The Future Looks Bright Green: Life after EDF Climate Corps

by Aman Singh Das | October 14, 2010

  • My Vault

EDF’s innovative Climate Corps program embeds top MBA students in leading companies to make the business case for energy efficiency. People often remark about the incredible amount of financial savings uncovered by our fellows. Just as remarkable? How our EDF Climate Corps fellows parlay their summer experiences into long-term careers at the nexus of business and the environment.

EDF Climate Corps has experienced exponential growth since its inception in 2007. We grew the program from just one MBA fellow in 2007, to seven fellows in 2008, to 26 fellows in 2009, and 51 fellows this past summer.

Once they finish business school, our EDF Climate Corps fellows move on to play a prominent role in the transformation to a more sustainable marketplace throughout corporate America. Our alumni take their EDF Climate Corps training and become true agents for change. It’s no wonder that Forbes reporter, Aman Singh, recently wrote that Climate Corps is “Finally a program that gets corporate sustainability.”

I was part of the 2008 EDF Climate Corps class working at Cisco Systems where I analyzed a project that could save an estimated $8 million per year and reduce Cisco's greenhouse gas emissions by 3%. (I’m happy to report that Cisco has begun implementing my recommendations, and they’ve also hosted two EDF Climate Corps fellows since I’ve worked with them in 2008!)

Following that summer, I returned to the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise to complete a dual MBA and MS degree program, and begin the tough work of finding a job. My dream job was one where I could make the business case for sustainability—finding environmentally-preferable solutions that would also keep a company profitable. I couldn’t be happier working at EDF, using my business and environmental degrees to impact dozens of companies on a daily basis.

What about the career paths of re other EDF Climate Corps alumni? The success stories are as diverse as they are impressive. - private sector, public sector, start-ups—our Climate Corps alumni are embedded throughout the country working on various corporate projects and platforms around energy savings and environmental innovation. Scroll through this list to see what some of the many rock star EDF Climate Corps alumni are currently doing:

Name: Jeff Crystal, 2007 fellow at EDF
School: Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Business, MBA 2007
Life after CC: COO of Voltaic Systems, a solar products company
Jeff Crystal was our very first EDF Climate Corps fellow. Based in EDF's New York City office, he created the Climate Corps Financial Analysis Tool that fellows use during their fellowships to crunch the numbers on investments ranging from lighting retrofits to chiller upgrades. He also helped write the training manual that current fellows use to guide their work. Jeff is now the Chief Operating Officer of Voltaic Systems, which makes solar chargers and solar backpacks to power electronics.

Name: John Joseph, 2008 fellow at Intuit
School: Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Earth Systems, MBA/MS 2009
Life after CC: Senior Program Manager - Green Communities and Innovator Pilots, Pacific Gas & Electric
At PG&E John, administers data efforts that support PG&E's new Green Communities program. This program is designed to provide data, tools and training to local governments to assist them with their greenhouse gas (GHG) management efforts.

Name: Ali Moazed, 2008 fellow at Yahoo!
School: University of Michigan, Erb Institute, MBA/MS 2009
Life after CC: MBA Associate at Pacific Gas & Electric
Ali currently works at PG&E as an MBA Associate within the MBA Leadership Program, a two-year leadership development program. Ali’s first assignment was with the Economic & Project Analysis group in Finance. He is now with the Smart Grid Strategy & Technology Integration group.

Name: Tyler Monzel, 2008 fellow at Crescent Real Estate
School: Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business, MBA 2008
Life after CC: Director of Loss Control and Sustainability, Dixie Chemical Company
At Dixie Chemical Company, Tyler promotes the long-term health of the company through implementation of strong environment, health and safety programs, and development of risk management strategies to minimize exposure to financial losses. In his own words, “Climate Corps really accelerated my career in sustainability by providing an exceptional education in how to use my MBA finance skills to sell projects that benefit both the environment and my organization. This is the essence of sustainable business.”

Name: Chris Anderson, 2009 fellow at Ahold’s Giant Stores
School: Penn State Smeal College of Business, MBA/JD 2010
Life after CC: Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Chris is working in Washington, D.C. at the Department of Energy’s State Energy Program, which helps state-level energy offices manage and monitor renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Chris says, “Climate Corps was instrumental in solidifying my desire to work in the energy efficiency/renewable energy space. I was offered my dream opportunity at DOE in part on the strength of my experience, much of which I owe to my amazing summer with Climate Corps.”

Name: Mark Braby, 2009 fellow at Raytheon
School: Duke University Fuqua School of Business, MBA 2010
Life after CC: Business and Development Analyst at Schott Solar
Mark is working at Schott Solar in the sales and marketing office. Mark said that Climate Corps helped him narrow his interests in the sustainability/renewable energy field and helped build his resume. He notes, “I know when I was interviewing potential employers really valued the EDF brand and knew that I was passionate about having a positive impact on our environmental concerns.”

Name: Carin Giga, 2009 fellow at Houston Rockets/Toyota Center
School: Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business, MBA 2010
Life after CC: Senior Finance Analyst, Mattress Firm
Carin’s summer with the Houston Rockets solidified her desire to weave sustainability and corporate responsibility into her career path. After working with EDF Climate Corps, she interned with a newly-created sustainability consulting group and drew upon her fellowship experience to weigh in on energy efficiency matters. Currently on the finance team of a rapidly growing Houston-based furniture retailer, Carin assists with the company's strategic planning and identifies potential opportunities to effect meaningful and cost-saving environmental changes across 500 stores nationwide.

Name: Patricia Kenlon, 2009 fellow at TXU Energy
School: NYU Stern School of Business, MBA 2010
Life after CC: Manager of Energy and Sustainability at Ann Taylor
After EDF Climate Corps, Trish accepted a full time position at Ann Taylor as Manager of Energy and Sustainability. She says, “The team at Ann Taylor was really excited about the projects I worked on last summer and I'm certain it's those experiences that helped me to stand out among the other applicants. My summer with TXU was absolutely critical in getting me started on the path to my dream career, and I cannot thank you enough for everything EDF Climate Corps did to help and support me.” Read more about Trish’s story on her recent blog post about her experience with the program.

Name: Anand Natarajan, 2009 fellow at Genzyme
School: Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management
Life after CC: Energy Manager in the Mayor's office of Sustainability, City of Cleveland
Anand is currently the Energy Manager in the Mayor's office of Sustainability in the City of Cleveland. . Anand told us, "In addition to my other work experiences and education background, the Climate Corps fellowship was invaluable in helping me land my current full time position."

Name: Sarah Shapiro, 2009 fellow at Cisco Systems
School: University of Michigan Erb Institute, MBA/MS 2011
Life after CC: 2010 summer internship at Deloitte Consulting LLP
Sarah interned at Deloitte's Strategy & Operations Consulting practice the summer following her EDF Climate Corps experience. She spent most of her time working on a project where she incorporated sustainability into evaluating a company's operations. She says, "It was a great experience to learn how to incorporate sustainability into a "non-sustainability" strategy project.” Sarah has accepted an offer to return to Deloitte as a consultant and says, “I look forward to working in management consulting to gain more experience across a broad variety of industries, companies, and functions."

Name: Catherine Sweere, 2009 fellow at salesforce.com
School: Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business/Heinz College, MBA/MS 2010
Life after CC: Consultant at Deloitte Consulting LLP
Catherine is a Strategy & Operations Consultant at Deloitte Consulting, working in the Federal Practice. Currently, Catherine is involved in internal sustainability programs and initiatives. t She says that having the opportunity to make energy and sustainability recommendations to various companies that can have a big long-term impact helped guide her choice to pursue a career in consulting.

Name: Ryan Whisnant, 2009 fellow at SunGard
School: University of Michigan Erb Institute MBA/MS 2010
Life after CC: Director of Sustainability at SunGard
Ryan was a fellow at SunGard in 2009 and one year later became SunGard's Director of Sustainability Strategy. Ryan oversees the myriad of sustainability programs and green initiatives at SunGard and ensures that different employees around the world are communicating about their different sustainability initiatives. This past summer, Ryan signed on SunGard to host a second EDF Climate Corps fellow.

What green career dreams do you have? If you think EDF Climate Corps can help, check out our website and apply!


-- Emily Reyna, Environmental Defense Fund
Cross-posted from the EDF Innovation Exchange Blog

Filed Under: CSR

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