#FlashBackFriday Sustainable Ballers!

IMG_20150203_195853 Flash Back Friday! Back to the spring semester when a group of students rallied together to find a way to relieve the stresses of life. The solution? Intramural Coed Basketball! With the obvious choice for the team name being “The Sustainable Ballers”, the crew assembled. The roster was assembled and the players took the court. Under the leadership of stellar Collegiate athletes like Brandon Martin, David Sexauer, Arielle Love, and Elise Farris, the Ballers went on to only lose 2 games total (one of those being in the championship game), finishing with a record of 6-2, second best in the league. It proved to be a long, but fun and entertaining for everyone. Plus a little exercise never hurt anyone! Pictured left to right: Dan Kriger, Derek Craig, Kamryn Thorpe, Elise Farris, Zach Snyder, Brandon Martin, and David Sexauer

Summer Clients

We are pleased to announce clients and challenges for the MBA Sustainability capstone practicum this summer.   In this 8-week consulting engagement, students conduct primary research and work on-site with client communities, examining emerging and systemic challenges.  Deliverable is a leading change proposal that quantifies financial, social and environmental opportunities and risks. Following is a list of the clients the students will be working with and the challenges they face.

City of Pittsburgh – Analyze costs and environmental imprint for City fleet and develop a long-term strategy, policy and purchasing plan to become a leader in green transportation among the nation’s major cities

Huntington Bank – Develop an analytical framework to assess whether social commitment is translating to business development and propose an ongoing strategy for investment decisions, including market-specific activities for economically challenged areas 

Idea Foundry – Forecast B2B opportunities for new technologies accepted to the 2015 InterSector program for social enterprises and develop an action plan for corporate sponsorships

PNC Bank – Revamp PNC’s “Green Team” program to engage the company’s 50,000+ employees around the corporation’s environmental commitment

Pennsylvania Environmental Council – Develop a regional strategy for valuing and leveraging energy-saving “green” building attributes in real estate pricing and multi-listings

Student Conservation Association – Assess market demand for SCA’s sustainability fellowships and develop a strategy to increase corporate placements and diversify revenue sources while nurturing future leaders

Congratulations are in Order!

Duquesne’s Graduate Net Impact chapter is excited to announce that we have achieved GOLD chapter status this year! Although the statists aren’t out yet for 2015, less than 17% of the over 300 Net Impact chapters were awarded gold status in 2014. In order to achieve this prestigious status, a chapter must host at least ten events (or host eight events with one program) and have two events featuring meaningful collaboration throughout the year.

Some event highlights this year were “Tacobout Debt Day,” the collaboration social with Carnegie Mellon University, and the alumni job search panel. “Tacobout Debt Day” was part of the Net Impact two-cents day competition where our members handed out free tacos to students in order to raise awareness of the national debt. We finished top 20 in the competition and earned a free trip to Florida for one of our team members… who met Bill Clinton!

Another successful event was the social with Carnegie Mellon. Several members from their graduate chapter joined us for happy hour and appetizers to discuss our Net Impact chapters as well as network. It allowed us to form a great chapter connection right down Fifth Avenue! After this event we had another networking opportunity with alumni of the sMBA program. We invited a panel to come out and give us the cliff notes version of job searching. It was extremely helpful and our chapter learned a lot about Boolean searching!

Now that we have had such a wonderful year and accomplished our gold chapter goal we are ready to pass the reins to the sMBA 2016 class! – Sarah Jilbert

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From left to right: Meredith Wingerson, Zach Snyder, Gina Johnson, Vani Hans, Phillip Venanzi, Sarah Jilbert, Caitlin Merritt, Katherine Smith, and Alyssa Haber.

Internal Case Competition

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Over the past week the cohort competed in an internal case competition, specifically the Aspen Institute Business & Society Case Competition. Teams of four students were given 72 hours to prepare a through analysis of the case to address the issues presented.  The competition gave us the chance to deal with a real-life business issue in a time sensitive situation.
After the initial report, teams presented to a panel of local judges on their recommendations for the company. The winning team of Ronna Pratt, Katherine Greer, Liis Kullerkann and Matthew Rodgers will represent Duquesne in the international competition. Congratulations to the winners and good luck in the next round!​

Company Visit: Mondelez

By Caitlin Merritt

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Getting ready to go inside the chocolate factory at Mondelez in Strasbourg.

Duquesne University’s trip to the Mondelez chocolate factory confirmed our desires to be corporate social responsibility and sustainability professionals. One of the major themes that came across was the firm’s commitment to employee mental and physical wellbeing.  When our guide stressed the importance of holding onto the railings during our tour of the factory,  some of us assumed they wanted to avoid liability.  As the tour progressed, we saw many signs to remind employees that safety is a daily priority.   
Mondelez uses CSR to increase employee engagement and to become a pioneer in sustainability within their industry.  Their employees have ownership and responsibility for corporate social responsibility initiatives.  Relying on their employees generates new and different ideas, but a surprising element of Mondelez’s CSR plan is that they do not follow a standard CSR approach. Instead, they created their own model and included categories for their industry and their specific business.  It was refreshing to see a company take bits and pieces of the various sustainability frameworks that we have learned and create a CSR charter that makes sense for them

Net Impact Conference 2014

By Sarah Jilbert

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Net Impact is a nation wide organization dedicated to creating positive social and environmental change in the school, workplace, and world. Every year they sponsor a conference where thousands of members from around the nation meet to discuss the world’s toughest social and environmental problems. 13 members of the sMBA cohort attended the 2014 conference in Minneapolis, MN where they, as well as the school, benefited greatly from their experiences.

These 13 individuals spent three days listening to numerous speakers, attending break out sessions, and interacting with students, young professionals, and employers. Students from other university’s were shocked that our sMBA students were completing an MBA in one year, and that their education focused on one of the main topics discussed throughout the conference, sustainability. Duquesne sMBA attendee, Caitlin Merritt, claimed she felt all of the sMBA attendees were way ahead of the game. They had already learned the sustainability concepts discussed and knew much more about the topics at hand compared to the other MBA students. Our students felt confident while speaking about what they had learned from the program and made Duquesne a school to talk about by the end of the weekend.

Our students took away a lot from the conference including confidence in how Duquesne’s program applies to real world application. Students also came home with many business cards and professional connections. For example, attendee Katherine Smith developed a mentor connection at the conference and still speaks to her today. The Net Impact Conference adds value to the sMBA education as well as shows Duquesne in a positive light.