Partner Sites


Logo BusinessBecause - The business school voice
mobile search icon

Energy-Focused MBA Programs Drive Innovation In Renewables

Top business schools are developing energy management programs with big business to drive innovation and sustainable solutions to combat rising consumption.

Wed Mar 18 2015

BusinessBecause
Top-tier business schools are launching more MBA programs focused on the energy sector to plug a talent hole. As more energy companies tap managers to keep the lights on, those with specialist knowledge are finding more job opportunity.

George Andrews, associate dean of degree programs at Jones Graduate School of Business in the US, says: “As the industry grows, we have seen an increasing demand for individuals who have the skills to understand the complexities of a large and expanding market.”

Jones at Rice University in Houston, Texas, is one of a growing number of high-ranking schools that service the energy market despite challenging market conditions.

The price of crude oil has fallen drastically in recent months but this has not stemmed the flow of students into energy-focused business school courses.

“The turbulence and uncertainty we have seen recently doesn’t alter the challenges of providing sustainable energy that’s used efficiently across both mature markets and the developing economies,” says David Elmes, head of the Global Energy MBA at the UK’s Warwick Business School.

Warwick’s energy-focused MBA, which is three years in length, costs £12,000 for year one.

Warwick and Jones are early movers, along with Duke’s Fuqua School of Business which runs an MBA concentration in Energy and the Environment.

Other leading business schools have more recently launched specialist energy degrees.

These include Canada’s Sauder School of Business which recently announced plans to run an EMBA in strategic mining management, and Nairobi’s Strathmore University.

Both schools have developed their content with big business – Sauder with Goldcorp, the world’s largest gold miner by market capitalization, and Strathmore with National Oil Corporation, the state-owned oil major.

They and others have to adapt to changing market conditions – from rising global consumption and falling commodity prices to the US shale gas revolution and the rise of renewables.

“Renewables investment has created large numbers of jobs in the renewables sector,” says Michael Pollitt, a professor at the UK’s Cambridge Judge Business School who specializes in energy issues.

The number of people working in wave, wind and tidal energy was forecast to grow from around 34,000 in 2014 to more than 52,000 by 2023, according to industry body EU Skills.

Cambridge offers an Energy & Environment concentration within its MBA, graduates of which have been hired by energy groups including Total, General Electric and BP.

Other top business schools have opted for specializations rather than full courses. These include the McCombs School of Business, based in Texas, which offers an Energy Finance track.

With rising global demand for energy, the industry’s focus is shifting to innovation and like many business schools, McCombs is following suit. It has a degree that includes an entire course on non-technical exploration and production, which covers the technologies used to produce oil and gas.

“All of the technology change that makes things cheaper and more efficient is what drives the bottom line,” says John Butler, associate professor at McCombs' Energy Management and Innovation Center.

Warwick looks at concepts such as network innovation applied in the energy industry, as well as new services that help consumers to use energy more efficiently, according to David.

The MBA in Energy Management at the University of Aberdeen in the UK includes two modules that focus on innovation – business model innovation and future energies, according to Russell Williams, director of the program.

He says that companies’ long-term prosperity is dependent on innovation of business models, as economic weakness in Europe and Japan and sluggish global growth contribute to the current oil price plunge.

Whilst the price of oil is having a negative effect on many energy groups, he insists it has not taken a toll on the program's enrollment numbers. “Applications for the next entry are buoyant,” he says.

This may be because individuals who are displaced see current market conditions as an opportunity to develop their skills – a similar scenario came about during the global financial crisis – and companies see it as an opportunity to retain talent.

That might explain why a flurry of business schools recently launched programs designed for experienced energy sector workers.

UW College of Business, for instance, said it would launch an energy concentration in its MBA that can be completed online, designed for students who are already working in the energy industry.

While the oil and gas sector suffers from lower crude prices business schools may profit from managers who want to ride out the storm.

David at Warwick says that the energy industry is at a crossroads, as countries try to switch to low-carbon economies. “That brings new opportunities, though we may see some traditional roles fall by the way side,” he adds. 

Student Reviews

Duke University Fuqua School of Business

Student

Verified

31/10/2023

On Campus

Supportive atmosphere

The professors at Duke university exhibit exceptional commitment to the success and well-being of their students by ensuring their academic growth and fostering a supportive social atmosphere. Moreover, the entire community is recognized for its amicability and inclusiveness.

Maxwell

Verified

30/03/2023

On Campus

Diversity

The people or the students are without a doubt Duke's greatest asset. While all students are driven to succeed, they are also enthusiastic about a variety of hobbies. You run across a huge lot of diversity. It is the ideal example of a school with well-rounded students and the ideal balance of campus life in a metropolis.

Anabelle

Verified

27/02/2023

On Campus

Happy to school

All I could ever hope for is Duke University. That really epitomizes the "work hard, play hard" philosophy that elite colleges frequently pursue. Even though you'll have a lot of schooling to complete over the week, it's simple to keep focused because all of your friends are putting in similar amounts of effort. Many events taking place on and around campus on the weekends provide a great way to unwind. The combination of demanding academics and traditional college fun strikes the perfect balance.

Monica

Verified

27/02/2023

On Campus

Good schooling

Living, eating, learning, and developing who you want to be as an adult are all fantastic at Duke. I participated in student athletics, and I couldn't have asked for a better interaction with the faculty and other students. I appreciate all of the help I get from the Duke community more than anything. Furthermore, the teachers take the time to get to know you, and the lectures are diverse and demanding (if you do the same). I'd give it a 10 out of 10.

Aline

Verified

26/11/2022

On Campus

Beautiful School, Nice Classes

DU remains one the greatest and best universities that I have ever stepped in. The school is beautiful and neat. The classes are spacious and also very nice. I enjoyed attending my Lectures in those lecture halls. I also loved the Lecturers because of the good work they did. The university also has very good dorms that are given to students on first come first serve basis and they are affordable

Student

Verified

29/06/2022

Blended

Amazing experience

I received my B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Global Health with a minor in Chemistry from Duke University. I was able to grow as a student, scientist, and global health advocate with the help of my friends, professors, and other mentors I met along the way. A lot to learn if you look and ask, a great place to learn for those who want to learn.

Student

Verified

29/06/2022

Blended

whirlwind of growth and change

An amazing 2 years, with covid and everything else happening Duke has been a place of growth for me. The courses , classes were one of a kind, online and on campus. But the valuable lessons learned in the classes are irreplicable. The students are amazing here, so much diversity , I had no problem fitting in. The teachers are down right brilliant and so helpful. Don't be afraid to ask them anything. Graduated with my MBA with Duke and now my future awaits.

Student

Verified

29/06/2022

On Campus

One of the best for Business students

Graduated with an MBA. The classes were very insightful and engaging. The staff are very easy to deal with. The teachers and students, are truly amazing people. Grateful to all the people I've met along the way at Duke. I've learnt a great deal that will help me in my future endeavors. The campus itself is a marvel, it is beautiful.

Student

Verified

16/06/2022

On Campus

The university campus is awesome

I graduated with a masters degree in Religious Studies from Duke University. One thing I really liked about the university is its huge campus. It is spread in a large area with a lot of greenery and also have the facilities of reading rooms for single person also. My department building was very well taken care of. The library is immensely populated with books for all your needs. The faculty is very nice to students. The classes are equipped with latest technology to cater the needs of students. The University also provides room rentals for international students. They are very well maintained and priority is given to the International students for a comfortable stay there. There are weekly events conducted by the University as well as Student clubs for the entertainment of students. Anybody can take part in them and show their talents. I enjoyed my degree and I graduated in 2021 and was very happy that I had graduated from a reputed University.

RECAPTHA :

30

56

b2

10