The Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy Celebrates 20 Influential Years at McDonough
After two decades of engaging business and public policy leaders, scholars, industry experts, and students, the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy (CBPP) is commemorating a major milestone as a premiere establishment in Washington, D.C., at the intersection of business, economics, and public policy.
Since its original founding in 2002, the center has led thought-provoking discussions, debate, dialogue, and analysis of critical industry-related issues. According to Professor John Mayo, the founder and executive director of CBPP, the mission of the center hasn’t changed throughout the years, but instead, the center’s substantial growth and evolution have allowed for more depth in its expertise related to issues in the business, economic, and public policy arena.
Over the course of the past 20 years, the center has hosted numerous distinguished speakers ranging from CEOs to members of Congress to members of the Administration, as well as foreign dignataries. In recent years, the center has typically convened more than 30 events annually on Georgetown’s campus and in the D.C. area. Presently, Mayo said the center has nearly 40 people affiliated and involved with its overall operations.
This past fall semester, the CBPP hosted 32 separate events, which range from academic research seminars, the Lunch Nuggets series, Little Nuggets of Tech and Telecom, conferences, symposiums, and its Georgetown on the Hill series. Jeff Macher, the academic director of CBPP, said the early days of the center mostly focused on white papers and holding a few research conferences a year, but the scope and impact of the CBPP go far beyond that today.
While the growth of the center has been a crucial aspect of the CBPP’s influence on Georgetown McDonough and outside stakeholders, Mayo said he’s most proud of the work that’s been done to carve out a “space of credibility in a town that sorely needs it.”
“Washington, D.C. is a place where policymakers and business people do not have a shortage of voices trying to get at them. However, there is a shortage of credible voices that get to them. Our goal all along has been to be true to academic research and fact-based, data-driven knowledge,” Mayo said.
Mayo said the creation of the center stemmed from a happy confluence of his natural interest in issues that lie at the nexus of business and public policy. He was approached by DuPont, a multinational chemical company, to support the establishment of the center at Georgetown. While Mayo said DuPont was initially interested in a center that catered to the topic of workplace safety, the discussion eventually led to the formation of the CBPP and a wider range of marketplace concepts.
“It turns out that [workplace safety] wasn’t an area of expertise by me or anyone else at the school. However, more generally, there was a fair amount of interest in the interplay between business and policymakers more generally. Through a series of discussions I had with DuPont, I explained that we would be very good at addressing issues broader than workplace safety, and under those conditions, DuPont was more than happy to provide the seed funding for the center.”
As the oldest center at McDonough, Macher said there also is a lot to be proud of in regard to the CBPP’s maintained relevance on campus and in the Washington, D.C., area. He said the individual entities that engage with the center remain loyal because they recognize the high level of credibility and expertise that is offered and made available through these partnerships.
“I take pride in the fact that anything we’ve ever released always has sound economic thinking in it. You might disagree with the outcome or the issue at hand, but what we have never been accused of is not being forthright in our economic analysis. We’ve always stayed truthful to the economics behind the analysis that we’ve done and that our senior policy fellows have done,” Macher said.
As the CBPP leadership looks toward the next 20 years, the goal is to maintain the same level of credibility and trust among political figures on both sides of the aisle. “I think we’ve got the ear of the people on The Hill. Over time, there will inevitably be transitions between Democrats and Republicans in power, but our goal is to have the ear of both parties, no matter who is in power,” Mayo explained.
When taking a look at student engagement, Macher said between 60 and 80 McDonough MBA students participate annually in the MBA Certificate in Nonmarket Strategy, which is offered in collaboration with the CBPP. The certificate is highly regarded for its ability to connect the strengths of the Georgetown McDonough faculty and the MBA curriculum with the plethora of resources that are available in Washington, D.C. For students, the Certificate offers a vehicle to explore and engage the broader Washington D.C. community – with all its regulatory, legal, and political institutions – while studying at Georgetown.
“I think over the next 10 or 20 years, the MBA Certificate in Non Market Strategy is going to continue to grow. We’re in a really good position to leverage the number of students that find benefit in the center and in the certificate program.”
For updates on upcoming CBPP events, news, and publications, visit the contact information page. Information on center leadership, programs, and offerings can be found at cbpp.georgetown.edu.