The return to a sense of normalcy and traditional in-person events continued in late April as more than 90 PMBA students arrived in Washington, DC, for their two-day residency at the Brookings Institution.
Students arrived for the trip in time for dinner on April 27 and spent the next two days in conversation with noted political insiders, media experts and policy wonks—all in service of connecting the dots between business, government and policy.
“We spend so much of our time optimizing our market strategy, but there are so many other factors at play,” said Archie Karanwal, PMBA class 48, a product owner at Edward Jones. He said the Brookings residency was a great opportunity to gain an understanding of some of those other factors.
Indeed, the trip is a manifestation of Dean Mark P. Taylor’s oft-stated desire that every WashU Olin student have a Brookings experience during their time. The April residency included students from four different PMBA cohorts: classes 46, 48, 49 and 50. The two-day visit even included an evening tour of DC monuments among the activities on April 28 and 29.
Ian Dubin, associate dean and managing director for WashU at Brookings, exhorted the students to bring their own experiences and professional work with them as they listened to and engaged with the speakers, who covered topics including cyber-security, the government regulatory process and Congress.
“It’s not all like cable news here in Washington, where people are yelling at each other all the time, believe it or not,” Dubin said.
Speakers included Ron Christie, CEO of Christie Strategies and former deputy assistant to the vice president for domestic policy under Dick Cheney, who shed light on the more subtle interactions that occur among policy makers and elected officials—and who reinforced the importance for business leaders of understanding that process.
Those connections were not lost on Kelsey Wortmann, PMBA 49, a product planner at Emerson. “I hadn’t realized how actual work gets done in Washington. I never really thought before about how easy it is to make connections.”
Other speakers included:
- Michael Fitzpatrick, director of global strategy and innovation, Google; former associate administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget
- Jim Papa, senior vice president and managing director, Global Strategy Group; host of Staffer podcast; former special assistant to the president for legislative affairs; former House and Senate senior staffer
- Susan Page, author and Washington bureau chief, USA Today
- Steven Chabinsky, former deputy assistant director, cyber division, FBI
- Hon. Albert Wynn (D-MD), senior director, Greenberg Traurig LLP; former member, energy and commerce committee, US House of Representatives
- An assortment of foreign policy experts.
Pictured at top: Kelsey Wortmann, PMBA 49 (with book), asked a question of Ron Christie (on screen, left) during the 90 students’ visit to DC for a two-day residency at the Brookings Institution.