Over the last two years, 24 graduates from George Washington University’s School of Business (GWSB) have joined Deloitte. Other places their students have gone to include PwC, Macy’s, Amazon, JP Morgan, Ernst & Young, World Bank Group and Microsoft. The school ranks highly among its peers in both undergraduate business education and international business.
“Business success in the 21st century requires a global perspective,” Dr. Vivek Choudhury, interim dean of the school of business, said to the school community earlier this year. “As an international institution in an international city, GWSB is uniquely positioned to prepare its students to compete in the global business environment.”
George Washington University is a private research university located in Washington, D.C., after the first president of the United States. The president had advocated for the establishment of a centrally-located national university in his first State of the Union address in 1790 and when he passed, Washington willed his 50 shares in the Potomac Company to help endow the university.
PRIMO REAL-ESTATE IN NATION’S CAPITOL
The School of Business was founded in 1928 with a $1 million gift by the Supreme Council of Scottish Rite Freemasonry Southern Jurisdiction and has attracted leaders from academia, government, and the business world. In 1992, F. David Fowler, managing partner of KPMG, became dean of the school. Other renowned individuals the school counts among its deans include Susan M. Phillips, a former member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
George Washington University is located in Washington DC’s Foggy Bottom district. Just outside the School of Business is the Pentagon, the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. State Department, and the World Bank. Combining the school’s strategic location with its century of history and 20,000-strong undergraduate alumni network, it’s easy to understand how 86% of students at the school had business-specific internship experiences before their senior year.
FROM FRESHMAN YEAR TO FULL-TIME EMPLOYMENT, THE PATH OF A GWU BUSINESS STUDENT
The school offers a Bachelors in Accountancy, Business Administration, and Science in Finance to undergraduate students and career planning begins from day one. During freshman year, students are advised to purchase their professional dress or suit and become voracious readers of the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times. Students also begin working with advisors at the F. David Fowler career center to craft their resume, cover letters, and elevator pitches. Other than creating an academic plan, students also begin working on their networking skills by attending career fairs, workshops, and conducting research on companies, jobs, and internships in which they may be interested.
As students move into sophomore year, the faculty at GWSB expect students to be ready for case study competitions, organizations, and lead activities. This year, students also must complete the Career Management Strategy Course that is led by industry professionals with experience from fields including finance, consulting, sport, events and hospitality, advertising, marketing, and public relations. Staff at the Career Center begin working with students on crafting their LinkedIn profiles as they begin applying to internships.
As Juniors at the GWSB, students begin going on more career-focused activities such as company visits and career treks while connecting with alumni for mentoring and career research. Each year, George Washington University students can apply to go on the New York Networking Trek where they’ll get an inside scoop on the industries of consulting, finance, marketing, and sports management by visiting firms in the New York City. Alumni of the school are usually engaged in a panel session to give students insight into their current position and how they got to where they are today.
Once the students become upperclassmen, they can also apply to be a New York Networking Trek leader, where they get to hone their informational interviewing and networking skills with alumni and employers by coordinating site visits.
For those more interested in staying closer to home, the school also hosts a D.C. Career Trek, where students visit finance, consulting, and marketing firms in the city.
Once in their senior year, students are expected to begin working towards landing a job by reaching out to employers and implementing the self-marketing plan they have designed in the years before. Talented students with dreams of working on Wall Street can apply to join the Real Estate and Finance Alumni Mentorship Program (REFA) that the school claims provides “unparalleled opportunity to secure high-level internships that lead to coveted jobs.”
The school reported that 78% of students in the Class of 2016 had found full-time employment within 90 days of graduation. In 2017, that number increased to 80% with the average starting salary also increased marginally by 0.8% to $60,027.
A DEEP ALUMNI BASE
The GWSB has over 53,000 living alumni. Having a century of history also means having alumni who have spread their wings seemingly everywhere and have forged paths for their GWSB successors. From attending a reunion and mentoring events to speaking in panels and during special events, the alumni regularly connect and collaborate to help GWSB evolve, expand, and progress. Staff at the F. David Fowler Career Center are ready to help establish connections between students and alums and the school’s LinkedIn page has over 11,000 members ready to help another Colonial.
In 2017, the university organized a Colonials Weekend, bringing together thousands of alumni traveling from all over the world. With over 50 activities crammed into four days, friends and families of Colonials past and present check out academic and information sessions, open houses in the residence halls, and class reunions and affinity celebrations. Participants also get to listen to the GW Jazz All-Stars, an all-faculty jazz band and attend speaker sessions in conversation with established professionals like NBC’s political director and GWU alum, Chuck Todd.
THE GLOBAL EXPERIENCE IN A GLOBAL CITY
At GWU, students are constantly reminded that they need to explore the world. From Paris and Brazil to India and Argentina, students at the school of business told Poets&Quants that they’ve had plenty of opportunities to go abroad. This is important, especially since only students in the Sport, Event, and Hospitality concentration need to do practicums as part of a graduation requirement.
While all students are required to take a class titled the Age of Globalization, and every concentration also has at least one international field course that is intended to help provide a global perspective on the particular area, students can also opt to go on short or long-term study away programs.
Over the spring and winter breaks in 2018, students will be traveling to Israel, Australia, France, and Denmark for exchange programs. Under the leadership of faculty, a team of students will also be traveling to South Korea to go behind-the-scenes at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang for two weeks.
Students looking for longer experiences overseas can work with one of over 20 partner business schools to spend a semester abroad. Ranging from Argentina, Turkey, and Denmark to China, Hong Kong, and Singapore, students are able to explore the political, economic, social, and cultural lives in other countries.
A recent alumnus of the school, however, mentioned that he was told he could not be part of the study-abroad program. The accounting major, who declined to be named, says he was told that travel was not an option for him because of his concentration.
Despite his experience, the university seems to be getting to work on helping more students go abroad. Just last year, 92 students received free passports in partnership with the Council on International Education Exchange. The School of Business reports that 58% of its students have a global experience before graduating.