Career Development

Opportunities to make a difference in major environmental challenges

If you aspire to make a positive impact on the world, there are many opportunities to do so through a career that integrates a nuanced understanding of environmental issues. You might join a key industry, such as energy, agriculture, or real estate. Work in finance, incorporating environment, social, and governance (ESG) factors. Engage in entrepreneurial ventures that generate environmental solutions and bring them to market. Or perhaps pursue careers with nonprofits focused on corporate engagement or with the public sector, dealing with environmental regulation.

The BEI strives to support all these choices and more by connecting current MBA students with alumni who have pursued similar career paths, by hosting career development events, and by enabling organizations of all types to identify current students who meet their needs. A number of funding programs support students pursuing aspirational careers.

Alumni Connections

As a student at Harvard Business School, you are part of a larger community that includes alumni working in many sectors and industries — often in key leadership positions. BEI maintains relationships with a number of organizations and individuals who can offer career advice and opportunities to current students.

One way to connect with alumni is through the mentor program that BEI organizes in collaboration with the Green Business Alumni Association and the Energy and Environment Club. After collecting some data about participants, we pair individual alumni working in environment-related sectors with current MBA students, based on mutual interests. Survey results and informal feedback indicate that mentoring is an extremely rewarding experience for alumni and is highly valued by students.

Students have many opportunities to meet alumni who come to campus for speaking opportunities, panel discussions, and other events. We also organize mixers that allow current students to meet soon-to-be alumni of relevant Executive Education programs.


BEI partners with the MBA Recruiting office to host a Clean Tech 101 session each year so students can learn about careers in the field, and a Professional Perspectives Day during which alumni speak about environment-related careers. Individual career coaching is also available, and several MBA coaches specialize in environment-related career paths.

Each fall, the Energy & Environment Club hosts the Energy Symposium, featuring industry executives, investors, entrepreneurs, innovators, and startup companies. The symposium provides insights and answers questions about the current state and future of the energy industry – and offers conference attendees the opportunity to network with leading professionals representing a diverse group of firms, markets, and geographies.

Recruiting Resources

Organizations wishing to recruit at HBS may host events on campus and request résumé books from student organizations, including the Energy & Environment Club. The number of energy and green technology recruiting partners at HBS continues to grow. More than 30 organizations hired students in 2011 for summer or career positions.

More resources for organizations wishing to recruit at HBS are available here.

Funding Opportunities

While many options exist to address environmental issues through traditional for-profit careers, some students make their marks on the world through other types of organizations. The following funding programs support a wide range of career choices:

  • The Horace W. Goldsmith Fellowship grants awards of approximately $10,000 to 7 to 10 first-year MBA students who have exhibited leadership and an extraordinary commitment to working in the not-for-profit sector.
  • During the summer following the first year, generous support is available through the Social Enterprise Summer Fellows program to students who wish to explore environment-related opportunities at a nonprofit organization, government agency, or social value-focused for-profit organization in the United States or abroad.
  • Where environmental sustainability is a core element of an Independent Project, students may be eligible for reimbursement grants for project-related expenses during their second year of study.
  • Second-year students entering the nonprofit or public sectors may apply to the HBS Leadership Fellows program and may seek Loan Repayment assistance.
  • Students who choose to launch their own startups can compete for several $25,000 awards in the Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship competition.