The McDonough School of Business received a $7.3 million donation to fund an expansion of undergraduate global immersion programs from Joseph Baratta (MSB ’93) and Abigail Baratta (SFS ’96), according to a campuswide email from University President John J. DeGioia on Nov. 22.
Part of the donation will be used to establish the Baratta Endowed Global Business Education Fund, which funds undergraduate opportunities to participate in experiential and immersive learning programs, including the Global Business Experience study abroad program.
The donation will also establish the Baratta endowed chair in global business, a position that will be held by Ricardo Ernst, director of the Global Business Initiative and professor of operations and global logistics in the MSB.
The funds from the donation will go toward paying for the expenses of participants in the MSB’s global immersion programs and part of each recipient’s salary and expenses.
Baratta, the global head of private equity for Blackstone, sits on the university’s board of directors and the MSB’s board of advisers.
The undergraduate portion of the Global Business Experience was first established in 2013 with an earlier gift from the Baratta family. The program allows students to develop and present consulting projects to major companies in Spain, France or Argentina, with the objective of learning how businesses use global strategic thinking.
Interim MSB Dean Rohan Williamson said the donation will expand global opportunities for MSB undergraduates.
“Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business is committed to ensuring all of our students graduate with a global mindset, which will provide the knowledge and context from which our graduates can build successful and impactful careers,” Williamson wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Ernst said the funds from the donation will pay for the expenses of participants in the MSB’s global immersion programs, particularly the Global Business Experience.
“The contribution of the Baratta family is supposed to be used to fund, to pay for the expenses of this thing, because you need to pay the airline ticket, hotels, faculty members and all the different expenses and additional incremental costs of doing a program like this one,” Ernst said.
Joseph Baratta said in a university press release that Ernst deserved this honor given all the work he has done for the MSB. The Global Business Fellows is a joint program between the MSB and the School of Foreign Service combining courses in business and international studies.
“Ricardo Ernst has been able to effectively utilize Georgetown’s academic resources and its location in D.C., a city increasingly at the epicenter of global business issues,” Joseph Baratta said in a university statement. “He is dedicated to making Georgetown McDonough the preeminent program for global business studies.”
Ernst said the Barattas’ donation validates the efforts of the Global Business Initiative to make the school more global.
“I’m extremely excited, because it allows us to legitimize the effort that we have put to actually make the McDonough School of Business, and with that Georgetown University, actually move a step further in the direction of becoming a true global university,” Ernst said. “This is extremely exciting. This is extremely good news.”
DeGioia said the donation highlights the continued importance of global education to the MSB.
“I cannot begin to express my appreciation to Abbie and Joe for their continued dedication to our university and to providing our undergraduate students with the very best opportunities to develop a nuanced, first-hand understanding of international business and the global economy,” DeGioia wrote.
Erik Alfieri (MSB ’17), who participated in the Global Business Initiative, said he is glad the donation will allow more undergraduates to experience the opportunities he had.
“I hugely appreciate the fact that Mr. Baratta invested in the program because I have had great experiences with it,” Alfieri said. “At Georgetown we are so lucky to have this as an option. I don’t know of any other schools that offer this experience. It shows how much he cares about the program.”
Alfieri said the program extended his business education beyond the limits of a classroom.
“The idea that our teachers communicated to us, which I agree with, was you can only do so much learning in the classroom,” Alfieri said. “It definitely showed that it’s hard to make really good decisions without really knowing the culture and the people of the area.”