Students who attended our Net Impact Earth Day described it as “an open and creative event” that made it easy for them to “learn from their peers about the importance of sustainability.”
On Earth Day we hosted a creative take on a trivia game to prompt peer-to-peer discussions about the daily impact that any individual can make on the planet. Our format offers a good way to bring people from diverse backgrounds into the conversation about protecting and preserving our planet. The better informed student body takes us one step closer to making the positive change we want to see in the world!
In January 2007, when Duquesne was recruiting students for our first MBA Sustainability cohort, the cover of what was then BusinessWeek magazine invited readers to “Imagine a world in which eco-friendly and socially responsible practices actually help a company’s bottom line.”
Less than a decade later, McKinsey describes sustainability as “profits with purpose” and reports that “companies pursue sustainability because it has a material financial impact.”
- Companies with high ESG ratings outperform market in the medium and long-term and have lower cost of debt and equity.
- Companies in Carbon Disclosure and Carbon Performance Leadership Indices have superior stock market returns.
- Efficient use of resources is an indicator of overall superior financial performance.
- Socially responsible investment accounted for more than 11% of assets under management in the United States ($3.74 trillion) in 2013.
As MBA students with a focus in sustainability, we are preparing to strengthen the business case for the positive change we want to see in the world!
For one of our consulting projects, one of our teams tackled the blight of eyesores in Pittsburgh. In cooperation with Phipps Conservatory, this team identified potential locations for urban green space that are currently underutilized. This city has a great opportunity to improve its health, economic, and attractiveness by incorporating more green space into it’s city limits. With multiple areas of Pittsburgh undertaking great strides in their development, this is the perfect time for this project. The members of this team “utilized design thinking” to complete their project plans, while also “beginning to understand the complex environment in which a community project of this size lives,” and “how to overcome the barriers” associated with this type of project. The team wants to send a special thanks to Phipps Conservatory for this fantastic opportunity.
Without giving away too much information, one of our MBA Sustainability consulting teams was working with Eat’ N Park Hospitality Group as they expand their restaurant empire and onsite catering business. This team worked on the cutting edge of sustainability initiatives within the restaurant industry and had an amazing time doing it.
One of our MBA Sustainability consulting teams just completed working with the Green Building Alliance to research and develop better financing options for “Green and Commercial Renovations.” They explored successful and emerging trends in sustainable renovations for older buildings, and how to keep the “first cost” down when these renovations occur. This team has described their experience as “challenging but rewarding,” and enjoyed the opportunity to work with the GBA.
Recently, our MBA Sustainability cohort participated in a community redesign forum inthe Uptown district of Pittsburgh, which is where Duquesne’s campus resides. This area is undergoing a sustainable development revival, and this renewal has been proclaimed as the EcoInnovation District. The event was a meeting of different stakeholders in the area to discuss the progress of the project and add new ideas.
Students who attended the event said, “It is encouraging to see people that care so much about helping out a part of our city that has a great history,” and that it was “eye-opening” and “refreshing.” Others were pleased to to see the project team “recognize that the people are the core of the community and their opinions really matter,” and that is what this project is all about.
The ideas for what the district will become are coming from the local residents, and those who come to the area for work or business. This allows for stakeholders who know what is best for this area to come forth and express the exact changes that this part of the city needs. Everyone at Duquesne’s sMBA program is eager to contribute to this amazing effort in sustainable development.
Dana McTighe’s role as Vice President for CapitalStream Change Management at PNC Bank offers insight to why our MBA Sustainability program is ranked 10th in the world for “preparing graduates to change the world” and “succeed in this shifting business environment.”
Dana joined PNC as a project manager after completing her MBA in 2012 and steadily advanced. Now she heads up large scale enterprise initiatives for daily transaction systems, working with 17 different cross-functional teams. “I am responsible for the Change Management activities associated with approximately 10,000 employees across seven lines of business,” she says.
Dana noted that “the opportunity to manage innovation through multiple client consulting projects as an MBA student was good preparation for leading change” at one of the nation’s largest banks. Prior to graduate school, Dana held a progression of roles with a small financial services firm. As an MBA student, her consulting accomplishments included quantifying Scope III Greenhouse Gases, developing a global crop risk mitigation strategy for Heinz, helping to launch a social entrepreneurship, and conducting field work in Europe and South America on study trips.
A former leader of Duquesne’s Net Impact chapter, Dana remains active as an alumnus. In 2015, she organized and co-hosted an alumni-student sustainability symposium at Duquesne. She also coaches student project and practicum teams, most recently serving as client for a student team that helped PNC’s “Green Team” engage over 50,000 employees in social and environmental priorities.
“The program produces some of the coolest people I have ever met, personally and professionally.”
Conor Gillespie, MBA Sustainability Alumnus, works at Resource Environmental Solutions, LLC (RES) which is the nation’s leading supplier of ecological offsets for unavoidable project-related impacts to wetlands, streams and habitats. The company, including Conor, will be the recipients of the Environmental Business Journal’s 2015 Award for Project Merit. Congratulations to Conor Gillespie, and everyone at RES, for achieving this impressive feat!
Check out the full article here: RES Receives 2015 Business Achievement Award