The George Washington University School of Business Q&A
Why should you study the Global MBA at GWSB? We find out.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a suburb of Cincinnati, OH.
You went to Indiana University for a bachelor degree in telecommunications, what career did you want to pursue through your college days?
Like most wide-eyed college freshman, I wanted to pursue several different careers: I started thinking I’d become a teacher, entertained the idea of sociology for five minutes, and finally settled on becoming a documentary film-maker. Little did I realize that I was not cut out for sitting in a window-less editing room for hours, splicing video footage. After graduation, I found an incredible political consulting and strategic communications firm called GMMB in D.C, and I started my career there.
You worked as a consultant for GMMB for the next 5 years, what was it like?
Fantastic! This company really raised me in the professional sense. I worked on some incredible campaigns – the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets malaria prevention campaign, maternal and child health initiatives for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a healthcare project with The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the list goes on. I learned about the importance of effective and strategic communications in all businesses, and got to work on issues that made me feel like I was making a difference. What could be better?!
Why did you choose George Washington School of Business?
I looked at a variety of programs with a pretty critical eye. I wanted to go to a reputable, dynamic school that took an interest in each and every student. I was partial to staying in DC and looking back, what a great choice that was! Given the events of the last year, this has been a phenomenal time to study business in the Nation’s capital which has really become the crossroads of business and public policy. Having lived in Bloomington, Indiana, known as a college town, how do you like the metropolitan life in D.C? I love DC! I’ve been in the area for about 6 years, so despite my Midwest roots, it’s definitely become home. There’s so much to do – museums, monuments, the arts, incredible restaurants, great shopping, and fantastic people watching! Nowhere else in this country can you go out for a morning jog past the White House or play softball on The National Mall with the Capitol as your backdrop.
Which class at GWSB taught you the most?
This question makes me laugh! Coming from a communications background, the most obvious answer is either Financial Accounting or Financial Management. However, if I’m being honest, I’d have to say both Business Ethics and Organizations & Leadership are at the top of my list because these courses really exposed us to the importance of acting and leading responsibly. Our professors used unique case methods and their own workplace experiences to bring real life business situations to the classroom…one ethics class even included a musical performance by our professor, Dr. Tim Fort!
How has the financial crisis affected your class?
It had an interesting impact on the internship/job search. Students planning on a stipend or income this summer had to weigh the importance of finding paid internships with gaining valuable experiences with no pay. In the end, I think the situation really pushed our class to think creatively about the job search and become more open-minded about the opportunities available to us. Has the downturn changed the way you think about business? Not necessarily. It just reinforces the importance of responsible management and leadership. It’s important to make decisions that are right for the business, so long as they are ethical and respectable. At the end of the day, can you look yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and be proud of your work?
You're the Vice President of Career Development for GWSB's MBA Association, what motivated you to take this role?
A few peers in my class urged me to get register for a career fair going on in Washington in September last year. With much trepidation, no expectations, and perhaps simply out of curiosity, I registered for the National Black MBA Association Career Expo and attended the fair. This experience is what led me to securing my summer internship. The encouragement and guidance I received from my peers, who had only known me for a couple weeks, was a huge confidence boost and demonstrated to me the importance of peer-to-peer career counseling. After experiencing first-hand the positive impact a peer can have on his/her classmates and career development opportunities, I knew I wanted to be involved in some way.
You worked in various campaigns including calling to increase awareness of maternal and child under-nutrition and improving the lives of women around the world, are you always compassionate towards the others?
I hope so! I think it’s important to give back in some way, be it financially or by giving time to a volunteer organization. It’s something we do a lot of at GWSB. We have a pretty big commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and just rolled out a Certificate in Responsible Management which requires, among other things, 50 hours in service learning and 15 hours per semester of community service on the GW campus. I also think the financial crisis has given us time to think about what it might feel like to be vulnerable and need help from others. It’s a good reminder that humanity and business can and should go hand-in-hand.