2021 Best & Brightest EMBAs: Marshall C. Macomber, Georgetown University (McDonough)

Marshall C. Macomber

Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business

Age: 48

“Adore my wife and kids. Passionate about transportation, architecture, infrastructure. Entrepreneur. History buff. Coffee fanatic.”

Hometown: LaGrange, GA

Family Members: My wife and best friend, Jenny; our two Kindergarteners Alaina (girl) and Parker (boy), both aged 6.

Fun fact about yourself: During the pandemic, my family and I temporarily left DC and moved to my small hometown in West Georgia. We’ve been living in my childhood home with our kids attending my elementary school. It’s been 30 years since I’ve lived there. Quite the journey for all of us.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Georgia, Bachelor of Journalism.

Where are you currently working? President & Founder, ThinkP3, a boutique consulting firm I started in 2015 focused on public-private partnerships of all types.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: Prior to EMBA, the pandemic, and my wife and I having twins…I was a semi-professional classical singer; a gardener; and a nascent beer brewer. I love traveling, foreign languages, public policy, politics, and really creative business ideas. I’ve led my church governing board. I love reading the New York Times and Wall Street Journal in print and subscribe to them both. Soon, I’ll be a proud Georgetown alum and member of the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Graduating with academic honors. I thought I was smart enough to survive a really tough business school program, but I didn’t know I could thrive in it and really enjoy it.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Both my long career on Capitol Hill as Chief of Staff, and starting and growing my own consulting firm.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Bardia Kamrad. His Decision Analytics class was, to me, crushingly difficult. I came into this program as a poet, but Bardia’s class gave me the confidence to know I could also do well as a quant.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I liked that Georgetown’s business school is immersed in the policy culture of Washington, DC. After many years on the Hill, I wanted to pivot to a more business-focused career, but still maintain a policy lens. The McDonough School offered the perfect blend, in addition being rigorous and high ranking. Also worth noting, what pleasantly surprised me about the program was how much Georgetown’s focus on ethics, diversity, and values permeated the program.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? There were probably two lessons:

1) So many people know so much more than me – and always will – and therefore working with others usually creates greater value than working alone.

2) Embracing the unknown of what’s ahead is essential for business success (and in life). I’ve applied both lessons in the workplace by being far more willing to share an idea with the hopes that others can help improve it and grow it, while knowing that no one knows how anything will really turn out.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? My wife and I have two young kids; I also run my own business. My wife does as well. So for us, life is always a juggling act. It’s really about communication, understanding, patience, support, and humility.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? One, go for the most challenging and highest-rated program you can get into. Two, take some tough, scary-sounding classes to help you learn what you’re capable of – and what you’re not. Three, form relationships with your cohort members and practice using the tools you acquire. Four, try to have some perspective: remember you won’t be in the program for long, and it’s almost a miracle you’re in a professional, financial and personal place to be able to pull it off. So try to have some fun along the way.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? That mid-career was too late to go back to school. Totally wrong! In reality, for me, mid-career was absolutely perfect. It’s been a huge professional and personal boost.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I think my only regret is I had a few cohort members with whom I did not work in a group assignment; I should have made a more proactive effort to ensure I did. Sometimes, I wish it could have been a longer program, or I could have had more time to spend with my colleagues outside of class. On the whole, it was a terrific experience. Like everyone, I was very disappointed we had to go virtual as a result of the pandemic. But even there, we all realized we could still learn the material, collaborate successfully, and grow our friendships – and that business can really thrive in a virtual environment as well.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? All of my colleagues with young kids and families. We all helped each other along.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? I wanted an immersive, in-person learning experience with colleagues who were similar in age and career experience.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I want to work with some of the smartest people, on some of the toughest problems, and to be a contributing leader to my community and to society at large.

What made Marshall such an invaluable addition to the class of 2021?

“I teach two Executive MBA courses for Georgetown McDonough: EMBA 803 – Microeconomics and EMBA 806 – Strategy. The former provides microeconomic concepts that are important to understanding business; the latter provides strategic concepts that are important to understanding value creation and capture. These courses are demanding in their content, workload, and requirements.

Marshall Macomber was a participant in both courses during the 2019-2020 academic year and, for several reasons, stood out from his peers. First, Marshall finished near the top of his cohort in both courses. He demonstrated a strong grasp of the subject matter and could easily apply it to different settings. Second, Marshall was an active and thoughtful contributor in lectures and case discussions, helping me create a dynamic learning environment. Third, Marshall is a great person. He was simultaneously inquisitive and demanding of his instructors, supportive of his classmates, and modest of his own self. Quite simply, Georgetown McDonough was lucky to have him. I fully expect him to flourish in his professional endeavors.”

Jeffrey Macher
Professor of Strategy, Economics and Policy



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