SFS and MSB collaborate to introduce new Global Business major and fellowship

January 14, 2015

The School of Foreign Service and the McDonough Business School officially launched the Global Business Major and Fellowship Program (GBUS) this spring semester. SFS and MSB students were first notified of the program on Dec. 3.

Student candidacy differed for the GBUS major and the fellowship. All SFS sophomores received the application for the Global Business major and the application for the Fellowship was sent to SFS sophomores and all MSB sophomores via email on Jan. 5. Decisions were released on Jan. 9.

“Of the 46 SFS applicants, 10 were accepted for both the major and the fellows program, 5 for just the fellows program, and 5 for just the major,” wrote Mitch Kaneda Director of the Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service in an email to the Voice. Additionally, 15 MSB students were accepted for the fellows program.

“I’m very excited for this program,” said Ricardo Ernst, a professor in the MSB who helped shape and fund the new program. “[Both SFS and MSB deans] have been pushing for this in the last three years. I think it puts Georgetown in a very competitive position throughout the world. I don’t think there is any other university in the U.S. or the globe with this type of sophistication, combining a school of foreign service and a school of business at the undergraduate level.”

This pilot program allows SFS students to integrate a basic business education with their political and economic coursework, advanced language and research skills, and cross-cultural proficiencies. The GBUS curriculum is designed to provide students with the multi-disciplinary tools needed to understand and analyze business entities and their behavior in the context of the global social and cultural forces.

The GBUS requirements include ten courses in addition to the calculus prerequisite. Students must take one statistics course, four Business Core courses, one International Business Core course, and four supporting courses in addition to the SFS Core Curriculum. Courses offered by the MSB through the GBUS Core include accounting, international marketing, corporate finance, and business operations.

Theodore Moran, Field Chair in International Business and Finance said, “We’re very sensitive in the SFS that our majors are quite broad and interdisciplinary, meaning there’s a lot of economic, international relations, and ethics requirements. Faculty in the SFS were against making this a pre-professional curriculum.”

Thus GBUS major differs from the International Business major in MSB in that GBUS is not a business degree. GBUS focuses on the role firms play in international affairs—not only in the economic realm, but also in international development and social responsibility.

“This is a big initiative. I would say the program is student led—there’s been a lot of interest in SFS students to have a major. Parent and Alumni interest in both SFS and MSB plus [Provost Groves] is urging cross-campus schools to do more together,” said Moran. “This is a cumulative initiative. Since higher education is so expensive, parents and alumni want to ensure that students at least have some technical skills. It’s a cultural phenomenon across the United States, I think.”

According to Ernst, the administrative process of creating the new program took initiative from every school in the university. “To evaluate and approve this program, we went through the  Executive Council where the all faculty vote and decide whether they want to do it,” said Ernst. “To fund a program of this nature, we’re talking about an endowment around ten million dollars.”

For MSB students who may worry about SFS students complicating course enrollments, Ernst said, “In the registration process, we modify the cap of the class student numbers to guarantee students of the fellowship.”

Furthermore, according to Ernst, no more than 20 students can major in the GBUS and no more than 15 students from each school can participate in the fellowship.

Ernst addressed the allocation of resources in the MSB and SFS career center. “We don’t know yet, we are making an explicit effort to help the fellows to secure jobs [in the MSB]. For the majors, it’s a little bit early, but in the spirit of cooperation we will always try to help them.”

Morgan Kennedy (SFS ’17) was accepted to major and fellowship in the Global Business Program. “I applied to the Global Business major because I’ve always been interested in multi-disciplinary course approach, but with technical skills,” she said.

The program offers students partnerships with organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. According to Kennedy, these opportunities will help enrich her studies.

“In the SFS, I’ve always loved and respected what the SFS has stood for, which is excellence in international affairs, amazing communication, research and analytical skills, but I’ve also longed for the technical aspect, the real world application,” she said. “When the opportunity for GBUS came along, I knew instantly that I wanted it.”

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