World Vision

June 23, 2003

Georgetown University's McDonough School Offers MBAs a Global View of Business

Students, faculty and staff of the International Executive MBA (IEMBA) program at Georgetown University's Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business Friday hosted the Vietnamese ambassador to the United States, Nguyen Tam Chien, and other ministers at a Vietnamese-style dinner, one of a series of events for their International Residency - a required element of the IEMBA curriculum.

"By virtue of our location in Washington, D.C., the McDonough School of Business is in a unique position to cultivate relationships with embassies and incorporate foreign business, economic and political points of view into our curriculum," said Professor Stanley D. Nollen, who has directed the global experiences for both the full-time MBA and IEMBA programs for four years.

In mid August the IEMBA students will leave for Ho Chi Minh City, where in 5-person teams they will present analysis and recommendations from four months of on-campus research and coursework to their Vietnam - based client companies - either multinationals with operations in Vietnam or local companies.

Georgetown's global experiences, for both the full-time MBA and IEMBA programs, combine regular on-campus coursework and research with a foreign residency, during which student teams conduct a consulting project with an overseas company in an emerging market. The teams travel to the overseas location, gather additional data, and complete a report for presentation to the client company. The foreign residencies are conducted toward the end of the MBA and IEMBA curriculum, so that when the students arrive in the foreign country, they've already completed their core courses and can use much of their classroom learning in the solution of real and current business problems that the client companies present to them.

The consulting projects, orchestrated by the Georgetown faculty, focus on areas such as new product development or market entry, expansion of exports or production abroad, or development of global strategies. For instance, one student team worked with Citibank Vietnam to provide an export strategy for Vietnamese garment manufacturers to the U.S. market. Another team helped Saigon Children's Charity develop a marketing strategy for selling its children's charity handicrafts in the U.S. The students work with a project leader from the client company as well as a faculty advisor.

"Our consulting projects are one step better than even a live case," says Nollen. "They are laboratories in which students have to put their classroom learning up against top managers' real opportunities and constraints to solve a current business problem."

Georgetown increases its students' awareness of the business, economic and cultural environment that they will visit by combining a talk from the foreign country's ambassador and his ministers to the United States with a catered lunch or dinner typical of the country. This is the second time the Vietnamese ambassador has come to visit Georgetown students in preparation for the foreign residency. The school has also hosted dignitaries from India, Argentina, and the Czech Republic prior to the overseas residencies in those countries.

The Global Experience internationalizes the perspective of the entire business curriculum, according to Dean John W. Mayo. "The personal and professional relationships between our faculty and the companies operating abroad infuse all aspects of our programs," Mayo said. "They can open doors to internships and postgraduate employment for Georgetown MBA students, and they expose our faculty to new possibilities for research and case study development."

Martin Leborgne (MBA'03) was on a team that developed a marketing and logistics plan for a Czech technology consulting firm to expand into other European markets. "Our recommendations included which specific countries to expand into, how our client should distribute software, and how to strategically price the software," said Leborgne. "I chose Prague because I wanted to see a country transitioning from communism."

"The Global Experience is an important component of the MBA program," Leborgne added. "It first gives us a chance to apply what we've learned, and in the process, gives us a more worldly view of business issues."