Combine GRS’ Master’s in Energy and Environment with Questrom’s Social Impact MBA
Tracing her interest in renewable energy back to its roots, Paulina Carrega García has joined Boston University’s new dual degree program. The reason is… Al Gore.
“This may seem like a joke, but my teacher made me watch it when I was in fourth grade.” inconvenient truth” says Carrega (Questrom’24, GRS’24), who attended elementary school in his native Mexico. “I was basically traumatized” by the film’s depiction of the climate crisis.
Former Vice President Gore’s 2006 documentary set Carrega on a career path in the energy field, leading to a job analyzing renewable energy contracts in the Mexico City office of a Dallas-based consulting firm. I did.
“I knew about energy and sustainability, but I started to realize that I was missing a little bit more on the business side,” she says. “I wanted to understand finance more thoroughly.”
That led her to Boston to participate in the new Social Impact MBA+MS dual degree program in Energy and Environment jointly run by the Questrom School of Business and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The student will earn her MBA in two years through Questrom’s Social Impact MBA program and her Master of Science in Energy and Environment from the GRS Energy and Environment program.
The program aims to develop a new generation of leaders who will help the energy industry navigate the large-scale transformations needed to combat climate change, including the transition away from fossil fuels.
“There are few sectors that need more talent, new talent and dedicated talent, than the energy sector,” says Questrom Strategy and Innovation Lecturer and Industry Relations Manager for Energy and Sustainability. Richard Steube said.. “Through this program, we hope to educate business leaders who can make a big difference. ”
He said the energy sector is not only one of the largest sectors in the world economy, but also one of the most important. “And that’s changing a lot,” says Stuebi, who worked in the industry for 35 years before joining Questrom four years ago.
“We’re trying to solve two problems at once,” he says. “We are facing the decarbonization problem of how do we deal with climate change and move to a zero-carbon economy in the next 20, maybe 30 years or so, and this is very difficult. , and should be done in a way that does not hinder economic growth, especially in areas that do not have access to modern energy.”
This is a daunting set of challenges that requires a deep understanding of both the energy sector and the economy.
The climate crisis is also an opportunity
“Everyone wants to turn on the lights, connect to a computer, use heat and air conditioning, so energy is ubiquitously important in our society, in our lives,” said Senior Lecturer. says James Baldwin (GRS’09), senior lecturer. Director of the Master’s Program in the Department of Global Environmental Studies, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
He says Earth and Environment programming is skills-based and trains people to work in government and consulting jobs, and graduates of the program are quickly hired.
“A lot of people who work in renewable energy are engineers or economists or environmental scientists,” Baldwin says. “The missing piece is not only knowing the kinds of things that I know, but also understanding how to make many of these solutions attractive and attractive and profitable. I think it means we need more people with business knowledge and business skills, so there is an economic incentive for companies to invest more in renewable energy.”
It’s not exactly a new product. BU’s dual degree program dates back several years, but promotions were delayed due to the pandemic and other factors. Mr. Karega is one of several students who eventually found that path anyway. Baldwin credits Stuebi with moving that forward.
I think this is one of the missing pieces of the puzzle towards a more sustainable energy future.
“I think this is one piece of the puzzle towards a more sustainable energy future,” Baldwin said.
The core requirements of both degrees remain in place in the new program, with the first year focused primarily on the MBA and the second year focused on the master’s degree. It also includes a variety of electives.
The oil and gas sector has long been a sector of Texas, particularly Houston, Stubi said. It’s unlikely that BU students will head there for jobs, but as society continues to move away from fossil fuels, that may not matter as much.
Electric utilities are attractive employment opportunities for graduates of the program across the region, including six in New England. Solar and wind energy companies, as well as investment firms operating in this space, need employees with these skill sets. He added that there are many innovative companies in the technology space that are not yet widely recognized but have the potential to become major players.
“Keep in mind that we’re talking about a long-term outlook, and there’s a chance it could go wrong.” But the upside room could be huge, and those Much of the industry is hiring, Steubi said. As an example, he points to a Cambridge-based company across the Charles River. commonwealth fusion system.First round of venture capital funding It raised about $2 billion, making it one of the largest venture capital rounds in history.
“They’re raising so much capital that they’re looking for accountants, financial planners, operations managers,” Stuebi says. “This is about a product that probably won’t be around for another 10 or 20 years, if it ever existed. But there are all sorts of energy storage technologies around here, electric vehicle charging companies, geothermal companies, There are all sorts of very promising startups.”
Applying your dual degree to work
Melissa Mittelman (Questrom’22, GRS’22) was among those who found her way into the program, which she said helped her land a position as manager of energy and climate change mitigation policy. Ta. Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
“It’s a long title, but it actually means I’m doing a lot of work on the state’s decarbonization plan, clean energy and climate change plan,” Mittelman said. “This is not what I was doing before I went to graduate school.” She went on to work in financial services and financial journalism, including delving into sustainable energy financing.
“I went back and did a very focused dual degree program that combined both my background and interest in finance and economics with my other very strong interests in energy and environmental sustainability. I decided I wanted to take the course,” she says. “So I started thinking about the graduate school situation with that dual focus.”
The dual degree program at Questrom and GRS helped her use the fundamentals of finance and business as a lens through which to consider many energy and environmental issues. At the same time, I was able to gain content knowledge to understand what kind of business is involved, what the market is, and what the challenges are.
“I think the reality of climate change is impacting every aspect of our lives,” Mittelman says. “And I think being able to approach it from an interdisciplinary perspective is going to be an increasingly valuable skill set.”
The question is whether society can respond to the challenges of climate change in time. “Every other problem on this planet pales in comparison to what threatens our ability to survive as a species,” Baldwin says. “I think the technology element is there. It’s cheaper to make electricity from renewable energy than it is to make electricity from fossil fuels. Last year, the world added more renewable energy capacity than fossil fuel capacity. So these things are happening. I don’t know if they’re happening fast enough.
The missing piece, he says, is helping more people not only understand environmental science, but also understand the business complexities of finding solutions.
“The people who are actually going to make these things happen are going to be in the business community. These are the people who have to find a way to make a business case,” Baldwin says. “That’s why I think this is such an important program that BU offers.”
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