Takeaways from the November 2021 E&S Club Alumni Panel

To watch the recording of the panel (use your @bu.edu email), click here.

In case you missed our November 15th panel with three Questrom MBA alums (and one current PEMBA student) across the fields of energy tech, ESG consulting, clean energy finance, and offshore wind, we've provided a link to the full panel recording above, as well as summaries of what each of our four panelists shared during the call. We hope you find these helpful!

Betsy Carlton Gysan (LinkedIn)

VP of Green Benefits, Make it Personal @ Rare, a new online platform designed to evangelize individuals to take 7 high-impact actions to address climate change

Betsy's background prior to Questrom was in marketing, largely in the non-profit environmental sector, and knew she needed to be strategic with her time at Questrom to make a big transition over to the tech side of climate work. She sought onto a technical project to gain experience in, took classes in clean energy project finance, and in operations. She recommends taking on a MBA project in an area you're unfamiliar with so you can learn what you don't know then -- instead of in an interview for a role you want. She also spent a lot of time building her network in the Boston-area sustainability scene by attending events at MIT, Cleantech Open, and through Mass CEC, after which point she felt she was only a 2nd degree connection away from anyone else in the Boston sustainability network. She ended up taking a contract role with BU, having the courage to hold out for a role she really wanted. She ended up getting recruited directly by one of the companies that hosted her MBA project.

Betsy still feels that even folks with non-technical backgrounds have big roles to play in the climate tech world -- every startup is in critical need of good marketers to get a good story out to the right audience about their work, who know how to bring things to market and keep things lean.

Kim Van Boden (LinkedIn)

Director of ESG Advisory @ FTI Consulting

Kim works in ESG consulting, and thought it important to show your passion for a particular topic as you go through your MBA, and if applying for consulting, roles, to demonstrate your curiosity to learn -- as you'll be learning for work! She feels the Leading Sustainable Enterprises course and Accounting were very valuable, as well as building data analysis skills in Excel, being able to visualize data through a program like Tableau, and gaining familiarity with an integrated reporting standard such as GRI or SASB. She feels she's pulled on all aspects of her MBA education at different points in her career afterwards, but now that she's beginning to manage direct reports, feels the teaming classes and learning how to give effective feedback are becoming increasingly important.

Ben Snydecker (LinkedIn)

Managing Director of Crayhill Renewables

When Ben came to Questrom, he had a notion he was good with numbers, and that finance would be his path for transition into the climate tech world. For someone without direct experience in the sector, he knew doing something hands-on would be important, so found a role within an effort at BU to retrofit the campus with more energy-efficient lighting. As he took classes in finance and renewables, he narrowed in on project finance, and then furthermore into more specific and technical aspects of project finance -- tax equity specifically.

From Ben's seat, he's seen the clean energy world change so rapidly that if you were to read a printed book about it, "it's probably out of date." The energy sector is an endlessly complicated world from a technical standpoint, and so offers endless learning along the way. He's also seen a resurgence of climate tech entrepreneurship that had died off after the market nosedive following the boom of Cleantech 1.0 in the mid-2000's, and that knowing innovation skills like entrepreneurship and design thinking is now more valuable than it has been in a long time.

Roberto Santos (LinkedIn)

Senior Sourcing Maanger for Offshore Wind @ Avangrid Renewables. Current Questrom PEMBA student.

Roberto feels it's a fantastic time to get into the offshore wind sector right now, as major projects are coming together for the first time on both coasts of the US, and at this point, "there's not many experts." He does feel, however, that if you want to work on the power generation side of climate work, you need to know project finance (advanced Excel modeling is key), the regulatory environment, and that it helps know about the industry enough to know the major turbine manufacturers.

His employer, Avangrid -- is a fairly "old school utility" in his words, and for him the MBA he's working on serves both as a credential to quality for senior management roles in the company, and to develop theoretical knowledge to match his empirical knowledge working in the space. He also advises that larger companies like Avangrid will have very specific, defined roles, and that those who want a broader set of responsibilities, and more variety, might want to seek out smaller companies in the space.