Days 6,7, and 8 were spent in the historic city of Heidelberg, Germany. From the cultural charm, historic visits, all the way to the amazing collection of food from across the globe, the weekend was one we will not soon forget.
By Matt Lepri
During the week-long tour of the western Germany with the Duquesne SMBA program, I had the opportunity to try a variety of traditional German food. I attempted to document most of the delicious local cuisines of Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Heidelberg, and Cologne so that the pictures of food and drink would help me remember my great experience.
Our visit to Germany included a stop at the Deutsche Börse in Frankfurt. If you didn’t know the Deutsche Börse in Frankfurt is the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, so you can compare it to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) that we know so well in the United States. It was interesting to hear about the indices, and have the opportunity to see the trading floor from the gallery. I was pleasantly surprised to find the trading floor rather quiet and calm!
By Catherine Papp
Our visit to FOM in Cologne perfectly coincided with our topics of study so far in the program. We were honored to have Malgorzate Zmuda of the Krakow University of Economics present her thesis about competition at a macro level and whether or not countries compete similarly to multinational companies on a global scale. This of course sparked lively conversation and debate, making us pause to reconsider what competitiveness means and if it even makes sense in economic theory. One of the questions she posed for us that I’m still pondering is, if there are no winners and losers in trade (comparative advantage for you econ nerds like me), then why compete? Next, Professor Dr. Linda O’Riordan captured our interest with a presentation about research being conducted by the Competence Center for Corporate Social Responsibility at FOM. Many of the concepts were very similar to what we’re learning in the program; in order to move beyond a one-dimension value-creation process, businesses must create new models. When profit is the driver for businesses, external costs are not accounted for. Instead, connecting values with value, specifically shared value, will increase employee motivation, productivity, and innovation. With this model, profit is the result, not the driver. Lastly, Professor Dr. Piotr Zmuda presented us with a useful framework for implementing CSR programs in companies.
A short week ago, my cohort friends and I departed for a trip across the pond to Deutschland! Not only was I excited for a week away, but also my first trip to Europe! With limited German knowledge, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of English speaking people. I was also in awe of all the rich history. We had the opportunity to chat with some locals our age, and discussed how the historical sites in Europe date back much farther than those in the US. Transportation also stood out to me as a difference between Europe and America. The bike lanes that lined every street, the train stations peppered throughout the city, and the overall easy access to public transportation was admirable. I had a very enjoyable and eye-opening trip, and the travel bug has bit me! I can’t wait to explore the rest of Europe now!
By Rebecca Bykoski
February 28th, 2014 was the date that marked the first time my feet touched European soil! As anyone who was in attendance on the trip to Germany can attest, it was a world-class experience.
We toured over most of southern Germany, beginning in Frankfurt, then spent a day in historic Heidelberg before traveling to Darmstadt and Stuttgart, and ending our Germanic journey in Cologne. We were fortunate enough to be welcomed by many businesses and organizations such as Bayer, the European Central Bank, and Kreissparkasse to see how sustainability is incorporated into their operations and had the unique opportunity to visit Passivhaus, which illustrated how simple it can be to achieve energy efficiency not only in homes, but in businesses as well.
In addition to our business visits, we were taken on personal tours through both Frankfurt and Cologne where we marveled at castles, Roman ruins, and some of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen.
The high points of my trip: The Dom in Cologne, the most majestic structure I have ever had the opportunity to be inside, the trailblazing hike with one of my classmates halfway up a mountain to reach a lookout tower thousands of years old, and the many memories and deep bonds that were formed with my amazing friends and professors.
I thank you, Duquesne University, for this life-changing experience, and I send a personal thanks to Dr. Drake and Professor Nist who took time away from their families and lives to enrich not only our educational experience, but our lives. For them, I am eternally grateful. And, lastly, I cannot wait to return to Europe!
(Rebecca is one of many students who enjoyed their first trip to Europe thanks to the MBA Sustainability program. An experience of a lifetime).
By Stephen Sumpter
While in Germany we were provided to the opportunity to meet with leaders from PE International. This software company has developed two key software packages focused on improving sustainability measures. The first is the GaBi software that is used to conduct Life Cycle Assessments, which we were provided the opportunity to experience and work with first hand in Dr. Sroufe’sclass last semester. The second is SoFi, which assists companies in streamlining and improving reporting efforts for internal reports and larger programs such as the Carbon Disclosure Project.
Many students commented that it was nice to see the extent of the offerings from PE International and that what they had done for LCA was being applied to emissions reporting. Many students also expressed the interest in hands on experience using the SoFi reporting tool. Others were excited by the developments PE is working on with GaBi to make the inclusion of Environmental Product Declarations an easier and more accessible process.
Personally, our visit to Bayer at the CHEMPARK in Leverkusen was one of the trip highlights. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to intern at Bayer’s US headquarter in Pittsburgh; therefore, visiting the headquarters in Germany is something that I will never forget.
Our visit to Bayer included a tour of BayKomm and the CHEMPARK. BayKomm, also known as the Bayer Communication Center, is home to both a student laboratory as well as a exhibition rooms. A guide took us through various exhibition rooms to allow our group to learn more about the three business units: Bayer CropScience, Bayer MaterialScience, and Bayer HealthCare. CHEMPARK, an industrial park, is home to Bayer and a variety of other companies. CHEMPARK brings people andsectors together to exchange expertise, to look to the future or simply to do business.
The afternoon closed with a wonderful lunch at “The Casino”, Bayer’s on-campus restaurant.
By Catherine Papp
Some things never change. Finding Heidelberg’s cobbled streets and red roofs just as I remembered them from my semester abroad could not have evoked stronger sentiments or more pleasant memories.
It’s not just because Heidelberg is breathtakingly beautiful (the most beautiful I’ve found in all of my worldly travels, and if you look at the pictures I don’t think you’d feel it’s my bias talking), nor is it the rich history (one of the oldest buildings still standing and functional is the Ritter Hotel, built in 1592). I can’t even say it’s the romantic castle upon the hill watching over the city, where I would take a book to read in the gardens. Rather, nostalgia was having a cup of coffee at the same cafe I would frequent to people-watch, walking past the Brass Monkey where I spent endless hours watching the 2010 World Cup games, and seeing the record shop that I may have personally kept in business while building my Queen record collection.
More than anything, the best part was getting to share it with the old friends from my time there and my new friends. I can’t think of any other group of people I’d rather share my experience and excitement with than the cohort.
Today we had the opportunity to meet with sustainability leaders and ambassadors at the European Central Bank. This visit allowed us to not only relate our sustainability knowledge, but also economics since we just finished up discussing central banking systems. Our cohort had the ability to exchange ideas regarding sustainable business solutions and initiatives. The bank specifically found interest in game theory to change behavior. To gather a quick understanding of the ECB and Eurosystem here is a quick video!