Georgetown Students Travel Across the Globe for Business Consulting Projects
Graduate and undergraduate students at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business recently traveled around the world, met with multinational and regional clients, and immersed themselves in local cultures for their signature Global Business Experience (GBE) trips this spring.
The GBE is a semester-long capstone where students, working in small teams, consult for an international client to address real-world business challenges focused on innovation strategy, market entry, acquisition, marketing strategy, and other projects posed by senior executives at the organization. The challenge: uncover the problem at hand, build relationships with global clientele, and collaborate as a team to create sustainable solutions that can be implemented in a foreign market.
Kendall Deighan (MBA’23) and her team were charged with developing a monetization model and marketing strategy for a nonprofit based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to help empower the lives of Vietnamese women and children.
“After weeks of virtually meeting with our client, it was amazing to see the value in the face-to-face interaction we had on the ground in Ho Chi Minh City,” said Deighan in a Q&A with Georgetown McDonough. “We were able to set up meetings to conduct employee interviews as well as focus groups to help support our final recommendations and project objectives.”
For students across Georgetown’s MBA, Master’s in Management (MiM), M.S. in Finance, and Executive MBA programs, the GBE is a required part of the curriculum; it is also an elective for the Undergraduate Program. The GBE was pioneered by the McDonough School of Business nearly 30 years ago and has become a signature part of the school’s curriculum.
“Since its inception, the GBE course has redefined how business students can both learn about and experience global business across cultures,” said Sezer Ulku, professor of operations and analytics and academic director of the MBA GBE. “As the world grows more interconnected and complex, we need business leaders who understand that problems, especially on an international level, are nuanced and ambiguous in nature. The GBE exposes students to these challenges and gives them a real-world scenario to work together to find creative solutions.”
This year, students traveled to Argentina, Costa Rica, Chile, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Ireland, Israel, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Spain, Singapore, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam to deliver their case presentations in person to senior executives. Students spent several weeks together prior to international travel to apply their strategic business and analytical skills, identify solutions, and build their case presentations.
“For me, it was amazing to interact with people from across the world and learn how they think and how they conduct business,” said Edward Millet (MiM’23), who traveled to Dublin to explore the potential for a new product line with an Ireland-based firm. “Global travel was a vitally important part of my time at McDonough.”
In addition to their presentations, students enjoyed various excursions, including site tours, wine tastings, hiking excursions, and engaging discussions with local stakeholders to gain new cultural perspectives.
“One of my favorite experiences during the trip was our first client meeting and then a hike and dinner in the mountains,” said Robert Fanciullo (B’23), who participated in the GBE elective offered to undergraduate students. “After our client meeting, the class gathered for lunch, where we had a traditional Argentine Pork Milanese — a fried cutlet symbolic of the country’s deep Italian heritage. Then, we headed off to our mountain hike in the foothills of the Andes and ended the day with dinner overlooking a vineyard and the Potrerillos Reservoir before heading back into Mendoza.”
After returning to campus, the students culminate their experience in a final virtual presentation with their clients in Washington, D.C., and reflect on their international trips.
Kate Tavella (B’23) said her GBE trip to Mendoza, Argentina, was the culmination of her experience in the Undergraduate Program – and one of the final classes before she graduates in May.
“As I approach graduation, I can’t help but reflect on my time at Georgetown McDonough. I’m grateful for the many opportunities to work at the nexus of global business and policy,” she wrote in a LinkedIn post. “I recently returned from Mendoza, Argentina, where my peers and I presented a project to a one-of-a-kind Argentine winery, Tempus Alba. Thank you to the GBE Program, Tempus Alba, and our gracious hosts at the University of Mendoza for the invaluable opportunity.”