Friday, March 25, 2011

Learning about the government with other top MBA students


For spring break this year, I did a program called the Washington Campus, where about 40 MBA students from programs around the country went to Washington DC to learn about how business and the government intersect.

During the week-long program, we heard from government officials, lobbyists, think tanks, and other experts who discussed the best ways to work with the federal government. Since I'm going into management consulting, I think the information I learned was some of the most valuable in my two year MBA program.

Though beyond just hearing from speakers, we also got the opportunity to see politics live in front of us. One morning, they took us to Capitol Hill to the Dirksen Senate Office building and we got to sit in on Senate hearings. I watched one hearing where someone from the Government Accountability Office spoke about the redundant programs in the federal government (of which there are quite a few!). Then I went and watched the Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee discuss next year's budget for the Navy (only about $160 Billion, no chump change). It was great seeing the process happen live in front of me.

One of the more interesting topics we discussed was health care and the recent bill passed to reform the system. We heard from a health care expert in one session, and the chief lobbyist for the AARP. Because Kelley has a specialty as a Life Science MBA program, the Indiana students asked some of the most interesting and thoughtful questions. Even those of us not in the Life Science program had a more knowledgable perspective on the ins and outs of the legislation than most of the other MBA students in the program.

Overall, it was a great spring break in DC. I'd definitely recommend the Washington Campus program to anyone interested in the US political system.

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