Fletcher School MIB Student Creates Energy Strategy For EBay

Gabrielle Maguire spent her summer on an EDF Climate Corps Fellowship at EBay’s HQ in San Jose, California

Gabrielle Maguire has spent the summer between her first and second years on the Fletcher School's Master in International Business program helping Ebay become a greener company.

Gabrielle, 29, is from Amherst, Massachusetts (about two hours west of Boston).

Before her Master in International Business (MIB) she was working in hedge fund management in Geneva. Gabrielle will graduate from the MIB program at The Fletcher School in May 2012 and her focus is on International Finance and International Energy Policy.

She has spent the summer on a Climate Corps Fellowship through the Environmental Defence Fund (EDF). EDF is a leading national non-profit organization which creates "transformational solutions" for the most serious environmental problems using expertise in science, economics, law and private-sector partnerships.

EDF Climate Corps (edfclimatecorps.org) places specially-trained MBA and Masters in Public Affairs (MPA) students in companies, cities and universities to build the business case for energy efficiency. EDF Climate Corps fellows analyze energy-saving opportunities and develop custom energy efficiency investment plans that cut costs and carbon emissions.

Gabrielle got involved with the Climate Corps fellowship through The Fletcher School, Tufts University which has had a recruiting relationship with Climate Corps and EDF for several years. “The Office of Career Services held a recruiting event which I attended. I was motivated by the opportunities the program presented and applied. I was delighted when I got an interview!”

There were 96 fellows placed within 78 companies, cities and universities. Most of the fellows were business school students, “Some of the business schools that were most prominently represented in this year’s class of EDF Climate Corps included Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, Yale School of Management, Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan School of Business and Cornell’s Johnson School, to name a few.”

The program began with a three-day training event in Boston, “which was not only a great way for us to launch into our respective projects once we arrived at our companies, but also to meet our peers and build a community on which we could rely for project support throughout the summer.”

Fellows had no say in which companies they wanted be allocated to. Instead “EDF reviewed all applicants and placed us with companies according to their needs and our skill-sets.”

Gabrielle applied to the program so that she could gain experience in making the business case for sustainability. "I knew I could be placed in a wide range of Fortune 500 companies across the US, each with its own unique set of energy questions. I would have enjoyed the experience anywhere, but was particularly interested in Silicon Valley, which is a new and exciting industry, with a set of energy challenges that are developing along with the industry.”

EDF gave a fellowship at EBay to Gabrielle and she was delighted, saying she knew it would be an “exceptional experience”.

Gabrielle evaluated EBay's long-term energy management strategy to help the company think about its energy use and costs.

“EBay, like many of its counterparts in Silicon Valley, is actively working to create an energy strategy that couples its operational need to minimize energy costs with its employee-driven mission to be green. It is challenging itself (and me) with the question: How do you shrink while you grow?”

Gabrielle’s summer at the eBay headquarters in San Jose, California was spent “focused on demonstrating how eBay’s on-campus data storage centres could mirror the efficiency measures that it had already employed for its remote data centres.”

The work done by Gabrielle will set a precedent for EBay’s on-campus data storage centres nation-wide. She implemented an analysis of server port activity to determine server usage and enable a decommissioning of unused servers. She also identified savings opportunities by better controlling the air-flow of the cooling system. "The combined annual savings of the projects could be close to $100,000 and reduce CO2 emissions by 328 metric tons per year,” she says.

Everyone at eBay takes sustainability very seriously, “I could feel it from speaking with colleagues, many of whom are on the Green Team (there are over 2,000 eBay Green Team members), and who are very passionate about what we can do to make a difference.

"Sustainability can be seen everywhere on the eBay campuses, where recycling and compost bins are abundant, as well as reusable plateware and silverware," she continues.

"Indeed, some of the initiatives that the company has started, such as the eBay Box, Instant Sale and their new collaboration with Patagonia to reduce waste and encourage reuse have made me proud to be an eBay employee.” 

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