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Focus Group Identifies GWSB Strengths

The Corporate Collaborative Council (CCC), a roster of high-profile companies working to strengthen the role of the F. David Fowler Career Center, spent a half day recently discussing how GWSB graduates can leverage the School’s strengths before potential employers.

International business was identified as an expertise area where GWSB graduates hold an advantage. The School maintains an outstanding Department of International Business, ranked 5th in the world by the Financial Times. Global MBA candidates do overseas consulting assignments during their required international residencies. And GWSB effectively leverages its location in the heart of Washington, D.C., to tap international experts and resources at such entities as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the State Department and foreign embassies.

“International education means more than talking about the international world, it means embedding it in curriculum, and in having an expectation that students have some practical experience with the world outside the United States,” said Dean Doug Guthrie, who took part in the meeting.  “The reason most business schools devalued or shut down their international business departments was due to the assumption that if students knew the U.S. model, that’s all they needed to know. GW thinks otherwise.”

CCC members said theylook at the makeup of a school’s student body and faculty to see if they are multinational and multicultural.

“International business and finance are often viewed as the School’s strongest programs, and our Master of Accountancy program is more than 60 percent international students,” said Larry Singleton, associate dean of undergraduate programs.

International business and finance are often viewed as the School’s strongest programs.

CCC member William Zeigler, vice president of Human Resources and Organization Development at Washington Gas, said that recruiters see GWSB’s location in the metropolitan D.C. area as an advantage.  Andrew Lewis, senior member at KPMG Lewis and a GWSB adjunct professor of accountancy, agreed, adding: “If you look at the cost per-hire, it is cost effective to hire graduates already here.”

Prior to the meeting, CCC members completed a survey about their impressions of GWSB and its attributes. The results were compared with the School’s mission – with an eye toward identifying where the two intersected or diverged. They also considered GWSB’s positioning with respect to other top-ranked business schools.

Sara Melita, GWU’s executive director of staff learning and development, facilitated this focus group of executives, recruiters and human resources officials from nearly 16 companies and organizations. “This marked the third meeting of the CCC, which was formed in December 2009 to provide students and University officials with additional insight into business career fields,” said Gil Yancey, executive director of GWSB career services. Yancey provides stewardship of the CCC, which includes nonprofit, transportation, government, finance, media and energy companies. Its members provide suggestions on curriculum, recruitment, admissions, programs and outreach.

“The idea is to enhance the work of the career center and to ensure that all of the School’s efforts are done in the context of the needs and demands of the employment market,” said GWSB Board of Advisors member John Fletcher, BBA,’68, who is serving as interim chairman of the CCC.

During the broad-ranging focus group meeting, CCC members provided input on impending changes to the GWSB World Executive MBA curriculum, talked about GWSB’s use of social media in promoting programs, core competencies that recruiters seek, the advantages of interactive case studies in which corporations talk with students and the importance of cross-disciplinary expertise. They suggested ways for students and professors to take part in deeper collaboration with corporations. They also recommended strategies for broadening alumni involvement in the School.

In addition to Washington Gas and KMPG, the corporations, government agencies and nonprofits represented at the focus group meeting were: AARP, AT Kearney, Bank of America, BET Networks, Constellation Energy Group, Dell Perot Systems, EquiTitle, Fletcher Spaght Inc., Gannett, GEICO, IBM, Onyx Media, TechnoServe and the U.S. Postal Service.

Posted by gwsb on July 30, 2010 | Filed under: GWSB News.


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The members of the MBA Admissions team contribute to the blog with postings about recruitment tours, events, interviews with current students, and insights about the admissions process. The team is composed of:

Christopher Storer, Executive Director
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Jason Smith, Assistant Director
Shelly Heinrich, Admissions Consultant
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