Hagar Rakha was one of 12 students in the inaugural class of Georgetown’s Program & Portfolio Management graduate program, but she was the only one to take her classes from more than 6,800 miles away.
“I was the only international student, which I’m proud of,” said Rakha, who is the manager for faculty affairs for Georgetown University in Qatar.
Rakha has more than 10 years of managerial experience working in higher education and government. Her job in Doha involves working with faculty chairs, organizing conferences, and doing policy analysis, research, and program evaluations. She speaks Arabic, English, and German, and has also worked as a translator. And she has a master’s degree in International Relations from Cairo University.
The Executive Master’s in Program & Portfolio Management is an intensive yearlong program that combines online work with two residencies in Washington D.C. It can be a challenge for those who, like Rakha, are juggling its demands with those of a family and a full-time job.
“It was challenging to meet all the deadlines, keep up with all the requirements, and manage your time,” said Rakha, who completed the program in the summer of 2017. “You have to really prioritize.”
She said her courses in strategic management and negotiation skills were the most helpful.
“You need some negotiation skills, even internally, in your institution,” she said.
While much of the class is taken online, there is nothing “remote” about the program, Rakha said.
“Even the online forums were very interactive,” she said. “When we got to meet in person at the residencies, we felt like we already knew each other.”