MBA Sustainability Alumni Wins Prestigous EBJ Business Achievement Award

Conor Gillespie, MBA Sustainability Alumnures_color_logos, 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



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.”

Student Spotlight – Meredith Wingerson

Before RSC_1248 (1)Duquesne: I graduated from Limestone College, in South Carolina, with a Business degree and majors in management and marketing. Then have worked in retail management for the last three years.

Why Duquesne: I was looking for a Green MBA program and Duquesne had one of the best. This program also offered the opportunity to work hands on with several companies, which was a huge draw for me.

Beyond Duquesne: I would like to work for a non-profit and would love to work in the area of conservation.

Interesting Fact About You: I played soccer in college.

Student Spotlight – Ronna Peacock Pratt

BeforeRonna Photo Duquesne: Prior to Duquesne I obtained my bachelors degree in Anthropology with a concentration in Archaeology, Italian minor, and global studies certificate from the University of Pittsburgh. After graduation, I took over as manager of operations and catering at Food for Thought New York Style Deli and Custom Catering, where I worked for three years before applying for my MBA.

Why Duquesne: The sustainability concentration offered at the Duquesne business school is what first attracted me to the program. The program was appealing because I can complete it in only one year.

Beyond Duquesne: My interests lie in sustainable urban redevelopment.

Interesting Fact: I currently operate a small home cupcake business called Little Cakes (


Student Spotlight – Jacob Bethem

Before ohiopyle6Duquesne: I have a BS in biology from the University of Pittsburgh – Greensburg, a BA in philosophy and MSM in Lean Management from St. Vincent College and an MA in philosophy from the University of Tennessee. I have taught philosophy at the University of Tennessee, the Art Institute, Westmoreland County Community College and the University of Pittsburgh Greensburg.

Why Duquesne: I chose Duquesne because of the program’s focus on ethics. Also, I wanted the opportunity to study environmental sustainability with Dr. Robert Sroufe.

Beyond Duquesne: After graduation I would like to work in consulting, a think tank or maybe run for office one day. I would also like to be able to one day live off the grid.

Interesting fact about you: I like to boulder from time to time

Student Spotlight – Sarah Jilbert

Before DJilbert picuquesne:  I came to Duquesne directly from my undergrad, Ohio Wesleyan University, where I majored in Economics Management and Environmental Studies. Before the program I had several internships focused in the non-profit sector. I’m originally from the Cleveland, Ohio area.

Why Duquesne:I looked only at MBA programs focused on sustainability. The program doesn’t just cover environmental sustainability, but develops understandings of social, financial, and community sustainability as well. I chose Duquesne’s program because it is so well ranked, provides international experience, and integrates real client projects into the curriculum.

Beyond Duquesne: TBD… but something awesome!

Interesting Fact: I’ve been a figure skater since the age of three. ​

Student Spotlight: Liis Kullerkann

Before Duquesne: I arrived in the U.S. from liis pictureEstonia four years ago to attend Ohio University. I had a great undergraduate experience competing in DI athletics, leading a student organization and earning multiple awards including the Excellence in International Business Scholarship Award. I graduated in May with an International Business major and French minor in addition to three MAC volleyball Championship titles.

Why Duquesne: I chose this program because of the amount of real-world experience it provides through its action-based learning and because it is a business degree with a different focus in comparison to my undergraduate degree. I was also drawn to the study trips abroad and the one year duration of the program. In addition, I was looking for a city college with a condensed campus to see how it compares to the small college town feel of my undergraduate institution.

Beyond Duquesne: After graduation, I will be joining a professional volleyball team in Europe. In addition, I will be looking for opportunities for career advancement in International Business as well as continue to represent Estonia as a member of the national volleyball team. After receiving the Duquesne Sustainability degree, I will be well-positioned to work in multinational organizations, especially the ones closely related to EU thanks to my strong business background and language skills.


Student Spotlight: Derick Florian

1395183_696689442043_1255847136_nBefore Duquesne: Derick, a Pittsburgh native, attended The Ohio State University where he majored in Mandarin Chinese and minored in Business.

Why Duquesne: “I chose this MBA program for the ability to participate in the live consulting projects”. This year Derick had the opportunity to complete consulting projects with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Braskem, and B Corps. Duquesne gave him the opportunity to compete in various case competitions including the Aspen Business & Society International Case Competition and the ACG Cup. Derick was part of the team that placed 2nd place in the Aspen business & Society International MBA Competition.

Beyond Duquesne: After graduation, Derick is excited to pursue a management role in a supply chain. In the future, Derick is interested in opportunities in China since he enjoys the Chinese language and culture.

Student Spotlight: Shu Zhang

20140306_IMG_2899_39786791Before Duquesne: Shu joins the cohort from Guangzhou, China. She has a degree in Finance, specifically International Finance, from Guangdong University of Finance Economics. Prior to joining the program, she completed internships at both the Agricultural Development Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

Why Duquesne: “China is experiencing a transformation. Long-term development is becoming more important that immediate profits. Finance equipped me with abilities in logical thinking and data analysis; however, I want to deepen the ability in analyzing the big picture. This is the main reason I choose the MBA.”

Beyond Duquesne: After graduation, Shu is interested in obtaining a position within a human resource consulting company.


Student Spotlight: Alison Etheridge

320170_577731879054_772111902_nBefore Duquesne:  Alison attended Agnes Scott College in Decather, Georgia where she majored in International Relations and Biology.  After graduation she worked as a sustainability consultant to the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners.  She helped organize events that educated local citizens, as well as county executives, on topics such as energy efficiency, organic gardening and water conservation.

In Fall 2010, she left her position with DeKalb County and began a 27-month adventure as a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in Nicaragua. Her primary role was as a science teacher in local elementary schools, where she worked with students and the community to build organic gardens, compost piles, and tree nurseries and to make science fun. In her second year of service, she received a grant to build improved stoves since most people in Nicaragua still cook with wood fires. Improved stoves used less wood and emitted less harmful smoke into households and the environment She also worked with my community to collect over 300 pounds of trash and build a classroom out of eco-bricks (used 2 liter bottles, stuffed with inorganic trash).

Before coming to Duquesne, Alison traveled to Kampala, Uganda to continue her work with improved stoves and to help oversee the start-up of an improved stove business.

Why Duquesne: “I was immediately impressed with the breadth of the courses and the program’s commitment to environmental and social aspects of sustainability.  I loved the consulting projects built into coursework, the emphasis of a global prospective through international travel, and that it all fit into one year!  When I called Duquesne to ask more questions about the program, I talked directly with our program director. She took time to answer all my questions and enthusiastically tell me about the program. When I called back weeks later, she still remembered me. This was not the experience I had when I contacted other programs. Duquesne made me feel wanted and valued. I continue to be impressed with the individual attention that faculty provide”.

Beyond Duquesne: Alison wants to continue working on sustainable development in an international setting. She is especially interested in Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) or USAID opportunities.