The School of Business has reinvented its graduate program to emphasize ethics, leadership and globalization – as part of an effort to create a new kind of businessperson, administrators said.
“We are not content with teaching business the way it always has been taught,” School of Business Dean Susan Phillips said in a news release. “The global business paradigm has shifted, and it is our fundamental responsibility at the GW School of Business to inspire students to act responsibly, lead passionately and think globally.”
A task force of 28 faculty members spoke with a variety of business leaders and administrators at GW and other universities when they set out to redevelop the school’s MBA program.
“The task force got together and decided, ‘Let’s be true to our mission statement,'” said Murat Tarimcilar, associate dean for graduate programs.
The task force decided the new program would need an ethical component in order to follow the school’s mission. Tarimcilar said there is a deficit of business ethics today, underscoring the need for a business program that prioritizes ethics.
“We received some of the strongest support from recruiters of corporations for ethics training,” Tarimcilar said.
Students agreed with the importance of teaching business ethics.
“When companies feel pressure to turn a profit, ethics can go out the window, so it is up to the employees to use their best judgment and reconcile making good ethical decisions with the pressure from executives to turn a profit at any cost,” said first-year MBA student Brian Weiss.
The new MBA program includes both a global MBA program for students with minimal experience in the business world, as well as a world MBA program for business professionals with more than five years of experience.
The global program will be split into two seven-week modules for each semester. Between each module, the school will hold career weeks during which industry professionals will be brought in to mentor the students.
At the end of the second year, students will go abroad for two weeks and work with executives to solve local problems. One group of students has plans to go to Peru and work with an oil company on environmental issues.
“This is what makes GW’s program unique,” School of Business professor Robert Weiner said. “It is one thing to try and teach students about the global economy through a textbook, but when you can send students abroad, you give them the opportunity to interact with people from other countries.”
Tarimcilar said this will give students the ability to bring what they have learned in class to the real world with the added challenge of understanding the culture of a new country.
“If students don’t realize the cultural ramifications in their solutions to problems, they will not be successful,” Tarimcilar said.
In contrast to the global program, which can last up to two years, the world MBA program for professionals lasts only a year. Students will also likely work full-time while seeking the degree.
Class time on campus or through distance-learning programs will account for about 75 percent of the world program. The other 25 percent of the program will include residence for two weeks each in Washington, India, China and Europe.