Consulting Project Roundup

For one of our consul5093c59d3de5cf6200b26d196012c714_400x400ting 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.

eatn-park-hospitality-groupWithout 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 Mgba-logoBA 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.

A Glimpse into the Energy Innovation Center

Throughout the past week, all six consulting groups in the cohort had the opportunity to meet with their respective clients for the summer semester.  I am lucky to work with Pittsburgh Green Innovators (PGI) this semester!  I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to work with such an innovative and impactful non-profit organization.  PGI is a non-profit organization committed to growing a vibrant green economy and community by collaboratively leveraging regional strengths through innovation, education, workforce development, and cultivation of sustainable business opportunities.

PGI has been an involved in planning process for the new Energy Innovation Center, and they will be a tenant in just a few months! The mission of the Energy Innovation Center is to contribute to socially responsible workforce development, foster energy and sustainable technology advancement, and assist in job creation through a commitment to diversity, innovation and comprehensive education.  Our first meeting with PGI included a tour of the new Energy Innovation Center, and their space within the larger building.

Enjoy the pictures from our visit!

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Igniting Change with Summer Consulting Projects

Each semester, our cohort has the opportunity to consult with various organizations. This year’s consulting partners have included PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Braskem, General Electric, Alcoa, and PPG. This summer’s consulting projects include B Lab, Blue Tree Angels, City of Pittsburgh, Idea Foundry Intersector, Because, Pittsburgh Green Innovators, and PittMoss Growers Association are joining the list! This semester students will have the opportunity to ignite change with these innovative organizations.

Duquesne MBA Students “Make laughter an epidemic” for critically ill children in Costa Rica

photo 2“I was thrilled to use my MBA skillset to help an organization that impacts so many families with so few resources,” said Nick Monzo, an MBA student from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, after participating in a service project designed to bring joy to hospitalized children and their families in Costa Rica.

Monzo and his 28 classmates traveled to Central America as part of a required global economics course in Duquesne’s MBA Sustainability, a program ranked first in the United States and eighth in the world for integrating social, environmental and financial responsibility. On May 16, the students served as pro bono consultants to HospiSonrisas, a not-for-profit group affiliated with the National Children’s Hospital in San Jose, and presented a strategic plan to “Make Laughter an Epidemic” by launching a foundation to generate funding to entertain sick children and grant wishes to those with life-threatening illnesses.

“Never have I been more humbled by selflessness and compassion as I was by HospiSonrisas,” said Rebecca Bykoski, after watching volunteer clowns ease anxiety in the oncology and outpatient areas of the children’s hospital. “I’m so very grateful to leave a legacy that will bring joy to suffering children and their families throughout Costa Rica.”

“To find people who want to help to change the world and believe in someone’s dreams is incredible,” added Daniela Vides Cordoba, founder and president of HospiSonrisas.

Faculty trip leader was Diane Ramos, who also teaches the live consulting courses that anchor the MBA and engage students in solving complex real world problems. Accompanying her were Pavel Yakovlev, Ph.D., associate professor of economics, and William O’Rourke, J.D., executive director of the Beard Institute at Duquesne University. “Our students delivered a viable plan for overall operation of a foundation — including governance, marketing, fund-raising and administration — while living our university’s service mission in Costa Rica,” said Ramos.

The Costa Rican segment of the study trip included interface with a range of multinational, not-for-profit, governmental and academic leaders and a behind-the-scenes investigation of the burgeoning eco-tourism and medical tourism industries. Students also traveled to Guatemala where they worked on a potable water field project and learned about Peace Corps initiatives with John Patrick Gibbons, an alumnus of the program and former Peace Corp Fellow at Duquesne, who works on impact investing in Central American in his current role as a finance officer at USAID.

 

Making a Mark with Spring Consulting Projects

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This semester we completed seven real-world consulting assignments with four major companies – BraskemGEAlcoa, and PPG Industries.  In January each client tasked their respective student team with a real-world challenge .  After semester-long research, meetings, and prototyping the final client presentations wrapped up last week.  Each team is extremely proud of their final deliverables, and one client shared that they were left “speechless” by the group’s work.  Having the ability to sit at the table with business executives and discuss pressing issues within their industry is an educational experience that not all programs have the ability to offer.  

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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.

Student Spotlight: Lixuan (Violet) He

violetBefore Duquesne: Violet joins our program from Jieyang, China; however, she has also lived in Leeuwarden, Netherlands and Guangzhou, China.  She attended Guangdong PZ College of China where she majored in financial management.  

Why Duquesne: “I choose this program because it is fast and new.  I liked that it the program was one year, and also that it focuses on sustainability.”

Beyond Duquesne: Upon completion of the program, Violet is looking for a job in the consulting area.  Lucky for Violet, this program allows us to gain hands on consulting experience, which will make her well prepared for any position in the area of consulting.