The School of Foreign Service has implemented a new global business major to attract students interested in exploring the behavior of firms in the international framework. In the initial round of applications, 12  applicants were accepted to the program.

The major is designed, as stated in several information sessions open to interested students and press releases by the SFS, to allow Georgetown students to develop the skills and experience necessary to make the move between the private and public sectors with knowledge of business, politics, economics and culture.

An adjoining fellowship, the Global Business Fellows, was also created to introduce students with different majors in the SFS and the McDonough School of Business to the same field with a capstone course.

While the nascent major is still currently in the exploratory stages, there are important questions to ask about its role in the SFS academic curriculum and what it will come to mean for the university’s long-term development, in relation to both its other undergraduate programs and its standing among other universities.

The MSB’s international business major and the SFS’s international business diplomacy certificate have separately enjoyed  prestige in the past years. The careful, unique tailoring of each of these programs is one of the large factors that led to each program’s success. Therefore, it must be considered whether adding a major with a similar moniker and purpose could dilute each program’s individual brand name.

Furthermore, employers are risk-averse, and may be hesitant to recruit a student whose major is so new that it has no track record or prestige of which to speak. If this new major is to achieve the level of prestige and competition that Georgetown normally boasts in related fields, the SFS must take the correct steps, like that of gathering significant faculty support to ensure global business students have convenient access to mentorship, especially for the first few pioneering graduating classes.

The major itself has valuable potential. Given enough time and energy, It may reduce anxiety for SFS students seeking to pursue a business-intensive career, and minimize the likelihood of intraschool transfer, but it is just as likely to cause confusion and frustration.

While the first class for the major  is relatively small, it could create significant imbalances for class registration in the future, particularly given both schools’ already tightly-packed courses.

The university already offers an entire school dedicated to business, four different economics degrees and a wealth of business-related certificates and majors. With the new global business major, the Class of 2019 will find a daunting and indiscernible academic curriculum to traverse once it arrives on campus next fall.

That said, this major lies at the intersection of two of Georgetown’s greatest and arguably most marketable strengths: business and international relations.

It therefore has a great potential for growth if it is properly developed with the appropriate resources and energy.

In order to exploit this potential, SFS administrators should work on developing the major’s identity, clearly elucidating the major’s purpose, its distinctive qualities and the competitive advantage that it can offer to students.

The SFS must more clearly communicate with its students if it hopes, with this new major and fellowship, to maintain the academic excellence for which Georgetown is known.

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