McDonough School of Business
A photo of Ben Harper (EMBA'24) with his Global Capstone group.
News Story

Ben Harper (EMBA‘24) on the Importance of Learning from Others

As the spring semester comes to a close, Georgetown McDonough is pleased to commemorate the accomplishments of the Class of 2024. This year’s graduating class demonstrated immense commitment, discipline, and determination to reach this milestone, and we are proud to recognize their achievements as they embark on their next chapter as Hoya alumni. To celebrate, we’re spotlighting several of the exceptional students in the Class of 2024 as they share their personal stories, reflect on their time on the Hilltop, and preview what the future holds after commencement.

As a student in the Executive MBA (EMBA) program, Ben Harper (EMBA‘24) has gained essential skills to help him transition from a career in public service to business strategy. Looking back on his time at Georgetown McDonough, Harper credits much of his growth to the support from his advisors and peers, and he encourages future EMBA students to always stay curious. 

Here, Harper reflects on transformative experiences in the EMBA program, lasting lessons learned, and shares what he plans to do after he crosses the Commencement stage. 

Ben Harper (EMBA'24) poses with the historic Georgetown neighborhood behind him.

Ben Harper (EMBA’24)

Tell us about your background. What led you to the Executive MBA program?

I’m a career public servant, first as a Teach For America high school teacher in the Mississippi Delta and, for the past decade, an active-duty Army officer who’s served at home and abroad. I chose Georgetown’s EMBA program because of the school’s superb academic reputation and as a Catholic kid from Cleveland, its Jesuit values of service and global scope.

What is your favorite memory or proudest moment from your time at Georgetown McDonough?

My proudest memory from my time in the EMBA program is delivering my capstone presentation on quantum investment in Colombia, my wife’s birthplace and a country to which I have a special connection. My brother-in-law served as my project partner and I dedicated the project to his daughter, my niece. My favorite memory is singing karaoke in Seoul on the last night of our Global Business Experience with 54 of my very best friends.

What was your favorite course or experience while in the EMBA program?

My favorite course was Advanced Competitive Strategy taught by Professor Heather Berry. It really was the watershed moment where I saw myself putting together concepts from my previous courses and started thinking like a business strategist.

What is one of the most important lessons you have learned while at Georgetown?

The most important thing I learned in the EMBA program is the incredible importance of staying intellectually humble, acknowledging the knowledge you lack, and maintaining a willingness to learn from and listen to the diverse perspectives of your colleagues.

Is there a particular person in the Georgetown community that has been instrumental to your success?

On the administration side, Denise Durgin was a wonderfully supportive voice and advisor as I transitioned to a new career. On the cohort side, my classmate and dear friend, Stephen Ivany, tutored me through Statistics. I wouldn’t be here without him.

What are your post-graduate plans?

I’ll be departing active federal military service in June and starting a new career as an organization and transformational change management consulting associate at Booz Allen Hamilton.

What advice would you give to the next cohort of EMBA students?

Stay open, curious, and humble! Listen more than you speak – especially in the first year –  and that age-old lesson that applies to business school as much as it did on the first day of kindergarten: be nice to everyone and be yourself.

Class of 2024
Executive MBA