A big congratulation goes out to the Duquesne team that placed 3rd overall for the Aspen Institutes’ Business & Society International MBA Case Competition! Atalie Hayes, Gregg Gorse, Matt Ebberts, and Andrew Minnotte placed first in the internal round of competition at Duquesne and then had their work submitted to the overall competition. They were one of five business schools chosen to present their recommendations in New York City, where they placed third overall! Over 1,000 students at 25 business schools worldwide challenged themselves with a brand new case study.
This year’s case was authored with the Yale School of Management and the National University of Singapore Business School. Students received log in credentials at noon on Thursday March 21st, and the competition had officially begun. Working all weekend, students stepped into the consulting world for real-life, time-sensitive scenario analysis. A six-page document was then due at 9 am on Monday, March 25th. The papers, judged by Duquesne faculty and regional executives make up 80% of each team’s final score. On Wednesday, all teams presented for 10 minutes to faculty on their recommendations from the case. This score makes up the remaining 20% of the scores.
The internal race at Duquesne was extremely close. After all judges scores were calibrated, two team tied for second place: The team of Derek McMahan, Elizabeth Koppula, and Seth Beck and the team of Morgan Funk, Amanda Putnam, Charlie Leventry, and Daniel Gehrig.
Congratulations again to all of those that participated and especially to the first team from Duquesne to make it to the final round and ultimately third in the world!
Background: Gregg, originally from Pittsburgh, PA, attended the University of North Texas where he majored in marketing. Prior to joining the sMBA program, Gregg worked on an on-campus marketing campaign internship with Chevrolet. He is also a member of Beta Gamma Sigma.
Why Duquesne: Gregg was interested in moving back to the Pittsburgh area, so he began searching for local universities to earn his MBA. He chose Duquesne because he was attracted to the sustainability aspect of the one-year program.
Contributions to the Cohort: Gregg was a member of the team that placed third overall at the Aspen Institutes’ Business & Society International MBA Case Competition, which was also the first team from Duquesne to be chosen for the final round..
Career Interests/ Goals: Gregg is interested in brand management for his plans after graduation. He is also interested in pursuing entrepreneurship by creating his own product or starting his own business.
Personal: Gregg enjoys anything pertaining to superheroes, the 80’s, and the Beatles.
On April 2, the women students in our MBA Sustainability program hosted an event that featured intimate conversations with three of Pittsburgh’s most prominent women executives. The event, co-sponsored by the Pittsburgh chapter of MBA Women International, was a smashing success.
“View from the C-Suite: Insights from Women Who Cracked the Glass Ceiling,” was attended by over 50 MBA students from regional universities, nearly 50 aspiring women who have already earned their MBAs, and a few brave men. Heinz, PNC, American Eagle, Bank of New York Mellon, Duquesne Light and the Pittsburgh Business Times underwrote attendance of MBA students
Featured executives were:
• Karen Larrimer, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer of PNC
• Audrey Russo, President and CEO of Pittsburgh Technology Council
• Donna Sturgess, President of Buyolgy and Executive in Residence at CMU (and former global head of innovation at GlaxoSmithKline)
Duquesne MBA Sustainability students Elizabeth Koppula and Atalie Hayes served as hosts and introduced fellow students Amanda Putnam, Morgan Funk, and Dina Sanioura and the executives they interviewed. Amanda, Morgan and Dina had conducted pre-event phone conferences with Karen, Audrey and Donna and skillfully guided the on-stage conversations to share unique insights and practical advice:
Karen encouraged us to “stay out of our comfort zone” and “raise our hands” for what we want. We cannot sit around and wait to be asked to fill a position; we just need to ask for it.
Audrey challenged us to always “be present” and relayed advice for career resilience that she was given along the way: “No one can take away your spirit; only you can give it away.”
Donna spoke of the importance of knowing your buyer “beyond the spreadsheet” as a marketer and “loving sales” as an entrepreneur. She also advised that although networking is important, you need friends who will tell you what you may not want to hear to get ahead.
The event was a huge success! The women sMBA students were fantastic on stage; their introductions and interviews made the audience feel as if they were watching an interview on late night television instead of a traditional interview. Thanks to the sponsors, speakers, presenters, MBA Women International, Duquesne University and the women sMBA students for putting on such a unique event.
In March, our Sustainability class went on a field trip to Burns and Scalo. The roofing company specializes in solar and green roofs, as well as daylighting and traditional roofing. After a presentation on the company and their solar roofing services, the class had the opportunity to visit their own solar roof at their warehouse facility. The roof contains three different energy producing PV (photovoltaic) technologies and five different vegetative green roof systems. The roof also has other energy efficient products including daylighting and reflective roof membranes. Daylighting provides the warehouse enough natural light to keep all lighting fixtures off during the day. The facility is a living area for universities and professionals to study sustainability and was a great learning experience for the class.
The cohort recently started our Organizational Behavior course for the spring semester. During the first few weeks of class, each group is charged at leading a class discussion or activity based on the readings and cases assigned for the day. Last week the topic was “teams” and what better way to get everyone involved then through a team building activity.
The activity was quite simple: a rope was placed on the ground, all group members picked up a piece of the rope and then the group needed to form a 5 point star without taking their hands off the rope. Four of the five groups were able to complete the task, which incorporated elements from the “follow the sun” approach from the text. However, all groups that completed the star took completely different approaches. It was a fun activity that demonstrated the different methods teams can take to achieve one outcome.
Our cohort returned from our Spring Break study trip to Germany and Luxembourg. We had the opportunity to visit several companies in both countries as well as network with professors from FOM in Germany and EUFOM in Luxembourg. We saw so many things and learned more than could ever fit in one blog, but here are some highlights!
Guest Blogger: Elizabeth Koppula
Friday, March 1: We arrived in Dusseldorf, Germany. We met our bus driver Günther at the airport and took our first ride on the Autobahn to Cologne. Günther has been the bus driver for the cohorts since the first trip to Germany, and has become somewhat of a legend among the alumni and students. Our first day was fairly uneventful since we were all a bit jetlagged, but some of us toured the Lindor Chocolate Museum, and we all tested our German language skills at our first German restaurant.
Saturday, March 2: After some refreshing sleep, we were ready for our walking tour of Cologne. Our host was Dr. Gert Schweitzer, a retired executive whose distinguished global career with Bayer Corporation included a stint in a senior role at Bayer’s North American headquarters in Pittsburgh. Gert, a native of Cologne, shared pre- and post-war insight from his childhood. The first part of our tour was Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral). The cathedral took 600 years to build and is the only one in Europe that was completed based on the original plans. It is also among the few buildings in the city that was not destroyed by extensive bombing in World War II. We visited several other churches as well as the town hall. Our tour included an underground archaeology museum, where we toured a Roman villa that was uncovered in the bombed ruins. In the evening, some students braved public transportation to visit Dusseldorf’s historic downtown or watch Bayer’s soccer team play against Stuttgard in Leverkusen. We learned that navigating trains in a foreign language can be a bit of an adventure, but we were impressed by the transportation system in Germany!
Sunday, March 3: We drove 45 minutes to Aachen. We visited the town hall where Charlemagne was crowned in 800 AD and a museum with artifacts from his time, including his bones. Aachen is also home to a church built in 719 AD. Some of the buildings in Aachen were 1000 years older than the oldest structures in the United States!
Monday, March 4: In the morning, we visited Bayer’s ChemPark campus in Leverkusen and met with the VP of strategy and sustainability planning. We toured their communication center as well as their waste and recycling center. Although Bayer is typically associated with Aspirin, they produce far more products than we realized. The company is heavily involved in agricultural products and is developing new methods to make plastics from the CO2 waste generated in their production process. In the afternoon, we visited Sparkasse, a regional savings bank, and met with the bank’s sustainability manager. This bank has done a very good job of emphasizing the three key areas of sustainability: economic, environmental, and social. We all enjoyed seeing the concepts we have been learning in class being put into practice at both of the companies. We also were impressed with the level of long term planning taking place in these companies. Sparkasse also houses the world’s largest art collection of Käthe Kollwitz artwork. Kollwitz is a German artist who made a career painting the struggles of the working class during the turn of the century through World War II. Her artwork is very dark, but it shows a difficult part of Germany’s history and was very interesting to see!
Tuesday, March 5: Tuesday’s focus was energy. We visited an RWE lignite (soft coal) mine. RWE is Germany’s largest energy producer. They also invest in several other forms of energy including solar and wind, however the majority of Germany’s energy is produced by coal. Our RWE tour guide had Günther drive our tour bus right down into the bottom of the mine and we were able to see the mining process up close. Günther was concerned the bus would get stuck and told us that if we stopped hearing the guide talking it was because he had killed him. We all made it out in one piece, bus and all!
Wednesday, March 6: Our last day in Germany was spent at FOM University of Business Administration. We heard from several professors and students who talked about sustainability, a university research project on new business models, and a new farming model for cotton in Africa. In the afternoon we had a lecture on the structure of law, especially environmental law, in the EU.
Thursday, March 7: We arrived in Luxembourg! Our bus ride took three hours and included an adventurous lunch at a truck stop. Our waitress was very confident about taking 21 lunch orders in English and a little over confident about our ability to speak German. She learned the word “Pumpkin” (after several attempts which included using words such as “Bumpkin” and “Humpkin”). We began our visit in Luxembourg with a walking tour of the city. Luxembourg has a remarkable culture. Throughout their history, the country has been a part of Germany, France, Holland, Spain, Belgium, and several other countries. These countries have all contributed to the architecture, culture, cuisine and language. The official language is “Luxembourgish” which sounds like a mix of German and French, but on the streets most people speak French.
Friday, March 8: We toured the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. This campus is continuously expanding to grow along with the European Union. In the evening, we attended a conference at the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce. We heard from a panel of professors and students and professionals who spoke on the European financial crisis. We hear about this often in the news, but we all enjoyed hearing European’s viewpoint on this!
Saturday, March 9: Back in Pittsburgh. This trip was a unique cultural experience for the entire cohort! We are so grateful to our professors and the people we were able to meet in Europe for providing this opportunity for us!
Peace Corps Week celebrates how Peace Corps Volunteers make a difference in the United States and in countries throughout the world. President John F. Kennedy signed an executive order to establish the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961, and the observation of Peace Corps Week has been celebrated during this week ever since .
Our sMBA program is a proud partner in the Peace Corps Coverdale Fellows Program. In the past five years, nine returned volunteers have used their international training and experience to serve the underserved in Pittsburgh while pursuing their MBAs in our program. We salute them for their service to our university, community and the world!
Amanda Putnam, class of 2013 (Ukraine)
Mindy Kuth, MBA 2012 (Mexico)
J.P. Gibbons, MBA 2012 (Guatemala)
Mark Kampert, MBA 2011 (Namibia)
Kris Crown, MBA 2010 (Grenada)
Lauren Eloyan, MBA 2010 (Zambia)
Kir Cha, MBA 2009 (Costa Rica)
Vananh Le, MBA 2009 (Uzbekistan)
Aaron Meyers, MBA, 2009 (Honduras)