McDonough School of Business
News Story

New Classes Highlight Culture and Inclusion

New undergraduate and MBA electives for the 2020-2021 academic year at the McDonough School of Business were carefully designed to reflect the cultural, social, and racial issues happening globally and in the United States. Students will have the opportunity to work and learn alongside industry leaders and expert faculty to think more critically about diversity and inclusion, business, leadership, and communication.

Undergraduate Courses

Global Organizations and Culture: Theory, Methods, and Practice

This unique undergraduate offering examines the role of regional, national, organizational, occupational, and other cultures in shaping communications, teamwork, leadership, and management in a global context. Students will address what culture is and how different scholarly traditions have approached it. The class will force students to explore their own cultural identities and how those identities shape their interactions, expectations, and approaches to working with others.

“Our goal is for students to increase their appreciation for culture and cultural differences, as well as the challenges and opportunities culture poses for work in a global context,” said Michael O’Leary, teaching professor of business. “This involves understanding the importance of culture in human life – in regard to organizations and performance, as well as the students as individuals.”

The course also will present an overview of methods that are used to study culture and cultural differences. Students will examine large datasets that are typically used in quantitative research, as well as small samples that are collected through ethnographic and qualitative research methods. To engage students, they will work on a semester-long project analyzing the effects of culture on how a firm expands internationally. The focal firm will be a U.S.-based, fast-casual, organic restaurant chain that is exploring expansion opportunities in several cities around the world. 

Managing Flawed People 

This seminar is a crash course on moral and social psychology, experimental economics, the economics of organizations, and the economics of collective action. Students will learn strategies for bringing out the best in themselves and others and reducing the harms our worst aspects can cause. All students will be asked to complete a major experiential project that will require them to confront, and overcome, these problems first-hand.

Offered to undergraduate students as part of the First Year Seminar series, this course will be taught by Jason Brennan, Robert J. and Elizabeth Flanagan Family Chair and associate professor of strategy, economics, ethics, and public policy. Students will explore some of the most sought after physiological questions:

  • Why do good people so often do bad things? 
  • Why do so many well-meaning organizations not only fail to achieve their goals, but sometimes undermine them? 
  • How often do people lie and cheat? What really drives people and what makes people tick? 
  • Around the world, how do different cultures affect people’s behavior? 
  • How can we use the answers to these questions to better manage ourselves and others, and to help ensure we succeed in our ends?

Understanding the Law 

This First Year Seminar undergraduate offering is designed to provide students an overview of the functioning of the Anglo-American legal system. Students will have the opportunity to take a course in business law that will acquaint them with important provisions of contract and commercial law that are relevant to their careers in business. 

Taught by John Hasnas, executive director of the Georgetown Institute for the Study of Markets and Ethics and professor of business ethics, students are introduced to two basic forms of legal regulation: civil liability (which is enforced by plaintiff’s lawyers) and criminal liability (which is enforced by prosecutors). This acquaints students with the basic rules of law that give rise to civil judgments and criminal punishment and encourage them to explore controversial issues concerning the legal regulation of business.

“This is a course for students who like to think for themselves, create persuasive arguments, and learn from the exchange of ideas and viewpoints,” said Hasnas. “Don’t forget to bring your creativity to class with you.”

Washington Business and the World 

This is the first course in a three-course sequence that “threads” through the fall semesters during the sophomore through senior years of students enrolled in the Dikran Izmirlian Program in Business and Global Affairs program.  Washington, D.C., is the classroom–where learning opportunities related to international policy and the complexities of the global economy abound across and beyond the Hilltop. Here in the nation’s capital, students will view the international stage from the perspectives of the private sector and global policy. This course focuses on the potential for and perils of markets as a mechanism to allocate society’s resources.  

The course includes classroom sessions – lectures, cases, and discussion – along with attendance (currently virtual) at global business and policy events and venues around D.C., and integrated writing instruction. It will be taught by John Mayo, Elsa Carlson McDonough Chair in Business Administration and executive director of the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy.

MBA Courses

Innovation Through Inclusion

As the population becomes more heterogeneous, interaction with peers, managers, and customers with different backgrounds and experiences will increase. When harnessed effectively, these differences can be the catalyst for innovation and business growth; but when misunderstood, these differences can challenge team and organizational performance. 

Offered to MBA students, the course is designed to help students understand and practice inclusive management skills that will enable them to effectively identify, develop, and lead high-impact, data driven innovations for and with our increasingly diverse world. It will be taught by Ella Washington, professor of the practice in management.

Social Marketing for Global Good

Serving as an elective for the new MBA Certificate in Sustainable Business, Social Marketing for Global Good will emphasize the important distinctions that exist in the application of marketing approaches to solving social and environmental problems. Commercial marketing primarily revolves around selling goods and services, while social marketing uses the principles of commercial marketing to promote behaviors that benefit individuals and society.

The class will be taught by Gael O’Sullivan (C’80), adjunct professor and project director with the school’s Business for Impact initiative. 

“Social marketing builds on commercial marketing, and behavioral science more broadly, to drive changes that make the world a better place,” said O’Sullivan. “We are excited to offer this new course to our many MBA students who want to use their business training for the global good.”

Business for Impact
Undergraduate Program