The world is going through a green industrial revolution as climate change concerns push governments to wean their economies off carbon. Many countries have promised a “green jobs revolution”, many of them in clean energy generation. In the UK, 250,000 fresh jobs could be created by 2030, sparking, it is hoped, a post-coronavirus employment boom.
The pandemic and oil price plunge have upended the jobs market. However, with vaccines on the horizon, the employment situation should improve. And, a whole host of business schools are offering Energy Management MBAs and other business master’s programs, many of them specialized in sustainability. Many of these MBAs are online, to help working professionals navigate the transition to a low-carbon economy and usher in a new era of green energy.
Now is a good time to enrol and upgrade credentials, so that you’re ready for the economic rebound and the phasing out of fossil fuels. One option is the new online Master of Energy Business at Collins College of Business at the University of Tulsa, launched in 2020.
Taught by expert professors who are former industry professionals, students will understand all forms of energy, production, transmission, disruption and storage. They will also learn energy economics and finance, project management, energy markets as well as the management of energy companies.
“This specialization should differentiate them from generic MBAs when seeking employment in the energy field,” says Tom Seng, director of the School of Energy Economics, Policy and Commerce at Collins College.
What are the career opportunities after an Online Energy MBA?
Online MBAs in Energy are designed to accommodate working professionals who earn while they learn. They are seeking to differentiate themselves in their current position, gain a promotion or, in some cases, start their own companies.
Depending on the electives students choose, they can work in the upstream, midstream, or downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry. They can also work for gas or power utilities, or companies in the renewable energy sector.
However, under the current circumstances, Seng believes the job prospects are bleak for everyone. “While green energy is increasing, we are not seeing a large growth in those jobs. For business majors, things will not improve for many months. I do not worry about students graduating in 2021 and beyond.”
As vaccines are more widely dispersed, he expects that the economy will recover and energy demand, in all forms, will increase — leading to more jobs. The fortunes of many graduates will be tied to the oil price, which has crashed due to the pandemic, though the vaccines could be a gamechanger.
An Online MBA can help students navigate the current ambiguous environment, especially in the energy industry. “Through exposure to this collective content and opportunities to think critically about it, students can walk away prepared to lead their organizations in the ever-developing energy landscape,” says Dipankar Ghosh, who runs the Online Executive MBA in Energy program at the University of Oklahoma’s Michael F. Price College of Business.
The program is designed for current and future industry leaders and provides students with a holistic perspective of the energy industry, giving them not only the business tools, but also the leadership skills to run an organization.
In particular, the program targets those who have experience in the energy industry: the requirements call for students with a minimum of eight years of progressive work experience, at least three of which must be in the energy industry.
How do Online Energy MBAs work?
In Price’s Online Executive MBA in Energy, participants learn about the role of renewable energy in the global mix, as well as energy security, climate change and rising energy prices. Several of the courses are taught by leaders in the energy industry.
The program also has an international module in Amsterdam and London, where students see first-hand energy in transition via coursework and company visits.
What do students need in order to adapt to the transition to a low-carbon world?
“They need to understand energy policy and what impacts decisions related to energy choices,” says Seng at Tulsa. “The power industry is growing exponentially and so, the generation, transmission and storage of power is a key knowledge area along with distributed generation, demand-side management, and demand response.”
He runs just one of a number of courses focused on the energy industry. There’s also the Online Energy MBA at the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University. Since 2019, students have been able to join the evening-only classrooms live from the convenience of their computer.
“From anywhere, students can join in classroom discussions, lectures, presentations, speakers and more to complete their degree remotely,” says Anne Rooney, executive director of graduate programs at TCU Neeley.
The TCU Energy MBA delivers a managerial perspective, plus in-depth knowledge of energy issues and business practices from practitioners and academics.
Another option is the Energy and Sustainability MBA at the Robert Kennedy College at the UK’s University of Cumbria, which is designed to enhance the ability of students to develop and lead a sustainability agenda that focuses on change in the energy sector.