Student Spotlight: Catherine Papp

catherineBefore Duquesne: Catherine attended Bethany College in West Virginia where she double majored in German and International Relations. Currently, she is working in the graduate office doing administrate and recruitment activities, including best practice research, campaign letter writing, and editing.  During the year off in between undergraduate and graduate school she made paintbrushes!

Why Duquesne: “I knew I wanted to come to Pittsburgh, and when I was looking up MBA programs, I was intrigued by the Duquesne’s MBA with the concentration in Sustainability. I didn’t know what it meant at a time, but if I thought that if I could learn how to convince companies to be more socially and environmentally responsible using actual business principles, I would have an invaluable skill entering the market. Sustainability is not a trend, but a long-term investment in reducing risk management.”

After Duquesne: Upon completion of the program Catherine would like to get into cultural consulting for international businesses to leverage her education and cultural curiosity.

A Class with the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse

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Yesterday, Erika Johnson, executive director of the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse, visited our Organizational Behavior to shed light on group dynamics.  Erika brought a variety of different items from yarn to building blocks, and allowed each of us to select one item to “play” with for a few minutes.  I don’t think many of us find the time to sit down and simply play.  Without speaking we followed a variety of directions.  In the end, each student consulting team took the items in their group to create something.  Some teams created art work, while others created games.  The exercise allowed us to get outside our usual element to see our group dynamics, as well as individual strengths and weaknesses, while having a lot of fun!  Creative Reuse will be back in class for our final wrap up for the semester, and we are excited for what the next visit will bring!



Student Spotlight: Laura Monahan


Before Duquesne: Laura, originally from Los Angeles, California, started working for Apple in 2007 and moved up to a technician (“Genius”) within the year. After moving to Pittsburgh, she helped open the Ross Park store and worked there for a little under a year before leaving to finish her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies at Chatham University. Over the last few years, she worked as a chemistry tutor, residential landscaper, and most recently as environmental sustainability intern at BNY Mellon.

Why Duquesne: “I knew I wanted to come to Pittsburgh when I started reading about all of the exciting sustainability programs and organizations headquartered in the city. I was intrigued by Duquesne’s MBA program with a concentration in sustainability because I am prone to asking the questions “why” and “how.” I found that my undergraduate degree in environmental science allowed me to pursue the question of why sustainability is important, but the MBA Sustainability program has been essential to becoming equipped to start answering the question of how we move forward.”

After Duquesne: Laura is interested in sustainability reporting and consulting, which she is well-poised for due to project courses and various case competitions. One of her teams even placed second in a world case competition, Corporate Knights-Schulich Business for a Better World, held during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.


Duquesne MBA team wins $8500 for solving malnutrition challenges

Derick Florian, Angela Petitto, Dr. Benito Manrique, Fan Ding, and Peter Kassouf

Pictured (from left to right): Derick Florian, Angela Petitto, Dr. Benito Manrique, Fan Ding, and Peter Kassouf

For the second year, a student team from the MBA Sustainability program advanced to the finals of theAspen Institute’s 2014 Business & Society International MBA Case Competition. Fan Ding, Derick Florian, Peter Kassouf and Angela Petitto have returned to the Bluff with a second-place award. The team competed against more than 1,000 other MBA students around the world.

The competition began in March with qualifying rounds at 25 leading graduate business schools. Students analyzed a strategic marketing case and posted their solutions within 72 hours. All students in the MBA Sustainability cohort participated as an extension of a problem-solving consulting course co-taught by Dr. Robert Sroufe, Murrin Chair of Global Competitiveness, and Diane Ramos, associate director of graduate programs and adjunct instructor of leadership and change management. The best solutions from the 25 participating schools were submitted to the Aspen Institute, and five teams advanced to the finals in New York City on April 4. For the second consecutive year, Duquesne students were among the finalists.

The competition focused on a new business case study produced by the Yale School of Management and Tecnológico de Monterrey: San Miguel: Expanding the Amaranth Market, a marketing case about a small Mexican factory processing ancient grain and operating with a social mission.

“Our team outlined a 10-year plan for addressing malnutrition while building San Miguel’s business that included producing amaranth for government and nongovernment nutritional assistance programs; exporting ingredient-branded amaranth flour for high protein, gluten-free and lactose-free products in growing U.S. specialty food categories; and micro-financing amaranth retail operations in Mexico,” said Ramos, explaining the work of students Peter Kassouf, Fan Ding, Derick Florian and Angela Petitto. The team won an $8,500 prize.

“Making it to New York and getting to know the owner of San Miguel on a personal level was truly priceless,” said Petitto, who reported that the physician who founded the social entrepreneurship is eager to engage Duquesne students as ongoing advisors.

“Seeing how seriously the financial community takes social issues was incredibly rewarding,” added Kassouf. “Applying business skills to make the world a better place is exactly the sort of thing I signed up for when I enrolled in the MBA Sustainability program.”

The team’s effort were supported by Duquesne internal round judges and coaches, including Bill O’Rourke, executive director of The Beard Institute; Dr. Ana Siqueira, assistant professor of management; Tom Nist, director of graduate programs; Dr. Jim Burnham, professor emeritus; and alumni in the corporate and nonprofit sectors Marian Mulholland, Jack Ouellette, Marie Fechik-Kirk and Greg Gorse.

Spring Sustainability Symposium



Written By: Catherine Papp

Students, members of faculty, and representatives from local businesses such as PNC, Alcoa, and the Pittsburgh Zoo, pleasantly mingled early Friday morning over breakfast during the Sustainability Symposium in anticipation of the feature event – James Balog’s Chasing Ice documentary. A self-taught photographer with a science background, Balog was and is passionate about capturing the interactions between humans and nature. From this passion, in the wake of global warming controversies, the ice project was born. Balog assembled a team to document first-hand the depletion of the ice caps, tracking the changes to the landscapes of Iceland, Greenland, Alaska, and Montana overtime.

What they found was astounding. Balog, who was once a climate change skeptic, could no longer deny that humans were capable of changing the basic physics and chemistry of the Earth. Although off to a rough start due to technical problems with circuitry, Balrog’s photographs corroborate evidence of retreating glaciers due to changes in global temperature. His most alarming capture is the recession of the Ilulissat Glacier in Greenland; in just 75 minutes, 1.8 cubic miles, equivalent to 3000 Capital Buildings, broke off in chunks of ice 600 feet tall. The rate at which glaciers are receding is unprecedented in history, and Balog wants to use his photography as a message – that despite what anyone thinks, they are touched in some way by atmospheric changes. This is already evident due to the increased weather-related disasters in the US since 1980. Taxpayers will notice the effects when they are forced to increase funding for military defense to ensure safety from uprisings related to resource scarcity around the world.

The symposium concluded with awards given to companies striving to make a difference in the fight against climate change. The first, the Green to Gold Award, was given to American Express and accepted by Tim McClimon, President of the American Express Foundation and Vice President of Social Corporate Responsibility. Burns and Scalo was awarded the Pennsylvania Sustainable Small Business Award. Concluding remarks were given by our very own Dr. Robert Sroufe, Murrin Chair of Global Competitiveness.

Student Spotlight: Stephen Sumpter

Before Duquesne: Steve recently spent time in Ethiopia as a US Peace Corps volunteer.  Steve has also shared his love for music and business in Spring Grove School District and South Western School District. For his undergraduate degree, Steve attended Westminster College where he majored in business administration and music.

Why Duquesne:I choose the MBA Sustainability program because it is a more environmental and people focused program than many other MBA programs.  Additionally, I knew I wanted to be in Pittsburgh and Duquesne has the best peace corps fellowship in the city.

Beyond Duquesne: After graduation, Steve is interested in project management, specifically in the areas of supply chain or sustainability.  Also, Steve is interested in becoming a small business owner leveraging his passion for coffee and MBA toolkit.



Internal Aspen Case Competition


Two weekends ago our cohort competed in an internal case competition, specifically the Aspen Business & Society International MBA Case Competition.  Each group of four had 72-hours to complete a thorough analysis of the case in order to develop a implementation plan to address the problems outlined in this years case.  The competition allowed us to step into a real-life, time-sensitive situation that demanded an integrative decision, similar to the real-world situation we will be faced in the business world.

Our cohort, in addition to more than 1,000 students at 25 business schools tackled this year’s brand new case study, authored by the Yale School of Management, requiring innovative thinking at the intersection of corporate profitability and positive social and environmental impact.

Just last Friday, local judges listened to each presentation and examined each paper to determine an internal winner.  We are very proud of the internal winners: Fan Ding, Derick Florian, Peter Kassouf, and Angela Petitto! Additionally, we would like to congratulate all eight student teams for creating extremely competitive deliverables in such a short-period of time!