A recent MBA graduate who created a new student organization to provide pro bono consulting for local nonprofits and a professor and undergraduate academic counselor who helped an 81-year-old earn the final credits he needed to graduate from Georgetown have been selected as the recipients of the 2018 Georgetown McDonough Service Leadership Awards.

The awards, supported by a fund created by Timothy P. Tassopoulos (MBA’83), honor Georgetown McDonough community members who are exceptionally dedicated to principled leadership in service to business and society.

Consulting with an Impact

As a first-year MBA student in 2016, Chris Musser (MBA’18) envisioned a new student-run consulting group at the McDonough School of Business that would allow student teams to engage in consulting projects for D.C. area nonprofits. The teams would be mentored by alumni at major professional services firms to enhance their work and to allow students to network directly with leading consulting companies. After working with Michael O’Leary, teaching professor of management, and a series of meetings with administrators and MBA and undergraduate student leaders, Impact Consultants launched a pilot project in spring 2017 with one client and expanded in fall 2018 with four clients and more than 100 applications from students to join one of four client teams.

Although Musser graduated this spring, he worked diligently to ensure the legacy of the organization he founded. Impact Consultants is in its second full year and third season of providing students valuable consulting experiences in service to local nonprofits who would otherwise be unable to afford such services.

A Lifelong Dream Made Reality

In September 2017, the President’s Office at Georgetown University received a request from the daughter of a former student to find out how her 81-year-old father could earn the final credits he needed to graduate from Georgetown. That request eventually landed on the desk of Daniel Minot, senior associate director and academic counselor in McDonough’s Undergraduate Program Office, who began an effort to help Carlos Sera, who first enrolled as a business student at Georgetown in 1955, earn his bachelor’s degree.

Minot worked with colleagues across campus to determine what Sera needed to graduate and how to meet those requirements in today’s standards, then presented a curricular plan to Sera’s family. Sera was just four credits shy of graduating, and in spring 2018, he enrolled in an independent study with Distinguished Teaching Professor Thomas B. Cooke, who devised a research project and final paper for Sera analyzing how the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would serve both individuals and corporations. While Sera had struggled with his health and suffered a significant stroke that semester, his work continued, and he earned an A from Cooke.

In May, even though he couldn’t make it to campus, Sera graduated with the Class of 2018. He watched the live stream from his home in Houston, wearing regalia that the school had sent in advance and proudly receiving his framed diploma from his family. From the Hilltop, Minot, Cooke, and the crowd at the 2018 Commencement were cheering.

Award Recognition

As service leadership awardees, Musser, Minot, and Cooke will receive a $500 monetary gift and recognition in McDonough communications. View videos of the 2017 winners and 2016 winners.