The energy sector has traditionally been perceived as being tough, dirty and dangerous as well as being one dominated by males. But transformation, new energies, and a need for across-the-board skills have seen women not only on-boarding companies in the energy field but also heading them up. In the first of two articles, Angela Bassa and Elizabeth Seeger, guest speakers at the Council on Business & Society Energy, Business, and Society Forum in Boston end-2015, shed light on the profiles and skills required by the industry in the years to come.
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Big data needs energy
Angela Bassa works as Data Science Manager at EnerNoc, one of the largest providers of energy intelligence software and services for commercial, institutional, and industrial customers, as well as electric power grid operators and utilities. For her, the emerging discipline of data science provides a great framework to tackle complexity, uncertainty, and risk. Every organization must be data-driven, she states, merely to keep up with its competition. Moreover, the global energy market requires a complex and ever-increasing knowledge base. Angela Bassa believes that quantitative professionals will be uniquely equipped to tackle these challenges and sees great opportunities for graduates. She insists that post-graduate students interested in energy should build the skills needed in data science such as communications skills, for example data visualization or semantics, analytical skills including statistical inference and decision science), as well as technical skills, i.e. the coding and language skills necessary to interact with big data.
Skills for the wider system of things
Elizabeth Seeger is Director of Public Policy and Affairs, Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts Co. L.P. (KKR), an American multinational private equity firm, specializing in leveraged buyouts, and headquartered in New York. The firm sponsors and manages private equity investment funds. For her, energy leaders, and business leaders in general, need to understand and possess 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, she insists, and decisions in the energy space in particular can have a significant impact on communities and the environment. Elizabeth Seeger believes that business schools have a role in teaching future leaders how to think about problems and solutions from a holistic perspective.
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