The McDonough School of Business of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. recently announced its intention to deliver customised Executive Education programmes in the Caribbean. Here’s what Paul Almeida (PA), the school’s senior associate dean for Executive Education, had to say about the motivation and expectations driving the initiative.
Q: Can you describe some of the global trends, both in the education sector and in corporations, that prompted Georgetown University to focus on customised executive education?
PA: Due to globalisation, advances in technology, and expanding competitiveness in different industries across the world, corporations are growing more complex. As a result, they must keep evolving. The set of skills needed to succeed will change continuously across time and sometimes in unpredictable ways.
Most of us finish our schooling in our twenties but the knowledge, frameworks and exposure we need continues to grow and evolve for 20, 30, and even 40 years after that, creating a gap in education. Executive Education can fill that gap.
We are able–in a targeted way–to deliver solutions, skills, tools, and mindsets to allow these complex corporations to be successful in this evolving world.
Q: Globally, what kinds of companies are attracted to the prospect of executive education? And relatedly, what traits make for an ideal client or ideal student?
PA: In addition to delivering knowledge, expertise, and extended networking opportunities, Georgetown McDonough Executive Education provides the chance to be reflective–to take yourself out of your everyday work and refresh the way you look at things within your professional realm.
For that reason, an ideal student is one who comes into a program willing to learn and explore. For even the most accomplished CEO, there is always something to learn or try. We want open-minded students who will come in and say, “I can make this work for me and my company. I can make this successful.”
There is not just one type of company best suited for Executive Education. All companies can find value in Executive Education programming for its many facets–from leadership training to practical applications in a changing world. For example, lawyers now need to learn finance and accounting. Doctors need to be managers, not just good doctors. Domestic companies are facing global competition and reduced government budgets which affect their marketing and supply. International companies face more complex and challenging environments than ever before. We can fill these gaps and provide solutions to these challenges. Every type of organisation needs continuous education to build and succeed.
Q: Are there any particular trends that are causing Georgetown to expand its reach into emerging and frontier markets at this time?
We all talk about “globalisation” but what does it really mean? One key aspect is that there is increasing homogeneity across the world. For instance, there are often commonalities across your supply chain or your business structure.Yet, there also is persistent heterogeneity across countries and often increasing local differentiation when it comes to distribution systems, taxes, and legal restrictions.
The challenge is to figure out how to work in a globalising world with this dichotomy of homogeneity and heterogeneity. At Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, we know how to tackle these issues. International business is our expertise. We understand that companies from emerging economies are dealing with both global competition in their backyards as well as the challenges and opportunities to globalise themselves. Georgetown McDonough is uniquely positioned to help organisations in emerging and frontier markets succeed both internationally and domestically.
Q: What does GU bring to the Caribbean that distinguishes it from other global business schools such as HBS, IMD, Wharton, Sloan, INSEAD, etc.?
A: At Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, we like to understand the challenges faced by particular economies and companies and tailor our programs to make sense to them and their individual needs. We believe in a truly customised approach. Few large schools have the ability or practice this to the extent that we do. If you have a challenge, we want to fully understand it and make solutions work for you. Along with our global and applied focus, we bring a genuine willingness to make adjustments to programs to best meet the strategic goals of our clients.
Q: Is there anything else about the initiative that you would like our readers to know?
A: Our goal is to bring Georgetown University to Trinidad, and Trinidad to Georgetown and Washington, D.C. The potential for economic growth in the Caribbean is high and we feel Georgetown’s Executive Education is uniquely positioned to provide the knowledge, tools, and frameworks required to maximise that potential.