New Interdisciplinary B.S. in Business and Global Affairs Will Prepare Students to Lead at the Intersection of Business and International Relations

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The McDonough School of Business and the Walsh School of Foreign Service have designed and will deliver Georgetown University’s first two-school interdisciplinary undergraduate degree to prepare students to lead in an increasingly complex world.

The Bachelor of Science in Business and Global Affairs (BGA) is a single, joint degree that features hands-on experience in Washington, D.C., and around the world; dedicated resources at both schools; and a diverse learning community. This interdisciplinary degree positions graduates to make meaningful contributions involving pressing global issues within business, government, and society. [Watch the video.]

“The BGA is a revolutionary program,” said Joel Hellman, dean of the Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS). “Georgetown has created a truly integrated new curriculum that improves upon others that combine business and global affairs. It reflects the fact that business and international affairs are so integrally interrelated in 2019 that schools must rethink how they teach. We have done precisely that.” 

This new degree program will provide differentiation and distinctiveness for Georgetown University as a jointly designed and jointly delivered global business degree integrating research and teaching from two world-class schools. Rather than a curriculum that assembles a set of existing courses from various disciplines, faculty with scholarly interests and expertise at the nexus of business and policy together are exploring and presenting new, integrated perspectives that form the basis for learning and research and enliven the new BGA curriculum.

“More and more, solutions to the world’s most complex issues, such as artificial intelligence, sustainability, or health care, are found at the nexus of business, geopolitics, and international relations,” said Paul Almeida, dean of the McDonough School of Business. “At Georgetown, we are uniquely positioned to educate students at this intersection by harnessing the strengths of the business and foreign service schools, by leveraging our location in the global capital city of Washington, D.C., and by incorporating our foundation in Jesuit values.”

The program has undergone three years of concept-testing and planning, and with startup funding, the program will launch in spring 2020. The first group of students, drawn from among those currently enrolled in the McDonough or SFS class of 2023, will take the first signature course in the spring of 2020. For now, class capacity in the new courses serves to limit the number of students pursuing the new degree in their sophomore through senior years to about 40 students in each graduating class. The university seeks endowment funding to grow and maintain the program in the longer term.

The BGA program’s new signature and custom courses (more than 20 credits total) are being co-developed and co-taught by members of the business and foreign service faculty, and will explore the themes of global markets and politics, global leadership and teamwork, global operations, and business, policy, and society. The signature course sequence includes three international experiential units. In addition, students will participate in a multi-semester “thread” course —  Washington, Business, and the World — where they will engage with the rich resources of Washington, D.C. — NGOs, policy centers, government agencies, embassies, industry associations, and more.

BGA students fulfill university core requirements along with all Georgetown University undergraduates, as well as the SFS modern foreign language proficiency requirement. 

“The BGA degree will provide students conceptual frameworks from a number of disciplines to understand the complex interactions between business and policy globally,” said Brad Jensen, McCrane/Shaker Chair in International Business and academic director of the program. “The program also will develop essential functional skills like finance, data analytics, foreign language proficiency, and leadership. Together, the interdisciplinary global perspective and functional preparation will provide students a unique foundation from which to make meaningful contributions in a range of global organizations, be it in the private sector, government, the nonprofit sector, or all three.”