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Copenhagen MBA Starts New Career At Denmark’s Leading Renewable Energy Company

Luca Piccardi came across Ørsted—formerly DONG Energy—after a company visit during his MBA at Copenhagen Business School. Now, he works there

Mon Nov 27 2017

When Donald Trump pulled America out of the Paris Climate Accord earlier this year, he said it was so America could renegotiate and get a “deal that’s fair” for its people.

The truth is though, such a protectionist brand of politics can be volatile—climate change is a global issue, and whatever consequences come from its neglect will affect America too.

However, as MBA graduate Luca Piccardi discovered, business schools and global energy giants are fighting back.

Indeed, that was one of his key decisions for pursuing an MBA at the Copenhagen Business School—ranked fourth in the world in the Corporate Knights’ Better World MBA Ranking 2016 and 2017, a ranking system that recognizes schools for their dedication to sustainability.

Having worked in the oil and gas sector in Italy in the past, Luca decided he wanted to use an MBA to “move from a brown industry to a clean one”.

Responsible management is the central theme of the Copenhagen MBA, thus Luca entered the clean energy sector schooled on the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR)—the school’s MBA program is also ranked among the top 35 in Europe by the Financial Times.

From the beginning of the program, students are immersed in a 50-hour course dedicated to sustainable management—two of the four topics include Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, and the New Global Rules of the Game.

Indeed CSR and sustainability run through most of the core course on the full-time Copenhagen MBA; the importance of corporate responsibility is shown from the board level down, as well as its role in leadership gender equality and the prosperous business culture that fosters.

Although in Luca’s case he implemented his education into a large multinational corporation, the school’s focus on CSR expands to startups and smaller organizations. 

And, adds Luca, that education comes in all forms, most notably through company visits and industry experts lecturing the students on their business practices.

“We were exposed to people from Carlsberg, for example, who came in to tell us how their offices are structured to deal with such issues,” he says.

It was incidentally after a company visit to DONG Energy (Danish Oil and Natural Gas) during the program that he was initially awed by the company’s vision.

“It was the year they decided to divest from oil and gas and sell off that division of the company,” Luca explains, “so it was a bold move—the company message and prospects they presented really appealed to me.”

Indeed, DONG Energy completed the divestment deal for a total of $1.1 billion—selling to British petrochemical group INEOS—highlighting the company’s permanent shift away from fossil fuels.

They have since re-branded as Ørsted after Danish scientist Hans Christian Ørsted—the father of electromagnetism—which fits the way the company produces power today.

After graduating from the Copenhagen MBA, Luca applied for a position at the company. He’s now working as a contract manager for the firm, within the procurement of offshore wind power projects.

“It’s not like oil and gas,” he says, “in that it is not a 100-year-old business. It is fairly new and investments are coming and there’s a lot of potential for growth. To do my job, it is important to be open to new solutions and new possibilities to push forward.”

Innovative forward thinking comes from links Luca keeps with Copenhagen Business School—whose 1,400-strong alumni network is the largest in Scandinavia—as he regularly contacts former professors for advice.

“A recent example was around some work I was doing into how blockchain and smart contracts can be a viable option for my business,” Luca recalls. “I contacted my former professor of supply chain management and asked him if he could forward me some research and he was kind enough to do that.”

A large proportion of his MBA, Luca says, was focused on the study of business cases preparing him for the real world of work. That pragmatic, practical approach to studying allowed him to transition into the world of work with an open mindset.

And, he adds, that is “fundamental” to his work now. When finding new solutions to problems—be it to do with the technical design of the wind farms he deals with, or where they should be installed—his Copenhagen MBA instilled within him the necessity of a holistic approach to business.

“It’s a very intensive field,” he adds, “but having done an MBA, you can feel the difference.”