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.
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.
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.