Katrina Managan is no ordinary student of IE Business School. She wants to make a difference by providing realistic solutions to problems like global warming. And the way she has made her mark is by co-authoring a well-received white paper on energy efficiency.
Titled 'Financing Energy Efficiency Retrofits in Buildings', she has worked in collaboration with Peter Sweatman of Climate Strategy and Partners to provide recommendations that can bring about a change to Spain's economy.
In a tête-à-tête with Katrina, she tells more about her research, her life and experience, and what she hopes to do in the future. With a BA (Honours) in Political Science and Biology from Brandeis University in Boston, she is a Fulbright scholar currently pursuing the International MBA at IE Business School.
She hopes to gain in-depth knowledge of the tools of business, with an aim to increase energy efficiency within the business world.
So how did she decide on an MBA after studying politics and biology? Well, her five-year work experience with the National Wildlife Federation seems to have brought along the transition.
According to Katrina, her work with NWF allowed her to use her political skills to do some policy work, and her biology knowledge to deal with global warming. And by using this combination, she realised that energy efficiency could not only provide some upward boost to the economy, but could also be a solution to the problem of global warming.
She stresses the fact that buildings are responsible for 40 to 45% of all energy used in developed countries. Not just that, a business model based on reducing energy usage in a cost-effective way is attractive to investors. Hence, her motivation to travel thousands of miles to pursue an MBA in a country she thinks is the world leader of clean energy.
What started off as a search for a summer internship, turned into a five-month research project ending with the publication of a white paper. The research sheds light on cost-effective opportunities to improve energy efficiency in buildings, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
She devised an Aggregated Investment Model, which provides recommendations on how countries like the US, UK and Spain can increase their investment in building retrofits to conserve energy.
Besides that, ideas are also provided for Spain in particular to act on energy efficiency as a means to improve its declining economy. According to Katrina, working on the white paper was very special, especially her chance to talk to experts and reviewers in the field, and to put what she had been studying to practical use.
Her passion for her field of work comes across when she reveals that her goal is to find a position that will allow her to be a catalyst to develop the clean energy market. She plans on heading back to Washington DC after her graduation in December, and make a transition from working in public policy to working in the private sector dealing with energy and technology.
If you're wondering who has been her mentor and inspiration over the years, she names two important people in her life: "Peter Sweatman, the CEO and Founder of Climate Strategy and Partners, with whom I wrote this white paper has been an amazing guide and role model for me as I enter the world of business.
“And Jeremy Symons at the National Wildlife Federation, now Senior Vice President of Conservation and Education, is my greatest mentor - he constantly challenged me to become better than I thought I could be, he is the best strategic thinker I've ever met, and he showed what it is to live with purpose, kindness and humility."
For Katrina, there is never too much on her plate. She is also the Vice President of the NetImpact Club and Energy Club at her School. So how did she manage to balance her education, her club activities, and her work on the paper? Though she admits that she had to step back from a few things over the last two months, she also adds, "It was all interesting and engaging, so I didn't mind balancing them all."
Watch the launch of the Aggregated Investment Model at the IE Business School, featuring Katrina Managan and Peter Sweatman.