Professional clubs in the Cross Continent MBA program provide students with the opportunity to gain academic and industry knowledge in addition to career management skills around a particular professional area. These professional clubs are managed by students and supported by the program staff and Career Management Center (CMC).
Each new class might generate a slightly different mix of clubs based on the interest of those students. I plan to highlight several of the ones from my Cross Continent MBA Class of 2017— starting with the Energy Club.
Fuqua students really burn the midnight oil. Not a fan of energy puns? Turn back now. The Energy Club and its leadership board of Michael Gold, Greg Marsh, Andrew Sparks, and Callum Thomas have grown club membership within a term to 18 students with a diversity of backgrounds—from petroleum engineering and geology, to tech and finance.
While in Shanghai for the Term 2 residency, the club scheduled a visit with Alex Soher, CEO of Seeder Energy. A rooftop solar panel startup, Seeder Energy takes advantage of government subsidies, long-term cost savings, and grid buybacks (when the customer generates more electricity from solar than they use and can feed back into the grid) to provide value to its clients in China.
Soher spoke of “the uncertainty of future regulations and the importance of building relationships so customers would feel comfortable making these significant capital investments with a foreigner in China.” A wise man knows what’s watt, Soher provided the club the information they were seeking.
“What is really exciting about the Energy Club,” Callum Thomas said, “is that we have a diverse range of interests, not just oil and gas, but rather renewables and new technologies.” This sentiment was echoed by co-founder Greg Marsh who hopes to, throughout the residencies, “get a 360-degree view of the energy industry to discover all the opportunities that may exist.”
The club plans to have at least one event per residency and an additional event during each distance portion. “We hope to include a diverse set of speakers and site visits that pertain to each residency location,” Andrew Sparks said, “including government employees, corporate visits and entrepreneurs in the sector. We want to see renewables, fossil fuels, and governments represented, and during distance we can hopefully get guest speakers to present to the club members via WebEx.”
Several club members expressed their excitement for gaining a deeper understanding of energy policies and climate change agreements. Chinwuba Okonkwo—who in his job has been responsible for overseeing the construction of many industrial facilities—is excited for the conversations that happen in the day to day. “I’m excited to better understand and discuss the Paris Climate Change Agreement and how it will impact energy policies of developed nations and emerging markets, supply chain and capital projects.”
For someone like myself who’s background is not in energy, all their enthusiasm and planning made like wind energy and blew me away. The Cross Continent MBA Energy Club is always accepting new members for those in our class who are interested, so there is no better time than now to be a fan. Wind power pun intended.