Tag: policy

The Executive MBA program’s Washington, DC, residency is a unique immersion experience into policy making, regulations, appropriation and budget processes, and legislative action—and how each impacts business.

Washington University’s exclusive relationships with the Brookings Institution, one of the world’s most respected and quoted think tanks, provides a level of access to legislators, administrators, and power brokers that is unique to our DC residency.

So naturally, when the Executive MBA program reintroduced “The Business of Policy” back into the curriculum last year, there was a lot of interest.

“When our alums learned about the new residency, we knew we had to give them a chance to experience this priceless opportunity,” says Meg Shuff, assistant dean of Executive MBA Admissions.

In October, alumni were invited to a mini-residency at Brookings, where they were literally rubbing elbows with key legislative decision makers and some of the leading scholars at Brookings who are working to solve important global issues—essentially, the primary players who keep the engine of our Nation’s capital running. It was a packed two days, with topics ranging from the vital relationship between business, government, and the regulatory process, to combating poverty and the role of media in public policy.

The mock residency sold out quickly, with 24 alumni from eight different cohorts across the country—traveling from St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, Phoenix, Tampa, Las Vegas, and Atlanta. At the end of two action-packed days, the group had established high-level contacts with influencers in their respective industries, and felt confident in the science of policy entrepreneurship and the art of determining where, when, and how to advance their own interests.

“The Brookings experience was a fantastic way to learn about the intersection of business and policy, which complemented the education I gained at WashU during the EMBA program,” says Executive MBA alum Craig Armstrong, CEO at Loquient. “This residency is a true differentiator that really sets the WashU curriculum apart from the rest.”

Washington University’s Executive MBA students traveled to Washington D.C. for a 4-day immersion program focused on policy entrepreneurship, hosted by Brookings Executive Education (BEE). The first cohort made the inaugural trip in March of this year.

The October four-day immersion provided students with an opportunity to engage with policymakers and witness how policy is formulated. The experience not only allowed the business leaders to form valuable relationships, but also gain knowledge essential to formulating business strategies, both domestic and international.

Prior to attending a reception at the Embassy of Mexico, EMBA students received a briefing on the role of embassies from BEE Associate Director Ian Dubin. Additional presentations included the role of the Council of the Economic Advisors from Sandy Black at the White House and the most effective ways to work with Congressional staff to achieve business goals from a panel of current Congressional staffers. Former Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) and former Congressman Bob Carr (D-MI) shared first-hand experiences and reviewed the appropriation and budget process.

“In today’s environment it is more important than ever for business executives to understand the implications policy decisions will have on their business and to know how to interact in the policy process,” said Dubin.

BEE is looking forward to hosting EMBA in 2017.

Effective policy making requires a multifaceted and nuanced understanding of the world around us. Markets are global and economies are increasingly interdependent. As the world has grown closer, residents of Brazil, Syria, and China are now our next door neighbors. Tanks and planes aren’t the only consideration for the new policy entrepreneur. A clear view of the world is necessary to understand the international ramifications of decisions made in the United States.

Brookings_Capitol_Trevor Corning

BEE’s Trevor Corning

Brookings Executive Education recognizes the need for policy-focused courses with content that provides the economic, political and social perspectives in addition to the national security lens. Senior Program Manager, Ian Dubin, and Trevor Corning, Program Coordinator,  have redesigned the curriculum for the Global and Regional Challenges courses with these nuances in mind.

Global Challenges, Threats, and Opportunities: U.S. Perspective articulates the issues broadly, giving the participants a framework in which to understand the regionally focused courses.

Each Regional Challenges, Threats, and Opportunities course has been designed to help participants understand the context and landscape of the U.S interests and geopolitics of each region. An increasingly globalized world requires a look at regional issues from a multifaceted perspective.

For example, the creation of policy impacting South and Central America is no longer simply a national security matter, i.e. border patrol. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) are influencing how we create national security policy as U.S. businesses aim to expand to local markets in countries that have positive relationships with the U.S. The surge in unaccompanied children from Central America has made the border a humanitarian issue.

The recent Chinese cyber-attacks on Middle East scholars at prominent think tanks and law firms in the United States are another example of the intersection of politics, society, economics, and security. As a large importer of oil, China is invested in the stability of the Middle East as well as the U.S.’s plans for strategic action as a matter of trade, international business and national security.

The economic, political and social climates of a region have become inextricably linked locally and globally.

Brookings Executive Education (BEE) explores these links in the following regions: East and South Asia, the Middle East, and South and Central America. BEE will add to the repertoire a fourth regionally focused course on Africa in 2015. Each course takes participants through the challenges, threats, and opportunities within the region providing information so they may more effectively craft policy, affect change, develop business, and work cohesively in and with that region.

Pictured above are: Cheng Li, director of the John L. Thornton China Center and a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings. He is also a director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations; and Ian Dubin, BEE Senior Program Manager.

In the words of Barry Anderson, Deputy Director, National Governors Association, the U.S. Federal Budget “is arguably the most transparent in the world, but it may also be the most complex.”

On February 25-26, 2014, I participated in the Brookings Executive Education (BEE) course Inside the Budgetary Process and was introduced to the world of authorizations and appropriations, concurrent resolutions, OMB, discretionary and mandatory funding, sequestration, and the dreaded national debt. The phrase, “you don’t know, what you don’t know” never rang more true.

Inside the Budgetary Process provides a comprehensive overview of the many policy decisions made throughout the budget process. I examined how agencies can best position themselves as funding decisions are made and how nongovernmental organizations can engage in these important deliberations.

BEE made the federal budgetary process fun. 

I discovered cabinet departments (Department of State, Department of the Treasury, Department of Defense, Department of Justice, etc.) begin preparing their ideal +/-5% budget for FY16 in May of 2014 without knowing what their budget will be in FY15.

What a challenging task!

I learned that if we don’t act as a country to decrease the national debt, the interest we pay on the national debt will surpass the amount we allocate to discretionary spending. Furthermore, I was surprised that half of our national debt is held by foreign investors.

Congressional Budget Office

Source: Congressional Budget Office

Did you know that the President’s budget is an important set of guidelines, but is not the law? I learned that according to Section 9 of Article 1 in the U.S. Constitution “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” That means “the departments and agencies of the executive branch may not spend any money that Congress has not appropriated, or use federal money for any purpose that Congress has not specified” (U.S. Senate website).

If this is not a clear example of checks and balances, then what is?

I heard 10 speakers over the course of two days. If I could share all that I learned here I would, but as I stated at the start of this post, the U.S. federal budgetary process is complex.

We need to decrease our debt and increase our GDP. We need to address the entitlement system we are living under as it is not sustainable.  We need an entrepreneurial mindset that is adept at the art of solving problems. The intricacies of the budget and current long-term budget plan is an issue that goes beyond the federal government and impacts citizens from all sectors. To solve the major federal fiscal issues, we will need policy innovation and we will need it from everyone.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities provides a clear and useful resource for those who want to understand more about the federal budget process: “Introduction to the Federal Budget Process.” 

Image credit: President Barack Obama signs copies of the FY 2015 Budget as Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Director, Office of Management and Budget, and OMB staff look on in the Oval Office, March 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)



Notwithstanding domestic challenges of a divided government, federal government shutdown, and the debt ceiling, the U.S. continues to be engaged in a variety of national security issues. The global security environment is in a period of such flux and transition. What are the current Global Challenges, Threats and Opportunities from the U.S. perspective for national security policy issues?

At the global power level, an entire reordering is taking place, with the rise of state actors like China and India and the shift in strategic competition from the Atlantic to the Pacific. At the same time, non-state actors have emerged as major players in global security, while failed or failing zones have become epicenters of threat on multiple levels that range from civil war to humanitarian disasters.

These transformations are all the more challenging as they occur within the rapidly changing context of the 21st century revolutions in technology. Information Tech and Robotics, communications, energy use, and bio-technology are all emerging game changers, reshaping both the civilian and military worlds.  Access to nuclear technology has become more widespread, with more than 30 nations now holding stocks of highly enriched uranium or plutonium.

In short, the hallmark of security issues in the 21st century may not be merely change, but how the rate of change is accelerating—namely, at an exponential pace unparalleled in history. These new threats require new strategies and new thinking.

Leading experts recently discussed these issues and many others at Brookings in Brookings Executive Education’s annual Global Challenges, National Security seminar held on December 3-4, 2013.

For more on issues that were discussed this December:

Read: Saving Defense Dollars: From Base Realignment and Closure to Overhead Realignment and Closure 

“The administration and Congress should pursue a two-pronged effort—revitalizing the Base Realignment and Closure (“BRAC”) process while convening a similar, but new, Overhead Realignment and Closure Commission (“ORAC”) to make the Defense Department a less wasteful organization.”

Michael E. O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, and Kay Bailey Hutchison

Listen to Event Audio: U.S. Global Leadership in the Second Obama Administration: Policies and Realities

“But most importantly, when people are talking about the relative position of the United States, I think the general consensus among economists these days is that what you can certainly say about the United States is that it’s doing pretty well in a pretty bad world situation.”

– Robert Kagan, Senior Fellow, speaking at an event at Brookings on October 11 with Senior Fellow and Director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy Tamara Wittes, Soli Özel of Kadir Has University, Brookings President Strobe Talbott, Muharrem Yılmaz, president of the Turkish Industry and Business Association and Turkey Project Director and TUSIAD Senior Fellow Kemal Kirişci.

Watch: Defending the Nation at Network Speed

The Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings hosted General Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for keynote remarks and a discussion of the military’s role in cyberspace and the threat that cyberattacks pose to the U.S.

Learn: These leading experts participated in BEE’s annual Global Challenges seminar:

Photo Credit: Department of Defense photo by Master Sgt. John Nimmo Sr., U.S. Air Force, Flikr