business/mba-s/Duquesne Team with San Miguel CEO and award at Aspen finals 2014.jpg

Using MBAs to improve lives and livelihoods

"Applying business skills to make the world a better place is exactly the sort of thing I signed up for when I enrolled in the MBA Sustainability!" says Peter Kassouf.

His team won $8,500 at the Aspen Institute's Business & Society MBA Case Competition in New York City on April 4. Duquesne was the only school to advance to the world finals for two consecutive years.

"This was a tremendous forum for future leaders to introduce next generation solutions to today's problems," said Derick Florian.

Competing against over 1,000 students from 25 schools, the Duquesne team recommended a strategy for a social entrepreneur to address widespread malnutrition by supplying amaranth for government and nongovernment nutritional assistance programs; branding San Miguel ingredients in high-protein, gluten-free and lactose-free food products abroad; and creating jobs at home through micro-financed franchises.

"I was able to put knowledge and skills obtained in the classroom to work in a real-world business situation," said Fan Ding, "and help a small Mexican company carry out its social mission while establishing an international presence."

"Meeting the client at BNY Mellon and seeing how seriously the financial community takes social issues was incredibly rewarding," Peter reported, expressing pride in how his team had jelled during the 72 hours allotted to solve the case.

"We created memories and deepened relationships that I truly cherish," added Angela Petitto.