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Alumni Lifelong Learning

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At Georgetown McDonough, we believe that leaders never graduate. This thinking has inspired the creation of our Lifelong Learning initiative, which supports our students’ professional and personal growth for a lifetime.


Jessica Grounds, EML '12

Charles Lilly, GEMBA '11

Jessica Grounds, EML ’12
Founder and Principal Strategist, Solid Grounds Strategy

Why did you pursue an executive degree at Georgetown? 
Most traditional business programs took me out of my networks in Washington, D.C., or were focused on areas of study that only mildly intrigued me, but the Executive Master’s in Leadership (EML) program seemed the perfect fit of personal leadership development, business strategy, experiences, and conversations that could help hone my strengths as a leader and open my thinking to new concepts for the work I do to empower women to lead in politics.

What was the most rewarding aspect of the EML program? 
First, the program gave me incredible tools and language to enable my natural leadership tendencies to be even more effective. I have led a number of organizations, and the EML program helped me understand how and why I lead and manage people, and it helped me better understand the complexities and challenges of leading an organization. Second, my classmates taught me so much. They are diverse in so many ways and brought to the table energy, passion, and interesting perspectives. They are a great network of connections that I value.

What was your most memorable experience? 
On our trip to Cape Town, South Africa, we were tasked with consulting various companies and NGOs in the country. My team produced research and a presentation for a fascinating NGO doing work in South Africa and across the continent. It was wonderful to get to know a country's challenges and culture through the process of helping an organization there. I also learned so much about the history and hurdles that South Africa has faced and still faces.

How has your Georgetown McDonough education affected your career? 
I found my passion early in life, but the EML program helped me to hone my energy on my next career step. For my Capstone Project, I wrote a business plan to start a new company for women leaders in politics and business. The program helped me blend my strengths and develop avenues to my next professional role.

What would you tell a prospective student thinking about enrolling in the EML program? 
This program is wonderful if you have a strong sense of who you are but want to be challenged to find your next step. It will make you stretch and grow in ways you will not expect. I am more than thrilled with my experience at Georgetown McDonough's Executive's Master's in Leadership program.

At Georgetown McDonough, leaders never graduate. Executive degree program students have access to a wide, growing network of distinguished Georgetown alumni and faculty from around the world who are leaders in a wide range of industries.

When students complete their degrees, they leave with an open invitation to return to Executive Education classrooms to refresh their knowledge and reconnect with faculty. Opportunities are available for executive education degree program alumni to:

  • Audit elective courses on a space-
    available basis
  • Engage with current students through guest lectures and teaching, as judges for case competitions, or as advisors to students on business planning and entrepreneurship
  • Attend alumni events











Charles Lilly, GEMBA ’11 
Executive Vice President and Asset Resolution Officer, PNC

Why did you pursue an executive degree at Georgetown? 
I decided to pursue the Georgetown-ESADE Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) for many reasons. The main reason was to better myself as a person and develop skills to achieve greater things in my chosen profession. Most large financial institutions require years of banking experience to reach senior levels. I had attained an executive role within the bank as the market strategist over commercial, retail, mortgage, builder finance, and other lines of business, but to attain a higher role, I felt I needed to enhance my skill set with qualitative and quantitative attributes.

What was the most rewarding aspect of the GEMBA program? 
By far, I most value the experiences along the journey. Four continents and eight countries in 15 months were exhausting, yet exciting. The friendships and relationships with faculty, staff, and most importantly, fellow GEMBA colleagues have led me down a path I never thought I would have chosen. I came in as a banker; I left as a global leader. In some ways, the most rewarding aspect of the program has yet to occur. I am working alongside two fellow GEMBA graduates to provide sustainable aquaculture and medicine to Sierra Leone. This opportunity never would have been offered to me had I not applied to and graduated from Georgetown McDonough. However, a funny thing happened though during my 15 months in the program. I realized that life was not banking, and banking was not life. The reasons I applied to GU were no longer the reasons why I longed to graduate from GU.

What was your most memorable experience? 
First and foremost, all the modules were spectacular. From an academic perspective, Buenos Aires was the most memorable. From a cultural experience, India was by far the best module. From a personal experience and social perspective, Barcelona could not be topped.

How has your Georgetown McDonough education affected your career? 
The GEMBA program taught me that there is so much to life. There is a whole world out there waiting to be discovered. And more important, at the end of the day, doing the right thing counts for more than anything else. Georgetown instilled into me the desire to help those who are asking for help and to those who may be less fortunate. I also learned that rewarding yourself emotionally is more satisfying than rewarding yourself monetarily. Georgetown prepared me to adapt to many environments and to take the basic view that, at the end of the day, we are all human beings sharing some time on this planet.

What would you tell a prospective student thinking about enrolling in the GEMBA program? 
If you are looking for an executive degree program that offers diversity, new experiences — whether they be fun (like Barcelona), exciting (like Buenos Aires/Sao Paolo), or at times trying (like Moscow) — there really is no other alternative but to pursue the GEMBA program offered by Georgetown University and Spain’s ESADE Business School. The GEMBA program allows participants to develop skill sets in the ever-present arena of global enterprise while developing lasting friendships and introducing new opportunities to those participants.