From the category archives:

GWU School of Business

All last week, and especially around the weekend, my Facebook newsfeed was swelling with the updates from my FB friends about their activities. This was exciting time for them – they were celebrating their MBA graduation: GW Business School Gala, GWSB Commencement, GWU Commencement on the National Mall. All the highlights I had to experience just two years ago. I know for most of them these were bittersweet  moments:  the sense of accomplishment and the sense of a loss. I did not have the sense of accomplishment this time around, since I graduated in 2012, but I sure felt the loss.

In the last two year, after my graduation already, I have stayed in touch with the continuing students of GW part-time MBA program, I also met quite a few students from the full-time Global MBA program, thanks to the MBAA board that did a fantastic job of bringing together the part-time MBA students for out of class socializing, and bridging the gap between the part-time and full-time students. I wrote about that in my post “MBAA Revolt…

So in the last two years I have been crushing their happy hours and their celebration parties, I have had good times with them and many good conversations. I have been so much around them that I was dubbed “the ghost of the MBA past” ;-) by my good friend Keith. I have made more meaningful (both in quality and numbers) connections with the part-time MBA class 2014, than I made in my own three years of MBA.

This class was, and will probably stay for a long while, the most remarkable, the most cohesive, the most proactive both in social life and academic bargaining with the shool’sy administration class in the history of GW part-time MBA program. I also wrote about that in “My part-time MBA Heroes” post.   And that’s why I had the sense of a loss: most of the people in this class have just graduated last week. No more happy hours, semester end parties, and other outings.

Thankfully most of them reside around DC area, and I hope to have at least occasional opportunities to hang out with some of them, but with busy-ness of life and other priorities after the school is done, it’s definitely going to be less feasible.

That’s why I feel like this was my graduation too, and this time it seems to be for good.

But it’s too early to say goodby just yet. Next week I am going to publish a guest post from Keith with his perspective on the GW part-time MBA program. And he is not going to beat around the bush with niceties and political correctness BS. So stay tuned.

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This post is written by Jason Barrett, a 25 years old GW part-time MBA dropout turned a professional whiskey drinker – Jason is the youngest master distiller in the USA. He makes whiskey for a living (BlackButtonDistilling.com) and probably wouldn’t have this opportunity without the time he spent at GWSB. I am glad that I had a chance to meet Jason at one of the GW PMBA happy hours and have a chance now to follow him in his entrepreneurial pursuits.

I have always been stubborn, at first I tried my hand in politics because I loved debate, then I moved on to sales where I could get paid to talk to folks and get them to see my point of view.

I got involved in craft beer and was an avid home brewer for many years. Then I almost bought a craft brewery that was going out of business. During that transaction I decided I wanted to work for myself, but that I didn’t have the skills to really be a well rounded business owner. So I applied to GW School of Business and started classes just 6 months later.

During my time at GW I took accounting and marketing classes as well as attended a ton of seminars and talks on campus. All of this was on top of 60 hour work weeks and an active social life. In accounting I learned the language of numbers as well as how to put together a balance sheet, cash flow statement and profit and loss statement. In marketing I learned how to write a strategic marketing plan, and in the cases we reviewed I learned how a small business like mine would gain attention.

During this time I started my formal business plan for my own startup. I quickly realized that the ideal business for me was not making craft beer but making craft whiskey. I attended 5 distilling schools the following year each with a week long workshop focusing on different parts of the business. Yeast management, marketing, barrel aging and production planning. All of these were helpful in the specifics of my business but the core of my business plan was built on knowledge from my GWSB MBA classes. I also was able to review my business plan with the entrepreneurship office on campus before pitching my banks for funding. I pitched seven banks in three days and two of them extended offers of credit. All seven banks told me after the fact that it was the most thought out and complete business plan that the banker had seen in their careers.

I have since learned that banks as a rule do not lend to startups with under three years of financials, much less to 25 year olds who want to go make whiskey. But the depth of knowledge laid out in those 60 pages showed that I had done the homework and was ready to run this company. As I said earlier I learned how to speak the language of numbers and how to write strategic marketing plans through my classes at GWSB. Without them there would have been no loan and no company.

Black Button Distilling

Now sadly I will never finish my MBA at George Washington University School of Business. I moved to NY a few weeks ago to run Black Button Distilling. The laws up here are much friendlier towards grain to glass farm distillers. But I will always look at my time at GW with a certain amount of reverence. Because without GW MBA there would be no Black Button Distilling.

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Last week I went to the GW MBA Follies. This was my first ever Follies and I was really curious to see what it was all about. During my MBA years I either did not even know about specific dates when the Follies was performed or would not go under the feeling of guilt of wasting a night for entertainment when it could be better used to work on my MBA homework assignments ;-)

This year, however, I was well-informed about the upcoming Follies date. Thanks to the GW MBAA announcements and repeated postings on the Facebook group for part-time MBA students at GWSB, of which I am still a member, my curiosity was piqued up and well-sustained. As I said at the beginning, this was the very first time I would go to see Follies. So for me it was like checking out the box on my list of things to try at least once. It was also one of those things that I missed during my MBA time proper and would like to do to complement my overall MBA experience.

To be honest, I had some idea of what the Follies were like. Before going to this year’s show, I looked up a few videos of MBA Follies from other business schools, and videos of GW MBA Follies from previous years on YouTube. It was moreover interesting to see how this year GW MBA version stacks up.

I had fun and quite a bit of laughs. Since the show was produced exclusively by the full-time Global MBA students (and mostly 2-nd years), some of the jokes were more of the “inside jokes” to which the audience at large reacted with great enthusiasm, but they were lost on me. Most of the Follies, however, had more universal appeal for business school students at large:  of course, lots of swiping on the GW MBA falling rankings and the hiring prospects for the students. But this seems to be a recurring theme for GW MBA Follies. I was a bit surprised by quite extensive use of expletives in one or two episodes, but this is just a matter of personal preference, I guess.

Though I overall liked this years Follies, for some reason I think that Follies 2012 were a bit more creative and funnier. It may be just because I knew more students participating in the Follies from my elective classes last year.

You can watch a complete set of videos from this year’s GW MBA Follies on YouTube. And since I already checked out the box for attending live Follies on my check list, that’s what I am going to do in the future as well – watch online ;-) . You can start doing just that by watching one of the episodes from this year’s GW MBA Follies with Dean Doug Guthrie.

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It was exactly a year ago that I went to Audencia Nantes School of Management, France for a week-long study abroad program offered by GWSB MBA. It was a very eventful week for me, and probably one of the brightest highlights of my whole MBA experience. The course that I took there was on Corporate Social Responsibility -CSR, in France, and more generally in Europe. The classes were taught by Audencia professors and we also had a few visits to local businesses where we learned about their specific implementation of CSR.

While the class lectures were on a more general CSR policies and practices, there was one recurring theme in all presentations at the local businesses that was extremely peculiar to me. Whenever the management were talking about CSR at their company, invariably they were talking a lot about  management-employees relationship and what the management had done in order to keep their workforce happy and content. It was obvious that this one aspect of the CSR is the most important focal point of companies’ CSR efforts. Also, at every business that we visited they were talking how effective their CSR was, and as a proof at every single business they mentioned how long their company had been going without the workers going on strike. Coming from the US job market and hearing about the strikes and the pride the companies take in being able to avert those was quite unusual.

This was a stark contrast to the CSR emphasis in the US-based businesses, where the focus is more often on the community impact at large, not just the labor, including environmental issues, sustainability, and charity.

Analyzing this narrowly-focused CSR efforts at French companies, one could not help but think about the cost to the businesses and its ultimate effect on the international competitiveness. However, given the subject of the course I took in Audencia, this issue never received appropriate coverage in our classes. There were, of course, some cursory references to the cost of up-keeping the CSR programs, but not in the context of international competition.

A few weeks ago, I read this article Are the French Really that Lazy? It was touching on all these specific aspects of high labor costs and how difficult it is to conduct business in France, especially for someone with a US brand of business management experience. Even though the title of the article is quite provocative, it touches upon some very real hurdles for Multinational Corporations who want to run business in France. The article immediately brought to my memory the last year’s CSR course in Audencia. It was like finally getting a chance to see another side of the coin.

Personally, the most striking part for me in the article was about the power of the trade unions who can dictate their will and manipulate businesses. From the classes I knew that most of that CSR in French companies is regulated by the government requirements, and influenced by the unions, but the article is specifically focusing on the role of the unions.

Now I think that all those presentations and references to the success of the CSR programs that we heard at the company visits in Nantes were dictated not as much by the pride of the management in being proactive in their CSR efforts, but by a pure fear of the unions. Not a good recipe for genuine CSR programs.

Just to give you another point of view on the issue of French “laziness” here is an article from over two years ago that gives a kind of rebuttal to the above referenced article – Are the French a bunch of lazy slackers? Obviously, this article comes from the French source.

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Going Global: MBA Students in Ghana

March 13, 2013

Written by Kristin Schulz, class 2014 part-time MBA student at GWSB; Residential Programs Manager at Clean Currents. Passionate advocate and evangelist for renewable energy and business sustainability. One of the great things about the part-time MBA program at GW is the flexible course offerings that make it possible to sit classes into an already packed […]

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MBA Student Loan – Days of Reckoning

March 3, 2013

In my post-MBA time there have been a few milestones directly connected to my MBA. First was the Graduation Gala that I described briefly in my blog. Then, of course, were  the Commencement weekend ceremonies back in May: GWSB Commencement and GWU Commencement. Sometime in July I received my MBA diploma by mail. This was […]

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MBA Done – Heading Back to School

February 27, 2013

I just really cannot let it go. I am becoming a GWSB fixture of sorts – a proverbial perpetual student, except I am not doing it to get another formal degree, but to pursue some of the interests through the classes I did not have time to take during my MBA tenure. In my post […]

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MBAA Revolt … er Reform at GWU School of Business

February 22, 2013

About four months ago when the whole country was embroiled into the perils of the final phase of the presidential election campaign, something even more significant, albeit unnoticed by the general public, was happening at GW School of Business MBA program. October was the season for election of the board members to the MBA Association […]

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GWU Alumni Weekend – MBA Zero Year Reunion

November 30, 2012

This is a belated post on the event that took place two months ago, but since I have been lazy in updating the blog lately, I want to catch up on some noteworthy events and developments in my post-MBA life. There will be some other posts soon about the past events, since I had started […]

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My Part-time MBA Heroes

July 2, 2012

Last Thursday I was reliving some of the best things you can get from MBA besides highly acclaimed (and frequently challenged) credentials, cursory introduction to critical business knowledge and skills, and chronic sleep deprivation . I went to a celebration of the end of the first summer module by first and second year part-time MBA […]

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MBA Postpartum Syndrome

June 18, 2012

It has been interesting to hear and observe some of the reactions of my part-time MBA fellow graduates in the wake of the graduation. The recurring theme in verbal exchanges from some of my former classmates is, “what are you doing now with all the free time you’ve got?” Another popular one: “Are you looking […]

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45 Down and 7.5 to Go to MBA Degree

June 14, 2012

Written by Ben Lee, part-time MBA student at GWSB, principal at BRL Consulting Group. Blogger at Sustainable Employees. The article was in the works for a bit and reflects Ben’s selection of courses back in April. Yes, only 7.5 credits to go and I will have completed the MBA program at GWU.  Let’s review what […]

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You Can Do It, You Should Do It, And You Will Do It!

June 12, 2012

Written by Davide Sonzogni, GWSB MBA graduate 2012. It was almost 3 years ago when my dear friend Anna said: “You can do it, you should do it, and you will do it!” In fact, before submitting my MBA application I was not sure if going back to school in my late thirties was a […]

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Commencement Weekend – GWU Celebration

June 10, 2012

It has been exactly three weeks since the GW University-wide Commencement on May 20-th. It was another very special event, not the least reason for that was that it took place on the National Mall. As a matter of fact, GWU is the only University in the nation that has its Commencements held on the […]

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Commencement Weekend – GWSB Celebration

May 25, 2012

Another mark in unwinding my MBA experience at George Washington University School of Business: last Friday, May 18, I was at the GWSB Commencement Ceremony. The spirit of the event was very celebratory. Seeing all my fellow classmates the last (but one) time coming together was very special. For me the Commencement celebration was the first […]

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GWSB Graduation Gala-2012

May 16, 2012

Last night I went with my wife to a Graduation Gala -2012 for GWSB. The Gala was held at the Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery. Quite an impressive venue at night (someone told me they were not quite impressed with it in daylight). I have mixed feelings about the event, though I mostly […]

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MBA – Happened

May 5, 2012

On Thursday I had my very last MBA class. I personally count it as the official end of my MBA program at GWSB. Of course, I still do not have grades for any of my classes, I still have commencement ceremonies and celebrations, and I still will have to wait 6-8 weeks to actually receive […]

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GWU MBA Gala – Second Time’s a Charm

April 29, 2012

Yesterday I attended an MBA Gala – again. I enjoyed every minute of it: saw a bunch of my classmates, met quite a few new people, danced through the night, got updates on people I have not recently seen in school, met a lot of “significant others” of my classmates, and even hopped on one […]

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Mild MBA Senioritis Disease Case

April 16, 2012

A couple of months ago I was at the parents meeting at my daughter’s high school. The principal and the staff were sharing information about the graduation activities, deadlines, dues, and such. Among other things there was a mentioning of “senioritis” epidemy that affects most seniors at the high school, and how we as parents […]

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Open Letter to (Part-time) MBA Students

March 28, 2012

Since I came from my Study Abroad week in France 10 days ago, I have been on a mission. The mission is directly coming out from my Most Valuable Lesson Learned in France: I have been making a conscious effort to meet with people in informal settings over a meal or a drink, just to […]

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Featured Interview at Accepted.com

March 9, 2012

About a month ago I was approached via email by Sarah from Accepted.com with invitation to be interviewed for their website in the MBA blogger category for their own blog. It took me a few days to get around and answer the questions of the interview, but finally the interview was published today: Blogger Interview: […]

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International Exchange Programs at GW MBA

March 8, 2012

About a month ago I did something what I could only dream about in my part-time MBA program at GWSB: I signed up for a short study abroad exchange program. The GWU School of Business has a rather strong push for international exchanges/residencies. The University is offering these programs all around the world, from South […]

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Part-Time MBA in 16 Months – 5 Lessons Learned

February 9, 2012

Written by Angela Wolf, GWSB MBA alumna 2010. This is Part 2 of the post. Continued from Get the Most from Part-time MBA in 16 Months. Now down to what’s important… what did I get out of the program. One of the biggest lessons from the program is that and MBA doesn’t necessarily teach you […]

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Get the Most from Part-time MBA in 16 Months

February 7, 2012

Written by Angela Wolf, GWSB MBA alumna 2010 I had the pleasure of taking several GW MBA classes with Vitali throughout 2009 and 2010. And I was happy to see him in a lounge in the MBA building between classes one day in December 2010, completely out of the blue. I hadn’t seen him for a while, […]

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GWSB Business Gives Back – What a Blast!

January 30, 2012

What a great evening! Really enjoyed the night with my wife. Great cause, great entertainment, great networking, great organization! The event was held at the House of Sweden, on the Potomac waterfront in Georgetown. There were celebratory speeches, acknowledgement of this year’s recipient of Distinguished Alumni Award, hors d’oeuvre, open bar (take a note, if […]

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My George Washington MBA Experience

January 25, 2012

Written by Brian Fitzgerald, VP of Digital Strategy at O’Rourke Hospitality In late 2007, early 2008 I started to prepare to go back to school and get my MBA in the Washington DC area. I researched the various schools, weighed my pros and cons and took the GMAT. When all was said and done I […]

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Business Gives Back at GWSB

January 24, 2012

I just bought two tickets for me and my wife to the 2-nd Annual Business Gives Back event that will take place this coming Saturday. If you are in the GWSB community and somehow missed multiple prompts and invitations to this event in the busyness of your days, you still have a chance to register and […]

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GWSB MBA Alumni Stories

January 24, 2012

This post is just a brief introduction to the article I am preparing for publishing tomorrow. I am planning to have stories from the GWSB MBA alumni published on this site. Basically, I am interested to hear from them about: why they decided to pursue MBA in the first place, why part-time, why GWSB their […]

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Final MBA Term First Day of Classes

January 23, 2012

Today was my first day of classes in the final term of part-time MBA program at George Washington University School of Business. I had two classes piggy-backed from 4.30 PM to 9.40 PM. I don’t have classes for the rest of the week in the first Spring Module, so it seems like a reasonable workload. […]

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Spring Term – Final Push to MBA Degree

January 18, 2012

This is the beginning of the final term in my quest for the MBA degree. And it is arguably going to be the most intense in terms of the study load. Up until now throughout my part-time MBA program at George Washington University School of Business I have had 7.5 credits in each of my […]

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MBA Winter Break Accomplishments

January 16, 2012

While the winter break in business schools around the world brought about a significant dip in traffic to my blog since mid-December, for me personally it was a very productive period in my MBA blogging. I mostly kept my promise to keep up with regular updates to this site and in the process I was […]

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Conflict Management and Negotiations Resources

January 9, 2012

This class – Conflict Management and Negotiations, probably got the most of coverage of all my MBA classes in this blog. There were two reasons for this: first, it was a highly engaging and even entertaining class, which was of great interest to me personally; second, I kept a self-reflection journal which I had been […]

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Conflict Management and Negotiations Styles

December 21, 2011

In my Conflict Management and Negotiation class in MBA program at GWSB this past Fall term one of the assignments (graded, too) was to keep a Self-reflection journal throughout the course. To quote the syllabus:  ” Participants should focus on how course lectures, discussions, self-assessments, exercises and assignments inform their personal and professional lives.  That […]

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Conflict Management and Negotiations Course Overview

December 11, 2011

The elective course on Conflict Management and Negotiations in my MBA program at GWU was a very interesting, and great educational experience. I greatly appreciated the case analyses from the textbook that we had in class, such as Capital Mortgage Insurance, or the Pacific Oil Co. cases among others. I had a few posts on […]

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Rate My Professors – Validated!

December 3, 2011

In my last class on Conflict Management and Negotiations professor mentioned a recent article in the George Washington University newspaper about the research on the validity of ratings at ratemyprofessors.com co-authored by the associate professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire. Valid or not, I, and a few of the MBA […]

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