What would you expect from an MBA program?

Guest Blogger: Catherine Papp

I was very wrong in thinking that it would be the lecture-style education I received as an undergraduate. When I showed up for orientation, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up because I studied German and International Relations rather than business. Much to my surprise, most of the other students didn’t study business either! In fact, the diverse educational background of all the students in the cohort is turning out to be the program’s greatest strength.

Before we even had the chance to become acquainted with one another, we were divided into groups and given a bag of Legos. The assignment: to build a prototype product and develop a business proposal for commercializing it. Talk about jumping right in with free reign!


I was impressed at the confidence placed in us to immediately produce something of value instead of just being talked at. This project not only gave us a glimpse into what to expect for the upcoming semester – like how accounting, systems thinking, supply chains, and marketing come together to accomplish a larger goal – but I learned more about how I could improve by participating than being told what to do.


Introducing the 2013-2014 sMBA cohort!

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.   Image

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!