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Georgetown University hopes to bring its MBA program to Tysons Corner

Wednesday - 9/25/2013, 9:53am  ET

Students seeking a master's in business administration from Georgetown University could soon find themselves heading to evening classes at the Tower Club in Tysons Corner instead of the school's D.C. campus as early as fall 2014.

Georgetown University said it's exploring a potential expansion of its evening MBA program outside of the District for the first time, into Northern Virginia. It comes at a time when the university is re-evaluating its campus needs as its restricted footprint in Georgetown proves insufficient to handle fast-growing enrollment alone.

"Tysons made sense to us because it is where significant growth in happening in the business community," said David Thomas, dean of the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business. "It is very diverse and the business there attracts the same kind of talent that we attract to our MBA program."

The new program — contingent on accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools — would offer the same curriculum and use the same faculty that the university offers for its current evening program at the Georgetown campus.

If it wins approval, the university would start with an initial cohort of 40 to 60 students at the Tysons location. It hopes to add a new class each year until it is fully ramped up within three years with approximately 150 students enrolled in the program.

"Our hope is that the Tysons location is going to allow us to build much deeper and better connections with the business community in Tysons," said Elaine Romanelli, senior associate dean for MBA programs at Georgetown. "It also allows us to grow our program without growing our presence on this campus. It is a combination of the best of all possible worlds."

On the decision to choose the Tower Club, Thomas said the university was looking for high-quality space that would "provide an equivalent kind of experience that our students have when they take their courses here on our campus." University leaders didn't disclose the financial terms of their agreement with the Tower Club, but called it an "economical" option.

"The Tower Club is underutilized during the hours that we would want use that space so it turned out that it was a win-win for both of us," Thomas said. "And it allows us to make this move in a very economical way in that we don¹t have to wait on building out a new physical plan to begin to offer the program."

The plan in contingent upon a zoning change, pending before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, that would allow classes on-site at the Tower Club.

Another factor that sealed the university's decision in choosing Tysons Corner for a potential expansion is the soon-to-open Silver Line, which will connect Tysons to the regional Metrorail system. "Given that you are going to have Light Rail coming to the Tysons area shortly, we thought that would make that a convenient and attractive area to have a program," Thomas said.

© 2013 American City Business Journals, Inc.