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Energizing Opportunities Emerge from Cambridge MBA Concentration

A recent graduate of the Cambridge MBA is expecting "great developments in offshore wind energy"

An MBA degree is a pathway to many innovative and exciting industries; just ask Gunnar Herzig. He founded clean energy startup, CLIFI, which offers niche services to institutional investors, such as pension funds and investment firms looking to invest in offshore wind.

“Investment opportunities [are] opening up through many different offshore wind projects starting up around the world,” the entrepreneur says.

Honing a business plan for offshore wind investment startup 

Gunnar worked for a large German energy company for seven years before enrolling at Cambridge Judge Business School. He found the Cambridge MBA invaluable in honing and developing his business plan — particularly the program’s MBA concentration in energy and the environment, one of eight specializations currently on offer at the school and one which broadened his knowledge of the renewables industry.

A global consulting project undertaken as part of the MBA also gave Herzig, who graduated in 2015, the chance to work with a Swiss investment firm that was looking to move into offshore wind. A summer internship at the same company followed, before Gunnar returned to Germany to work for his former employer while setting up CLIFI.

“Following the spectacular outcome of the latest German offshore wind auction, resulting in subsidy-free renewable electricity, expect some more great developments in offshore wind energy over the next few years and at a global scale,” Herzig says. “It’s an exciting time!”

Cambridge MBA targeting ‘sun-belt’ countries with solar energy prototype

He is not the only Cambridge MBA who is being energized by renewables. Another of the school’s alumni, Tom Miller, cofounded solar energy firm, Cambridge Energy Partners. Miller, the CEO, is currently putting the finishing touches to a prototype of a movable solar product that tracks the sun. 

For the moment, Miller has his sights set on mining companies operating in emerging markets on the ‘sun-belt’ — Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America — where there is a huge demand for flexible and affordable power.

“Globally, 80 gigawatts of solar energy was installed last year, but in five years this is likely to be in the region of 500 gigawatts — a market worth US$500 billion. And this market is only set to grow as continents like Africa climb up the development curve…at the same time as climate change is demanding we find more sustainable solutions,” says Miller.

MBA concentration offers “great platform” says Cambridge professor

For those keen to explore future business opportunities in clean energy, the Cambridge MBA concentration offers a plethora of opportunities to discuss ideas with experts in the field. ‘Coach Nights’, for example, are a chance to meet University of Cambridge experts on the wind industry and electric vehicles.

The Board Impact Project, the finale to the Cambridge MBA concentration, sees teams of MBAs design a low carbon product or business opportunity and pitch it to a panel of senior figures from companies such as EDF, Shell and Centrica.

“These are people with deep knowledge in the energy sector so this is a great platform for MBAs with an idea to try it out with real-world experts,” says Michael Pollitt, professor and coach for the energy concentration at Cambridge Judge.

Seb Murray
Written by Seb Murray

Seb is a journalist and consulting editor who has developed a successful track record writing about business, education and technology for the international press.

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