Top MBA Programs If You Work in Washington DC |

Top MBA Programs If You Work in Washington DC

By Francesca Di

Updated September 6, 2019 Updated September 6, 2019

The Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, which includes the District of Columbia as well as parts of Maryland and Virginia, is steeped in history. While many tourists head there for national monuments and spring cherry blossoms, D.C. is more than the nation’s capital and home of the President.

Here, government intersects with business. While Democrats and Republicans are battling it out at the Capitol, professionals are making things happen in business throughout the city and its surrounding area. In fact, public administration is only the second largest industry in the area. The top spot is held by professional, scientific, and technology services, according to Data USA. What’s most striking is the fact that management occupations account for the highest percentage of jobs in D.C., according to the Census Bureau.

As a result, those with C-suite aspirations are as good a fit as those in public service. Should they decide to attend graduate business school while continuing to work, they have a bevy of options. Discover where to study graduate business in the Washington, D.C. metro area:

McDonough School of Business

McDonough is welcoming the first cohort of its Flex MBA in fall 2019. This is the “next evolution of the school’s highly regarded Evening MBA,” says Shelly Heinrich, associate dean of MBA Admissions and director of Marketing at Georgetown.

Students take the first 36 credits of courses in a cohort in an evening timeframe. The last 24 credits of electives are offered as evening or hybrid courses. In the case of hybrid, on-campus class sessions and virtual ones are possible. Select electives are also offered on Saturdays.

In addition, there are more times when one- and two-week long Intensive Learning Experience (ILE) courses are available to part-time students. Most people typically complete the program in three years. Now, students can take anywhere between 28 months or five years to finish. Ultimately, the point is to make it easier for those maintaining full-time careers and other personal obligations while earning the degree.

“We have added greater flexibility to this part-time MBA with innovations in the use of technology, delivery of courses, and adjustable duration,” says Heinrich. “We want to ensure working professionals can better balance their career commitments with their personal commitments.”

The Flex MBA also allows eligible students to recruit for MBA jobs during the year they intend to graduate. Also, they can participate in student organizations, international treks, case competitions, etc.

Robert H. Smith School of Business

With three locations in Washington, D.C., Shady Grove, and Baltimore, the Smith School offers a flexible bricks-and-mortar part-time MBA program. The school also has an online option that is basically the same as the traditional program.

The part-time program at the Smith School places a mandatory emphasis on data analytics, says Shelbi Brookshire, senior director, Working Professionals MBA at the school. “It’s all about preparing future leaders to harness the data in an atmosphere of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity of general conditions),” she says.

Focused around helping future leaders use available data to make better decisions, the program has comparable rigor to the school’s full-time program, while allowing greater flexibility for working professionals. Students have to complete 54 credits in total.

Customization is an important perk, says Brookshire. Students can complete the program in two years or two-and-a-half to three years, but the school prefers students to take no longer than three years. Participants can take electives online, along with a bricks-and-mortar core. In addition, they can attend classes at any of the three locations in D.C., Shady Grove, and Baltimore.

Among the standouts of the program are the high-quality professors, most of whom are among the top 10 percent to 15 percent of research faculty, says Brookshire. Also, students can take advantage of career coaches and the suite of available resources, as well as its network that boasts 66,000 alumni, with more than 32,000 are in the D.C. metro area.

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George Washington University School of Business

Students enrolled in the Professional MBA at GWSB can complete the program in two to five years on campus or online, in a cohort or independently. Students can choose to experience intensive weekend formats or experiential courses that leverage the school’s unique location near the White House, Congress, and State Department and other nearby landmarks.

“The program is highly influenced by our Washington, D.C. location, where the private, public, and NGO sectors meet and interact,” says Jeff Hunter, assistant dean of Graduate Business Administration at GWSB. “Our institutional and professional relationships in the area enable us to provide our on-campus and distance-learning students with opportunities to immerse themselves in class projects, digital course materials, live learning opportunities, and co-curricular experiences.”

Pros of attending the Professional MBA include a program advisor for each student, as well as access to all services and events at the School of Business and full access to the career team.

One aspect that separates the program from others is the ability to bundle elective courses to earn graduate certificates. Students can choose from one of 24 for-credit graduate certificate programs or enroll in one of six professional development certificate programs from a research center or institute at GWSB.

Another standout is the ability to participate in a short-term study abroad trip for up to six academic credits. The program, says Hunter, matches the academic rigor of the traditional MBA. It best serves, he adds, those who desire career growth and professional development and have ambitious future goals.

Kogod School of Business

An online MBA program is what Kogod offers those working full time and studying. It is self-paced by the student, offering built-in flexibility. Most students complete the program in 24 months by taking two courses per term. Courses are 10 weeks each, and feature asynchronous and synchronous class attendance via Zoom.

“Many Kogod students are full-time working professionals,” says Maureen Breslin, assistant dean for Online Programs at Kogod. “Our live sessions occur in the evening and can be taken from anywhere with an internet connection. We also support students with access to one-on-one tutoring. Students in the online program also have access to our Office of Career Engagement and can book one-on-one appointments with our career staff.”

One of the other value-adds is a small class size of under 20, says Breslin. In addition, faculty are a mix of full-time professors and adjuncts with experience in industry. Two in-person immersions lasting three to four days help students connect more with their classmates and campus. Immersion highlights include site visits to companies, speakers, and projects for building teamwork and communication skills.

With the Bridge to Business option, applicants coming to Kogod with a non-business undergraduate degree can apply to get a formal business education with additional support for the transition.

“At Kogod, we believe business is a force for meaningful change and American University prepares changemakers for a changing world,” says Breslin. “As such, we are interested in supporting students who are making an impact.”

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This article was originally published in September 2019 .

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Written by

Francesca Di Meglio has written about higher education for two decades. She covered business schools and all aspects of management education for what became Bloomberg Businessweek from May 2004 to December 2013. Di Meglio was the consultant editor for the book Admitted: An Interactive Workbook for Getting into a Top MBA Program (85 Broads Publishing, 2011), which was written by admissions consultant Betsy Massar. In addition, she is a family travel and parenting blogger at the Italian Mamma website