Student Spotlight: Shu Zhang

20140306_IMG_2899_39786791Before Duquesne: Shu joins the cohort from Guangzhou, China. She has a degree in Finance, specifically International Finance, from Guangdong University of Finance Economics. Prior to joining the program, she completed internships at both the Agricultural Development Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

Why Duquesne: “China is experiencing a transformation. Long-term development is becoming more important that immediate profits. Finance equipped me with abilities in logical thinking and data analysis; however, I want to deepen the ability in analyzing the big picture. This is the main reason I choose the MBA.”

Beyond Duquesne: After graduation, Shu is interested in obtaining a position within a human resource consulting company.



Student Spotlight: Catherine Papp

catherineBefore 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.

Student Spotlight: Laura Monahan


Before Duquesne: Laura, originally from Los Angeles, California, started working for Apple in 2007 and moved up to a technician (“Genius”) within the year. After moving to Pittsburgh, she helped open the Ross Park store and worked there for a little under a year before leaving to finish her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies at Chatham University. Over the last few years, she worked as a chemistry tutor, residential landscaper, and most recently as environmental sustainability intern at BNY Mellon.

Why Duquesne: “I knew I wanted to come to Pittsburgh when I started reading about all of the exciting sustainability programs and organizations headquartered in the city. I was intrigued by Duquesne’s MBA program with a concentration in sustainability because I am prone to asking the questions “why” and “how.” I found that my undergraduate degree in environmental science allowed me to pursue the question of why sustainability is important, but the MBA Sustainability program has been essential to becoming equipped to start answering the question of how we move forward.”

After Duquesne: Laura is interested in sustainability reporting and consulting, which she is well-poised for due to project courses and various case competitions. One of her teams even placed second in a world case competition, Corporate Knights-Schulich Business for a Better World, held during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.


Student Spotlight: Kayla Rodman


Kayla at a castle in Heidelberg during the spring break global study trip to Germany.

Before Duquesne: Kayla, a Pittsburgh native, attended the University of Pittsburgh where she majored in Management.  Kayla has had the opportunity to complete internships at Westmoreland Casemanagement and Supports, Inc. and Smart Growth Partnership.

Why Duquesne: “I was looking for an MBA program with an emphasis on sustainability and Duquesne’s program had been in practice the longest. To top it off, it was only one year, including two global study trips!”

Beyond Duquesne: Kayla is unsure what she wants to do after the program; however, she knows she wants to find a work culture where she can find work-life balance while making positive impact.

Student Spotlight: Ellen Yates

Photo on 2013-08-30 at 15.08 #2Before Duquesne:  Ellen attended the University of Pittsburgh where she majored in Urban Studies and English Writing.  Her primary work experience is in copy writing for the web.  She was part of the inbound marketing team at Growing Tree, an online toy retailer.  She applied that experience to a business development position at the Mad Science Supply and Surplus Store, the social enterprise arm of Literary Arts Boom, a children’s writing program in Garfield.  Currently, she is working with another Penn Avenue Arts organization, called Bunker Projects, to organize their financial information into a year-end report and develop a membership campaign.

Why Duquesne: “First, I wanted to stay in Pittsburgh, because I think the city has a bright social and economic future. Pittsburgh is small enough that one person can make a serious impact. Duquesne’s competitive price, AACSB accreditation, and reputation were all factors in my decision.  But the program’s focus on sustainability is what sold me, because I agree with that business is one of the most efficient tools for achieving social change.”

Beyond Duquesne: Her long-term goals are to create her own socially oriented enterprise to improve the lives of employees, customers, and people in Pittsburgh. After completing her MBA, she would like to start out working in the field of real estate development and management, as a manager or as part of a project development team.  Alternatively, she is also interested in internal and external corporate communications.

Student Spotlight: Lixuan (Violet) He

violetBefore Duquesne: Violet joins our program from Jieyang, China; however, she has also lived in Leeuwarden, Netherlands and Guangzhou, China.  She attended Guangdong PZ College of China where she majored in financial management.  

Why Duquesne: “I choose this program because it is fast and new.  I liked that it the program was one year, and also that it focuses on sustainability.”

Beyond Duquesne: Upon completion of the program, Violet is looking for a job in the consulting area.  Lucky for Violet, this program allows us to gain hands on consulting experience, which will make her well prepared for any position in the area of consulting.

Student Spotlight: Peter Kassouf

Before Duquesne:  Pete attended Ohio University where he majored in philosophy and political science.   Pete’s most recent position was as an oceans system analyst at the Descartes Systems Group.

Why Duquesne: “The Duquesne MBA program offers a unique opportunity to explore a discipline increasingly sought out by employers, but the real draw for me were the consulting projects.  The resumes of graduates don’t just look good, they’re substantive as well.”

Beyond Duquesne: Currently, Pete’s future plans are up in the air, but he would love an opportunity to apply sustainability concepts at a small or mid-size software company.

Student Spotlight: Blair Schoenborn

Before Duquesne: Blair is originally from Warren, Pennsylvania; however, she spent the last 7 years in Denali National Park, AK.  Blair served as the youth programs director at the Denali Education Center, a non-profit organization in Denali National Park.  Blair is now on the board of directors, and explains that their mission is to foster an appreciation for Denali through informative and inspiring programs.  Blair moved to Pittsburgh for this program, and worked as the outdoor adventure specialist at Shady Side Academy over the summer.  Blair completed her undergraduate degree at Allegheny College, majoring in environmental science.

Why Duquesne: I was actively seeking an MBA program with a sustainability focus and liked Duquesne’s program because of the opportunities to work with local businesses, the global study trips, and the cohort model.

Beyond Duquesne: Upon completion of the program, Blair will most likely be seeking positions with foundations or other not-for-profits in the Pittsburgh area.  She’s most interested in program management and grant administration, but she’s sure she will have a growing list of interests as the program continues.






Student Spotlight: David (Dave) Buczynski

Before Duquesne:  Dave joins our cohort from Germantown, MD.  Dave completed his undergraduate degree at Duquesne University majoring in psychology and philosophy.  After receiving his undergraduate degree he worked as a mental health counselor for Mercy Behavioral Health.  After one year, he decided to make a career shift.  Dave began working as an eligibility screener for three years for NCO Financial at UPMC Shadyside Hospital.

Why Duquesne: “The concentration on sustainability, the fact that it’s a one year program and the overall focus on ethics.”

Beyond Duquesne: Currently, Dave’s interests lie in business ethics, supply chain and organizational behavior.  His goal is to pursue a career in one of the fields after completion of this program.

Student Spotlight: Karli Minick

ImageBefore Duquesne: Karli joins our cohort after completing her undergraduate work in three years at the University of Pittsburgh.  Karli was able to major in both finance and supply chain management in three years, while also cheerleading.  Karli completed a leadership internship at Target Corporation, a supply chain internship at Westinghouse Electric Company/Toshiba, and a finance internship at Prime Metals & Alloys, Inc.

Why Duquesne: “I chose this program because it will allow me to complete my MBA in one year, and it complements my supply chain management degree.”

After Duquesne: After completing this MBA program Karli will be looking for positions in sustainable supply chain management.