Nic Students Help Corporate Clients Address Strategic Business Challenges

Every spring, Nicholas alumni and other corporate professionals serve as clients for students in Professor Deb Gallagher’s popular Sustainable Business Strategy course. It’s win-win for students and clients, as managers get a bright, motivated workforce to attack a specific area of need, and students get a chance to apply classroom learning to real strategic challenges in a business setting. Here is a project from the Spring 2017 class:

Lenovo’s Environmental Management System (EMS) reflects the multinational technology company’s commitment to design and manufacture environmentally conscious products in facilities that minimize the environmental impact on their surroundings and to continually improve its performance in this area. As part of this EMS, Lenovo sought to develop water risk maps for the company’s global sites, and to use those maps to understand and identify water opportunities and risks worldwide.

Lenovo Environmental Project Manager and Staff Engineer Sona Stenclova, a 2010 Nicholas Master of Environmental Management graduate, asked a team of Nicholas master’s students in the Sustainable Business Strategy course to create these maps using World Resource Institute’s AqueductTM and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Global Water Tool©. The students also developed strategic recommendations for Lenovo to capitalize on this data. Stenclova and her colleagues are using this information to evaluate Lenovo’s water management approach and strategy to ensure water-related impacts are appropriately addressed through both business and environmental management.

“The water topic is gaining more visibility with our senior management, so this project definitely helped us have in-depth understanding the situation and provide suggestions on how to strengthen our water strategy.” — Sona Stenclova, Environmental Program Manager and Staff Engineer, Lenovo


Deb Gallagher is looking for six new clients for the spring 2018 course. If you work in sustainability and might be interested in hosting a student team to address a specific strategic challenge for your company or nonprofit organization, please contact her at or (919) 613-8138.