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MBA students glean insights from public policy class

August 01, 2006

Fifty-three students from the W. P. Carey MBA – Executive Program have returned from Washington, D.C., after participating in a unique class that brings business students face-to-face with business and public policy leaders, to learn how businesses can participate in the public policy process.

The program is jointly sponsored by the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU and the Washington Campus, a nonprofit educational consortium comprising 16 business schools from across the nation.

As part of the four-day Washington Campus course “Business and Public Policy,” the W. P. Carey executive MBA students met with current and former officials from the executive branch and Congress, and interest-group lobbyists in settings such as U.S. Federal Reserve, the National Press Club and sites on Capitol Hill. They learned about policy formation and the lobbying process.

The executive MBA students also met with U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake and U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, as well as campaign consultants.

The W. P. Carey School faculty leader for the program is associate dean for MBA programs, Gerry Keim, who studies and consults in the field of business public affairs.

“This is a unique opportunity for W. P. Carey MBA – Executive Program students to learn how federal policy decisions are made, how specific areas of business are affected, and how businesses can participate in the legislative process in Washington , D.C.,” Keim says. “Democracy is not a spectator sport.”

One of the executive MBA students is Joseph DeGraft-Johnson, a campus and facility planner for ASU, who says the students received in-depth perspectives from speakers about how Washington really works.

“It was really interesting to hear the different insights, and detailed information about … how politicians go about setting strategies, how they go about defining things that are important (agenda items),” DeGraft-Johnson says. “In my daily work, I deal with different types of concerns. It's similar to the way that Washington works. Just as in Washington , ASU has different types of organizations and priorities. These priorities can intersect with each other – so how can we work together toward an overall (common) goal?”

The Washington Campus was founded in 1978 by L. William Seidman, who served as the chief economic advisor to President Gerald Ford, and later as dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business from 1982-1985. It is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization formed to educate business students and executives on the decision-making processes of the U.S. government.

The consortium is self-sustaining and fulfills its educational mission through tuition- and fee-based courses, as well as limited fundraising.

Since 1978, more than 4,700 MBA and undergraduate students from member schools and distance-learning programs have enrolled in courses through the Washington Campus. Since ASU joined the consortium in 1982, there have been 256 graduate business students from ASU who have taken courses at the Washington Campus.