By Peter Petropoulos, EDF Climate Corps Fellow 2010, Booth School of Business 2011, University of Chicago
Right from Day 1 of my MBA at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, one of my objectives has been to channel my previous consulting experience to deal with the world’s most pressing issues.
Prior to Booth, one of my projects had involved improving the businesses of the thousands of independent owners of Ace Hardware stores across the country. This was a great learning experience, but after five years, I was longing for new challenges.
I knew an MBA would help link my experience with my new career path but I am surprised at how fast this transformation has happened.
If you're thinking of going to business school, the best piece of advice I can give is to seek as many opportunities as you can to work in the industry that you are looking to get into. And this is not just to pad your resume, but to really understand what kind of people you will be working with, what the projects are like, and whether it is to in fact the right path for you.
I knew I wanted to expand on my consulting experience. But I also knew that I wanted to work in sustainability. So here's how I mapped my two years of business school:
Do I Want to Work in Sustainability?
A Summer Fellowship with EDF Climate Corps
My summer internship last year proved to be a pivotal point of my career. I was one of 51 Climate Corps fellows and was trained by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to help Fortune 500 companies find energy efficiency solutions.
Our mission: Identify, analyze, and recommend financially-lucrative energy efficiency plans and investments.
My host: PepsiCo
During my first week, I remember thinking:
"There is no doubt that PepsiCo is a sustainability leader in the corporate world. Walking into PepsiCo for the first time and realizing that its LEED Gold certified headquarters is just up the street from my project was a bit intimidating for a student searching for environmental opportunities."
But I was not only able to get client-facing experience; I also worked on a critical component to the growing energy crunch. The experience allowed me to show off the analytical toolkit that I have developed at Booth, work on my client management skills, and get out of my comfort zone into a whole new arena of business and social problems.
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This content was originally published by In Good Company: Vault's CSR Blog.
EDF Climate Corps matches trained students from leading business schools with companies to develop practical, actionable energy efficiency plans. Sign up to receive emails about EDF Climate Corps, including regular blog posts by our fellows. You can also visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter to get regular updates about this project.