LEARNING HOW TO THINK FROM A ‘GLOBAL’ MINDSET
If you polled the 2018 class on what attracted them to McDonough, you’d eventually divide the reasons into three buckets: International focus, Jesuit values, and Washington DC location.
For students craving international exposure, the Global Business Experience is among McDonough’s biggest selling points. Here, student teams complete international consulting projects on behalf of Fortune 500 firms, NGOs, or nonprofits. After spending months on their assigned issues, students trek overseas for a week to present their recommendations to executives. “This real-life consulting project offers the ability to develop management and analytical skills in a global setting that I wouldn’t achieve elsewhere,” says Aguinaga
Such exercises yield additional benefits. For one, they teach students how to think like someone who doesn’t necessarily share their cultural frameworks. “McDonough makes a point about being international,” explains Gafur. “For me, learning business is a lot about knowing how people make decisions in different parts of the world, in different roles and circumstances.” When it comes to finding the right job after graduation, the Georgetown name gives students a leg up, adds Cortes. “Internationally, Georgetown is a brand that is well recognized and well received, and considering I want to work internationally, I believe the school can position me for success both domestically and abroad.”
CURA PERSONALIS INFUSED THROUGHOUT CULTURE AND CURRICULUM
Georgetown’s Jesuit values are another draw for students looking for a program that teaches business as a mission that is defined by service and guided by ethics. In particular, the curriculum is based on Cura Personalis, fancy Latin for “care for the whole person.” Translation: McDonough emphasizes educating both the mind and fostering the spirit, with students practicing personal attention and mutual respect to each other as extensions of this philosophy.
For Westrand, who has been immersed in this tradition throughout his academic career, mixing business fundamentals with spiritual values was a potent proposition. “I went to a Jesuit high school and attended a Jesuit University for my undergraduate degree. The Jesuits taught me that cura personalis, men and women for others, and finding the place where your greatest talents meet the world’s greatest needs were all ideas that would guide my professional and personal life. Continuing my experience at a Jesuit University where I knew I would get a values-based education was a key factor in my decision to choose Georgetown.” Goo echoes these sentiments, touting how the program stresses “shared values and positive impact.” “The curriculum is designed to cultivate a leader who cares about business fundamentals, possesses an ethical barometer, and above all, who cares for the society rather than just him or herself.”
WASHINGTON D.C. IS THE PLACE TO BE
Of course, you can’t discuss Georgetown without mentioning the nation’s capital. Founded in 1789, the same year that George Washington became America’s first President, Georgetown has grown up hand-in-hand with DC, with more recent alumni luminaries including Bill Clinton, Antonin Scalia, and David Petraeus. As the seat of the U.S. government, the beltway has also emerged as a magnet for jobs —and high-paying ones at that —with six of the ten wealthiest counties clustered around DC in Maryland and Virginia according to the most recent census. All of this creates opportunities for students looking to stay in the region. “Georgetown is uniquely positioned at the intersection of policy and business,” says Blyden. “In addition to being home to some of the most influential people in the world, Washington, D.C., offers a burgeoning tech community, proximity to Wall Street, and access to visiting global leaders.”
DC is also becoming known for its hot startup market, with the city deemed an emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem. In the 2016 “Innovation That Matters” report from 1776, it ranked 9th among startup hubs, finishing ahead of New York City, Seattle, and Chicago. This concentration of tech startups (and wealth) has also spawned a burgeoning venture capital industry in DC. Not surprisingly, McDonough has capitalized on these opportunities. This has already yielded returns for Thawani.
“Through the Georgetown MBA Venture Fellows Program, I’m able to spend a year with a leading venture capital or private equity firm while in school. Through the InSITE Fellowship, I’ll connect with a regional community of venture capitalists and like-minded graduate students from the other member schools – MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, and NYU. I was also able to start building my network early on while work along-side and learning from some of the most well-respected entrepreneurs in the region through the pre-MBA internship I found with help of the Georgetown network, working as an M&A Market Analyst at Advantia Health, an early-stage healthcare services company.”
If that isn’t enough, D.C. also remains a great place to live. “It represents a hybrid city that shares elements of the north and the south,” explains Blyden. “The cultural diversity and the intellectual capital in the city are amazing. There is no shortage of outdoor activities and parks to take advantage of. Lastly, the restaurant and social scenes are quite vibrant. I am very excited about the next two years.”
FUTURES RANGE FROM SAVING THE WORLD TO EATING OREOS
According to Hubert, the McDonough admissions team seeks students who display resourcefulness, resilience, and self-awareness. To achieve their dreams, the Class of 2018 is going to need all three. Aside from Thawani, who jokes about being an “Oreo taste-tester,” the class has big ambitions that befit an emerging powerhouse program.
Goo, for example, is shooting to tackle the big issues that have plagued humanity since its beginning: “hunger, environment, and health.” However, she is already armed with a concept…with the plan to come later. “My goal is to make social impact through business and to create “shared values,” which would not only satisfy social needs but also add economic value. My dream is eventually to become a social entrepreneur like Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of Acumen, which raises charitable net donations to invest in companies, leaders, and ideas that are tackling world poverty.”
Westrand plans to stay in the high tech sector, switching sides from sales to ownership. “Whether in the areas of education, healthcare, or another area, I want to build a valuable company that also helps improve the quality of people’s lives. This would be my dream job because I enjoy leading and building things. I also feel that by running a business that has a positive social impact, I will be living the Jesuit values that I so closely identify with.”
At the same time, Lents is looking to add some business tools to her Columbia master’s in architecture to create a new niche for herself. “I firmly believe that a company’s success is rooted in its people, policy, and place — by which I mean that the way in which a firm’s employees interact with each other, their environment, and the organization are all intrinsically tied to each other and to a firm’s product. By getting my MBA, I want to use my background in both design and business to merge these cornerstones into a fluid way of thinking for firms in flux – and to help them build an adaptable infrastructure that’s respectful of the firm’s culture, process, and desired output.”
JUST WANT ACCEPTANCE…OR A GOOD LAUGH
When it comes to their legacy, the Class of 2018 is more subdued. Like most MBAs, they are looking to be accepted, always with an eye towards turning their relationships into something more than just a two year whirlwind. Gafur, for one, hopes to be seen as “fun,” with classmates hoping “one day we can repeat this experience in the workplace” with her. Lents imagines bringing “a fresh, sometimes quirky, way of thinking to the classroom that changed the way they thought about management and business.”
Thawani also hopes to leave a “positive impact” on his classmates over their two years together. However, he is willing to settle for a consolation prize if he misses the mark. “If I didn’t accomplish that, [I hope] that I was at least able to make each one of them laugh at some point, either with me or at me.”
To read profiles of incoming McDonough students — along with their advice on tackling the GMAT, applications, and interviews — click on the links below.