Leading the Energy Transition with an Executive Course

Leading the Energy Transition with an Executive Course

Business schools equip executives with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in the rapidly evolving energy industry

The energy sector is at a critical juncture, with growing environmental concerns, rapid technological advancements and evolving regulatory landscapes. As organizations strive to navigate this complex environment, the need for business leaders who possess a deep understanding of the sector’s intricacies has become more pressing. Recognizing this imperative, executive education programs tailored specifically for the energy sector have risen to prominence at several business schools. 

They aim to equip executives with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in the rapidly evolving energy industry, while also harnessing new opportunities presented by renewable technologies and sustainable practices. 

Surge in popularity of energy courses

In the last two years, Rice Business Executive Education has seen significant growth in demand for custom executive education programs tailored to the needs of individual client organizations.

“They are increasingly focused on workforce development and making investments in their human capital to tackle the challenges ahead of them,” says Michael Koenig, Associate Dean for Innovation Initiatives and Executive Director of Executive Education at Rice.

At the same time, the business school offers several open-enrolment programs, such as the Rice Global Energy Leadership Program, a four-month learning journey for future leaders in energy. About 40 percent of participants in open courses overall are coming from energy companies, says Koenig, taking courses such as the Advanced Management Program, to build leadership skills.  

There are opportunities for participants in such programs to get stuck into experiential, hands-on learning. “We have recently partnered with the Renewable Energy Alliance of Houston for their annual conference. It will take place at Rice University and welcome more than 200 senior leaders in the energy sector from Houston,” says Koenig.

The courses at Rice are just one of many options for those who work in the energy industry. 

Taking charge of the energy transition 

The Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) in the Netherlands has a new program, Leading the Energy Transition, in addition to various tailor-made executive education programs for the energy sector. Leading the Energy Transition combines business insights with a focus on society and technology, delivered in combination with Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and the Dutch Research Institute For Transitions (DRIFT), a group of researchers from across Erasmus University focused on sustainability.

“The program provides a holistic, interdisciplinary and collaborative view on the complexity and dynamics of the energy transition. It consists of an intense and interactive week where participants work together to gain knowledge and skills, developing a diverse network to challenge their mindset so that they can become change-agents,” says Sarah Craig, the program’s manager.  

On the course, participants experience how to navigate uncertain circumstances as their organizations tackle environmental challenges. “It allows them to become part of the solution by bringing everyone to the table to share knowledge and solutions on how to move away from transitional energy to renewable and clean technologies,” Craig says.

“Our goal is to reach a very diverse group of participants -- from corporates to NGOs and governmental institutions -- and bring them together. We want to create a coalition of the willing who can accelerate the transition by connecting and involving all stakeholders in the process,” she adds.

Driving innovation in the energy system 

Meanwhile, the Executive Master in Future Energy (EMFE) at ESCP Business School is an 18-month part-time program that focuses on the challenges and opportunities in the energy sector.

“One of the particularities of the program is that it is open to participants with a range of different professional backgrounds ranging from engineering to finance, business development, legal affairs, policy and more,” says Marie Taillard, director of the EMFE program.

The main objective of the program is to provide participants with a strong understanding of the energy ecosystem overall, and the importance of innovation, project implementation and sustainable business practices. 

“Completing the program allows executives to influence the strategic direction of the businesses and organizations they lead -- and formulate a worldview that incorporates new imperatives,” Taillard says.

The core courses revolve around renewables, sustainability and energy efficiency, while participants also take other courses related to energy policy, law and regulations, as well as clean technologies.

“Altogether, executives gain in-depth knowledge and vision of energy technologies, acquire access to industries and energy markets, and learn how to develop and implement a strategic mindset to address future issues within the energy industry,” ads Taillard. 


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