Meet Georgetown McDonough’s MBA Class Of 2023

Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business


Admissions isn’t the only area where the numbers were promising. In the newly-released employment report for the Class of 2021, 96% of graduates had received a job offer within three months of earning their diploma (with 95% having already started work during that period). Grads pulled average starting bases of $126,017, which was supplemented by average signing bonuses of $34,013. Here’s one more number that stands out: 78% of these jobs were facilitated by McDonough itself. 35% of the graduating class landed jobs in consulting, with financial services recruiting another 27%. While McDonough doesn’t report specifics, this year’s top employers included Amazon, PwC, Deloitte, Barclays, Google, and Citigroup.

Yes, McDonough was a popular place in 2021 — and very active. For one, the school has developed a mentoring program that pairs first-year MBAs with an alumni member. Far more than career networking, the program was designed to help MBAs better navigate areas like work-life balance and life-long learning. McDonough MBAs have taken to it immediately. In the fall of 2020, 133 first-years — or more than half the class — had joined the mentoring program.

“The basic philosophy that we agreed upon that would drive this program was inspired by our Jesuit roots and our Jesuit heritage,” Prashant Malaviya, senior associate dean of the McDonough MBA, told P&Q. “The big one for us is educating the whole person. What educating the whole person meant in this mentorship program was really about not just providing people career support or job leads, but actually helping the person grow as an individual, talking to them more about things that are, in fact, not about your job.”


The program has also developed an initiative on the future of work, which connects MBAs to thought leaders and decision-makers through workshops, internships, guest speakers, and research fellowships. In its early incarnation, the initiative has focused heavily on technology, particularly artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data. Long-term, the school intends to extend this initiative towards student and company partnerships. For now, the goal is to help MBAs apply these technologies in ways that promote the “common good.”

Georgetown McDonough’s Paul Almeida. McDonough photo

“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,” explains Paul Almeida, dean and William R. Berkley Chair at the McDonough School, in a 2021 interview with P&Q. “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.”

The common good is also the motivation behind McDonough’s deepening investments in sustainability. This year, the school also launched its Master of Science in Environment and Sustainability Management, an 11-month interdisciplinary program that’s capped off by a client project in the field. Notably, the program focuses on how climate change impacts company operations and how these organizations can reduce their climate impact, explains Vishal Agrawal. What’s more, the program was developed to fill a certain gap in the marketplace, he tells P&Q.

“What’s been interesting is there’s been an evolution on the business side as well. When I first started out, a lot of my conversations with companies tended to be, “Why should we think about sustainability? What is the business case?” These days, the conversation is slightly different. Businesses know they want to do something, but they want to know how to do it.”

That creates opportunities for McDonough MBAs, Agrawal adds. “A lot of businesses would like folks who could be the liaison between the environmental scientists and the core business folks. “This program’s unique blend of both is meant to help graduates create feasible and implementable change.”


What else can MBAs expect from an already-ambitious McDonough MBA program? This fall, P&Q reached out to Prashant Malaviya, the school’s Senior Associate Dean of MBA Programs and Professor of Marketing. Here are his thoughts on new developments, along with his insights on McDonough staples like the Global Business Experience and the Executive Challenge.

P&Q: What are the two most exciting developments at your program and how will they enrich the MBA experience for current and future MBAs?

PM: “At Georgetown McDonough, we have been focused on two important aspects of the MBA experience: preparing our students to develop and lead diverse organizations and building upon our strong sense of community.

Several years ago, we implemented a new opening term course for all MBA students on Leading Teams for Performance and Impact, which explores the dynamics of diversity and inclusion, implicit biases, conflict and civility, and giving and receiving feedback. Last year we also added to our leadership curriculum a course on Inclusion and Innovation, which is designed to help students understand and practice inclusive management skills that will enable them to effectively identity and develop high-impact, data-driven innovations for and with an increasingly diverse world. We also are incorporating DEI efforts into existing courses. For example, our Power and Politics course now includes a Racial Equity Action Plan assignment, with the results being shared with the school’s Standing Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Prashant Malaviya

The virtual environment of the past year provided an opportunity to connect our students with alumni mentors from across the world. In the fall, we launched a new MBA Mentorship Program for our full-time MBAs, and we were able to pair all 130 students interested in participating with an alumni mentor. Beyond career advice, this program focuses on whole-life experiences, from navigating the MBA to work-life balance to intergenerational relationship-building.

Additionally, the educational climate throughout the pandemic made it clear that we needed to double-down on our Jesuit value of cura personalis, or care for the whole person. Our MBA program launched a series of virtual events called Operation: Cura Personalis to focus on the overall well-being of our community. The “missions’ ‘ focused on happiness and well-being, laughter, gratitude, and nourishing mind, body, and spirit. We eventually expanded the offerings throughout the rest of the academic year to include all McDonough faculty, staff, students, and alumni with events on mindful cooking with Food Network Star Melissa D’Arabian (MBA’93), financial wellness with Sheila Walsh (MBA’08), the Happiness Project with Karen Guggenheim (EMBA’15), Sleep 101: Increasing Productivity, Health, and Well-Being, and a screening of the film When We Gather followed by a discussion with Wendi Norris (MBA’96) and the film’s creators.”

P&Q: What are two biggest differentiating features of your MBA program? How do each of these enrich the learning of your MBA students?

PM: “At Georgetown McDonough, our community is a defining feature. True to our Jesuit values, we believe in cura personalis, or care of the whole person and we live that value through a culture that supports each student’s overall well-being. Georgetown McDonough is known for its collaborative nature and a spirit of “Hoyas Helping Hoyas” where students, alumni, faculty, and staff all work in support of one another. For example, this past year during the pandemic, we wanted to find a way to bring our community together during a time of virtual interactions and social distancing. One way we accomplished this was through our Operation: Cura Personalis, which began around Thanksgiving as a way to bring the community together in support of one another, to make meaningful connections, and to remind ourselves of the power of laughter.

This culture of support combined with the virtual environment also created an unprecedented level of engagement with our alumni community. Alumni connected with our students as guest speakers in classes and faculty office hours, offered internships and jobs to our students, and volunteered to be mentors to our first-year students. In launching a new MBA Mentorship Program, we were able to connect all 130 students seeking a mentor with an alumnus to help them navigate the MBA experience and the working world that awaits after graduation.

Our other differentiating feature is our location in Washington, D.C. More than 200 years ago, Georgetown University was founded to educate leaders for our new nation. Our longstanding reputation and relationships throughout the city — from the halls of government to the innovative startup and tech scene — provide our students with experiences, expertise, and connections not found elsewhere. As a global capital city, DC is home to embassies, multinationals, and nonprofits, and is the headquarters of numerous businesses — including Amazon’s new HQ2. It is where the worlds of business, policy, and international relations meet, and our MBAs graduate with exposure to all three.”

MBA students looking out at the McDonough campus.

P&Q: In recent years, there have been several areas that have gained increased prominence in business school programming, including STEM, analytics, artificial intelligence and digital disruption. How does your full-time MBA program integrate these concepts across its curriculum?

PM: “At Georgetown McDonough, we have been focused on preparing our graduates to succeed in the workplace of the future. In talking to employers and graduates, we have honed in on the most important skills and qualities students must possess to add value to their organizations immediately after graduation and well into the future.

As a result, we have spent the last five years adding more quantitative and management science content to our core and elective courses, as well as our extracurricular offerings. Examples include a new MBA Certificate in Data Analytics and Insights, as well as courses like Analytics Advantage, Customer Analytics, The Fintech Revolution, Applied Data Visualization, and others. There also is an MBA HoyAlytics Club for students interested in data analytics. This allowed us to offer a STEM-designated management science major to our curriculum that has been available for students who graduated in May 2020 onwards.”

P&Q: What have you learned during the pandemic and the shift to hybrid or remote learning and how will they impact the MBA experience going forward?

PM: “Shifting to a virtual learning environment caused all of higher education to re-examine how we teach, how students learn, and how to maximize learning through new methods. At McDonough, there are several new approaches our faculty intends to continue into the future:

* Better connections with the alumni network: We learned to be more creative in how we engage our alumni community. Individuals who are geographically distant were still able to speak in class, mentor students, and engage with the school. A great example of this was the amazingly successful virtual Executive Challenge, where more than 100 alumni volunteered to role play cases with our entire first-year MBA class as part of their Leadership Communications final exam.

* Greater access to high-level business leaders: While we frequently attract c-suite executives to our campus who are traveling to D.C. for business reasons, even with travel restrictions we were able to capitalize on our prior relationships with global executives and invited them to continue to engage with us and our students virtually.

* More engaging teaching methodology: Much of our teaching methodology was altered to overcome Zoom fatigue, and faculty report that interactive experiences like sharing a personal story related to the day’s topic or virtually collaborating with others outside of the class using digital connection tools will continue in the in-person classroom.

* Assessments that better match real-world expectations: Our faculty utilized more experiential, project-based assessments and less traditional quizzes, which helps replicate skills students will need in the workforce.

* Judicious use of synchronous and asynchronous instruction to maximize learning and optimize engagement: Professors used the virtual environment to create digital content and gamified the learning of content, allowing students to level-set on material outside of class and then maximize the synchronous time on nuanced concepts and higher-order learning.

* Better use of digital collaboration and community building technologies: Professors reported using collaboration tools, community discussion platforms, and breakout rooms, allowing for smaller-group discussions that were shared with the rest of the students in the class in real time, fostering broader contributions from fellow students.”

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

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