Georgetown McDonough Messages to the Community

Our Commitment to Cura Virtualis: August 25

Where some see challenges, Hoyas find opportunities. 

Yes, the start to this school year is different, and to be honest, not ideal. However, we have spent the summer innovating and experimenting on new ways of teaching, learning, and engaging our network for the fall, and we come to you with excitement as we launch into the academic year. 

In planning for your return to classes, we looked at everything from academics to student life to advising and more with the lens of how we can maximize the value of your Georgetown degree, both immediately and in the long term. We have learned a lot, and we will continue learning, as we leverage our strengths and community to best prepare you for your future.

First and foremost, we have a talented team of faculty working to ensure our classes are not simply plucked from the classroom and dropped into a Zoom meeting. Instead, we have been exploring what learning looks like in a virtual environment and how best to facilitate discussions, provide new opportunities, and create a meaningful academic experience for you. We also continue to build our Partners in Leadership, Learning, and Research (PILLARs) program, which aims to bring alumni and parents into the classroom to incorporate their real-world experiences. 

We also know that you chose Georgetown for both our academic excellence and to engage in a community built on the value of cura personalis. Community building is no less important while we are physically distant — so much so that we are embarking on a commitment to cura virtualis, or care of each of you as a whole person in this virtual environment. 

So, yes, while academics and careers are important, equally important are your opportunities to engage in student life and to build your network of peers and connections to alumni. Each of our programs has been working on building community, from virtually connecting our undergraduates in geographically organized meet-up groups to MBAs coordinating virtual social activities so continuing and incoming students could build relationships. 

Finally, we are looking into the future — through the pandemic and past it — to ensure we are preparing each of you for careers of the future. We continue to deepen our curricular and co-curricular activities in the areas of business and global affairs, technology and the future of work, sustainable business, and the business of healthcare. We are hiring faculty with this expertise, we are engaging in research in these areas, we are building electives around these, and we are working with students on their club activities in these areas.

I have little doubt that we will work through the challenges that the pandemic and current economy present. At the same time, I invite you to join me in seeking out opportunities to learn in new ways, to connect with wider networks, to build our community, to support one another, and to make a difference to the world. Our community is our strength, and together we are ready to innovate and build a rewarding future.

Hoya Saxa,
Paul Almeida
Dean and William R. Berkley Chair
Professor of Strategy


Our Commitment to International Students: July 10

Dear McDonough Community,

At Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, we believe business has no borders. We welcome the best and brightest students from around the world into our programs, and we do our best to ensure that all our students have an engaging, global Georgetown education.  

Recently, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued guidance for the fall semester that limits our F-1 visa holders from remaining in the United States if they do not attend at least one in-person course per semester. This policy hampers the ability of some of our international students to continue their education and also challenges the very deliberate planning happening on our campus to prioritize the health and safety of our community as we fulfill our educational mission.

This week, President DeGioia announced that Georgetown University is joining a number of colleges and universities in submitting an amicus brief in federal court opposing this new guidance, which is a stark reversal of what was permitted for the spring 2020 semester. The university also is holding town hall events for undergraduate and graduate international students next week to share more information and answer questions.

While we await a ruling on this matter, we are wasting no time in working on plans to provide adequate in-person course offerings so that international students will have the necessary programming to comply with the new visa rules. Our Vice Dean’s Office will be working with our academic programs, as well as the university’s Office of Global Services and others, on this matter. We know this is an evolving situation, and each of our programs will continue to communicate with our students about what these coursework options will look like for them. 

Over the past few days, we have heard from many of our alumni, students, and parents that they stand with our international community, and I am touched by the outpouring of support. Ours is a diverse community, yet we are all defined by being Hoyas. Right now, we will choose to live our values and help those within our community who are facing additional — and, in our view, unnecessary — challenges during this pandemic.

Sincerely,

Paul Almeida
Dean and William R. Berkley Chair
Professor of Strategy


Celebrating the Class of 2020: May 15

Dear Graduates,

We have arrived at the moment you have been working so diligently toward — the day we celebrate the Class of 2020 as we mark the end of your studies at Georgetown and your new beginnings in the world.

We know this moment has arrived in challenging times, which is why it is even more important to focus on your success and celebrate you. We must continue to celebrate the good things in our lives, and today is one of those great moments that signals the promise of your accomplishments to come.

I wish to offer you my sincerest congratulations through this video message. I am honored to have been joined by fellow Hoyas and Sweetgreen co-founders Nicolas Jammet, Jonathan Neman, and Nathaniel Ru, who wanted to share their reflections and best wishes for the class.

Watch the video here. (new window)

We are proud of you for rising up to all of the challenges of this semester, and we look forward to the day we can celebrate this achievement in person. Until then, I hope you’ll have the confidence to use your knowledge and skills to make a positive difference in the world.

Hoya Saxa!

Paul Almeida
Dean and William R. Berkley Chair
Professor of Strategy


Moving Forward Together: Continuing our Journey: May 4

Dear Students,

We have been on quite a journey this spring. At the start of this semester, the path before us appeared clear, with specific goals and milestones along the way. And then along came the coronavirus and our world changed. We have faced tremendous challenges — unique in our lifetimes and the history of our institution. Yet, we carved a new path and have moved ahead together.

I am grateful to each of you for your patience as our faculty and staff made adjustments to our teaching, advising, and program management; for your understanding as we sorted out the best way forward in this virtual environment; and for your care for each other along the way. I also am proud of how you have represented our school and set an example for others throughout these past seven weeks.

Now, here we are in the middle of finals for many of you, at the end of your studies for our class of 2020, and at a well-deserved break in classes for those who are continuing this summer and fall. No matter where life takes you this summer and beyond, I hope you take the time to look back on these past few months with a sense of accomplishment and perseverance. You made the most of a challenging situation — you did it.

And while this is the end of the semester, it is not the end of our journey together. No matter where the path leads us, I look forward to continuing to engage with each of you, now and many years into the future.

Congratulations on all you’ve already accomplished and all that is still to come.

Hoya Saxa,

Paul Almeida
Dean and William R. Berkley Chair
Professor of Strategy


Moving Forward Together: Insights from our Students, April 20

Dear Students,

As we continue to navigate life amid the COVID-19 outbreak, I would like to focus on you, our students. Through town halls, individual advising and coaching, and virtual check-in events, we have sought opportunities to understand what it is like to walk in your shoes. Last week, we surveyed a few students from each of our programs for further insights on how we can contribute to your success and well-being.

Our findings were diverse, which is a reminder of why now, more than ever, we must remain committed to caring for all of you in the best possible way. We know many of you are finding it difficult to stay motivated and focus. Our undergraduates are competing for WiFi and quiet spaces within their homes, which in many cases are now crowded co-working and co-learning environments for their entire family. Our graduate students are juggling work, family, and classes. And of course, you miss each other and the sense of togetherness found on the Hilltop. I share these challenges with you, as well as with our faculty and staff, to encourage members of our community to continue to reach out to those who are struggling and help them along.

In terms of what is working well, several of you reported relief once you were able to establish a sense of structure to your schedules. I’m also pleased that our community focus remains strong, with many being grateful for the flexibility professors have shown with assignments, as well as faculty or staff who check in to see how you are doing. Many of you also talked about the ways in which you connect virtually with friends outside of class.

I’m always impressed by the resourcefulness of our students. Our undergraduates expressed that our current state of affairs is teaching you about flexibility, patience, and adapting to change. One of your colleagues shared, “What we do in the down time will make us ready for go time.” Our graduate students say you are learning to manage teams in times of stress and crisis, as well as how to deal with uncertainty with a degree of positivity. Across the board, all our students are benefitting from this crash-course on how to better leverage technology for learning and working.

We also asked how we can better serve you, and we have shared this feedback with our leadership. First and foremost, we are committed to being transparent and sharing information as we get it — especially for those slated to graduate this spring. I assure the class of 2020 that we are working with the university on commencement planning and will be in touch soon.

We also want to continue to hear from you — please to reach out to your program deans, academic leadership, and advisors. We all meet regularly, and your insights help us tremendously as we make the best of this challenging situation.

To close, I want to share insights from another student, who said that amid the chaos “simply, I learned that I cannot control what I cannot control. Sometimes God’s plan is larger than my own. Therefore, I’m learning how to use what I have to get desired results, and I’m learning how to ride the curve. I will be okay. I know that for sure.”

We will all be ok, and we will emerge stronger than ever.

Paul Almeida
Dean and William R. Berkley Chair
Professor of Strategy


Moving Forward Together: Creating a Virtual Community through Innovation: April 6

Dear McDonough Community,

Nearly 30 years ago, when I began studying organizational innovation, I was struck by the observation that the informal actions of individuals and small groups had a strong impact on the innovativeness and success of these organizations. Many years later, I am once again struck by the power of individuals in our community to create positive and innovative outcomes for our school and university.

I must admit that when we first made the difficult decision to transition to a virtual environment, I was nervous that the complex network of connections that lie at the heart of the Georgetown McDonough experience would be weakened by the very narrow and lean medium of Zoom. However, I’ve been thrilled to see that, through the innovative actions of so many individuals and groups, our community has pulled together to create a functioning, and often vibrant, virtual organization.

The leadership of our academic programs has found ways to host interactive and informative online town halls and move other events, like the weekly undergraduate “Bagels with the Deans,” to a virtual environment. Our faculty and staff have launched a “Coronavation” task force to ensure we continue to find new and exciting ways of collaborating across departments. Our staff have been working together to hold online educational sessions in music, art, and even Korean with the children of other staff members. 

Our students have been inventive with their social distancing, hosting virtual opportunities for service projects, dinner parties, game nights, and even a McDonough Munch Madness bracket to evaluate the most delicious junk food. And, alumni continue to reach out to help, including through virtual mentoring, guest lectures, hosting internships for our students, and even recommending students to our graduate programs. There are so many examples, we have set up a hashtag — #MagisInMotion — to share these uplifting stories with one another.

As we adapt to this virtual world, we will continue to innovate and seek new ways to strengthen our community, and I know each of you will contribute in your own unique way. By doing so, I am confident we will emerge from this crisis stronger than ever with a renewed sense of who we are and an improved set of tools for serving our students and one another. 

In the meantime, I pray for the health and safety of all of you – our community – and look forward to when we will see each other in person once again.

All the best,
Paul Almeida
Dean and William R. Berkley Chair
Professor of Strategy 


Instructional Continuity Throughout the Summer: March 30

Dear Students,

As you have seen, the Provost’s Office has announced that Georgetown University will continue to operate under virtual instructional continuity throughout the summer as we continue to ensure the health and safety of our community. 

At McDonough, our summers are just as engaging as the rest of the school year. Currently, each of our academic programs is planning how instructional continuity looks for our students over the summer and into the fall. 

Since each program is slightly different, you can expect a message in the coming days from your program dean about how this decision will affect you. We appreciate your patience as our faculty and staff continue to adapt your McDonough experience to a virtual environment.

I continue to be proud of how our entire community has adapted to this constantly changing situation with grace and compassion. Keep caring for one another and yourselves. We miss seeing you on campus and look forward to the day we can reunite in person. Until that day comes, we will continue to unite as a community and press forward.

All the best,

Paul Almeida

Dean and William R. Berkley Chair

Professor of Strategy 


Moving Forward Together: March 23

As we begin our second week of virtual instruction and telework, I am proud of how our community has come together in living our Jesuit values. I am pleased to share this video message with you.

We will continue to be in touch, and I also encourage our community to visit the updated Georgetown Coronavirus Resource page (new window) on the university’ website, where you can subscribe to daily updates from the university.            

Let’s continue to push forward as Hoyas, looking out for those in our school community, in our own families, and in our neighborhoods. We will continue to move forward as One McDonough.

All the best,

Paul Almeida

Dean and William R. Berkley Chair

Professor of Strategy  


Commencement: March 18

Dear Students,

It seems that every day we are asked to adjust our lives in response to keeping our community safe in the face of COVID-19. Today, Georgetown University made the difficult decision to postpone our 2020 Commencement as we do our best to ensure the health and safety of our students and families during this increasingly complicated time.

As the parent of a Georgetown senior, I know how disappointing this news may be. As your dean, I can assure you it’s disappointing for your faculty and program staff, as well, who look forward to celebrating each of you and your successes. However, in caring for one another and navigating how to slow the spread of the virus, we know postponing commencement is the right thing to do for all of you and your loved ones.

While we won’t gather in large numbers on Healy Lawn in May, I know we will be gathered in spirit. At Georgetown McDonough, we are committed to celebrating the many accomplishments of the Class of 2020 and the journey that has brought each student to the moment of graduation. Our team also is brainstorming ways to virtually continue some of our end-of-the-year traditions, and we will communicate that information in the future. We will be in touch as we creatively find ways to carry on with these milestones of your Georgetown experience.

I like to tell our graduates that Commencement is not an end, but the beginning of many more things to come. This May, we will still welcome the Class of 2020 into our alumni community, which will be part of your lives forever. We remain committed to your success, now and in the future.   

All the best,

Paul Almeida

Dean and William R. Berkley Chair

Professor of Strategy


Moving Forward Together: March 16

Dear Graduate Students,

Today marks the official first day of our current “new normal,” with all of our teaching, learning, and working transferred to a virtual environment. Over the last few weeks, Georgetown McDonough faculty have been preparing to transfer their courses online, and our staff have put into place numerous ways to connect remotely for advising, career connections, or even just to ask a question.

I am proud of our entire community for adjusting to the effects of COVID-19 in a manner consistent with our Jesuit values. Our community is the heart of who we are as a school, and it extends from our students to faculty and staff to alumni around the world. Thank you for showing care and concern for one another as we do our part to slow the pace of this virus and protect the most vulnerable in our global community.

To that end, I know the next few weeks may be difficult for you. We are committed to working with each of you to ensure your well-being and success. Please continue to reach out to university officials via the Coronavirus Helpline at (202) 784-3510; to Deans Malaviya, Kamrad, and Eberhart; and to program advisors with questions. We will do our best to get you the answers. And please do not hesitate to reach out to our wonderful faculty, who are committed to supporting you.

Wrapped in every challenge is opportunity. I know our community will be innovative in how we thrive in our current “new normal.” Please share what is working and seek help when something is not. Please show patience and understanding when things don’t go as planned or when new issues arise. Most of all, let’s stay true to our Jesuit values by caring for one another during this unprecedented time.  

All the best,

Paul Almeida

Dean and William R. Berkley Chair

Professor of Strategy


Moving Forward Together: March 16

Dear Undergraduate Students and Families,

Today marks the official first day of our current “new normal,” with all of our teaching, learning, and working transferred to a virtual environment. Over the last few weeks, Georgetown McDonough faculty have been preparing to transfer their courses online, and our staff have put into place numerous ways to connect remotely for advising, career connections, or even just to ask a question.

I am proud of our entire community for adjusting to the effects of COVID-19 in a manner consistent with our Jesuit values. Our community is the heart of who we are as a school, and it extends from our students and parents to faculty and staff to alumni around the world. Thank you for showing care and concern for one another as we do our part to slow the pace of this virus and protect the most vulnerable in our global community.

To that end, I know the next few weeks may be difficult for you, as you sort out housing and connecting with us across time zones. Your professors are committed to supporting you through these difficulties, as are the administrators in McDonough and across Georgetown. Please continue to reach out to your professors, to university officials via the Coronavirus Helpline at (202) 784-3510, to Dean Grant and me, and to your program advisors.  And please do not hesitate to reach out to our wonderful faculty, who are committed to supporting you. We will do our best to get you the answers to your questions. We will strive to support your needs. And we will always aspire to serve you better.

Wrapped in every challenge is opportunity. I know our community will be innovative in how we thrive in our current environment. Please share what is working and seek help when something is not. Please show patience and understanding when things don’t go as planned or when new issues arise. Most of all, let’s stay true to our Jesuit values by caring for one another during this unprecedented time.  

All the best,

Paul Almeida

Dean and William R. Berkley Chair

Professor of Strategy


Message from the Dean to Undergraduate Students and Families Regarding Georgetown McDonough’s Transition to a Virtual Learning Environment : March 11

Dear Students and Families,

This morning, the President and Provost sent community messages about Georgetown’s decision to move all of our classes to virtual formats as we begin our instructional continuity plan in response to the spread of COVID-19. I can assure you that our faculty have been preparing for this situation for several weeks, and we had a successful start this week with some MBA courses. 

We also are committed to ensuring our other student services, including advising and career counseling, continue as seamlessly as possible. Our goal is to make the rest of the semester as rich of an experience as possible under these circumstances.

We realize that the news of our move to virtual instruction and change in housing plans could be unsettling and challenging for many of our students and families. We will do our best to work with you during this difficult period of transition. 

Even though we have been preparing for instructional continuity, there inevitably will be some glitches, but we ask for your patience as we move our entire course load online next week. Undergraduate Program Dean Patricia Grant will send further instructions about accessing courses, academic advising, career resources, as well as any other programmatic updates.

Please continue to check your email for the latest information from the university, from the school, and from your program. We plan to keep in touch as we have updates.

Thank you for your support. As a parent of a Georgetown student, I can relate to the many questions and concerns of our undergraduate community. But, I also am confident that Georgetown University and the McDonough School of Business will continue to do what is best for our students. Responding to the COVID-19 outbreak has been a challenge faced by all of us. As the situation continues to change, please know that our students’ education and well-being is our top priority.

All the best,

Paul Almeida

Dean and William R. Berkley Chair

Professor of Strategy