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Duquesne MBA Sustainability Places Second in Worldwide Case Competition

A team from Duquesne University's MBA Sustainability program has placed second in the inaugural world competition held during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The competition was based on a case study to improve sustainability operations at an international oil and gas company.

Two rounds in the first Corporate Knights-Schulich Business for a Better World case competition narrowed the field from 28 teams from institutions around the world to five. Three teams of students-from Duquesne, the first-place team from the Stockholm School of Economics and the third-place team from the Monterey School of International Studies at Middlebury College-were selected for the final round in Davos. There, high-profile judges attending the World Economic Forum heard 10-minute presentations from each team on Friday, Jan. 24.

The teams were challenged to improve the global energy operations of Suncor Energy, sponsor of the event, based upon the 12 most widely disclosed and tracked sustainability metrics, creating a business plan that would improve Suncor's sustainability performance compared to others in the oil and gas sector.

"Environmental and social performance is proving crucial to the long-term financial health of corporations, and more business leaders need to understand and track the indicators that matter," said Toby Heaps, chief executive of Corporate Knights. "As the name of this competition implies, we want to build business for a better world and help lay down the seeds that will grow tomorrow's responsible business leaders."

The Duquesne team, sponsored by the Alcoa Foundation, was composed of:

Alcoa Fellow Laura Demetriou Monahan of Los Angeles; Sustainability Fellow Jana DiSanti of Pittsburgh; and Peace Corps Fellows  Alison Etheridge of Sautee Nacoochee, Ga., who returned from Nicaragua in 2012, and  Stephen Sumpter of Corry, PA, who returned from  Ethiopia  in 2011. As second-place winners, the Duquesne team brought home $3,615 ($4,000 CDN).

"We're very proud of our MBA Sustainability program and the terrific students it attracts," said Dr. Dean McFarlin, dean of Duquesne's Palumbo-Donahue School of Business. "It's an innovative, world-class program that's among the very best anywhere, and our students have just underscored this point by besting 27 of 28 teams from some of the finest MBA programs in the world."

This competition is only one example of the enriching, life-changing experiences that students come to expect from higher education. "This is an incredible accomplishment and a transformational experience for our students-and giving students compelling experiences is what our outstanding MBA Sustainability faculty do best," McFarlin said.

The competition also demonstrates the strong contributions students can make to the marketplace, said Dr. Robert Sroufe, Murrin Chair of Global Competitiveness. "The team's accomplishment is but one example of the value our students can deliver to multinational companies," Sroufe said. "Global case competitions like this are an integrated part of our curriculum and part of a unique Duquesne experience within a one-year MBA program."

For more information about the Sustainability MBA program, visit www.duq.edu/sustainablemba.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.