program, and has for the past three years. As a dual degree student, pursuing both her MBA and a MS at the Georgetown Walsh School of Foreign Service, Devon has contributed to both student populations and became an invaluable resource to both communities.
Devon has contributed significantly to supporting women in business through her roles as the Vice President in the Graduate Women in Business club, as a Forte Fellow and Forte Foundation Ambassador (for Georgetown’s entire graduate community), and through her work as a Founding MBA Fellow at Georgetown University’s Women’s Leadership Institute. Her passion to inspire women to pursue and excel in business has been showcased through her recruiting efforts as an MBA Admissions Student Ambassador, through which she has focused on increasing the number of women at McDonough with targeted recruiting events and by leveraging her Alumni Relations Chair Board position to provide strengthened exposure and knowledge to potential applicants.
Her work was recognized by Deloitte, which selected Devon to attend the inaugural Women’s Leadership Launch during the fall of her first year and by EY during her internship, where she helped curate the programming for its inaugural women’s event, Empower You. Her success at EY translated into a job offer, and Devon will be joining the Transaction Advisory Services team as a Senior Consultant following graduation.
Academically, Devon has shown incredible success in the classroom. Devon is a Georgetown MBA Merit Scholar and Henry Born Scholarship Recipient, and holds an impressive GPA in both academic programs. Devon truly exemplifies the spirit of a Georgetown MBA student and her commitment and contributions to two programs have truly influenced others.” — Kerry Pace, Associate Dean for MBA Programs, Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business