Meet Georgetown McDonough’s MBA Class Of 2023

“Global mindset” is a popular term in business school — and one sometimes misunderstood. You don’t need to speak a different tongue, master international etiquette, or indulge cosmopolitan tastes to have a global mindset. Instead, it is a way of looking at the world, a curiosity in people and an openness to difference. With a global mindset, you are always seeking to learn, never hesitant to act, and always fixing your eye on the bigger picture and the greater good.

This mindset is also a cornerstone of the MBA experience at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. The larger university boasts one of the world’s top international affairs programs — and McDonough itself ranks 3rd for its international business program according to the 2021 U.S. News survey of business school deans and directors. From international projects to exchange opportunities, you’d be hard-pressed to top McDonough. Just look at the overseas experiences racked up by Loretta Richardson, a 2020 grad who is now a communications manager with Microsoft.

A GLOBAL TOUR DE FORCE

“In just two years, I studied, served, and conducted business in six countries! I participated in programs that allowed me to consult with social enterprises in Columbia, rebrand consumer products in Brazil, and network with the c-suite of the first Ghanian-owned oil and gas company. It humbles and inspires me to continue learning, exchange ideas, connect with those around me, and ultimately lead with empathy and service top of mind.”

Julian Barquin moved to DC to be part of McDonough’s mission: “To educate the “best of the world, to be the best for the world.” He wasn’t alone in that regard. For Dazell D. Washington, an economist-turned-educator, McDonough was a chance to hone his “cross-cultural communication skills.” Those skills will be put to test in the cornerstone of the McDonough MBA: The Global Business Experience.

“The course provides MBA students with an opportunity to travel abroad to consult for leading global employers on real-life business problems,” writes Ameya Deshmukh, an engineer who has worked in India, the UAE, and the United States “It sounded like a great opportunity to explore different business environments and build a global “perspective.”

Washington, DC

“CURA PERSONALIS”

This global focus is also rooted in Georgetown’s legacy of service. At McDonough, leadership is defined by compassion, self-control, and accountability — fostering dignity, living ethically, and taking action. The underlying philosophy is Cura Personalis, or the Jesuit term for “Care for the whole person.” For Tanvi Seth, a Johnson & Johnson technology lead, this translates to leadership where influence holds greater sway than title and impact trumps accolades. More than that, it represents a model where leadership is grounded in continuous growth: mental, physical, and spiritual.

“Georgetown McDonough, through its Jesuit values, has built a culture of collaboration over competition, emphasizing the importance of paying it forward and always lending a hand,” writes Leena Jube, a 2021 grad and P&Q Best & Brightest MBA. “This was an ethos I identified with and then experienced first-hand.”

That is by design, says Alberto Rossi, an associate professor of finance at the school. For him, McDonough differentiates itself by its end goal: pursuing good over advancing careers. It is a theme that is woven into every day in every class.

“Georgetown is incredibly interested in developing ethical leaders who can think about what they can do to improve the world,” Rossi adds in a 2021 interview with P&Q. “We need leaders that do not only think about the bottom line, but do what companies are supposed to do: Benefit society. Students are going to be able to take advantage of the tools taught in this initiative to benefit everyone.”

DC IS THE PLACE TO BE

There is no better place to do that than Washington, DC. Here, you’ll find an outpost for nearly every company that matters. That doesn’t count a robust startup and non-profit ecosystem, along with embassies for over 180 countries. That’s because DC is where decisions are made that affect everyone. And it’s also why sustainability has emerged alongside international business as one of McDonough’s hallmarks.

“One of the things that drew me to the faculty of Georgetown 11 years ago is that Georgetown is a place which naturally lends itself very well to looking at sustainability, especially in connecting policy and business,” explains Vishal Agrawal, the Henry J. Blommer Family endowed chair in sustainable business at McDonough, in a 2021 Q&A with P&Q. “Georgetown and Washington, D.C., is a perfect place to be in that regard. Georgetown also has this emphasis on society. Finally, sustainability challenges are always global in nature, no matter what you’re talking about, and that’s where Georgetown shines as well.”

Think of it as the best of two worlds. Dazell D. Washington reveres DC for its “mix of East Coast vibrancy and Southern charm.” In contrast, Philip Busick, a U.S. Special Forces officer, lauds the nation’s capital for being “at the intersection of business, politics, and culture.” Together, these elements make for an unforgettable MBA experience.

“There are so many opportunities to get involved in the various agencies and nonprofits to explore various ways that I can help make a difference in the lives of historically excluded people within the US,” adds Rio M. Dennis. “I’ve always loved this city with its scenery, food, diversity, and the general vibe. I’m so excited to be here for the next few years!”

McDonough Classroom

TRANSFORMING ORGANIZATIONS

A Wharton-trained analyst, Dennis most recently worked at Goldman Sachs where her gap analysis on inefficiencies projected a savings of 15 hours per week for her team. “We were ultimately able to solidify these conversations into Best Practices Guidelines that are now used as a part of the training materials for new joiners and as refresher training for teams on a yearly basis. This project promoted better communication between the various stakeholder groups, decreased the time to onboard clients, and created better strategic partnerships within the division.”

Ameya Deshmukh is equally impressive in project management. At Adidas, he automated one facility’s material handling process using automated mobile robots. The result: Deshmukh boosted efficiency by 8% and saved $400K in operational overhead. At Marks & Spencer, Flora van Vredenburch — who earned her pilot’s license at 18 — spearheaded the company’s launch of its premium grills. By the same token, Rachel Solomon Nambi spent five years in a dance company that preformed at festivals, weddings, and even live television. After that, she moved onto being a lead analyst at the Boston Consulting Group, where she was a key part of the firm’s global digital transformation.

“In that effort, I led an agile product from concept to launch, including the research, design, development, and product rollout. From a technical perspective, I was able to hone my expertise in drafting requirements and working with engineers. From a customer lens, I learned how to apply their feedback to make the product the best it could be. Each step stretched me in a way I hadn’t experienced before – it required a deep level of detail, strategy, and a little bit of thick skin, but the payoff at launch made it all worth it.”

PUBLIC SECTOR BONAFIDES

The Class of 2023 also excelled in the public sector. Brendan Gernes ran an $8.9 million dollar USDA-funded trade project in Paraguay. His responsibilities included setting up the financial and operational systems from scratch and training a 14-member staff. The catch, of course, was he handled all this remotely since he couldn’t enter the country due to COVID restrictions. For Dazell D. Washington, business school may come as a reprieve after developing and launching a blending learning platforms at his middle school — an effort that had floundered for five years before he arrived.

“While I faced numerous challenges throughout—including budget cuts, contract renegotiations, and the loss of our first-choice platform—the inclusive, collaborative approach led to independent use of the platform by 75% of teachers. The corresponding student population, on average, grew 1.25 grade levels within three months and 2 grade levels within six months of the launch. As my first formal leadership role, the initiative truly demonstrated that great leaders lead alongside their teams, elevating the voices and ideas of those at all levels — enlivening the proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

MBA students at Georgetown’s McDonough School

Julian Barquin made his name in government, serving as legislative counsel to Uruguay’s Senator Carmen Asiain. In this role, he was able to construct policies that paid off.

In my last pre-MBA role I was privileged to be part of an incredibly accomplished team, working in one of the most challenging years for policy making. We were able to pass a law requiring accessible facemasks in public places, aiming at hearing-impaired individuals who became ‘de facto’ unable to communicate due to facemask mandates. We also helped Uruguay’s Food Bank with a tax incentive scheme that helped them distribute 460,000 kg of food among 92,000 Uruguayans at the surge of the COVID economic crisis.”

A REBOUND YEAR

By the numbers, the Class of 2023 represents a rebound year for Georgetown McDonough. After receiving fewer applications and reducing class size in response to COVID last year, McDonough improved in both measures during the 2020-2021 cycle. Applications climbed from 1,482 to 1,625, which helped to boost class size from 247 to 283 students. Despite these increases, it was actually harder to land a spot in the fall class, as the acceptance rate dipped from 57% to 48%.

Here’s another measure that reflected better health for the McDonough MBA: Average GMAT jumped from 691 to 705, with scores ranging from 660-740 in the mid-80% range. That said, nearly half of the class also furnished GRE scores, which averaged 318 according to the school. Average GPA also came in at 3.35, a slight uptick over the previous year. In terms of class composition, women again accounted for 32% of the class, though the percentage of women receiving acceptance letters increased by 6%. With many COVID restrictions lifted, McDonough raised its percentage of international students from 27% to 37%.

As undergraduates, 29% of the class majored in Business, making it the largest segment of the class. The number Is even larger if you factor in Economics, another 11% share. STEM and Liberal Arts each hold a 30% share of the class. Among the STEM population, 17% majored in Engineering, followed by Math and Physical Science (9%) and Computer Sciences (4%). Along the same lines, Government and International Studies majors make up 14% of class, trailed by Humanities (12%) and Social Sciences (4%).

Next Page: An interview with the Senior Associate Dean at McDonough MBA

Page 3: Profiles of 12 members of the Class of 2023

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