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.
During our visit to Guatemala we had the opportunity to visit Ecofiltro. Philip Wilson, CEO, realized that the lack of pure water in the rural households of many Guatemalans could not effectively be dealt with from the earlier donation dependent operation. He decided to convert Ecofiltro to a social business and followed a hybrid approach where urban sales of filters would serve to finance the distribution of rural filters at an affordable price. Ecofiltro’s factory is capable of producing 8,000-10,000 filters per month . To date, Ecofiltro has distributed over 175,000 filters throughout Guatemala; however, they plan to reach 1 million rural guatemalans with clean water by 2020.
Before 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.
When I was very young my grandparents taught us to dip cookies in coffee instead of milk. Since then I have become a huge fan of coffee, but I never take time to think about the supply chain of coffee. Our trip to Costa Rica included a visit to Café Britt, which allowed me to learn so much about my daily drink of choice.
For more than 28 years Café Britt has sourced, roasted and shipped the finest gourmet coffees directly from Costa Rica, Peru and Colombia, keeping a strong relationship with farmers and Fair Trade practices. The slideshow below includes highlights from our visit:
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.
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.
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.
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.”