Frequently Asked Questions

What is GEM?

GEM (Graduates in Executive Management) is a selective program for any major with a 3.0 GPA (3.25 for graduate students). It includes classes taught by CEOs, COOs, Senior Executives and Judges, all with doctoral degrees, annual retreats at a fine Charlotte hotel, and a trip abroad to Switzerland, Germany, and France.


Why should I join GEM?

This program provides good preparation for the world of work. It also gives students a distinct advantage when applying for a job or to law school.


Who can join GEM?

Any major with a 3.0 GPA (3.2 for graduate students) who wants a GEM education, a GEM certificate at graduation, internship and job interview opportunities, a trip overseas, and who is willing to pay the $3,495 program cost.


How do I get the GEM certificate?

Students must take at least five courses from a GEM professor and earn at least a grade of B for the class. This usually means five GEM classes plus the trip overseas to Switzerland, Germany, and France.


What is a GEM class?

Any of the standard business courses such as Marketing 300, Management 316, Finance 316, etc. taught by a GEM professor is considered a GEM class.


What is a GEM professor?

A GEM professor is a former corporation president, chairman, senior vice president or a judge/senior partner in a law firm with a doctoral degree. There are currently eight total GEM full and part time professors in the Godbold School of Business at Gardner-Webb University.


Can I join GEM as a freshman?

Yes, you can. In fact, it is a very good time to join because you can attend as many as four weekend retreats.


How much does the GEM Program cost?

The current cost is $3,495 which includes all retreat weekends and the trip overseas.


How do I pay for the GEM Program?

Each semester the finance department bills the GEM payment balance to the students. This means that you can pay in installments. Also, through GWU a loan can be obtained from the First National Bank of Shelby. No loan payback is required until 60 days after graduation. Until then, about $75 per quarter interest charge will be billed to the student.

How do I earn my three credits for the trip abroad?

During the overseas trip, each student will keep a journal that is submitted to the GEM professor/trip leader. Students are expected to attend all lectures and participate in all business visits. There will be short papers required on the businesses that will be toured. The GEM professor on the trip will determine due dates and requirements regarding the written work. Once all trip requirements have been met, the student receives the three credits at no extra tuition cost.

What happens if I change my mind about the program?

The $200 deposit is non-refundable. If you decide to leave the program after deposits have been made for the overseas bookings and the overseas personnel do not permit a refund, you will be responsible for the amount. Also, once the airline ticket has been purchased, and you decide not to go on the trip, there is no refund. You will, however, receive your ticket which can be rebooked within a year. Any cost difference will have to be borne by you. Other than the actual airline ticket itself, there is no refunds in GEM.


Can I just go on the trip and not belong to GEM?

Yes, in fact anyone can participate in the trip. However, while overseas, you are not permitted to deviate from the trip itinerary and must stay with the group throughout the entire time. The trip cost, of course, at $2,795 will apply.


Is the trip always in May?

The best time for the trip is right after graduation, so that students who wish to attend summer school can be back in time.


Can I join GEM as a rising senior?

It is possible and others have done it. See the GEM Program director (704-406-4379) for more information.


Are GOAL students eligible for GEM?

Yes. You need to speak with your GOAL advisor.


Are MBA students eligible for GEM?

Yes. Their undergraduate GEM classes are combined with their MBA/GEM courses. Students take the international trip and attend all GEM retreats. The GEM fee is the same as for undergraduate students. Graduate students must maintain a 3.25 GPA to complete the MBA/GEM.

Why should a foreign student who will return to the homeland want to join GEM?

There are two good reasons. First, regardless of the country, there will be American companies with manufacturing plants or sales offices there. Second, these students will be fluent in English, and this will give them a considerable advantage over their peers in their home country.


If I am shy of a 3.0 GPA, can I still join?

Yes. A 2.8 or 2.9 GPA student can participate on a provisional basis and eventually earn GEM recognition if your GPA is a 3.0 by graduation. In addition, students must earn at least a B in all GEM courses. If you do not accomplish this, there will be no GEM certificate. There will also be no refund.


Is the Switzerland/France/Germany trip the only possibility for the international experience?

That is usually the case. However, see the GEM director if you wish to opt for something else.


I am a married student. Can my spouse and/or relative go on the trip with me?

By all means, this is possible. Of course, the trip fee of $2,795 will apply.


Can parents and/or friends take the trip?

Absolutely, and many have done so in the past at the trip fee of $2,795.

What about other professors? Can they go, too?

You bet they can, and they are most welcome, at the trip fee of $2,795.

I am impressed with this program and would like to join. What should I do?

You will need to complete a GEM Information Form which you can get either from your professor or from the GEM Program director (704-406-4379). Then write a check for $200 made out to Gardner-Webb University-GEM, clip it to the GEM Information Form, and give it to your professor or take it to the GEM Program office in 311 Hamrick Hall.

GEM is endorsed by the Gardner-Webb University President as well as by numerous senior executives. For further information, contact the GEM office in 311 Hamrick Hall. (704) 406-4379.