UNC Kenan-Flagler Blogs

Tag Archives: sustainability

Traveling on the MBA Exchange

Greetings from Café Literario in Santiago, Chile!  Yesterday, I finished my classes at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.  I am here in Santiago on an MBA exchange through UNC Kenan-Flagler’s exceptional MBA Global Programs office.  I have had a great experience, but the fun is only just beginning (more on that later). Yes, I am already finished with my classes, and it is only late January.  Because it is summer down here in the Southern Hemisphere (nice, right?!), my classmates and I were enrolled in intensive “Summer Session” classes, which met for longer hours during each day for a shorter number of days.  I completed two courses:  Global Competition & Sustainable Energy and The Art & Science of Negotiations.  My Read More

Highlights from the 2009 Net Impact Conference at Cornell

For me, the best parts of this year’s conference were in the facts shared that drive home ways to profit from sustainability as well as facts that shine light on growing market needs for the future.  I will share a few: 1)    Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, shared that in 1982 10% of US GDP was related to financial services and by 2001 had grown to 45%.  He said the way forward is for the US to become an exporter again, this time of high tech products that emerging markets want to buy to develop sustainably.  He also said how important venture capital is to the economy and how little VC money is being sent to renewable energy.  Perhaps his Read More

Net Impact Conference Update

UNC Kenan-Flagler has a multitude of resources available to students, including the Career Management Center, the Business Communication Center, Peer Counselors….need I say more? Perhaps the most impressive list is the array of career clubs available to first and second year MBA students. From Golf Club to Consulting Club, you are certain to find your niche at Kenan-Flagler. I came into the program with a very specialized interest that is not too common in the world of i-banking and finance. I chose Kenan-Flagler based on its sustainable enterprise program in the hopes of securing a role with a socially responsible organization committed to international development. There are many of “unique” students in the class of 2011…our career club of choice? Read More

Net Impact Session: What is the Smart Grid?

This past weekend, I went with about 25 other UNC Kenan-Flagler MBAs to the Net Impact annual conference, which was up at Cornell in Ithaca, NY.  Over 2000 people attended the conference, which had great speakers such as GE’s CEO Jeffrey Immelt and Grameen Foundation’s head Alex Counts. My favorite session of the packed two-day conference was entitled, “Innovations in Electricity: The Smarter Grid of Tomorrow, Today”, and had the following three expert panelists: •     Ted Howes, Global Lead of Energy Domain, IDEO •     Cameron Brooks, Senior Director, Tendril Networks •     Michael Jung, Policy Director, Silver Spring Networks IDEO is a leading product design firm, while the other two companies are emerging firms with demand-response technologies that Read More

Renewable Energy and the Wild Wild West

On Tuesday, five UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA candidates traveled to Washington, DC for Novogradac’s annual Renewable Energy Finance Conference.  I’ve wanted to transition into the renewable energy space for quite some time; however, during my experience at business school, I have learned just how important finance is to getting renewable projects off of the ground.  With this in mind, I was excited to get my finger on the pulse of renewable energy finance on Capitol Hill. The conference was both informative and social.  I learned about the current tax credit options available and made a couple of leads that could turn into internship opportunities this summer. The general sense of the conference was that the rules of renewable energy finance change Read More

Careers in Sustainability

On Friday, October 23, a panel of local entrepreneurs and VCs spoke about careers in sustainability.  Cody Nystrom of SJF Ventures served as our moderator, and members of the panel included: Robert Creighton of Windlift Luke Fishback of Plotwatt.com Henry McKoy of Fourth Sector Bancorp Bret Batchelder of Cherokee Investment Partners Tina Prevatte, NC Choices Shawn Slome, Twig We had an impressive panel to close out the day with several seasoned entrepreneurs that have both founded their own companies and led success at bigger businesses by thinking entrepreneurially.  Some of the highlights of what these innovative folks shared with us is below. Bret walked us through 4 things he thought every MBA should do: 1)    Take an honest assessment of Read More

Job Skills in a Carbon Constrained World

Last week the Energy Club here hosted another excellent event.  Kristel Dorion, a graduate of the Executive MBA program, and John Lott, a professor of sustainable enterprise at Kenan-Flagler, conducted a presentation about the always near carbon market. Kristel’s company, Energetix Climate, produces high quality carbon offsets in Latin America.  She is originally from Guatemala City and is working on both small scale hydro and methane capture projects in both Guatemala and southern Mexico.  She has been trying to combat climate change since the Rio Summit in 1992 and has a wealth of experience working on the juxtaposition between climate and sustainable development issues. As a person interested in both impact investing and climate change I have always wondered about Read More

Defining Energy Independence and Causes of Global Warming

On  Oct. 30th, Brett Carter, the President of Duke Energy – Carolinas, visited UNC Kenan-Flagler for a discussion with MBA candidates around Duke Energy’s role regarding climate change. Carter was an excellent presenter, and while I disagree with some of his positions, he guided the conversation in an incredibly skilled, productive manner. Before digging into Duke Energy’s strategies to mitigate climate change, he raised the question, “How do we define energy independence?”  One student proposed that it means the ability for America to generate all of its energy within its own borders.  Another student expanded the definition to mean the freedom to generate energy.  To me, the second definition is a more plausible scenario; however, it sounds more like energy Read More

Trends in Green Building

Last Friday was my third Career Forum. I’m not an alum called back to talk about my career path, nor a dual degree MBA student, but a staff member at Kenan-Flagler in the Center for Sustainable Enterprise. As an old hand at this, I must confess that I was blown away by the level and depth of discussion the Green Building panel of 7 was able to delve into in the hour and 20 set aside. Following is a snapshot of participants: •         Lynn Fisher, moderator, associate professor of real estate at Kenan-Flagler Business School •    Jessica Halvorsen (UNC MBA ’07, Duke MEM ’07), Bank of America, VP in BofA’s Corporate Workplace Sustainability Team •    Annie Lux (MBA/MRP ’07), Pulte Read More

Sustainability Forum

On Friday, October 23, KFBS hosted the 8th Annual Careers in Sustainability Forum.  The forum consisted of a series of panels around numerous types of functional roles in the world of sustainability.  Each panel consisted of roughly six practitioners.  The roles covered by panels included: •    Renewable Energy •    Green Building •    Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital •    Sustainabiltiy Consulting •    Corporate Social Responsibility It was especially encouraging to see that individuals can impact environmental and social bottom lines in a host of different roles.  In other words, it is possible to get the type of job you want, and have it be sustainably focused too.  This is a hopeful proposition for anyone entering the sustainability focused. Joel Thomas (Class of Read More