This year the theme of Climate Week is highlighting what businesses and governments can do to meet their climate targets. In that spirit, we have reached out to recent alums working in the climate space and asked them the following, “What career opportunities exist for MBAs, especially recent graduates, to address climate change?”

Ratnika Prasad (MBA 2020), Associate Director at The Nature Conservancy

"There has been a seismic shift in the last few years, whereby concern about the climate and sustainability has finally begun to take a rightful seat as a major strategic challenge that corporations and governments alike need to focus on. Consequently, the career opportunities for MBAs are now unlimited- you can shape sustainability strategy at traditional companies and banks, drive products and operations at startups working on different solutions, or become an investor channeling finance into catalyzing and scaling sustainable solutions. Moreover, the nature of environmental challenges requires problem solving that is no longer strictly in a public or private domain, which makes public service and nonprofits a really meaningful space where MBAs can drive impact as well."

Trey Sides (MBA 2020), Director of Network Intelligence at Volta Charging

"When I started my search for a job in the climate space, I was worried that my criteria were too narrow and there wouldn't be many interesting roles for someone with my background. I quickly found the opposite to be true, though: there is a real need for MBAs to fill key business roles, even at the smaller startups where I was focusing my search. Sometimes, the roles were already well-defined, like Business Operations or Corporate Strategy, but other times, I was able to identify a need--and a potential role for me--through conversations with people at the company. Not every cleantech startup I talked to had opportunities that were a good fit for an early-career MBA like me; some were too far from commercialization and too focused on solving technical problems to hire pure business-focused employees. Overall, though, there are so many innovative companies doing great work in this space that if you want to move into cleantech, you'll find plenty of opportunities to do so."

Lisa Wetstone (MBA 2019), Director of Innovation & Growth Strategy at MycoTechnology, Inc.

"If you are passionate about addressing climate change, stick to your guns and seek out companies and opportunities where you can play a role in protecting the planet. Food and agriculture - which drives nearly a third of greenhouse gas emissions - is a great place to start. Our global food system is at a major inflection point, as incumbents and innovators alike grapple with both the impacts of climate change and how to build a more sustainable system for the future. Right now there is enormous opportunity (and need!) for strategic thinkers and do-ers to bring fresh energy and passion to the industry. Look for companies innovating on the farm to improve resource efficiency, creating and discovering new game-changing planet-friendly raw ingredients, reducing waste across the value chain, and designing compelling brands to educate consumers and shift consumption behaviors. Or start one of your own - investment in the space is at an all-time high, and many of the most difficult challenges have yet to be solved!"

Sanchali Pal (MBA 2018), Founder & CEO at Joro

"We are in the midst of a unique period of rapid change: shifting from a fossil-fueled society to a clean energy world. MBAs are uniquely positioned to help organizations around the world adapt and lead. Climate jobs have never more robust or exciting. From transportation to tech to agriculture, regardless of your experience, I’d encourage all MBAs to make climate a part of your next role."

Nathan Nemon (MBA 2020), Customer Insights & Growth, Tesla, Residential Energy

"Every sector needs leaders aware of the causes of climate change and focused on mitigating its effects. Whether reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting natural resources, or supporting other causes, a multidisciplinary movement of committed individuals is needed to make decisions -- big and small -- that lead to a sustainable future. I encourage not just identifying the issues that most motivate you, but also investing time into envisioning a version of tomorrow that's exciting. What are the products, services, human interactions, infrastructure, and other aspects of that reality? Now survey the landscape of companies, non-profits, NGOs, start-ups, agencies, and other interest groups that share that vision. And if there are none, go start something!"

Katie Hsia-Kiung (MBA 2019), Head of Strategy & Business Operations at Pattern Ag

"In 2020, ag tech startups raised over $5 billion in venture capital money, an all-time record and 35% more than the previous year. The opportunities to bring new technological breakthroughs to the sector are massive, whether it be in robotics, remote sensing, biological products or software for crop monitoring. There is also no better place to feel like you're on the leading edge of innovation in the fight towards combating climate change. While we are focused on helping farmers increase their profitability and yield, at the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to grow more on the land that we have so that we don't have to continue clearing forest land for agriculture. The agricultural sector is responsible for almost 30% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and for millions of acres of deforestation every year. The challenges facing the sector are complex, and solving them will be a huge opportunity in the years to come."

Morgan Sheil (MBA 2021), Climate and Decarbonization at KKR & Co.

"Climate change impacts every industry and every function in every geography globally so there are infinite opportunities for MBAs to work on addressing it. We are seeing companies make unprecedented commitments to reduce emissions, address plastic waste, conserve water resources and more. As more companies develop their climate strategies and implement projects, the question is not “will there be a job in climate for me” but “is this the climate job I find fulfilling and impactful.” Climate transformation is where digital transformation was in the early 2000s, and the future is bright."

Trevor Hill (MBA 2020), Associate at Nomura Greentech

"From both an industry perspective and a functional perspective, there are an incredible number of opportunities for recent MBAs to make an impact on climate change. Industry wise, there is a broad ecosystem of what we refer to today as climate tech — from renewable energy to advanced transportation to AgTech to name just a few. From a job function perspective, you can work at an operating company (whether a start up or a more established firm), an investment platform (everything from early stage VC to infrastructure PE) or even an advisory role (as I do in my role as an investment banker focused on sustainable infrastructure and technology)."

Bhargavi Chevva (MBA 2016), Investor & Company Builder at Breakthrough Energy Ventures

"Plenty of opportunities exist to address climate change: policy, joining startups or building your own, investing, scaling new technologies in large corporations and beyond. Mitigating emissions requires reimagining entire sections of the economy - from where we live, what we eat, how we move and consume goods and electricity. Money and mission no longer have to be at odds with each other! There is no blueprint on how to do this, thereby requiring experimentation. So take the same approach with your career: pick an area that interests you and pursue something that is unscripted."

Taylor Leyden (MBA 2020), Program Manager, Energy & Sustainability at Microsoft

"There are many potential career opportunities when it comes to addressing climate change, but when I was defining my post-MBA career path, I was trying to answer a specific question: How can I drive the greatest impact? This line of questioning landed me at Microsoft, which, along with other tech companies, is using its scale to drive impact by setting ambitious energy and sustainability goals aimed at increasing renewable energy penetration and decarbonizing the energy system. As a Program Manager on the Cloud Energy & Sustainability team, I'm working on purchasing clean energy to meet our needs on a 24/7 basis - a much more stringent goal than prior commitments - and focusing on innovation and advocacy that will help meet those goals."