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.
Before Duquesne: I arrived in the U.S. from Estonia 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.
By Katherine Summers
For 23 years I have been afraid of heights. When we were in La Fortuna we were given the opportunity to either go on a canopy walk or go ziplining. I decided that if I was going to face my fears I should go all out.
As we were strapped into our gear I was having second thoughts but told myself I would probably only be in the Costa Rican rainforest once so I had to do it! It was the most amazing experience of my life! I am so proud of myself for facing my fears, and thankful to be in an MBA program that allows these opportunities!
The Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE) kicked off our business visits during our stay in San Jose, Costa Rica. CINDE, founded in 1982, has been around for 32 years. CINDE operates as an NGO to attract foreign investment to Costa Rica. The visit to CINDE revolved around a presentation that was open to discussion and questions allowing a comprehensive understanding of the business as well as Costa Rica’s position in the global economy.
The 40-employees are effectively promoting Costa Rica abroad by securing foreign investment from over 100 businesses. The value proposition that Costa Rica offers include a proven track record, qualified work force, strategic location, excellent business climate, quality infrastructure, and quality of life. Over the years Costa Rica has move from goods such as bananas or coffee to value added services such as services, advanced manufacturing or life sciences.
A diverse number of businesses have been attracted to the service sector including, UPS Supply Chain, Amazon, IBM, LL Bean, Hewlett Packard, Curtiss Wright, Proctor and Gamble, Bayer, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and many more. Advanced manufacturing businesses include Eaton and Panasonic, while life sciences include St. Jude Medical, Baxter Healthcare and Hospira.
CINDE arranged for our group to visit Samtec, a company headquartered in United States, with manufacturing in Costa Rica. The Costa Rican facility has a noticeable organizational subculture, and it was noticeable that the employees were happy to come to work during the shift change. It is excellent to see that the CINDE is able to attract these advanced manufacturing jobs to Costa Rica.
Before 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.
Before 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.
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.
Before Duquesne: Kyle joined the cohort after spending time living in Rome, Italy where he had the opportunity to work for Duquesne’s Italian Campus study abroad program. Before his relocation to Italy, Kyle was a Drug and Alcohol therapist at UPMC Western Psychiatric hospital. For his undergraduate degree he attended Duquesne University and received his bachelor’s in psychology.
Why Duquesne: “As an ardent environmentalist and also as someone who always has been interested in business, an MBA in Sustainability seemed like a great idea!” The one-year length of the program was also appealing. The fact that most of Kyle’s family lived in Pittsburgh was another incentive for him to stay in the area and go to graduate school.
Beyond Duquesne: Currently, Kyle has a variety of different interests for the short-term. “Reorganizing my social life” for one, he laughs. “But I’m excited to begin a career in sustainability. I’m also looking forward to having more free time so I can get back into the guitar and do some more traveling. In the long-run though I suppose I’m also looking to start my own business.” Whatever Kyle plans to do after Duquesne it’s going to involve biking to where he needs to go: “I think one of the coolest things would be to have a life where I get to bike to work.”
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!