The Georgetown (McDonough) MBA program is consistently rated among the top 25 programs in the USA. Located in Washington, D.C., the program seeks to instill global business knowledge, ethical decision making, and real-world management skills in its MBA graduates. Very popular with international candidates, the McDonough school also launched a new curriculum in 2012 to focus more closely on program objectives. GyanOne caught up with Shari Hubert, Associate Dean, and Michael Templeman, Director, Marketing and Recruiting for the Georgetown McDonough School of Business. Shari and Michael shared their perspectives on the MBA program, admissions, and career opportunities for students at the McDonough School of Business. Thanks Shari and Michael for your time and your perspectives, which will be very valuable to applicants as they consider McDonough for their MBA.
GyanOne: Shari, Michael – thanks again for taking out some time to speak to us. The Georgetown McDonough MBA is a top option for international students looking for business education in the U.S. What are the key parameters on which the school differentiates its MBA program from those of other top schools?
Georgetown MBA Admissions Team: Our program’s goal is to create ethically minded leaders working in service to business and society. Other than that, we focus on hands-on learning from our world-class faculty experts, including many people who are already top business leaders. While we focus on core courses and electives across a wide range of areas, we also make sure that our students understand the global economy. Our introductory course on the Structure of Global Industries teaches team dynamics, communication skills, and the dynamics of global markets. We also offer the Global Business Experience, a live consulting opportunity that gives student an opportunity to apply what they have learned.
We are a General Management program. In terms of our courses, while most MBA programs focus on horizontal skills (marketing, finance, operations), we focus additionally on industry-specific skills, which may vary significantly from one industry to the other. We think this helps our students to be much more prepared to take on business roles that they get into.
GyanOne: How good are the career opportunities for Georgetown MBA graduates outside the region / outside the U.S.?
Georgetown MBA Admissions Team: Our career fairs and career services office support students to find jobs where their geographical preferences lie. On a 1-on-1 basis we definitely have students who find global employment but this depends on finding the right opportunities as well. Some students are able to get into a global organization in the U.S. and then travel internally to other geographies.
On the other hand, we also have some of our international graduates who prefer to work in the U.S. 89% of our graduates find employment within 3 months of graduation. We also have a great entrepreneurship initiative for students from a family business background.
GyanOne: What is the IT focus in the program? Do applicants from an IT background have a good chance of finding the right employment opportunities in the region?
Georgetown MBA Admissions Team: We have a lot of software engineers who are part of the program. The Georgetown and Washington DC area in general has excellent employment opportunities for IT graduates. The number of IT firms in the area is high, and the region has a high concentration of IT jobs, almost at par with the Silicon Valley area.
GyanOne: Are IT applicants at a disadvantage in the applications process because they belong to an over-represented pool? What can IT applicants do to improve their applications to the Georgetown MBA?
Georgetown MBA Admissions Team: We like to see our applicants as well-rounded people, irrespective of the industry that they come from. We understand that candidates from a technology background will have skills that are closer to technology and IT rather than business. What we want them to do is to demonstrate the impact they have had in their organizations with their skills. Have they shown leadership? Have they managed teams? Have they impacted their business units and their organizations?
IT candidates, like candidates from other backgrounds, are judged based on their achievements, impact, and overall profile. They do not have any inherent disadvantage coming from the pool that you describe.
GyanOne: How does the Georgetown MBA look at applicants who have a lot of experience, say 8+ years? Are they encouraged to explore Executive MBA options instead?
Georgetown MBA Admissions Team: Michael has done his Executive MBA from Georgetown so he is a great person to comment on that! Our evening MBA/full time MBA programs participants have an average experience of around 5 years while our Executive MBA participants have an average of about 13. The difference therefore is quite large and there is little overlap in terms of candidate profiles for the full-time MBA/evening MBA v/s those for the Executive MBA.
For people on the higher side of the experience curve for the full-time MBA, it is important to realize that we do not disqualify people just because they have a lot more experience than the average. What older applicants need to do is to be able to establish the maturity of the experience they bring in and they will be as competitive as their younger counterparts.
Our career center supports candidates with wide and varied profiles and levels of experience. As a candidate coming in to the Georgetown McDonough MBA program, it is important to have clear short-term and long-term goals. Our career coaches and promotion coaches work with applicants throughout the program to ensure that they have the relevant resources to pursue their career no matter what their career aims.
A brief comparison of Georgetown’s various MBA offerings, their application deadlines, and student profiles is available here.
GyanOne: Looking at the other end of the spectrum, what is typically the minimum experience that candidates need to have to be competitive for Georgetown MBA admissions?
Georgetown MBA Admissions Team: The minimum that we look at is 3 years, though what is more important than the quantity is definitely the quality. Strong applicants are able to demonstrate why their experience is important and what they have done and achieved rather than merely show that they’ve been busy in a job for 3 years.
GyanOne: Some applicants already have a first MBA and are applying for second to gain more global exposure or to learn business skills in a more contextual environment after getting more work experience since their first MBA. Are these people at a disadvantage when applying to Georgetown?
Georgetown MBA Admissions Team: They’re not at a disadvantage provided there is sufficient time that has elapsed between completing the first MBA and seeking the second. For these candidates, it is also very important to establish why the first MBA was insufficient to enable them to achieve their career goals, and why they feel a second MBA from Georgetown can help them do that.
GyanOne: How many students get scholarships? What is the average scholarship amount?
Georgetown MBA Admissions Team: The exact percentage will vary from year to year, but on average around 25% of our accepted students get scholarships. The average scholarship amount (again, an approximation and will vary across individual cases) is around $20,000
GyanOne: How should applicants view the admissions interview? As a deep assessment / as just another stage of the process / as a confirmation of what the application says?
Georgetown MBA Admissions Team: The interview is all about presenting your real face. Use it to bring out your achievements and experiences. Use it also to judge your fit with the program and the program’s fit with your goals. Far too many applicants view the interview as a one-way exercise. We encourage applicants to treat the interview as more of an exchange of views than a regimented assessment.
GyanOne: Some applicants feel that applying in Round 1 v/s Round 2 will give their candidature a bit of an edge. How true is this?
Georgetown MBA Admissions Team: In terms of the acceptance, it doesn’t matter. However, applying in an earlier round increases the chances of getting a scholarship. We have a limited pool of funds that go quickly. All our scholarships are merit-based as opposed to need-based.
GyanOne: Any other points that you would like to add on the value of the Georgetown MBA?
Georgetown MBA Admissions Team: Our graduates learn skills that go beyond only what they would apply in a job. We are strong on entrepreneurship-focused education. We are strong on inculcating global perspectives. We are strong in inculcating ethical decision making. Our career services office is effective and excellent. We offer an excellent learning environment that helps applicants to achieve their career aims no matter what background they come from.