The Power of Change

Today, Fuqua hosted the seminar “Hydropower, Pipelines, and Petroleum: The U.S. – Canada Energy Relationship.” With a collection of scholars and energy executives, the speakers and panelists were well versed in discussing the increasing reliance of the United States on Canada for energy support, and depicted a future which will inevitably involve significant cooperation between the two countries. More so than anything else, there was an implicit agreement that the future of energy distribution will look very different from the past, and will involve many more parties than have historically been involved.

One of the things I’ve liked best about my Fuqua experience is that nearly everything we’re subject to seems relevant. There’s hardly anything abstract in our curriculum or elsewhere, and obviously, energy is going to be one of the dominant topics on our national discourse in the next 50 years.

Energy consumption is something that we’ve more or less taken for granted as a nation, since the invention of the automobile, but that assumption is going to be called into question more and more as our natural resources become depleted, and as they face uncertainty due to unrest within the countries that produce oil. To listen to our highly publicized energy debates now, it’s clear that not everyone believes we need to make material changes to our consumption patterns, and to me, this presents a significant hurdle to enacting change.

In the midst of the confusion about the steps we must collectively take to survive, I believe today’s MBA is going to have a tremendous role. Investment in alternative energy sources, which is going to be of the utmost importance as our current supplies dwindle, is an ambitious task, to put it mildly. And there are few people who are going to be in a position to initiate such change. MBAs, however, are uniquely qualified.

Michael Ferguson

Mike Ferguson

Daytime MBA, Class of 2011

While at Fuqua, I was involved in the Finance Club, the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club, and the Duke Microfinance Leadership Initiative. After graduation, I relocated to Jersey City, NJ to work for Standard & Poor's.

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  • Vishwa Srivastava

    Nice article Mike!

    I have been working in the oil and gas refining sector for about 5 years. With my experience, I have observed that tremendous efforts are being taken for the development of renewable/alternative sources. But, I think the attention that the fossil fuels require in terms of management – whether the one related to investments in research and development of better technologies or that related to supply chain management – has not been as much as the attention provided to renewable energy development. We should not forget that we would need to move to alternative sources for transportation and other activities at some point of time in future. But my managing the current supply this transition would become a lot more easier.

    Thanks,
    Vishwa

    • Richard

      Hi Vishwa,

      There has been much attention devoted to and many billions invested in tapping shale, oil sands and offshore fields, particularly in North and South America. In the US, coal and nuclear are struggling to maintain their share of power generation in the face of regulation and a combination of cheap natural gas, wind and distributed solar. Electric and natural gas vehicles are being produced in ever greater quantities showing that clean tech and natural gas are both playing important roles in leading us to a lower carbon future even as America produces more oil than it has in years.

      Richard
      Duke MBA Energy Club Co-President