Tag: Washington D.C.

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.”

Olin Business School’s Executive MBA cohort at Washington University in St. Louis recently traveled to Washington, D.C., for a four-day immersion program focused on policy entrepreneurship. The visit was hosted by Brookings Executive Education (BEE).

Sen. Jim talent

Sen. Jim Talent

In addition to a visit with U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) and former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.), the group attended various seminars, welcomed guest lecturers from a variety of government sectors, and visited the White House to meet with the President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors. The immersion program March 16-19 was designed to to give the cohort firsthand knowledge of how public policy is formulated, and the role it plays in business and enterprise.

“We view the D.C. residency as a unique resource that only the Olin EMBA can provide to students because of our special relationship with the Brookings Institution,” said Lamar Pierce, associate professor of organization and strategy, who accompanied the group on its visit to the nation’s capital.

“For most of our students, non-market forces such as government regulation and interest groups play crucial roles in the strategy and everyday function of their organizations,” Pierce said. “Brookings allows us access to vast expertise of the capital so that we can build better public-private partnerships.”

“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 Ian Dubin, associate director of BEE.

EMBAs strike a Secret Service agent post at the Executive Office Building

EMBAs strike a Secret Service agent pose at the Executive Office Building

The four-day immersion was divided into two parts: the first focusing on business and policy formation; the second on business and society, with an emphasis on sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

“We hope the cohort comes away with a better understanding and appreciation both how and why government and industry must work together,” Pierce said. “For managers, it’s crucial to understand why government plays such an important role in markets, and how firms can have a fair and productive voice in regulation and policy.”

Click thumbnails below to view gallery.

Photos by: Daniel Jenkins

Guest Blogger: Erika Ebsworth-Goold, WashU’s The Source

To begin day four, Jason Gould and Richard Choi, shareholders at the Carlton Fields Jorden Burt (CFJB) law firm, shared their insights about regulation and litigation in the financial services sector. CFJB surveyed many firms to investigate fraud in the financial industry. They are typically capable of breaking the fraudulent company down rather than putting the executives in the jail. They also shared some great thoughts about document preservation amid concerns of privacy security. Surprisingly, they hold a view that litigation is complicated and time-wasting.

Next, we departed for Capitol Hill, where Congresswoman Ann Wagner, (R-MO) was waiting for us. As a member of the Committee on Financial Services, she skillfully introduced us to the Retail Investor Protection Act (RIPA), transportation issues, human trafficking, as well as other legislation that has been implemented to protect access to affordable investments for middle class families.

In the afternoon, we welcomed Michael Spratt, Assistant Director of the Division of Investment Management at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Jim Wigand, former Director of the Office of Complex Financial Institutions at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) with warm applause. Mr. Spratt offered a detailed description of the SEC’s role in Federal Securities Law with specific examples such as the 1933 Act, Dodd-Frank, etc. Mr. Wigand portrayed a big picture view of the role of the FDIC, and benefits that the FDIC has brought to depositors.

Guest Bloggers: Yali Ning, Huilin Liu, Xinong (Roy) He (GMF 2015)

This is the fourth in a series of 10 blogs chronicling the experiences of 31 Global Master of Finance (GMF) dual degree students during their two week long immersion course in Washington, DC and New York. Each blog will be written by a small subset of students during their experience.

Another busy day for Olin students in Washington, D.C. in the Business & Government: Understanding and Influencing the Regulatory Environment course. Tim Keating, Senior Vice President of Government Operations at Boeing, kicked off the morning presentations with some tales from one of the most influential groups in the Capital: lobbyists.

A masterful storyteller, Tim shared eye-opening examples of the importance of developing relationships and engagement in ongoing conversations with policymakers. He discussed how essential grass-roots efforts have an impact on decision-making. Students may not become full time lobbyists, but they will understand the need to engage corporate headquarters and field units in the policy making process.

Office of Management and Budget is an agency within the Executive Office of the President

The vibrant Sally Katzen next addressed the class. Ms. Katzen was head of a little known agency at the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which students learned has one of the most comprehensive portfolios in all of government. Ms. Katzen emphasized the indispensible need to provide policymakers with data in order to make sound, effective decisions.

This theme was stressed again by former EPA Administrator and White House Energy Czar, Carol Browner. Ms. Browner relayed very insightful stories of the benefits of public-private engagement. She also emphasized the distinction between “needs” and “wants” sharing that businesses and other special interest groups who focus on what they need are more successful than those who don’t move beyond what they want.

Caroline Ahearn, a former Brookings LEGIS Fellow, now Director of Policy and Legislative Coordination within the office of Enforcement and Compliance at EPA, wrapped up the classroom portion of the day with insight into how agencies work with the Hill to formulate policy. Caroline’s experience of working on the hill provided great perspective to share about the process.

“On April 14, President and Mrs. Lincoln were coming to the theater to see a production of a popular comedy, Our American Cousin.”

Then off to Ford’s Theater for a fascinating walking tour of the investigation into the Lincoln assassination. A local actor portraying a Pinkerton detective walked the group through the aftermath of the tragic event providing students with a unique look at Washington and the city’s rich history. The day finished with dinner at the WUSTL Washington Office. After the week in D.C. how many students now want to do a semester in Washington?


Image of the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre Washington D.C. April 14th 1865 is from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs Division.