Our recent renovations are an engagement hub for our students, faculty and business partners. As an urban business school, we are committed to educating the workforce and advancing the Pittsburgh region.
In late 2017, we finished a total renovation of Rockwell Hall’s 4th floor. With roughly 8,000 square feet of finished space, the floor is the new home of Centers of Excellence in Entrepreneurship, Professional Selling and Supply Chain Management. These Centers support innovative research and applied educational experiences for students as well as promote interaction with local business leaders and entrepreneurs. We want to give our students the skills they need to act entrepreneurially, sell effectively and manage sustainable supply chains while also enhancing job creation and workforce development in the region.
“We want to give our students the skills they need to act entrepreneurially, sell effectively and manage sustainable supply chains while also enhancing job creation and workforce development in the region.”
Each center has cutting-edge technology and equipment designed to help students connect theory to practice. Overall, the floor is stunning, with extensive use of glass to promote natural light infusion and open 13-foot ceilings wherever possible.
The nature of selling has changed in our technology-driven world, and the Center for Leadership in Professional Selling is preparing students to meet that challenge. The Center’s newly renovated space features simulation labs where students can role-play their sales approaches in various settings with executives from partner firms.
Specifically, students can practice their pitches in many areas, including:
All simulated spaces allow students to project presentations onto a flat screen and are part of a sophisticated digital video capture system. Sales sessions can be live streamed or recorded so students can review and hone their work. Sales professionals can also embed comments and suggestions in recorded videos to help students.
“Sales is the front line for any business—it’s the revenue generator,” said Dr. Dorene Ciletti, assistant professor of marketing. “Nearly 70 percent of all business graduates have jobs that involve sales of some kind. The Center for Leadership in Professional Selling sets students up for greater success more quickly.” Thanks to online resources, customers today have access to more information and options, meaning sales people must provide added value to the buying experience. “Great salespeople identify and understand the buyer’s needs so they can provide the best solution, while working in an ethical and socially responsible way,” Dorene said.
Inaugural Steel City Sales Challenge
The Center and Steel Dynamics, Inc. co-sponsored the inaugural Steel City Sales Challenge on Oct. 21, 2017. Students from six universities in the region engaged in this sales role-playing competition. “The Steel City Sales Challenge supports our growing focus on business-to-business professional selling and is in keeping with our goal of offering compelling programs to students seeking distinctive, transformative business education,” said Dr. Dean McFarlin, dean of the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business. “Our new Center is one of the finest facilities for education training anywhere in the country and offers us a distinct opportunity to work closely with companies to further enhance students’ skills.” The skills necessary for sales—communication, presentation, identifying needs and creative problem solving—are valuable for any profession, Dorene said. “At its root, sales is about persuasion and influence. We sell ideas constantly, and sales education allows you to present yourself and your ideas more effectively,” she said. “Even if students don’t enter the sales field, the skills they learn at the Center can benefit them throughout their careers and lives.”
Dr. Dean McFarlin has made entrepreneurship a key tenet of the school’s strategic plan. His message to students is clear: “Every business student today must learn how to think like an entrepreneur.”
Our new Center of Excellence is infusing entrepreneurship into every student’s experience. We instill in all business students the entrepreneurial mindset that will empower them as graduates, whether they are launching businesses or facing innovation challenges within existing companies. That means being able to recognize and seize outstanding opportunities to solve problems and create value.
The Center includes an ideation suite and a maker space for creating, inventing and learning.
The Louis D. Mallet Entrepreneurship Zone is an inspirational, collaborative and creative environment that is perfect for promoting idea generation, group learning, problem solving and business planning. The space is rich in technology and includes writeable glass boards that enhance conversation and discussion.
The maker space, Bob’s Launch Pad, provides a hands-on area for students to develop, design and prototype everything from new physical products to online business platforms. It is outfitted with the state-of-the-art tools needed to take ideas from concept to reality. For example, Bob’s Launch Pad features sophisticated software and a variety of equipment, including a 3D printer and laser engraver for rapid prototyping of new products.
Students are already using the maker space and launching businesses of their own. Techie Deals is a company created by students in the New Venture Experience Course taught by Dr. Jack Mason, director of the entrepreneurship program. They pitched their idea for customized smart phone cases in class, and after experimenting with various prototypes launched their business. The students bought phone cases at wholesale prices, inscribed them with the laser engraver in Bob’s Launch Pad and sold them across campus. One of Techie Deals’ founders, Anthony Montalto (B’19), said that the concept for the business relies on affordability and individuality. “We give college students the opportunity to buy our phone cases or purchase their own that we can personalize. The engraved covers are unique to them at a low price. If you ask college students how much money they carry with them, it’s usually $5 or $10 dollars. That’s the price of our case.”
For more than 25 years, Duquesne has been a leader in Supply Chain Management education and garnered regional and national recognition in the process. The new Center is focusing on how information systems and technology can enhance the management of complex, integrated supply chains. This will boost both our undergraduate program as well as our new Master of Science and Certificate in Supply Chain Management launching in Fall 2018. Our supply chain students will learn how to improve the overall effectiveness and efficiency of supply chains by using advanced planning, scheduling, procurement management, transportation, and warehouse management systems and technologies.
Overall, the decision to co-locate all three Centers on the same floor was intentional, providing a more collaborative and integrated business experience. For example, supply chain students often participate in sales role-plays as buyers and entrepreneurship students rely on sales techniques to influence potential investors.
Without dedicated alumni and friends, none of this would have been possible. We are very grateful to all our generous donors—you are making a lasting impact! Each donor is vital to shaping the student experience, providing opportunities for new ideas and top-tier research, and supporting the unparalleled quality of programs that we offer.
The School extends a special thank you to the following 4th floor donors:
Marvin Balliet (B’79), Managing Director, Citibank
Center for Leadership in Professional Selling Lobby
Marvin Balliet Family
Steven P. Daniels (B’91), CEO, Daniels Industries
Center for Leadership in Professional Selling
Daniels Industries Simulation Lobby
Richard B. Hodos (B’82), Vice Chairman, CBRE
Center for Leadership in Professional Selling
Richard Hodos Simulation Conference Room
Robert Mallet, son of Louis D. Mallet (B’40) Former Chairman, Mallet & Company
Center for Excellence in Entrepreneurship
Louis D. Mallet Entrepreneurship Zone
Bob’s Launch Pad
Center for Leadership in Professional Selling
Coach Dan McCann Sales Training Room supported by members of the Sheik Social Club
Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP),
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
The next and most ambitious project in Rockwell Hall is the renovation of the 6th floor. This phase will focus on building Centers of Excellence in Ethics, Investment Strategy and Sustainable Business Innovation as well as gathering spaces for students and a small café.
After the 6th floor is complete, we also hope to upgrade, if not expand, our Rockwell bridge to the bluff. The idea would be to treat the bridge as an extension of the Institute for Sustainable Business Innovation and the School of Business with expanded spaces for events and collaborative work. This will help give us a true front door and underscore our commitment to green innovation.
The 6th floor initiative is part of a $32 million building renovation master plan for Rockwell Hall.
The conceptual design has been finalized and the architects for the floor are LGA Partners. We hope to begin construction sometime in 2019.
Please help us make our vision for Rockwell come alive by giving to the Innovation Fund. If you would like to make a gift commitment, please contact: