No matter where you fall in the political spectrum, everyone agrees that the role of government makes a huge impact on the business environment. We see this through policy changes, government intervention and international relations.
I recently heard former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg describe how the U.S. government was instrumental in aiding AIG open new global markets. This help allowed AIG to grow into the world’s largest insurance company. Years later, government intervention led to Greenberg’s ouster and eventual takeover/bailout of AIG. The importance for business leaders to understand how to work with government can’t be understated.
Through the Washington Campus, a consortium of 15 business schools, W. P. Carey students have the opportunity to get an in-depth and unique view of the political process. Each year Executive MBAs from W. P. Carey and other consortium schools attend a week long course in the nation’s capital. The course features speakers from the legislative branch, key staffers, the executive branch, regulatory agencies, lobbyists, trade associations and business. Among their responsibilities during the week in D.C., EMBA students participate in an election game, where they’re tasked with managing the candidacy of an open seat race.
One of the highlights this year was hearing from Honeywell’s VP of global relations describe the large impact that being politically active has on the bottom line. Also, through an ASU alum who now works on the president’s staff, this year’s trip included a private tour of the White House led by senior staffers.
Department of Management Chair Gerry Keim, who leads the public policy course, says the insight students gain during the week-long immersion in Washington benefits them academically, professionally, and personally. “It gives them a very hands-on understanding of how the political process actually works and how they can participate within that process to represent their interests, either their business interests, hobby interests, religious interests — whatever they might be — that could be affected by public policy.”