MBA in Renewable Energy – Sustainable Development

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MBA in Renewable Energy

Sustainability is the new buzzword in business today. As per the Brundtland Report by International Institute for Sustainable Development, “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”  World Bank realises the importance of maintaining sustainability with an inclusive growth with the onus spread across sectors. It states “The three pillars of sustainable development – economic growth, environmental stewardship, social inclusion – carry across all sectors of development, from cities to agriculture, infrastructure, energy development and use, water, and transportation. The question facing countries, cities, corporations, and development organizations today is not whether to embrace sustainable development but how.”  To help answer these questions, a highly skilled workforce trained in Renewable technologies and methods in various industries is an in-demand requirement. The MBA in Renewable Energy can help to meet this need.

Renewable Energy –The Industry

This industry has grown by leaps and bounds on the back of need to explore oil and crude by newer methods and in newer geographies.

One aspect of Renewable energy is energy management by looking at preserving and finding cleaner means to extract crude oil as this is the mainstay of energy consumption.

The other main area is finding alternative energy sources – hydro, solar, nuclear and wind. The energy industry is at cross-roads and is trying to help countries make the switch to low carbon economies.

Innovation in technology for Renewable energy is not enough, it requires to build a suitable revenue model to make it sustainable and this requires business acumen along with implementation skills of an engineer.

Renewable energy is implementation of renewal energy commercialization. As experts believe we are in the second generation of renewable energy – deployment of solar energy efficient appliances, wind power being harnessed, solar thermal power plants photovoltaics and new forms of bioenergy production.

The third generation is underway by way of R&D which will include biomass gasification (recycling), ocean energy and hot-dry-rock geothermal energy.

There is a very strong public support of renewable energies across countries and the efforts are being led by countries like Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Spain.

These countries have created a demand for newer energy efficient products and spurred the interest of many people to create, package and market many of these products.

One of the most famous recent examples is the electric car “Tesla”. It’s creator and chief inventor Elon Musk has made the world of electric cars flamboyant and a luxury product.

MBA in Renewable energy – The courses

Top schools Colombia, New York University, Duke and Stanford offer Renewable energy courses  but the more noteworthy ones are in the tier 2 colleges – Babson offering  a number of sustainability classes – the list is as follows – Imagining Sustainibility, Water in America along with Social Responsibility in Malaysia.

Some of these schools have star alumni in the sustainability industry such as – Dr Michael Brooke from Claremont University ( former CEO of Patagonia), John Rego from Duke University (Director of sustainability for Sony Entertainment), Katherine Jenrich from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley has a full time MBA program on Energy and RenewableTechnology under its “Energy Institute at Haas” with specialized courses such as “Energy and Environmental Markets”, “Cleantech to Market (C2M)”, “Energy and Infrastructure Project Finance” and industry exposure with “Renewable Energy Speaker Series”.

UK’s Warwick Business School is three years long and comes to about a cost of  £12,000 per year. Whereas Cambridge offers an “Energy and Environment” focus of concentration with its MBA to students selected by energy groups.

Canada’s Sauder School of Business runs an EMBA in Strategic Mining Management along with  has helped Sauder create the content of the EMBA. Similarly, National Oil Corporation, Narobi’s major state owned oil company has helped them develop the content.

The demand for people working in renewable energy sector is expected to up to 52,000 by 2023.

Need for an MBA in Renewable Energy

MBA gives the business perspective to any industry. Scientific discoveries and inventions need to be marketed well enough and need to have a strong revenue stream to be associated.

An MBA in sustainability also contributes to various factors such as –

Growth and Career Path

Salary levels can range from US$90,000 with non-profit organisations, government entities and research firms and goes upto US$150,000 with energy, engineering and consulting companies.

Experience with political and government organisations and specific technical know-how will command higher salaries.

Starting as an engineer / junior consultant, a person can grow in the ranks and rub shoulders with movers and shakers of the energy industry and government personnel for decision making.

Important Companies Worldwide

Companies (For profit)

  • AES, The Global Power Company
  • BP
  • Chevron
  • Duke Energy
  • Evolution Markets
  • ExxonMobil
  • GenOn
  • International Resources Group
  • KEMA Engineering
  • Nexant Energy Consulting
  • PA Consulting
  • PACE Global Energy Services
  • Shell

Non-Profit Organisations

  • Academy for Educational Development,
  • Alliance to Save Energy,
  • American Gas Association,
  • American Wind Energy Association,
  • Business Council for Sustainable Energy,
  • Edison Electric Institute,
  • Institute of International Education,
  • US Energy Association,
  • Winrock International,

Way Forward

Renewable energy is going to be the focus in this century and more ahead. The inventions from this industry will be applicable to human working slowly to create a sustainable planet and there will be newer challenges to meet.

First biggest hurdle will be getting the buy-in of most important stakeholders including administrations and governments where innovations like carbon credits and various other things will come useful.

There will always be demand of professionals who can balance the governmental nitty-gritties along with business demands of an energy product.

Thus, spending a longer duration and having a good network will go a long way in this profession. Experience with non-profit organisations will also help you as a candidate get an unbiased perspective on environmental issues, the intricate webs that determine the policies and how things can come together to make the planet a better place for future generations.



IISD International Institute for Sustainable Development

The World Bank


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