Six Thinking Hats & The Hedgehog Concept

In the first topic seminar of this semester, two of the sMBA students, tackled two intriguing issues. The first of which, the Six Thinking Hats concept, introduced the idea of creating a balanced group by infusing different personality types to ensure every angle of an idea is covered. Our discussion led us down multiple scenarios and displayed how each type of hat would comprehend each situation. The presentation devised different pathways of thinking about a problem than we normally would have comprehended.


The next topic we covered was the hedgehog concept. This stemmed from an ancient Greek parable about a fox who was trying to attack a hedgehog, but never succeeded. The hedgehog only did one thing great; defend himself. The idea was based on having a business do one thing, but do that one thing greatly. By combining what your passionate about, what you do best in the world, and what drives your economic engine you can create your hedgehog concept.

We are all striving to be able to think agilely and discover our great callings. I believe these two concepts are the first of many discussion that will only aid in our endeavor to make the change we want to see in the world.

Net Impact Mixer at the Science Center

12512828_10153231241192204_8071218061155347040_nMembers from across campuses in the Net Impact community met to explore the wonderment and knowledge inside the Carnegie Science Center. The 12507582_10153231241122204_8672163904666736950_n21+ Night was the stage for a meeting of minds, and some fun, as members of Duquesne, Chatham, and Carnegie Mellon Net Impact chapters came together to network. The night included exciting conversations, interesting exhibits, and enjoyable times in the interactive kid’s area. It was a great evening of meeting new people who had the same drive and motivation to make the change that they want to see in the world.

Student Spotlight – Rajany Mathew

Before Duquesne: Rajany served as a Peace Corps Volunteer for 27 months in the beautiful island of Madagascar. From 2013 to 2015, she worked as an Agri-business volunteer, which involved working with a local silk-weaving cooperative to help develop their business and establish partners overseas. Furthermore, Rajany worked in the local community to help develop a Farmer Field School. This program taught yield-increasing farmer techniques in addition to healthy cooking and nutritional information while using local foods and building organic gardens.

A graduate of  Drexel University in Philadelphia, Rajany majored in Marketing and Finance in the 5-year co-op program. Her professional marketing co-ops were with Johnson & Johnson and Sunoco. She completed her last co-op volunteering at an orphanage in Thailand. She also studied abroad in Singapore which piqued her interest in traveling and working abroad.

Why Duquesne: “I came upon Duquesne’s MBA program when I was looking for MBA programs that combined my passion for business, sustainable development, and traveling. This program was the perfect fit as it combined all three and was only 1-year long. I also spoke with the director of the program before I applied and she was so enthusiastic! I felt like I would be as asset to the program and school.”

Beyond Duquesne: Rajany would like to work for a Non-profit or B-corporation. She is especially interested in corporate social responsibility and working on sustainable development.

Interesting Fact About You: “I worked with my silk weavers (“silkies”) in Madagascar to help them find a partner overseas. Upon volunteering in my second year of service, I met a woman who was the manager of fundraising. We realized that Americans love the silk scarves my silkies make. We decided to work together and produce silk scarves for  Operation Smile to sell in order to fundraise for their mission trips to countries including Madagascar. Operation Smile conducts two mission trips to Madagascar every year where they perform surgeries on people of all ages who have cleft lips and cleft palates. In this way, we were able to support Madagascar through our business and help it to develop sustainably.”

Leadership and Life

Jack Ouellette is current chairman, previous president and former CEO of American Textile, a multinational company that manufactures protective and allergen barrier bedding products.  He’s also a Duquesne MBA alumnus who came to campus to discuss life and business lessons with students.


Jack Ouellette (middle) accompanied by MBA Students from the Donohue Graduate School of Business

As Jack noted, he used to think that “education was from a book or a classroom” (but) “now realizes that a lot of things that happen in real life are really great learning experiences.”

Jack got us thinking by posing five questions:

  • Do you take full responsibilities for your action at all times?
  • Are you at your very best when things are seemingly at their worst?
  • Do you know when good enough, is good enough?
  • With people, are you controlling or over-controlling?
  • Do you take care of your people?

“Leadership is all about people, and business is all about people,” according to Jack who was proud to describe the company he helped build by respecting associates, customers, and suppliers.

After 38 years at American Textile, Jack still has the spark of a fresh MBA graduate.   His most memorable piece of wisdom:  “Others respect you when you stand up in the storm.”

As sustainability students, we are attempting to change the world, impact it for the better, and create a more prosperous future for our children in a time of great chaos.  I challenge all of you to be the one who stands up in the storm, and become the change you want to see in the world.

Sustainability Headlines of 2015

andrew-winstonFriend of the program Andrew Winston, who is the author of Green to Gold and has spoken at Duquesne many times, has recently released an article in the Harvard Business Review that highlights the top 10 Sustainability headlines that helped to shape 2015.

One area that Winston discusses is the change in the mindset of consumers towards more sustainable products. As future Sustainability professionals we need to keep developing our expertise to display the business case for Sustainability. This will allow us to further our goal of being the change we want to see in the world. Below is the link to this outstanding article: 10 Sustainable Business Stories that Shaped 2015

From France to Frankfurt…

2016 will see the MBA Sustainability cohort travel throughout Europe!

We will be arriving in Paris, and then off to ICN Business School in Nancy, France. After Nancy, we will head to Strasbourg, France, which is home to the European Parliament. Next, historic Heidelberg, Germany. Last but not least the 2015 Arcadis Most Sustainable City in the world, Frankfurt, Germany.
The cohort is ecstatic for the opportunity to discover different cultures and collaborate with students and businesses from
across Europe. Soon we will have more details on all the special business visits and cultural expeditions our cohort
will have the ability to take part in while in Europe.

Game On! This is How our Generation will Create Positive Impact

“Be the change you want to see in the world” is a quote from Ghandi, and represents the essence of the 2015 Net Impact conference in Seattle. The Net Impact chapter officers of Duquesne were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend this national meeting of the minds. This conference brought together multiple universities, businesses, and NGOs to discuss how the millennial generation has the capability to generate a positive change in the world today.

This conference was teeming with dozens of speakers and presentations that all had a focus on innovation and sustainable business practices. One of the most inspiring guest speakers included the CEO of REI, Jerry Stritzke, who spoke as one of the keynote speakers about REI’s mission to get their consumers to “Opt Outside.” He also mentioned the stance they are taking on one of the busiest retail business days of the year. REI did not open on Black Friday this year, and gave their employees the day to spend quality time with their loved ones. What a game changer!

The Net Impact officers held an information session for fellow students and faculty after they returned from the conference. One takeaway was actually not from the conference itself, but from the city of Seattle. Seattle has a citywide ordinance that requires comprehensive recycling and composting. Our Net Impact chapter was amazed by the support and efficiency that the city has developed to implement this program. This concept fit in perfectly with our Fall Consulting project of turning Waste to Energy. A few of our own students are now looking into the feasibility of implementing such a program here in Pittsburgh. Keep checking in on our blog to see their progress!