How My EMBA Helped Me Launch A Tech Startup In Sustainable Energy

Chelsey Bird leveraged her EMBA to co-found a sustainable energy tech startup, while simultaneously progressing to a C-suite level position—here’s how she did it

With a great aptitude for mathematics, Chelsey Bird fast tracked straight from her A-levels to a junior accountant role aged just 17. 

She later decided to obtain formal qualifications while working full-time as an auditor – and then as an assistant financial accountant in industry. 

Chelsey received an accounting technician diploma and, in 2016, a degree from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales – the equivalent to a degree in accounting. 

Her entrepreneurial journey started as she joined the Executive MBA at Warwick Business School where she co-founded Hy-Met, a tech startup supporting clean, sustainable, and affordable energy. Chelsey simultaneously works as a chief accountant at Terberg Environmental, a manufacturing group in the waste management and recycling industry.


Why an EMBA?

To achieve a position at C-suite level, Chelsey knew she’d need an EMBA. She had immeasurable experience in accounting but lacked skills and knowledge in the commercial, operational, or marketing sides to business.

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Choosing Warwick for her EMBA was a no-brainer. Ranked sixth in the world and first in the UK, Warwick remains one of the most prestigious universities in the country.

Chelsey also chose Warwick for the close-knit community she felt when visiting the campus, and its proximity to numerous cities such as Coventry, Birmingham and Oxford. 

She says: “The people who I met on my interviews and during the open days were extremely helpful and supportive, the whole campus felt like an amazing environment.”


Warwick Business Schools EMBA 

At Warwick, EMBA students begin the year with core modules designed to provide a solid foundation in management, business, leadership and Environmental, Social & Governance. These include Corporate Reporting & Decision Making, Financial Management, Innovation & Strategic Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Marketing, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior and Strategic Advantage.

The two-year EMBA allowed Chelsey to hone her presentational skills as up to 30% of each module was dedicated to group work where students either presented findings or a product.

“It was so useful because now I have no problem presenting or speaking in front of a large group of people, it really pushes you out of your comfort zone,” says Chelsey. 


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EMBA grads calibrate their focus via elective modules at the end of their first year–and for the most of their second fitting into 11 different categories. These include Digital, Entrepreneurship, Finance & Accounting, Global Business, Marketing, Operations, Strategy, Sustainability, Healthcare, Management & Leadership, and Human Resource Management & Corporate Responsibility. 

All students are required to do an overseas elective module to gain further international experience.  One of Chelsey’s EMBA highlights was a trip to Vancouver, Canada, to study business sustainability at the University of British Columbia

“You get to experience the life of another campus or other countries and enjoy the opportunity of getting a new perspective,” comments Chelsey.

“Doing an EMBA is fantastic it helps you develop your thought process and to create a different mindset for you,” Chelsey says. “It also allows you to network with a lot of people who you wouldn’t normally.”


From the EMBA to startup co-founder in sustainable energy 

It was on her trip to Vancouver that Chelsey met one of the future co-founders of her entrepreneurial venture, Hy-Met. She and three other co-founders came together to share their individual expertise and passion for sustainability, with three of the founding members being EMBA and MBA students from Warwick.

"We have the perfect mix in our team to push the business forward; an engineer, a commercial leader, a technical leader, and myself in finance," explains Chelsey. 

The business was able to come to fruition thanks to many partners and collaborators including Warwick Business School’s accelerator program which offers free mentoring, office space at the university, and networking opportunities. 


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While they continue to apply for further funding, Chelsey has maintained a full-time role as a chief accountant at Terberg Environmental. 

“Hy-Met wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t done an EMBA and would most definitely not be at the stage it is at now without Warwick,” says Chelsey. 

Chelsey cherishes the experience she obtained at Warwick, and places enormous emphasis on the benefits of the alumni network and peers in furthering connections and friendships. 

“The experience that you get from meeting people, the EMBA, and the way it changes the way you think about everything is just invaluable.”