The George Washington University

School of Business: GWSB News

August 28, 2009

GWSB Continues to Climb in Rankings

Lawrence Singleton, associate dean for Undergraduate Programs

GWSB’s undergraduate program climbed another spot – to No. 38 – in the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings of the nation’s top universities. The School’s international program retained its ranking as No. 16 in the United States.

“We are pleased to see the undergraduate business program move up one spot to No. 38,” said Lawrence Singleton, associate dean for Undergraduate Programs. “At the GW School of Business, we work aggressively to keep our curriculum relevant. Ethics, a global perspective and leadership skills are only the beginning of what draws students to our school, and rankings are only one of many considerations for students. Our location – in the heart of the nation’s capital, blocks from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other U.S. and multilateral agencies – offers our students work and learning experiences they cannot find elsewhere.”

The U.S. News undergrad rankings are based on assessments by deans and senior faculty at undergraduate business programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. These assessments are made by the best-informed professionals.

Singleton said GWSB’s dynamic international business program sits on a strong foundation, “something that the U.S. News rankings for 2010 confirmed.”

In April, U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Graduate Schools” ranked the GW School of Business graduate program as 55th in the United States.

MBA Reunion: It’s Not Business as Usual

This year’s MBA Reunion – Thursday, Oct. 1 through Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009 – will be a weekend to remember. The 2009 MBA Reunion Committee is busy putting together the final touches to welcome MBA alumni back to campus with meals, learning and networking opportunities, and special guests. The reunion, open to all MBA alumni, will honor those alumni who graduated in 2004, 1999 and 1984.

Alumni can start the weekend by “going back to school” at the 3rd Annual Ramsey Student Investment Fund Conference. Board of Trustees Chairman Russ Ramsey, BBA, ’81, and Dean Susan M. Phillips will make opening remarks before industry leaders address “Asset Allocation and Agriculture: Post Crisis Investing.” Want an update on GW? Then join GW President Steven Knapp for the State of the University address on Saturday to learn where we are as a University and where we’re going.

The School of Business is hosting a plethora of events and programs in its amazing facility, Duquès Hall. After an extremely successful inaugural year for the MBA Mentor Program, the School will honor its mentors and engage new ones at the MBA Mentor Program Orientation and Reception on Friday night. If you’ve been looking to see a good movie, then stop by one of two free screenings on Saturday. Join the GWSB alumni filmmakers for popcorn, entertainment and après-cinema discussion.

Big-name speakers are a staple at GWSB and the reunion is no exception. The keynote speaker for the 2009 reunion is Miranda A.A. Ballentine, MBA, ’04, Wal-Mart’s director of corporate affairs for sustainability. She will address her career path in sustainability, GW’s influence on her and the policies and processes she is implementing to make Wal-Mart a more sustainable company. Dean and former Federal Reserve Board Governor Susan M. Phillips will join the activities on Saturday night, hosting the MBA reunion reception where Jennifer Boulden, MBA, ’04, will be honored with the first Dean’s Distinguished MBA Alumni Achievement Award for her work in founding Ideal Bite, a Web site dedicated to “creating a more sustainable world by connecting enlightened companies with responsible consumers.” The reception will be the toast of MBA Reunion Weekend and will feature dinner, cocktails, music and mingling.

There are even more events planned for the MBA alumni that you won’t want to miss. Visit the MBA Reunion registration page to learn more and to register. Don’t let MBA Reunion Weekend 2009 pass you by.

“So much has happened with everyone over the last 10 years both personally and professionally. People have gotten married, had babies, changed jobs, changed jobs and changed jobs. Some have even founded new companies! It’s a very different world than it was a decade ago: a perfect time to reconnect and network with fellow GW MBA graduates,” said reunion committee member Noah Israel, MBA, ’99. “I’m really looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones.”

ICSB Helps Take GWSB Professor’s Case-Teaching Technique Worldwide

Paul M. Swiercz, professor of management, has developed an innovative technique for case teaching: Student-Written, Instructor-Facilitated (SWIF) Case Writing. Together with the International Council for Small Business (ICSB), which is housed within GWSB’s Department of Management, Swiercz is distributing his SWIF manual around the world to engage students more fully in the educational experience and to help ease the transition from the classroom to the workplace.

Among educators, traditional case teaching has unquestionable value, but it also has a major: traditional case methods limit the student to the role of analyst. In contrast, SWIF converts case teaching into an active learning experience by requiring students to assume a variety of new roles such as researcher, petitioner, interviewer, negotiator, writer, editor, team-member, etc. This approach allows students to move from passive case analyst to active case developer.

“From ICSB’s network of 2,000 members in more than 70 countries, we know that educators are trying to leverage case writing as a viable medium for education for students at different levels,” said Ayman Zohier El Tarabishy, director of the ICSB and GWSB visiting professor of management. “For example, professors in Italy are teaching students on case writing and they’re looking for resources such as Paul Swiercz’s manual as a starting point and building block.

“These kinds of global connections create a platform of knowledge exchange at a high level,” he added.

The SWIF manual provides students with a case-preparation roadmap to help them decipher, understand and use the knowledge gained through the experience of preparing cases. Benefits of the SWIF approach include: the integration of theory and practice, the development of critical thinking skills, the ability to distinguish between the significant and the trivial and the opportunity for original thought. Click here to see the complete manual.

CLAI Hosts Presentation on Organized Crime

CLAI’s Ray Marin (left) and guest speaker Dr. Phil Williams

GWSB’s Center for Latin American Issues (CLAI) hosted Dr. Phil Williams, professor of international security at the Graduate School of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, who led a discussion of his new book, Criminals, Militias, and Insurgents: Organized Crime in Iraq.

Although Iraq is far outside CLAI’s area of operation and interest, the presentation was not a geographic non-sequitur for the center. “There are considerable similarities between the problems of organized crime and terrorism in Iraq and those plaguing certain nations and regions of the Americas,” said Ray Marin, executive coordinator for CLAI. “Studying these problems can help provide a foundation for understanding their causes and developing effective counters and long-term solutions, regardless of where they occur.”

Williams was joined at the Aug. 26 presentation by Dr. William Rosenau, who specializes in the study of insurgency, terrorism, intelligence and military special ops for the RAND Corp., and Dr. John Picarelli of the International Center, National Institute of Justice, an expert researcher on how different transnational threats overlap. Following a panel discussion on William’s book, the three presenters participated in a question-and-answer session with the audience.

Williams was director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies from 1991 to 2001. A consultant for both the United Nations and the U.S. government, he was a visiting research professor at the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute from 2007 through April 2009. He has published an extensive body of work on international security issues.

NFIB Polls Small Businesses on Health Care Reform

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Research Foundation and the International Council for Small Business, which is housed in GWSB’s Department of Management, are promoting, a searchable online data base of approximately 2,000 facts about American small businesses and their owners (or managers).

NFIB conducts regular polling on key issues affecting small business and posts its findings to the 411SmallBusinessFacts site.

The latest in the NFIB National Small Business Poll series addresses the controversial issue of health care reform and proposed legislation that would dramatically change the way the United States finances and delivers health care. The potential impact of these changes on small business is central to current deliberations and debate. Topics covered by the poll include: reasons for offering employee health insurance; owner health insurance coverage; dropping employee health insurance; reasons for not offering employee health insurance; and employee health conditions and job performance. Click here to view the complete poll and results.


Anna Helm, visiting assistant professor of international business, has caught the attention of the “blogosphere” with her new book, The Intersection of Material and Poetic Economy: Gustav Freytag’s Soll und Haben and Adalbert Stifter’s Der Nachsommer. Helm’s examination of 19th century German literature in an exploration of the connections between economics and aesthetics earned a favorable blog entry from Sweden’s Mats Larsson, founder of the Global Energy Transformation Institute, on the institute’s homepage. To read more about Helm’s book, visit her publisher’s Web site.

Charles Toftoy, associate professor emeritus in the GWSB Department of Management, has published a thriller, It’s in the Eyes. Set in Washington, D.C., the novel tells the story of college professor (and part-time sleuth) Lars Neilsen and his efforts to solve a series of grisly killings that use rituals practiced by the long-extinct Thuggee murder cult. Toftoy’s book is available on

Getting Ink

Susan M. Phillips, dean and professor of finance, appeared on Reuters Television on Aug. 19, where she was asked about the economy’s progress toward a “meaningful, sustainable” recovery. Phillips said there were signs of improvement in some areas but described the overall economy overall as “a mixed bag.” For the entire interview, visit Reuters web site.

Phillips took part in a panel discussion on Fox Business News about the Federal Open Market Committee’s most recent rate decision and the general market outlook. She was joined by market experts Paul Ballew, GM’s head of global market and industry analysis; Jim McTague, Washington editor for Barron’s; and Mark Zandi of Moody’s. (8/12)

Alan Susi (center, in striped shirt) talks about GWSB. “We have professors giving lectures who have a day job at the World Bank.”

The School of Business is prominently featured in BusinessBecause, an online magazine “about business students around the world.” The site’s GWSB school page is packed with information about and links to academic programs, faculty, the campus and Washington, D.C. BusinessBecause also features a profile of GWSB MBA student Alan Susi, who explains “Why I Chose The GW School of Business.”


Solomon Honored at Annual Academy of Management Conference
Department of Management Associate Professor George Solomon was recognized for “truly outstanding leadership and service to the Academy of Management” for his efforts as Best Paper Proceedings Editor. Professor Solomon and two colleagues were also honored by the Emerald Literati Network as the 2008 best paper authors in the Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development (JSBED).

Class Notes

Peter Berk, BBA, ’87, and Michael Sonnabend, BBA, ’86 – formerly affiliated with AFC Realty Capital – announced the formation of PM Realty Capital LLC and its subsidiary, PM Hotel Finance Group. The firm offers real estate investment banking services on a nationwide basis. This partnership represents the culmination of the duo’s more than 40 years of combined experience in the industry.

“Our calling card will continue to be our integrity, creativity, experience and advocacy. PM Realty Capital LLC will provide our clients a unique level of commitment and partnership – one that represents PM’s experience, expertise and high-level insights,” Sonnabend said. The firm is headquartered in New York.

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