At a recent Georgetown Board of Directors meeting, the deans of the Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) and the McDonough School of Business (MSB) described a proposal for a new degree program, a BS in Business and Global Affairs. The program is unique organizationally because it is a collaboration between two schools, equally contributing to the curriculum and research activities. Indeed, it will be the first such shared undergraduate degree program in Georgetown’s 229-year history.
The motivation for this program, like many collaborations ongoing at Georgetown, is the need to form new kinds of leaders to succeed in our service to a rapidly changing world.
Almost all economic activities these days are globalized. Even the smallest service provider or manufacturer can easily have customers throughout the world. Similarly, understanding geopolitical influences on nation-states and other actors requires a deep understanding of financial flows, international trade of enterprises into and out of the relevant countries, and the evolution of the private sector. It’s increasingly obvious that global affairs are greatly shaped by global business, and that evolution of business around the world is shaped by geopolitical influences.
Georgetown is fortunate that it enjoys a strong school in international affairs in the School of Foreign Service and a strong business school in McDonough. Further, we are located in one of the world’s great cities, Washington, D.C., which is the home of many international organizations of relevance to global business (e.g., the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund). We draw on a set of students attracted to our mission of “women and men for others,” and we aspire to tackle the world’s important problems by liberating faculty and students to work across units and disciplines. In short, I can’t imagine a better institution to create a new educational program, educating the next generation of leaders in business and global affairs.
Over the past few years, both in the SFS and MSB, pilot programs developed ways of effectively teaching global business, involving global experiences and active learning exercises with enterprises throughout the world. The new program builds on the success of these efforts, but will involve more faculty and a more integrated curriculum.
The curriculum designed for the program was led by a task force of faculty from both schools, led by Irfan Nooruddin, from SFS, and Pietra Rivoli, from MSB. The entire program has a theme – understanding the causes and consequences of globalization for societies and economies around the world. Instead of merely collecting a set of existing courses from each school, the faculty created a new set of courses, combining knowledge from both business and international affairs into each course. This means that faculty from the two schools, appointed as core members of the program’s faculty, will collaborate in delivering the curriculum, also in an innovative format.
Finally, the program incorporates a variety of experience-based learning protocols, involving projects with enterprises outside the US. These, led by Georgetown faculty, will be intensive exposures to the application of the theories learned in traditional classroom work. The goal of these experiences, as well as all the other features of the program, is to produce future leaders who are comfortable doing their work in diverse cultures throughout the world.
This unprecedented collaboration of two schools will offer Georgetown students unique opportunities. We are proud of the design of the program and look forward to its launch.