McDonough Business Scholar Program Celebrates its Second Cohort

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There are many aspects about walking into business school on the first day as an undergraduate that can be intimidating. Senoh Koroma (B’25) felt many unknowns when she first arrived at Georgetown McDonough. It wasn’t until she joined the McDonough Business Scholars Program that these fears were allayed.

“This program is so beneficial because it helps us actualize our aspirations as we gain confidence in ourselves and are exposed to people who we can connect with through identity,” said Koroma. “Many of us dream of careers in business; however, it can be discouraging when there are not as many individuals who have similar experiences.” 

The Business Scholars Program prepares racially and socioeconomically diverse scholars for the business school environment through practical tools, community, and support. In doing so, they hold four to five monthly meetings per semester that encourage community building and career development planning. During these meetings, business scholars have access to guest speakers and lecturers, career and summer planning support, alumni panels, and presentations from faculty advisors for each major within Georgetown McDonough.

Arriving on campus prior to starting their first year at Georgetown, students also take the Reading and Writing Seminar (WRIT 012) and Principles of Marketing (MARK 220) to gain early exposure to business core classes and to help prepare for the upcoming semester. During their fall semester, they transition to a McDonough-specific course of the university-wide course, Mastering the Hidden Curriculum. This 12-week course co-taught by Patricia Grant, senior associate dean, Undergraduate Program, and Brian Floyd, assistant dean, School of Nursing and Health Studies, allows students to examine and reflect on their identities as first-generation and/or low-income business students. They seek to enhance the discourse on efforts made to expand access to higher education, touching on topics such as imposter syndrome, club culture, and wealth inequality. 

“The Mastering the Hidden Curriculum course helped me understand the implications that my race and socioeconomic status had on my higher education,” said Koroma. “This course gave me the ability to feel comfortable and confident in my identity as a first generation, low-income student and will remain priceless as I navigate life on campus.”

As the Business Scholars Program continues to grow — welcoming its second cohort of 16 students this academic year — its administrators focus on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to foster the Jesuit value of cura personalis (care for the whole person) in the classroom. 

“We strive to promote the success and retention of talented first-generation and low-income college students,” said Daniel Minot, assistant dean and co-director of the program. “We are doing so by not only highlighting the resources already available within the Community Scholars program, but also tailoring our meetings to McDonough students specifically.”

The Business Scholars Program at McDonough is an extension of the university’s Community Scholars program made specifically for McDonough student scholars. As one of the country’s oldest and most documented pre-freshman academic enrichment programs linked to credit-bearing courses, Community Scholars provides academic support for a multicultural cohort of about 50 incoming Georgetown students each year. 

Students, mostly from under-resourced schools, are chosen based on their academic achievements, personal initiative, and service. Community Scholars, housed within the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access, also supports students with academic advising, mentoring and personal counseling, study groups, workshops and seminars throughout their time at Georgetown.