Carnegie Mellon University

Energy and Sustainability MBA Track

Sustainability has become a key business performance metric. A firm's energy-related activities are central to the sustainability of its business practices. The Energy and Sustainability Track brings together the Tepper School’s path-breaking approach to business education with Carnegie Mellon’s core strength in engineering to provide graduates with the ability to become leaders in a business environment in which a firm's energy and sustainability practices are key sources of competitive advantage.

Energy has been a lynchpin of business activity for centuries. In large part, this means that energy has been a major source of cost or revenue. This has changed. The increasing importance of sustainable business practices has elevated a firm's energy-related activities to become an integral part of its overall business strategy and identity. As sustainability has become a key metric for a business' performance evaluation, its energy policies now touch on most aspects of what it does, from operations to procurement to finance and marketing. This is the motive for the Tepper Energy and Sustainability track. It exists at the crossroads where sustainability meets the use and production of energy. The track will help prepare students to become business leaders in a world undergoing transformational change in its energy systems, in which a business' value depends fundamentally on the sustainability of its practices.

The track’s approach to sustainability emphasizes energy-related issues and problem-solving. The context is the “energy transition” that the world is going through. What does this mean? The transition from fossil fuels to renewables? This is obviously part of it. But there is much more. How about “Energy Transformation?” Technological innovation is once again transforming an energy landscape that, until recently, has been defined by technologies developed before most of us were born. Consumers, long an afterthought to energy firms, have become a focal point. Markets are supplanting central planners. As energy systems are becoming more decentralized they are also becoming smarter. Innovation in the energy space has become synonymous with innovation in data analytics and information technology.

Transformation in the energy sector has transformed the meaning of a career in the energy sector. Energy careers now transcend the oil and gas and the electric power businesses. Silicon Valley has become an energy innovation hub. Many blockchain startups are in-fact energy startups. The fortunes of automotive companies have become tied to energy storage and the modernization of the electric power grid. Firms with little in common --- from health care to manufacturing to IT --- now share the fact that they generate and/or procure their own electric power. In each of these cases and many more, firms are looking to their leaders to make energy strategy a source of competitive advantage, both in terms of cost and in terms of consumer preference.

This is the backdrop for Tepper’s Energy and Sustainability Track. The Track supplements the Tepper MBA along three main dimensions. First, the curriculum offers specialized courses, including accessible courses from Carnegie Mellon’s renowned College of Engineering. Second, extracurricular activities emphasize networking with an interdisciplinary group of peers, from other Tepper students to engineering students, to Tepper’s deep network of industry associates. Finally, the track’s capstone project course offers experiential education at its best, requiring a team of students to solve a forefront business problem in partnership with a leading firm in the area of energy and sustainability. Further details on the capstone project are below.

To us, it’s hard to think of a career that’s more exciting and full of opportunity than a career emphasizing energy and sustainability. One can have an impact while at the same time having a lucrative career. Join us!

Who Should Apply

Students who are interested in a career in the energy business — either directly or indirectly via related activities such as consulting, finance, energy procurement, legal/accounting services, and project management — will find the track invaluable. Students who plan on being leaders in organizations with strong sustainability initiatives will also benefit from participating in the track.

Track Courses

The track’s curriculum emphasizes both specialized courses at Tepper and, just as importantly, courses offered by Carnegie Mellon’s engineering and public policy schools. View the track curriculum [pdf].

Capstone Course

A defining characteristic of the track is its capstone project, a semester-long course that will be undertaken in partnership with a firm that faces business problems at the intersection of energy and sustainability. The capstone will offer track participants the unique experience of applying what they’ve learned in their coursework to a contemporary business problem currently being faced by a major player in the industry.

Recent sponsors include:

  • Honda R&D Americas (circular business models for EVs, green hydrogen-based power generation, and resiliency; Columbus OH and Torrance CA) 
  • Carbon Engineering (direct air capture CCS; Vancouver/Squamish, BC)
  • Oriden/MHPS (renewable energy development; Pittsburgh PA)
  • Fluence (energy storage platforms; Arlington VA)
  • Bloom Energy (fuel cells for DER generation; Silicon Valley)
  • Everpower (development and ownership of wind generation resources; Pittsburgh PA)