Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Baker Scholar Program Is Georgetown’s Best Kept Secret

By Seth Lucia

I somehow ended up at Georgetown from Preston, Idaho. I went through the whole application process, but I didn’t really know what it meant – no Thanksgiving with my family and no skipping classes to go snowboarding or kayaking. When I came here, I had never been on Georgetown’s campus before. After all, what did the East (and Georgetown) offer that merited a trip, short of starting school? The idea of getting on a plane to visit a college would have been strange to anyone in my high school, my town and, most of all, my family.

I didn’t know anyone who had graduated from Georgetown. I didn’t have anyone to answer my questions. I followed the directions on the application forms. I had to choose for which school I wanted to make my application, and I made my decision based on the name of each school. I didn’t really want to be a nurse, a life of “foreign service” sounded a little silly to me at the time and the only thing I knew about business was told to me by local farmers and ranchers complaining about the risks of summertime hail storms and U.S. embargoes on wheat and lentil exports to punish foreign countries for nuclear testing. The College of Arts and Sciences seemed safe enough.

Last year, when I was a sophomore, one of my friends told me to watch out for a letter from the college dean’s office about the Baker Scholar Program. My friend Jason had applied for the program when he was a sophomore, and he urged me to do the same.

I asked, “What’s the Baker program about, anyway?”

Jason’s description of the program from the beginning caught my attention. He described the program’s general mission as one that exposes non-business students in the College of Arts and Sciences to a variety of businesses and people involved in these businesses.

“But I don’t know the first thing about the business world,” I explained to him.

“Doesn’t matter. The program is for sophomores in the college. You’re not expected to know about the business world. Just be interested, curious. If you can think straight, and if you’re a decent person, you ought to apply.”

“What are the criteria for selection?”

“The trustees of the program decide based on your application. They’re interested in the kind of person you are. It’s not based purely on academic performance. A good GPA is great, but they try to look at a little wider picture of the applicant.”

“What’s the idea behind the program?”

Some guy named George Baker established a program here to give liberal arts majors a structure to learn about business and have the opportunity to bring a liberal arts and humanities into the quantitative world of business.”

“All right, I’ll watch for the letter.”

I could tell that he really wanted me to apply. He told me that the Baker program is Georgetown’s best kept secret. Now I can see why. The program has exposed me to many interesting businesses and many wonderful people in these businesses. We spent a couple of days in New York. I learned about investment banking from first year analysts who could really tell me about their lifestyles and the 100-hour weeks. I learned about trading from an ex-Baker who trades. One of Columbia-Tristar’s executives told us about his job and how he ended up there. We talked to the New York Times Travel editor and saw her perspective on a publishing business life. We had an informal discussion with a panel of entrepreneurs, and they explained the mechanics of starting a business. Most of all, I’ve seen the lives of many of the people who work in the business world, and I’ve gained a more honest picture of a business lifestyle than I ever would have outside of the program.

Like me, many of the ex-Bakers in the business world whom I’ve met somehow ended up at Georgetown, coincidentally settled on the College of Arts and Sciences and somehow decided to apply to the Baker’s program. Applications will soon be made available for sophomores in the college, and we in the program want the class of ’01 to know about the program. We can’t aggressively lobby all the sophomores in the college, but for me it didn’t take much for my friend Jason to persuade me to apply. And once again, things worked out much better because I decided to do it.

I somehow ended up at Georgetown from Preston, Idaho, and I’m glad I’m here. I’ve been able to study the subjects of my choice as a student in the college. I’ve been exposed to business in a way that has helped me truly understand business life through other people. I listened to my friend about the letter from the dean’s office, and he was right. The Baker Scholars Program is Georgetown’s best kept secret.

Seth Lucia is a junior in the college.

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