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When Cultural and Religious Diversity Meets the Global Market

This project examined the significance of cultural and religious diversity for business today and how Georgetown can promote tolerance and intercultural understanding among students as they transition into positions as leaders in business and the professions. The project included a survey of best practices at Georgetown and other universities, an exploration of alumni experiences, an interview series, and recommendations for curricular changes that better prepare students to succeed in a world marked by unprecedented cultural and religious diversity. Professors Patricia Hewlin (Business School) and Michael Kessler (Government) served as faculty advisors.

Project goals: 

  • A survey and analysis of the standard and best practices for how Georgetown and other universities are preparing students across majors and departments to succeed in a business world marked by greater cultural and religious diversity; 
  • An exploration of alumni experience navigating the more diverse business world -- through surveys and targeted interviews. 
  • Interviews conducted by students with Georgetown alumna/ae and friends who are leaders in the business world about the challenges of diversity and the prospects for meeting these challenges through increased intercultural understanding. 
  • Recommendations for undergraduate curriculum and internships that empower the transition from Georgetown to the global workforce and prospects for increased alumni mentoring and extended learning communities.

In February 2010, a group of Doyle Fellows traveled to New York City to conduct interviews with academics and business professionals and engage them in conversation about the challenges and successes of working in a diverse market. The Fellows had the opportunity to interview an academic at Columbia University and delve deeper into issues of cultural and religious diversity in a curricular context. The Fellows explored the importance of engaging intercultural competency in the classroom and discussed viable methods through which universities can expand their scope to include discussions of social morality and ethics into business school curricula.

The Fellows also participated in a panel discussion hosted by a University Regent who gathered high-level business leaders from the financial, legal, and public health sectors. During this wide-ranging discussion, the Fellows gleaned information about the impact of new social media on business relationships, the challenges of cross-cultural interactions, the importance of linguistic skills, and the role of social and personal morality in making business decisions. Before returning to DC, the Fellows interviewed an international finance professional with a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual staff which enabled the Fellows to engage the internal business practices of a pluralistic business environment.

These on-site interviews complement over 40 other interviews the Fellows conducted during the research project.

Diverse Georgetown Students Laughing in front of Healy Hall



Michael Kessler headshot

Michael Kessler

Managing Director
Department of Government and Law Center



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