Category Archives: Energy & Natural Resources

Student Interview: Naveen Sikka at UC Berkeley Haas

Naveen Sikka

If you’re interested in “clean tech” or any other emerging sector, it’s important where you go to business school. Second-year MBA student (and now fresh graduate) Naveen Sikka tells why UC Berkeley Haas and the San Francisco Bay Area were perfect stepping stones into the green energy sector.

How did you get interested in clean tech?

I actually come from a very untraditional undergraduate background. I went to Columbia University and graduated in 2000 with a degree in political science and French. At the time, the economy was really hot, so I just moved into consulting. I did that for seven years before coming here.

I got really interested in green tech right before I came to Haas. I did a finance project in energy and really took to it. Clean tech is the confluence of a lot of different forces. You see a lot of people who maybe aren’t energy people coming into this space, because it combines basic technology with policy, geopolitics, climate change, human dimensions. I knew that Berkeley would be a good place to study this, but I didn’t really appreciate fully the magnitude of that decision until I got here.
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A Sneak Peek at Stanford’s Annual Cool Product Expo

Video games that read your mind. A bike that you run on instead of pedal. Really, what could be more California than Stanford’s annual Cool Product Expo?¬† We spoke with Amanda Kaye Boaz, a second-year MBA student at Stanford GSB and co-organizer of this geek- and green-friendly celebration of innovative¬† products.

Four products at this year's event: 1) Elliptigo Glide Bike; 2) D.Light Design's efficient LED lighting; 3) Siftables; and 4) NeuroSky's video game

First of all, what is the Cool Product Expo?

Last year we had about 800 attendees, including current students, alumni, local professionals, press, etc. It’s open to anybody. It is the largest student-run event on campus, and we are really fortunate because of our location in the Bay Area. There are a lot of start-ups that come out with really cool, innovative products.

We typically get about 50 exhibitors from around the area who are launching products that we think are really innovative and cutting-edge. For instance, this year we are having someone over who found a way to let you play video games with your mind. They have neurosensors that they attach to your head, and with these you can actually move the characters on the video game.

So, I assume most of the “cool” products are high-tech things.

By the nature of where we are located we have a little more technology, but it’s not just technology. We will have clean-tech cars, and Cal Cars that convert Priuses into plug-in electric vehicles. Last year, we had GM come with their electric vehicle. We are hoping to get them to come again this year.

It’s a lot of everything. We have a number of booths for current student projects. We’re having people in the engineering school who made irrigation systems for developing countries, and another student coming who is bringing an extension for people who don’t have use for their hands, so they can actually play golf.

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Interview: Joseph Doucet of the University of Alberta

Joseph Doucet

Joseph Doucet directs the Natural Resources, Energy & Environment MBA program at the University of Alberta School of Business. He talks about why a good location matters for a business school offering an energy focus.

Edmonton is pretty far north. Why would someone want to go up there for an MBA?

Alberta is a natural location because of the significance of the energy, resource, and environmental sectors in the provincial economy. Our students come from all over the world, and upon graduation, have gone to jobs in the public and private sector in Canada and the US, and elsewhere. Although it is rooted here in Alberta, clearly the preparation and opportunities we give our students are global, because energy, environmental, and resource problems are global.

Business schools in London might want to exploit the advantage they have in terms of international finance. Here we take advantage of the fact that the energy and natural resource sector is so prevalent in the economy, so there are lots of opportunities for students to speak to business leaders, government leaders, and thought leaders in these different areas. We take students up to visit the oil sand plants or mines, we visit gas plants, electricity generation facilities, and pipeline and storage tank facilities.

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Interview: David Elmes of Warwick Business School

David Elmes

The energy industry is changing breathtakingly fast. David Elmes directs a new part-time Global Energy MBA program at Warwick Business School designed to help people in the industry keep up and succeed. Here is our interview with him.

What does it take to be a successful manager or executive in the energy sector now?

Basically, there are three things going on. Energy is getting harder to develop and produce. That applies to both the traditional oil- and gas-type resources, which are harder to find and more difficult to produce, and to renewable and alternative energies, where the ambition is to develop quite significant levels of energy production in a very short time. For many renewable energies, you’re looking at developing, implementing, and scaling-up industries at really amazing rates if you compare them to the normal evolution of industries. Whether it’s the old stuff or the new stuff – the first point is that the energy industry is becoming more difficult.

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