The study of being wrong was a session led by two of our classmates that focused on accepting that being wrong is okay, if not imperative to success. The discussion mentioned one pioneer in this field, Kathryn Schulz, who has authored books that focus on this theory. Schulz’s proposition that failure is necessary to lead to learning opportunities and success is an innovation in the business world. Furthermore, our classmates argued that this theory needs to applied to our everyday lives, for us to continue to learn and grow. We have to understand that failing is not bad, but just another chance to be create the change we want to see in the world.
The MBA Sustainability class of 2014 has officially matriculated. Everyone at Duquesne University is excited to see the impact that this cohort leaves through their respective careers. The video below shares highlights from the year-long program. What a difference a year makes!
Each year, our cohort embarks on two study abroad trips. In February, we traveled to Germany. In May, we traveled to Costa Rica and Guatemala. The learning from the trips are evident in this video.
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.
Each year about this time, Deloitte executives invite Duquesne MBA students to collaborate on solving a real-world client problem. Brad Johnson, director of strategic client relationships for Pittsburgh’s Deloitte consulting practice, earned his MBA at Duquesne and remains actively involved as an advisor to students and our program.
This year, Brad was joined by Jeff Craft, a partner in Deloitte’s assurance practice, and our Deloitte master class on February 14 focused on issues surrounding acquisition of expertise and assets related to clean energy. We received an offering memorandum, backgrounder and guidelines prior to the session and broke into small groups to discuss valuation and decision-making challenges related to buying and selling a company under the hands-on coaching of practices leaders who negotiate such deals for a living. The morning with Deloitte was an exciting and challenging learning opportunity for MBA students to learn from a leading consulting firm.
No small advantage of studying in Pittsburgh is Duquesne’s location in the heart of a prosperous business district. Another is the ongoing partnerships with alumni and client partners who help faculty tie theory to practice by offering insight to real word challenges and opportunities through classroom and extracurricular professional development. Duquesne continues to leverage connections in the city to play professional development workshops like this event with Deloitte.
Each semester Dr. Sroufe teaches a unique course that he developed in the MBA Sustainability program. In the fall we had him for Sustainability Theories and Models, and currently he is teaching Sustainable Theories and Processes. The case involves a variety of case studies, sustainability plan writing, and my favorite part a variety of guest speakers.
January and February speakers included:
- Apple White, Environmental Sustainability Manager at BNY Mellon
- Dr. Patty DeMarco, energy and environmental policy analyst and educator
- Mackenzie Crigger, Sustainability Coordinator from Chapman University and MBA Sustainability alumna
Dr. Sroufe and other professors leverage their professional networks to allow our students to learn from various business leaders locally and internationally. The exposure to these business leaders as a professional development tool is one of many reasons I am thankful to be receiving my MBA at an urban campus. Moving forward into the semester our class with Dr. Sroufe will include more speakers and a few site visits to places like Phipps Living Building.
Despite the snow covered morning, over 500 attendees joined together at the David L. Lawrence Convention center to learn and share ideas surrounding sustainable innovations at Sustainable Pittsburgh’s Sustainability EXPOsed. Duquesne University and the MBA Sustainability program served as a platinum sponsor for the event, which allowed our cohort to present posters featuring research throughout breaks in the day. Poster topics ranged from utilizing gamification principles for engagement to transforming waste into profit.
The agenda included TED-talk style presentations followed by break out salon conversations that allowed for intimate discussions with presenters. The presenters included local innovators John Buckley, managing director of Corporate Social Responsibility at BNY Mellon; Candi Castleberry-Singleton, chief inclusion and diversity officer at UPMC; and Donald Carter, director of the Remaking Cityies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Other presenters traveled from around the country including Projjal Dutta, director of sustainability initiatives at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York; and Jerry Tinianow, chief sustainability officer at the Officer of the Mayer Michael B. Hancock City and County of Denver. Various other organizations were represented as exhibitors, and we were able to network with them throughout the day.
Paul Hawken closed out the day as our keynote speaker. He is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist and author. He has played a significant role in changing the relationship between business and the environment through leadership as sustainability thought leader. One classmate, Nick, reflected that Hawken’s “optimism is refreshing and enlightening. He reframes pertinent issues in a way that encourages his audience to embrace the challenges they face presently and in the future”.
I hate to admit that often, as students, we are so caught up in our classes and education that we forget about the world outside the walls of Duquesne. Sustainability EXPOsed allowed us to see the professionals in the region that are interred in the same problems and innovative sustainable solutions that we focus on in the classroom. Personally, I left feeling energized after meeting so many professionals that are passionate about the same topics that I value.
Over the past few weeks I had the opportunity to get to know my fellow classmates throughout various activities both in and out of the classroom. We hit the ground running our first week with professional presentation, a case competition and networking. One specific activity outside of the classroom allowed us to relax and get to know each other on a personal level. Venture Outdoors invited us to spend an afternoon kayaking on the river! For some of my classmates it was their first time kayaking, while others seemed to be experts. The variety of experience allowed us to learn from each other and enjoy our afternoon on the river, which I believe foreshadows our year ahead.
Through our time together I’ve discovered that our cohort of thirty-one comes from around the world, representing China, New Zealand, and various areas of the United States. Our backgrounds range from communications to architecture, political science to environmental science, finance to philosophy, foreign languages to law. So why did such a diverse group all come together at Duquesne? The MBA in Sustainability program of course! The program attracted each of us for a reason and throughout the year I will allow my classmates to share their story with you.
Our various perspectives lend a lot of interesting dialogue to classroom discussion, and I am very excited for the year to come. There is a lot to be learned in a short period of time, but I cannot imagine a better group to learn alongside. I’m looking forward to an exciting year – until next time!