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.
Students who attended our Net Impact Earth Day described it as “an open and creative event” that made it easy for them to “learn from their peers about the importance of sustainability.”
On Earth Day we hosted a creative take on a trivia game to prompt peer-to-peer discussions about the daily impact that any individual can make on the planet. Our format offers a good way to bring people from diverse backgrounds into the conversation about protecting and preserving our planet. The better informed student body takes us one step closer to making the positive change we want to see in the world!
Recently, two members of our MBA Sustainability cohort lead a discussion about the craft of negotiating. Throughout their lesson, they covered different outcomes that result from negotiation, and these three situations were the lose lose, win lose, and win win instances. Our classmates gave us vital information on how to achieve the win win situation whenever possible. Three crucial variables to achieving a win win situation were power, time, and information. One piece of information I found to be very interesting was about time. “Your deadline is of your own making,” was the phrase that jumped off the page at me. This idea needs to be understood, particularly in sustainability because firms need to realize that they can be change they want to see. As MBA Sustainability students, we are looking forward to helping firms achieve more sustainable business practices.
In October when we learned PNC was going to be our fall consulting client, it was intimidating. Some students were surprised that we would be working with a bank on digital transaction challenges rather than social or environmental issues. As we heard from one of the executives from PNC, “Profit is not a trade off to social good. It says you created more than you consumed.” We were tasked with working on the sustainability of the institution of banking in a smart commerce era.
McKinsey and Company recently released their list of the Top 10 articles in digitization. The article at the top of the list, Strategic Principles for competing in a digital age, gives seven trends that could redefine competition for businesses worldwide. One of the overarching themes of many student presentations was the emergence of non-traditional competitors in the financial services sector, a trend McKinsey ranks as number two. The “digital dynamics often undermine barriers to entry and long-standing sources of product differentiation” according to McKinsey.
The fall project is designed to help first semester MBA students see what is expected of managers in premier companies. Past fall clients have included PwC, Alcoa, and Heinz, who are all leaders in their industry.
This project challenged us to work in an industry where no one had any full time work experience and to think far outside our comfort zones. It was a great opportunity and something none of us will forget any time soon. The growth from the beginning of the semester to the end is amazing to see. Our client saw major upgrades from our midterm presentations to the final. We are extremely proud of our growth.
On August 18, the new MBA Sustainability cohort gathered for the first time to begin our weeklong orientation. We hit the ground running with a case competition, professional presentations, simulations and networking.
To start the week off, we did a team building activity. No one expected to be building with Legos in an MBA program, but that is exactly what we did. We had to design a new product and give an elevator pitch about it to the group.
We had many executive speakers from the Pittsburgh area, including Matt Mehalik from Sustainable Pittsburgh, Bill O’Rourke from ALCOA and Anita Brattina from All Facilities Group.
On Thursday, we broke up into groups for a case competition, a first for many students with backgrounds in liberal arts, science and engineering. Everyone enjoyed getting to know their group and working through a real world problem.
After the case competition, we went outside to enjoy a barbecue and do a resource allocation simulation with Dr. Sroufe.
We wrapped up an exciting week with an alumni panel featuring Dana McTighe, Alison Etheridge, Laura Troup, Ryan Baptiste, Steve Opar, Rudy Molero, and Nick Monzo. They shared their favorite MBA memories and talked about their preparation for roles in project management, purchasing, supply chain, finance, engineering and brand management with PNC, Heinz, BNY Mellon, FedEx, a healthcare provider and a social entrepreneur.
The various perspectives that each student brought made for interesting discussion throughout the week. There is a lot to learn in a short period, and everyone is excited to begin this exciting journey!
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!