McDonough School of Business

Michael O\’Leary

Prof. O’Leary graduated from the MIT Sloan School of Management (Ph.D., Organization Studies) and Duke University (B.A., Public Policy), where he also was a member of the Board of Trustees. He worked in consulting and taught at Boston College Carroll School of Management before joining Georgetown’s faculty in 2009. He has won teaching and service awards at both BC and George­town, and has taught undergraduates, MBAs and other master's students, PhDs, and executives.

From 2017-2020, he was Faculty Chair of the Undergraduate Program at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business and Chair of the Undergraduate Curriculum & Standards Committee. He also created the school’s Partners in Leadership Learning and Research (PILLARs) program – strengthening ties between alumni and the leadership, learning, and research mission of the school.

From 2020-2022, he was Co-Chair of the School's standing Committee of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and helped develop the School's first annual DEI Report . In 2021, he co-authored and edited the book, 60 Years of Alumnae: Memories, Milestones & Momentum , about six decades of women graduates of the McDonough School and the roles of women in business education and the workplace.

From 2020-2022, he was also Senior Associate Dean of Custom Executive Education, overseeing the School's custom-designed non-degree programs run in partnership with large companies, government agencies/departments, and non-profits. Those programs serve 2,000+ participants per year with in-person, virtual, and hybrid designs for participants from six continents.

In July 2022, O'Leary became Senior Associate Dean for Graduate & Executive Degree Programs — leading the McDonough School's portfolio of specialized masters programs, including the MAIBP (international business and policy) , MSESM (sustainability management) , EMBA (executive MBA) , MSBA (business analytics) , MiM (master's of science in management) , and MSGRA (global real assets) .

He has taught in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and South America, and in six of Georgetown’s masters programs (MBA, Executive Master's in Leadership, EMBA, GEMBA, M.A. in International Business and Policy, and online Master's of Science in Finance). His classes focus on teams, leadership, change, global business (including two classes on the global wine industry), and the business of the Media, Entertainment, and News industries. He has also taught and directed custom executive education programs for a wide variety of domestic and international organizations (e.g., AARP, Abengoa, AES, Booz Allen Hamilton, CapitalOne, Community Connections of DC, Force3, Grifols, IFC, InterAmerican Development Bank, Irish Times, Deloitte, Josoor Institute, KPMG, OPIC, Qatari Soccer Federation, Red Cross, SK, Telvent, USAID, World Bank,).

With Dean Paul Almeida, he is co-designer, lead academic advisor, and faculty member for the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program , founded by the presidential centers of Lyndon B. Johnson, George H.W. Bush, William J. Clinton, and George W. Bush. He is also a faculty member for the Bush Center’s Veterans Leadership Program .

At Georgetown, O’Leary led the 2009-2010 effort to re-design the undergraduate Leadership, Management & Innovation major; co-developed the new integrative, team-taught Principled Leadership for Business & Society MBA core; developed the Global Business Experience course and “flipped” MBA courses on globalization and the wine industry (“Globalization: From Grape to Glass”); and co-developed the Principled Financial Leadership course for the MSF program. He has also received the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award twice and served on numerous school and university committees and task forces (e.g., the Dean’s Search Committee and B.S. in Business and Global Affairs Design Committee). At BC, he helped design Portico – an innovative new program in leadership, management, and ethics for all incoming undergraduate students, and helped re-design the MBA and undergraduate leadership and management majors.

Before beginning his academic career, he was a policy analyst at AIR and a management consultant at Coopers & Lybrand based out of Washington, DC and Boston. He worked on large-scale re-organizations, technology implementations, digital strategies, and process redesigns, among other projects. At C&L, his clients included major higher education, medical, and non-profit institutions (e.g., Columbia, Stanford, Tufts, Boston U., and the Universities of Pennsylvania and Minnesota), as well as large nonprofit organizations (e.g., ETS and the NCAA). At Pelavin Associates Inc., now part of AIR, his clients included the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor, the NCES, Census Bureau, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Bureau of Prisons.

Prof. O’Leary’s research deals with high-performing teams (especially virtual ones), multitasking, multi-teaming, and teams dealing with resources constraints. He is co-author of Lessons for Non-Profit and Start-Up Leaders: Tales from a Reluctant CEO (2017, with Maxine Harris). His work has also been published by MIT Press and in the Academy of Management Review, IESE Insight, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Organization Science, MIS Quarterly, Organization Studies, and Academy of Management’s Best Paper Proceedings. His MISQ article about perceived proximity between co-located and geographically dispersed colleagues won the 2015 European Research Paper of the Year Award from CIONET – Europe’s largest association of IT executives. He served as an expert reviewer for three National Science Foundation grant review panels and has reviewed for more than two dozen academic journals.

He grew up in Stony Brook, NY (Long Island), lives in Bethesda, MD, is an avid athlete (arm-chair and on the field/court – tennis, soccer, and basketball), traveler (50+ countries and counting) and cook, as well as a devoted husband (wife Meg) and father (Grace and Liam).