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.
Days 6,7, and 8 were spent in the historic city of Heidelberg, Germany. From the cultural charm, historic visits, all the way to the amazing collection of food from across the globe, the weekend was one we will not soon forget.
“I learn everyday,” stated Daniel Schmid, Chief Sustainability Officer of SAP. Daniel led a discussion about the importance of connectivity, co-innovation, and learning. “By being more sustainable, you have better decision making, and a better company,” said Daniel. Daniel highlighted the many reports and initiatives SAP has in place, such as the Social Sabbatical program, in which employees can take time off work to put their specialized technology skills to good use for underserved communities all over the world. One of the most impressive facets of SAP’s sustainability initiatives is their Business Health Culture Index. This is a cause and effect analysis that quantifies employees ability to be innovative, creative, and have a worklife balance. SAP is leading the technology sector in sustainability reporting and initiatives, continuously pushing the limits to be one innovative company that is creating the positive they want to see in the world.
Starting this day, we began our cross-cultural learning experience with a trip to ICN Business School in Nancy, France. After a brief overview of the campus, we had a insightful lesson with a resident professor which focused on susustainbility in the luxury industry. One great takeaway from this workshop was the new research that is pointing towards a fourth pillar of sustainability. This pillar, along with the social, environmental, and economic pillars, focuses on culture. This was enlightening, but seemed to be obvious as well. The application of this idea that culture can have the underlying rooots of all other pillars, particularly in the luxury industry, and still can be overlooked was well defined. Businesses need to understand that their culture is the root of their business, and without ethical values and sustainable ideals, that culture will be the biggest barrier to sustainable change that the company will face. After that, we took an amazing walking tour around beautiful Nancy, which is rich in history and culture. We are all having an amazing time!
“Prepare for landing” was the last thing I heard before we touched down in our first stop on our European tour. Landing and being in Paris, France today was an exciting opportunity that I have never had before. Our stay in Paris was shortlived, as we headed out on a train bound for Nancy, France and ICN Business School. It’s only the first day of our trip, but the enthusiasm, expectations, and eagerness are at all time high. Even through the jetlag, we are all ready to start experiencing the culture, people, and looking forwad to finding out how the French people are making the positive change they 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!
In January 2007, when Duquesne was recruiting students for our first MBA Sustainability cohort, the cover of what was then BusinessWeek magazine invited readers to “Imagine a world in which eco-friendly and socially responsible practices actually help a company’s bottom line.”
Less than a decade later, McKinsey describes sustainability as “profits with purpose” and reports that “companies pursue sustainability because it has a material financial impact.”
- Companies with high ESG ratings outperform market in the medium and long-term and have lower cost of debt and equity.
- Companies in Carbon Disclosure and Carbon Performance Leadership Indices have superior stock market returns.
- Efficient use of resources is an indicator of overall superior financial performance.
- Socially responsible investment accounted for more than 11% of assets under management in the United States ($3.74 trillion) in 2013.
As MBA students with a focus in sustainability, we are preparing to strengthen the business case for the positive change we want to see in the world!
Recently, our MBA Sustainability cohort participated in a community redesign forum inthe Uptown district of Pittsburgh, which is where Duquesne’s campus resides. This area is undergoing a sustainable development revival, and this renewal has been proclaimed as the EcoInnovation District. The event was a meeting of different stakeholders in the area to discuss the progress of the project and add new ideas.
Students who attended the event said, “It is encouraging to see people that care so much about helping out a part of our city that has a great history,” and that it was “eye-opening” and “refreshing.” Others were pleased to to see the project team “recognize that the people are the core of the community and their opinions really matter,” and that is what this project is all about.
The ideas for what the district will become are coming from the local residents, and those who come to the area for work or business. This allows for stakeholders who know what is best for this area to come forth and express the exact changes that this part of the city needs. Everyone at Duquesne’s sMBA program is eager to contribute to this amazing effort in sustainable development.
Dana McTighe’s role as Vice President for CapitalStream Change Management at PNC Bank offers insight to why our MBA Sustainability program is ranked 10th in the world for “preparing graduates to change the world” and “succeed in this shifting business environment.”
Dana joined PNC as a project manager after completing her MBA in 2012 and steadily advanced. Now she heads up large scale enterprise initiatives for daily transaction systems, working with 17 different cross-functional teams. “I am responsible for the Change Management activities associated with approximately 10,000 employees across seven lines of business,” she said.
Dana noted that “the opportunity to manage innovation through multiple client consulting projects as an MBA student was good preparation for leading change” at one of the nation’s largest banks. Prior to graduate school, Dana held a progression of roles with a small financial services firm. As an MBA student, her consulting accomplishments included quantifying Scope III Greenhouse Gases, developing a global crop risk mitigation strategy for Heinz, helping to launch a social entrepreneurship, and conducting field work in Europe and South America on study trips.
A former leader of Duquesne’s Net Impact chapter, Dana remains active as an alumnus. In 2015, she organized and co-hosted an alumni-student sustainability symposium at Duquesne. She also coaches student project and practicum teams, most recently serving as client for a student team that helped PNC’s “Green Team” engage over 50,000 employees in social and environmental priorities.
“The program produces some of the coolest people I have ever met, personally and professionally.” – Dana McTighe, Duquesne MBA Sustainability ’12