McDonough School of Business

Michael Ryan

Michael P. Ryan, PhD (Michigan), Teaching Professor of Global Business, McDonough School of Business and Center for Intercultural Education and Development at Georgetown University, teaches and conducts research regarding international business strategy, comparative government and institutions, and emerging economies. He contributed articles to American Review of Public Administration, Asian Survey, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of World Intellectual Property, Journal of World Trade, World Development and the international law journals of American, Cardozo, Michigan, Northwestern, and Pennsylvania universities. He wrote two books regarding the international political economy of trade.


In the McDonough School of Business Executive MBA, MBA, MS Management, and joint School of Foreign Service MA International Business and Policy programs, he organizes curriculum-integrative, “consulting” projects focused on strategy, organization, and institutions through international research in collaborations with companies in Sao Paulo, Singapore, and Seoul and with multilateral institutions and international nonprofit organizations around the world.


Dr. Ryan has lectured and conducted research in Algeria, Barbados, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Croatia, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Germany, India, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Peru, the Palestinian Territories, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates, and in Geneva. 


Dr. Ryan advises student teams with global capstone experiences in the MSB/SFS executive Master of International Business and Policy and Executive MBA programs. To provide project experiences to meet the diverse interests and goals of students, Dr. Ryan established collaborations for projects with multilateral institutions such as the African Development Bank, the Organization of American States, and the World Bank, with nongovernmental organizations such as the Global Food Institute, Save the Children, and the US-Mexico Foundation, and with companies such as Medtronic regarding emerging economy strategies, with Microsoft Philanthropies regarding their global digital education programs, and with Starbucks regarding their coffee sustainability initiatives.

In the McDonough School of Business, he advises the global business team experiences of the Executive MBAs in Seoul, the MBAs in Sao Paulo and in Singapore, and the MS Management students in Singapore. He thereby organizes curriculum-integrative Master student projects focused on strategy, organization, and institutions through international research in collaborations with companies in Sao Paulo such as Embraer, Havaianas, and food products entrepreneurs, in Seoul with companies such as Costco, General Motors, and tech entrepreneurs, and in Singapore with companies such as 3M, FedEx, and Smart City tech entrepreneurs.

Executive MBA students conclude their degree program with global capstone projects articulated by and designed by the students with advice and supervision from Dr. Ryan. Each spring, he supervises about a dozen EMBA global capstone projects regarding diverse global business strategy challenges and opportunities such as wind energy in Kenya, hydrogen energy production in Egypt, waste management in Beirut, manufacturing supply chains in China and Southeast Asia, and premium coffee export in Colombia.

Dr. Ryan studies developing and emerging economy institutions. He contributed in 2021 an article to American Review of Public Administration regarding collaborative network governance by public administrators of international donors, international nongovernmental organizations, and domestic civil society groups for HIV/AIDS action based on field research in Uganda. He edited a special issue of Business Ethics Quarterly in 2005 concerning the biomedical innovation process, patent policies, and access to HIV/AIDS medicines.

In 2021, Dr. Ryan joined a Georgetown research team conducting study of U.S. Department of Defense acquisition practices, processes, and guidelines regarding defense system innovation, prime contractors, non-traditional entrepreneurial suppliers, and, in particular, intellectual property rights, a project led by the university vice president for technology commercialization. The project enables new research direction for him that draws on his experiences with national innovation systems, intellectual property rights, and multi-stakeholder governance.

In World Development (2010), he showed supportive empirical evidence through field study in Brazil that patent and intellectual property laws combined with technology institutions can encourage the emergence of breakthrough biomedical innovations and technology markets. He thereby provided empirical evidence in support of Nobel Prize winner Douglass North’s proposition in the same journal that intellectual property institutions incent technology innovations in emerging economies.

In 2005, Dr. Ryan became the founding director of the Creative and Innovative Economy Center at The George Washington University Law School. During 2005-2011, he raised $3.2 million in private and public funding to establish collaborative education and research regarding entrepreneurship, business innovation, development, and facilitative institutional, policy, and legal dispute settlement environments. Through his leadership the GW Law center and collaborators in Abuja, Amman, Bangalore, Bangkok, Bogota, Dar es Salaam, Delhi, Kampala, Mumbai, Nairobi, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo conducted opinion leader roundtable discussions, workshops, and field research to integrate diverse stakeholders—university faculty and administrators, government policymakers, public administrators and judges, multinational and local business people, private practice lawyers.

In Knowledge Diplomacy: Global Competition and the Politics of Intellectual Property (Brookings, 1998) he explained the international trade diplomacy of intellectual property in specialized multilateral institutions, international law regarding patents, trade secrets, copyrights, and trademarks, global competition in the creative and innovative industries, and conflict and cooperation among developed and developed states. He further developed these themes in a series of international law papers in the early and mid-2000s. In the international law journal of the University of Pennsylvania, he showed the decisiveness of multilateral institution functional expertise to linkage bargain diplomacy of international intellectual property lawmaking. In the international law journal of Northwestern University, he showed the importance of institutional characteristics of knowledge, legitimacy, and efficiency in a comparison of World Trade Organization and World Intellectual Property Organization dispute settlement procedures. He contributed related studies in papers to American and Cardozo international law journals and the Journal of World Intellectual Property.

Dr. Ryan received two unexpected invitations after the release in 1998 of his Knowledge Diplomacy: Global Competition and the Politics of Intellectual Property. The State Department invited him to lecture in Lima, Peru, to several hundred government and business leaders regarding his thesis that international trade diplomacy had changed decisively because international business and global economic competition depended on knowledge and intellectual property. That same year, the U.S. Agency for International Development invited him to assist the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan with the drafting of a patent law in anticipation of a US-Jordan Free Trade Agreement and joining the World Trade Organization. Beginning in 1999 and for five years, Dr. Ryan assisted the Jordanian government and stakeholders from business, law, and civil society with transition strategies toward intellectual property rights as tools of entrepreneurship, business innovation, and national development. During the 2000s, he lectured at the invitation of the U.S. Departments of Commerce and State and World Intellectual Property Organization in Algeria, Barbados, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Croatia, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Peru, the Palestinian Territories, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates, and in Geneva. 

In Playing by the Rules: American Trade Power and Diplomacy in the Pacific (Georgetown, 1995) and a series of papers in International Studies Quarterly, Journal of World Trade, and the international law journal of the University of Michigan, he showed that American foreign trade diplomacy in East Asia weighed domestic commercial competitiveness, bilateral inter-state power, and legitimating multilateral World Trade Organization rules in relations with China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Dr. Ryan conducted field research with senior policymakers in Beijing, Seoul, Taipei, Tokyo, and Washington, DC, and with senior officials in Geneva at the World Trade Organization. He showed in Asian Survey (1995) that East Asian development policies and institutions strongly influenced their trade policy behaviors toward the United States in bilateral trade dispute diplomacy. Copies of Playing by the Rules continued to sell throughout the 2000s and 2010s and several copies sold during the Trump Administration high tide of trade conflict with China and Korea.

Before joining the McDonough School of Business faculty, Dr. Ryan taught international business and political economy on the faculty of the Michigan Business School (1990-1993), guest lectured 60 young lawyers being prepared to negotiate investment agreements with foreign enterprises at China University of Law and Political Science (summer 1993), and served as a visiting assistant professor in the International Business Diplomacy Program at the Walsh School of Foreign Service (1993-1996). He wrote Knowledge Diplomacy as a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution (1996-1998). He studied at Michigan for a PhD in political science/world politics, at Ohio State for a MA in philosophy, at the University of Akron for a BA in political science, where he was a Goodyear Scholar and first generation college student. He graduated from Massillon Washington High School, where he was class president. In Washington, DC he is a member of the Cosmos Club and managed his son’s DC Soccer Blue Metro U13-U16 team seasons, which included a Virginia State Cup Final Four and three Maryland State Cup Great Eight finishes.