It has been months since we took this picture at My Two Cents day, but it feels like it was just yesterday. It is sad to say that our time in the MBA Sustainability program is almost over. However, there are still multiple things we have to look forward to! Currently, the final presentations in the Leading Change Practicum course are underway. The teams and their clients have reported great success all around, from helping to establish go-to-market strategies to aiding in the development of a community-based software program to help our citizens. Our cohort has displayed great perseverance and ability to add value, and I am honored to have had the privilege of getting to learn and grow with these amazing people. With the last few weeks underway, we all continue to work hard and look forward to what the future has in store for each one of us.
One main focus for Cisco is “educating future problem solvers,” according to Carsten Johnson, who lead our interactive discussion at Cisco Germany. Throughout this session, Carsten discussed the five areas of focus with regards to sustainability and Cisco. These five areas included governance and ethics, supply chain, people, society, and the environment. Carsten mentioned some of the programs Cisco is currently implementing in each of these five areas, including the Cisco Networking Academy (NetAcad). This initiative has provided over 5.5 million students with classes ranging from coding to entrepreneurship. In addition, this academy focuses on helping provide education for underserved areas across the globe. Our time at Cisco helped all of us understand how this company is making a difference and adding to the positive change we all 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 said.
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.” – Dana McTighe, Duquesne MBA Sustainability ’12
With an unconventional approach to attract attention, using a MoneyMachine to spark people’s interest, Duquesne’s UptoUs competition team held an awareness event at the Union that featured a Money Machine, free food, and prizes! The UptoUs team, which is made up of members from the MBA Sustainability cohort, informed the campus about the over $19 trillion debt the country has right now and brought a ton of attention to the issue. Check out all the photos and reasons why Duquesne students care about our national debt! Also, make sure to come to our other events, including a Trivia Night, during this month which will have even more prizes and fun!
Designing an urban oasis in cooperation with Phipps Conservatory, developing an innovative restaurant concept in conjunction with Eat’N Park, and identifying best practices in financing sustainable building construction and renovation with the Green Building Alliance are the three consulting projects our cohort is working on this semester!
Each of these endeavors comes with a unique set of challenges, and our cohort is eager to utilize the many frameworks, theories, and ideas that we have learned throughout our time in the MBA Sustainability program in real-world applications. We believe that these three ventures are ideal for implementing sustainable principles throughout the city of Pittsburgh.
We are thankful and excited for the opportunity to work with real world companies, and make a positive change in multiple industries!
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.
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.
It was incredible how much knowledge we gained about breakthrough innovation!
Our MBA Sustainability Cohort participated and competed a training session on Design Thinking from IDEO. For those of you who don’t know, Design Thinking is a structured and proven approach to speeding up breakthrough innovations.
Our instructors helped our teams navigate the different stages of Design Thinking along the 4-hour simulation. Each group came up with dozens of ideas during our “Ideation” phase that focused on helping a town in California find new uses for stuff the residents no longer needed. Furthermore, we created storyboards to help visually represent the actions we developed to promote sustainable lifestyles in this town.
By following the key principles of Design Thinking, particularly being observant and testing out hypothesis in a quick, iterative fashion, we developed extremely imaginative, but feasible ideas swiftly. Stay turned to see how we apply these tools during our consulting projects.