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.
- First, today’s curriculum has provided us with tremendous foresight. Within days of arriving on campus, it becomes impossible to think of current events in isolation, and we can’t ignore their long-term consequences. If the general population doesn’t believe that we’re in a historic bind, an MBA can prove, through any number of channels, that this is a necessary adjustment.
- Second, MBAs now are trained in how to make decisions expediently and accurately. Many courses are developed around being able to act quickly and justify ones actions. With the public division over energy change, a little bit of both will be required.
- Finally, the energy arena of the future will likely differ from that of the past in that it’s going to require much more public assistance, and as such, is going to demand transparency and integrity. Today’s MBA, it seems, understands that both are not just crucial to creating an atmosphere of compliance, but are simply good business practices.