At Duquesne University Palumbo Donahue School of Business, students get plenty of opportunities to learn by doing, build a portfolio, and cultivate a network, all while working on their undergraduate business degree.
“We have a culture and ethos of caring that permeates the environment at the school. Duquesne offers a great education and a strong sense of community,” says William Spangler, associate dean for Undergraduate Programs and Academic Affairs at Palumbo Donahue.. “We have a warm, tight-knit campus that sits on a beautiful bluff with river and downtown views. It offers students a secluded oasis just a short walk from top attractions, restaurants and sports activities downtown. Students are our top priority and we provide close personal attention from our terrific and dedicated faculty.”
Duquesne University is a private Catholic university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with about 9,000 students in the entire university, and about 1,300 in the business school. Spangler says their students are primarily from Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Maryland, with about 70% coming from within 150 miles of Pittsburgh. However, that is changing as they are seeing more students from outside the region, coming from New Jersey, California, and Hawaii.
THE ACADEMIC EXPERIENCE
Business students at Duquesne University can choose from nine majors. The school requires students to complete 16 hours of pre-orientation programming before the formal start of the academic year. All biz majors at Duquesne also go through the First Year Innovation Experience as part of the recently redesigned undergraduate business core. The experiential learning course that was launched in Fall 2017 is intended to push students towards design thinking and challenges them to apply it to real-world problems by coming up with creative solutions for the communities around them.
In working with client organizations such as the City of Pittsburgh, and Sustainable Pittsburgh, students working in small teams have come up with plans to help improve neighborhoods. Part of the experience also required the students to deliver elevator pitches and make presentations to judges from the outside organizations, and the program kickstarts success skills in the students that are embedded across the business curriculum, including cultural intelligence, a sustainability perspective, influence skills, and an entrepreneurial mindset.
With the school’s strategic plan to create a “cornerstone to capstone” experience, all students conclude their business experience with the capstone. For this final course, students once again work in small teams with client companies, and the students once again work on solutions and present their work.
Jacob Fox, Class of 2016, told P&Q that as part of his capstone project as a Information Systems Management major, he worked on a project with the National Aviary, and “gathered requirements for a system that would track data.” The team then built the application, and Fox added that he truly “enjoyed the experience of working on the process from start to finish.”
“I’m a firm believer of learning-by-doing, that students can internalize knowledge and capability better by engaging with a problem,” Spangler says. “It’s particularly beneficial for students to get outside of their comfort zones because it’s required of any successful business professional, even as they develop the tools and knowledge to solve any issue. Much of business professional success is interpersonal.”
STUDY ABROAD AND CAREER OUTCOMES
Students who wish to study abroad have many options. One of those options is the Maymester, which allows students to travel for about a month in May. In 2019, students can choose to attend Maymesters in Rome, Ghana, Finland, and Belize. The school estimates that about 35% of students have a global experience before graduation.
Michael Leonard, another 2016 graduate, says his study abroad experience in Rome was amazing. “I met lifelong friends and traveled Europe all while learning from my classes, specifically my art history class taught by world-renowned art historian Elizabeth Lev,” Leonard says. “She took us to sculptures and paintings all over Europe and explained their origins and meanings. It was an unparalleled experience.”
The school shared that about 90% of students in both the Class of 2017 and 2018 had business-specific internships before graduation. About 86% of 2018 graduates seeking employment found full-time jobs within three months of graduating, witch an average salary of $50,592.
“The preparation that we give them here is aimed at developing outstanding business professionals who can lead with integrity, seize opportunities and embrace diverse environments, “ Spangler said. “When they graduate, they get hired in large numbers by employers who return year after year. Our focus on ethics has our students doing right by doing good, and we hope that has an impact on the marketplace and any workplace they go to.”
What Recent Alumni Say:
“As a double major, my main major was in Entrepreneurial Studies. The Entrepreneurship program at Duquesne under the leadership of Jack Mason was extremely rewarding and allowed for real-world experience and access to the business and entrepreneurial community in Pittsburgh. As part of my capstone course, I was chosen to compete as one of 12 finalists in the Carnegie Mellon Venture Challenge, the M.I.T. Enterprise Forum PitchFest, and was able to visit various Angel Investors and Startup co-working spaces/incubators throughout my time at Duquesne. I also was part of Phi Beta Lambda in the business school and during my spring semester of Senior year won first place at Nationals in Atlanta for my business plan.”
“We had a number of capstone courses through our senior year relating to our majors. For instance, I had a capstone project for my supply chain major, my international business major, and every student takes a capstone management course. These courses were mainly projects and discussions where students were expected to demonstrate their learnings throughout their academic careers.”
“As part of a capstone class, we created a functional and working database for the National Aviary. It included various aspects of taking care of the animals in the aviary such as feeding times, weight progression, exercise, etc. The class taught us to understand business requirements as well as the technical requirements for the database.”
Where The Class of 2018 Went To Work:
PNC – 19
EY – 7
KPMG – 5
Schneider Downs – 5
ADP – 4
Enterprise Holdings – 3
Federated Investors – 3
PwC – 3
Highmark – 2