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.
Each year, our cohort embarks on two study abroad trips. In February, we traveled to Germany. In May, we traveled to Costa Rica and Guatemala. The learning from the trips are evident in this video.
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.
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:
By Matt Lepri
During the week-long tour of the western Germany with the Duquesne SMBA program, I had the opportunity to try a variety of traditional German food. I attempted to document most of the delicious local cuisines of Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Heidelberg, and Cologne so that the pictures of food and drink would help me remember my great experience.
Our visit to Germany included a stop at the Deutsche Börse in Frankfurt. If you didn’t know the Deutsche Börse in Frankfurt is the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, so you can compare it to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) that we know so well in the United States. It was interesting to hear about the indices, and have the opportunity to see the trading floor from the gallery. I was pleasantly surprised to find the trading floor rather quiet and calm!
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.”
Our visit to FOM in Cologne perfectly coincided with our topics of study so far in the program. We were honored to have Malgorzate Zmuda of the Krakow University of Economics present her thesis about competition at a macro level and whether or not countries compete similarly to multinational companies on a global scale. This of course sparked lively conversation and debate, making us pause to reconsider what competitiveness means and if it even makes sense in economic theory. One of the questions she posed for us that I’m still pondering is, if there are no winners and losers in trade (comparative advantage for you econ nerds like me), then why compete? Next, Professor Dr. Linda O’Riordan captured our interest with a presentation about research being conducted by the Competence Center for Corporate Social Responsibility at FOM. Many of the concepts were very similar to what we’re learning in the program; in order to move beyond a one-dimension value-creation process, businesses must create new models. When profit is the driver for businesses, external costs are not accounted for. Instead, connecting values with value, specifically shared value, will increase employee motivation, productivity, and innovation. With this model, profit is the result, not the driver. Lastly, Professor Dr. Piotr Zmuda presented us with a useful framework for implementing CSR programs in companies.
By Catherine Papp
Some things never change. Finding Heidelberg’s cobbled streets and red roofs just as I remembered them from my semester abroad could not have evoked stronger sentiments or more pleasant memories.
It’s not just because Heidelberg is breathtakingly beautiful (the most beautiful I’ve found in all of my worldly travels, and if you look at the pictures I don’t think you’d feel it’s my bias talking), nor is it the rich history (one of the oldest buildings still standing and functional is the Ritter Hotel, built in 1592). I can’t even say it’s the romantic castle upon the hill watching over the city, where I would take a book to read in the gardens. Rather, nostalgia was having a cup of coffee at the same cafe I would frequent to people-watch, walking past the Brass Monkey where I spent endless hours watching the 2010 World Cup games, and seeing the record shop that I may have personally kept in business while building my Queen record collection.
More than anything, the best part was getting to share it with the old friends from my time there and my new friends. I can’t think of any other group of people I’d rather share my experience and excitement with than the cohort.
Guten tag! For the next week we will be enjoying the German culture, taking in the sights, discovering local cuisine, and learning from Germany’s sustainability. Today a local guide took our group on a walking tour of Frankfurt to help is get our bearings. Tonight we went to a typical German restaurant with Duquesne MBA alumni, proving the international reach of Duquesne. Many of us even had our first experience with
wurst or schnitzel!