This weekend, I travel to Washington, DC for a one-week course entitled “Business and Public Policy: How Washington Works and What Issues Matter”. Fourteen other Kelley students and I will join MBA students from 16 other business schools around the country for a week full of tours, speakers, and a computer simulation.
When I first heard about the course, I was very interested, so I talked with my advisor about taking it. Once I registered, I was linked to a website with more details on the trip along with a required pre-reading list of articles. The intro article gave a synopsis of the who’s who in government and how the various agencies and departments are linked together. The remaining articles mostly described the good and bad sides of lobbying and advocacy groups along with some of the attempts at reform. They also gave a glimpse of the topics that would be covered during the week.
Last week, I received the final agenda for the course, and my interest in the course quickly turned to excitement. Seventeen guest speakers will discuss topics covering policy making, roles of lobbyists and interest groups, the federal budget, taxes, China, elections, energy, healthcare, universities, trade policies, the role of media, and more. We will also observe Congress, visit the Supreme Court, and have lunch one day at the National Press Club. One afternoon we will even participate in a computer simulation demonstrating the types of pressures that Congressmen confront. For grading, we have a written exam on the last day of the course and a team project to complete within two weeks of finishing the course.
I don’t know any of my fellow students who are attending, but I look forward to meeting them and other students from around the country. I suspect that I will learn from all of them as we explore how our government works and what issues matter.