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Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Capstone MBA Course Propels MSB to Top Business School Rankings


A global nonprofit organization that recognizes excellence in business education ranked Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business (MSB) within its Top 26 institutions on Feb 13.

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) created its Innovations That Inspire program to award institutions with superior business education based on the program’s attention to innovation, creativity, global mindset, social responsibility and opportunity for hands-on experience. The program specifically recognized Georgetown’s MSB for its first-year MBA Leadership Communication course’s final assignment known as the MBA Executive Challenge, in which students interact with alumni to simulate professional business settings.

Evelyn Williams, founder of the Executive Challenge and teaching professor of management at Georgetown’s MSB, said that the MBA Executive Challenge is a gift to students as it compels them to problem solve in real-world simulations and challenges them to innovate.

“The MBA Executive Challenge demonstrates what is possible when we pair business concepts with real-world application, and we are proud to be recognized by AACSB International as a school that is leveraging innovation to deliver programs of impact. We are grateful to our entire community of faculty, staff, alumni, and Leadership Fellows, who make this day-long role-play competition a success for our students, year after year,” Williams wrote to The Hoya.

Over the course of a day, students in the Executive Challenge receive and simulate a business scenario with a team of six students in front of alumni judges, using innovation to create and implement a successful case strategy. The program first began in the spring of 2017 and is active at University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and Stanford University.

Andrés Romero (GRD ’19), a graduate who serves as a case manager, said the challenge is a unique opportunity for all MSB master’s students as it is hands-on and interactive, providing participants with the opportunity to talk to case managers like him to gain a deeper understanding of business.

“During the day the case manager leads each of the simulations, but my favorite part is the debrief session at the end of the day where alumni and students reflect on the experience and share what it meant to them,” Romero wrote to The Hoya.

Courtesy of Chris Ferenzi | The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), a global non-profit organization that recognizes excelling in business education, ranked Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business (MSB) within its Top 26 institutions on Feb 13.

Romero said that as a former student participant in the MBA Executive Challenge, the event gives him a means of giving back to the Georgetown community by bringing real-life experiences and expertise to the next generation of students’ learning.

 “The MBA Executive Challenge was my favorite and most valuable learning experience as a student. Now as case room manager, I see it as a way to give back and to share with other members of the community,” Romero wrote. 

The MBA Executive Challenge attracts over 100 graduate judges, which helps to make the challenge multigenerational and provide students with necessary skills in the business world.

“I learned a lot from the experience when I participated as a student, but every year that I came back I have continued to learn a lot from my peers and the MBA students,” Romero wrote.

Juliana Olm, assistant dean of strategy & operations for the MBA program and one of the directors of the Executive Challenge, said that this hands-on, case-study-based assignment replaces the traditional final exam and allows students to interact with CEOs and Georgetown alumni within the business field. 

“We’re really excited to first bring this innovation to our students, give them the opportunity to develop skills and also be bringing a new trend around the world. Exams are very important, but there’s some specific skills that are important to be hands-on,” Olm said. 

“It’s a very innovative idea for transforming the way students take exams. How can you learn leadership communication if it’s not acting on leadership?” Olm added.

According to Romero, the MBA Executive Challenge is a special experience for all students as it gives them a chance to work closely with alumni in a real-life business scenario. He said both students and alumni alike have something to take away from the event as it causes people to self-reflect and experience business in action.

“It is so special because it is a transformative event for all participants. From the alumni to the students, to the case room managers, everyone gets something from the event,” Romero wrote.


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