McDonough School of Business
News Story

MBAs Adopt a D.C. Public School

In September, a group of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business MBA students launched a partnership with DC Public School’s (DSPS) Adopt-a-School Program. Kelly Bies (MBA ’18) facilitated the alliance between Georgetown McDonough and Whittier Education Campus, a school focused on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) that serves students of low socioeconomic status in pre-school through the eighth grade. Through the partnership, Georgetown McDonough MBA students have planned three service events and one fundraiser for Whittier Education Campus that will take place during the 2016-17 school year.

Bies, a former middle school writing teacher and the elected community service representative of her cohort, was inspired to involve Georgetown McDonough with DCPS’s Adopt-a-School program by her father, Georgetown Professor of Management Robert Bies, who established the school’s Executive Master’s in Leadership program for DCPS principals.

Approximately 10 MBA students have volunteered at Whittier Education Campus through this partnership. Bies encourages other members of the Georgetown community to get involved in the events.

“Georgetown does a good job of trying to get involved in the community, but you can always do more to understand our environment and the landscape,” she said. “I know across the campus people are involved in D.C. public schools, but I think it’s a really important initiative to actually go to the school and get involved.”

Once matched with Whittier Education Campus, Bies, the acting Adopt-a-School liaison for Georgetown McDonough, met with a DCPS representative, Whittier’s Principal Tenia Pritchard, and Assistant Principal Tiffany Johnson to discuss possible events for the school year.

The first event, a celebration of Whittier Education Campus’s 90th anniversary, took place in November. Georgetown MBA students engaged with students and their families by setting up, serving, and cleaning up a spaghetti dinner during a weekly PTA meeting. The celebration also featured a video created by the students, various art projects, and writing awards.

In January, several of the MBA students returned to Whittier Education Campus for Family Fitness Night, the second partnership event. The goal of the event was to engage Whittier’s students with healthy eating and living an active lifestyle. Bies and her classmates facilitated by helping to keep the energy positive and participating in group fitness activities, such as Caribbean dance, kickboxing, and karate.

Upcoming partnership events will take place in May. Bies said that the third service event likely will be an international celebration, a day to educate Whittier students on different cultures, languages, and backgrounds. The final event, the fundraiser, will celebrate Whittier’s faculty via a breakfast during Teacher Appreciation Week. Bies plans to raise money for the event through an on-campus initiative.

“This is a student-run initiative clearly consistent with our Jesuit values, and it also helps us to embed ourselves more meaningfully in the local community,” said Prashant Malaviya, senior associate dean of MBA programs.

Bies plans to continue this partnership throughout her two years at Georgetown McDonough, and she hopes that someone will absorb her role as the Adopt-a-School liaison when she graduates in 2018. Malaviya said he will continue to offer the MBA program’s support of the initiative and help ensure its sustainability.


— Lindsay Reilly