Georgetown graduates Joe Baratta (GSB ’93) and Abigail Baratta (SFS ’96) gave an $11 million gift to the McDonough School of Business (MSB), funding several ongoing initiatives in global business.
The donation includes $5.3 million for the Global Business Fellows Program, which provides interdisciplinary learning opportunities for undergraduate students, and $3.7 million for the Baratta Center for Global Business, a newly launched institute that will consolidate several programs across the university, including the Global Business Fellows program, among others. $2 million will go toward the Baratta International Business Curriculum Endowed Innovation Fund, which will provide four grants annually for faculty and pedagogy, according to an April 11 university statement.
Joe Baratta, the global head of private equity at the investment company Blackstone and a member of the MSB’s Board of Advisors, said he and his wife have worked with the university since 2007 to broaden its presence as a leading institution for globally oriented business.
“The objective of all of this is to make Georgetown the preeminent university for the study of global business at both the undergraduate and graduate level and to attract the best students and professors,” Baratta told The Hoya. “The idea is to ensure that we maintain this position as one of the leading universities in the world and, hopefully, the leading place for students interested in business at the undergraduate level.”
Baratta said he and his wife made their first major gift to the McDonough School of Business in 2016, making a $7.3 million contribution for initiatives furthering scholarships in the international and business realms.
Ricardo Ernst, a Georgetown professor who taught Joe Baratta when he was a student, has served as the Baratta Endowed Chair in Global Business since 2016.
Ernst said Baratta has been highly involved throughout the process of creating and developing initiatives to help the MSB provide students with an interdisciplinary education and problem-solving skills.
“He’s fully and absolutely committed to all this,” Ernst said. “He’s a true believer in all the things he’s doing, and he’s hands-on. He knows every single detail into what goes on here because we have been working together for the definition of what the Center and the refinement of the Global Business Fellows are all about.”
Ernst and Joe Baratta meet every two weeks to track progress on their programs. For instance, the Global Business Experience program allows both undergraduate and graduate students to travel abroad and meet with executives from multinational organizations and Fortune 500 companies, according to the Baratta Center’s website.
Baratta said he has been satisfied with how Ernst has implemented programs such as the Global Business Fellows program and the Global Business Experience program.
“They’ve actually been enacting these things that some of us as benefactors of the school believe are important and take advantage of Georgetown’s natural competitive advantages,” Baratta said. “That’s been very gratifying. Specifically, the Global Business Experience program having tangible benefits to students is cool to see.”
The newly launched Baratta Center for Global Business will build on and expand these initiatives, according to Anil Khurana, the Baratta Center’s recently appointed executive director.
“We expect the Baratta Center to be a global convenor of industry, government, and society, focused on a range of high priority issues,” Khurana wrote to The Hoya. “I think it is as an ‘action think tank’ where applied research by Georgetown and MSB faculty and students will help our Baratta Center advisory board members with many of their burning questions.”
Khurana said his priorities include continuing existing global business programs, contributing to research and teaching, presenting at COP28, a United Nations climate change conference, in December, and establishing a visiting fellows program that will benefit student participants.
Ernst said his goals for the new center include creating partnerships with global companies to host internships for students and organizing conferences for students and practitioners. The overall objective of these plans is to provide experiential learning opportunities to students and build on Georgetown’s position as a leader in global business education, according to Ernst.
“We would like this to be the place where everybody goes to understand, calibrate and actually get firsthand information into what’s happening in global business,” Ernst said. “How can we leverage our incredible location in Washington, D.C., to start working with the government on anything that might be dealing with global business — and all that within the tradition of the Jesuit education, which is one of the most important things that most companies appreciate, admire and respect at Georgetown?”
Baratta said his time as a student at Georgetown has greatly shaped his personal and professional life, which is part of why he gives back to the university.
“I’ve had lasting, lifelong friendships and maintain relationships with certain professors who had a profound impact on me over the years, and the environment and culture of Georgetown, I think, was an enabler of my career,” Baratta said.
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