Educating tomorrow’s leaders in the energy sector: the practitioner perspective (Part 4)

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The final perspective in a four-part focus on what leading international practitioners and academics foresee as crucial developments in the energy sector and how higher education should tailor studies to meet the challenge

Part 4: From industry practitioners participating in the Council on Business & Society Boston Forum Energy, Business, and Society. 

2009-SeegerElizabeth Seeger, Director, Public Policy and Affairs, Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts Co.  L.P. (KKR)

KKR is an American multinational private equity firm, specializing in leveraged buyouts, headquartered in New York. The firm sponsors and manages private equity investment funds. 

“Energy leaders, and business leaders in general, need to understand and have the skills to manage the fact that business decisions can or should no longer be made in a vacuum. There are a number of important stakeholders that extend beyond a company’s shareholders and customers, and decisions in the energy space in particular can have a significant impact on communities and the environment. Business schools have a role in teaching future leaders how to think about problems and solutions from a holistic perspective.”

Phil GuidicePhilip Giudice, President and CEO, Ambri Inc. 

Ambri is a technology company creating cost-effective, reliable, widespread grid electricity storage solutions, enabling separation of power demand from power supply. 

“Leaders in the energy sector must combine sharp analytics with creativity while remaining cognizant of history and being willing to understand and even honor past decisions. Beyond the traditional MBA fare, important courses include those on geopolitics and global trade, government/NGO relationships, and policy—law and regulation. Key experiences could include internships at energy law offices, NGOs, or state or federal policy branches, as well as work with startups, utilities, or project development.”

bio_clip_Sarah_Irving_June2015_v2Sarah Irving, Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer, Irving Oil

Irving Oil was founded in 1924 and is a privately owned refining and marketing company with a history of long-term partnerships and relationships. 

We need good thinkers with a vast array of experience who can apply that experience to problem solving. We’re looking for people with varied backgrounds who are able to work across disciplines and who have the ability to move within organizations. It would be great to see MBA programs incorporating a little bit of interdisciplinary knowledge such as bringing interdisciplinary studies into a case study-based course that would consider market conditions, as well as government and regulatory issues, which are such an important part of business today. Traditional MBA courses bring in day-to-day considerations, such as finance and operations. My ideal course would incorporate multidisciplinary threads into one course. Finally, I’d advise MBAs to look at the industry from a broad perspective, because there are so many opportunities to apply whatever background you may have.”

Navales_EricEric Navales, Managing Director, L.E.K. Consulting 

L.E.K. Consulting is a strategy consulting firm, with global headquarters in London and U.S. headquarters in Boston. 

“The global energy industry is in the midst of an era of immense change, with new energy sources and technologies coming online that will remap traditional value chains, supply relationships, and market structures. A leader in the energy industry should be comfortable working in ambiguity and with imperfect information in order to navigate the rapidly shifting industry landscape. An MBA curriculum that includes programs in leadership, innovation, and risk management will be particularly useful for tomorrow’s energy business leader. The only thing we can say for certain about the future energy industry is that it won’t be like the current one. Great talent displays initiative, integrity, and resilience in their day-to-day actions; these traits, coupled with a well-rounded business knowledge base, are critical for success in tomorrow’s energy market.”

Marcy ReedMarcy Reed, President, National Grid of Massachusetts 

National Grid provides transmission and distribution of electricity and natural gas to customers in New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

“We need people with “can do” attitudes, self-confidence, and the ability to change course quickly as situations demand. To lead and manage teams through this time of opportunity and shifts in the industry, utility leaders need to be forward-thinkers who embrace change and innovation and who can balance technology and engineering with the necessary “soft skills” to engage stakeholders, always keeping the needs of customers at the forefront. We need leaders who have combined cross-functional experience in science, technology, and engineering fields, plus advanced degrees, “can do” attitudes, self-confidence, and the ability to change course quickly as situations demand.”

View previous perspectives:

Part 1: Educating future leaders in the energy sector – ESSEC Business School, FGV/EAESP, Fudan School of Management

Part 2: Capabilities for leaders in the energy sector – World Energy Council, Parker Ranch, ArcLight Capital Partners LLC, Citizens Energy Corporation, Terra Alpha Investments, LLC

Part 3: Educating future leaders in the energy sector – Keio Business School, School of Management Fudan University, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

Statements collated by the representatives of Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Edited by Tom Gamble

LINKS to further sites and resources

The Council on Business & Society Global Alliance is an ongoing international dialogue between six of the world’s leading business schools and an organiser of Forums focusing on issues at the crossroads of business and society – The Council Community helps bring together business leaders, academics, students and journalists from around the world. #CouncilonBusinessandSociety

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