‘Thriving In a Complex World’: Georgetown’s New Initiative & The Future Of Business Education

Georgetown McDonough


Finally – and perhaps most importantly – the initiative explores how the changes brought on by new technologies impacts the most vulnerable members of society.

“As we study the changes to the future of work, it is our duty to explore how these changes affect the most vulnerable members of our society and provide a path forward – either through faculty research, student consulting projects, or new programs that work directly with organizations,” says Almeida. “We will continue to be innovative in our approach to this issue as we build our capabilities in this area. Through our research and programs, we will address ways to ensure no one is left behind.”

While some people argue that analytics and technology are going to increase wealth inequality in society, Rossi says that the other side of the debate is that the introduction of new technologies and analytics increases employment opportunities in these sectors. “We are fundamentally interested in trying to understand how we can help society,” says Rossi.


The initiative is open to undergraduate and graduate business students, including those in the MBA, the new master’s of business analytics, and the master’s of finance. Plus, it offers the school’s alumni network training in new technologies as well as lifelong learning opportunities so that anyone can stay up to date on the latest changes.

The initiative collaborates with all of their academic areas, degree programs, and other faculty-led centres, initiatives, and institutes to ensure they’re exploring important issues from many viewpoints and offering students numerous opportunities to engage in the work. Students and alumni can get involved in the initiative through courses and electives, research opportunities, guest speakers, and student clubs. “An important part of this initiative is that it will work with an advisory group of business leaders at the forefront of AI, analytics, and the future of work so that we can learn from them as a school in a unified way,” says Almeida.

For graduate students, the initiative is delivered through technical workshop days, a series of events featuring notable guest speakers, and electives on topics like fintech, machine learning, programming, and AI. “More and more, courses like this are going to be offered, especially with the introduction to the master’s of business analytics program,” says Rossi. “Plus, our series of events will help students understand novel topics in AI and analytics, which include guest speakers and academic talks on these subjects.”


Rossi says that workshop days will help students to deepen their understanding of certain topics, such as natural language processing. Plus, the school’s designing the initiative to include internship opportunities.

“We are designing this initiative with company partnerships where students use the tools they learned in class to help the companies solve some of their issues using data. Many businesses can benefit from having extra help from students who are eager to learn and show their value,” he says. “Directly collaborating with companies and working with their data gives students the ability to show their value and ultimately get a job at their dream institution.”

For undergraduate students, there is an undergraduate research fellowship program, which is for those interested in deepening their understanding of a topic. In this program, students are matched with professors with whom they write a research paper during the summer of the course of their semester.

While there’s currently no certificate of completion for the initiative, it provides invaluable skills and experience for those looking to equip themselves with the tools to succeed in a rapidly changing work environment.


Working for the common good is central to Georgetown’s Jesuit tradition, and is woven into the AI, Analytics, and the Future of Work initiative. “Georgetown has a long tradition of caring for others and promoting the common good,” Almeida says. “So, not only is it the right thing to do, it’s part of who we are as a school and who our students aspire to be out in the world.”

Rossi says that the interest in serving the common good is a characteristic that sets Georgetown apart from other business schools; he explains that in many cases, the typical Georgetown student is someone interested in helping society rather than simply climbing the corporate ladder. “This desire permeates every class,” says Rossi. “Business students here want to build companies that can help society, and at the same time be successful and competitive in the marketplace.”

Rossi adds that over the past few months, he’s learned that serving the common good is not only emphasized within Georgetown, but also across companies that are hiring new leaders; now more than ever, people care about making change and building a better future. “In each meeting with the initiative’s board of advisors – who are successful business individuals – we have conversations around our primary concern: Understanding the tools that can benefit society, and how to inspire ethical leaders,” he says.


Rossi believes that as people progress along their academic and professional paths, they tend to get more and more specialized in one area. However, he says that in order for this initiative to be successful, it depends on having people from different backgrounds to contribute to the conversation from multiple perspectives. “One thing I learned from my years in academia is that these types of initiatives only succeed if you have a common set of goals that are reached upon by a number of people. That’s what makes for novel ideas,” says Rossi. “Without diverse thought, it becomes overwhelming for a few individuals to support this type of undertaking.”

As a cross-school collaboration with other faculty-led research centres and degree programs, the initiative includes people working across all different areas, such as algorithmic aversion, robo advising, studying how AU adoptions affects firms’ growth, privacy’s role in analytics, and how the psychology of automated nudges can improve individuals’ behavior. “For example, there’s super interesting work that has been done by fintech firms trying to understand how to fight global warming and carbon emissions. They’re using automated nudges for the purpose of promoting sustainability,” he says.

Almeida says that the purpose of the initiative is to break down silos and unify the school’s faculty, centers, and programs around important issues. Already, Rossi is planning on collaborating with other degree programs like Georgetown’s Master of Science in Environment and Sustainability Management. “We are planning events together because it’s becoming more and more obvious to us that everything is interconnected,” says Rossi.


Rossi says what excites him the most about the initiative is the ability to make an impact.

“As an academic, I never wanted to become someone that just sits in an office and writes research papers,” he says. “This initiative gives Georgetown, the business school, and myself the opportunity to be part of the debate when it comes to policy making and research. We want to be at the forefront of preparing the best students because we want to develop a better world.”

Being an effective leader, he adds, depends on one’s technological fluency. “You need to have an analytical mindset in order to succeed in today’s market,” Rossi says. “Business decisions may be becoming more and more complicated, but you’re getting more and more data that can help you make such decisions. If you’re able to use data to your advantage, you’ll be able to make decisions that keep your company competitive and benefit society as a whole.”

Adds Dean Almeida: “Understanding the effects of technology on society can help our students predict the consequences of their actions on society as a whole, not only on their direct customers and employees.”


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