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Energy Academics at Kellogg

Kellogg offers a variety of opportunities for students to learn more about energy.  Academics can help "career switchers" gain knowledge and experience for their transition into the energy industry, as well as the more general student population who just wants to learn more about the business of energy.  These opportunities span for-credit coursework at Kellogg and other Northwestern schools and non-credit seminars, in addition to case competitions and company visits organized by the Energy Club (see additional tabs for more information on those opportunities).

Kellogg Courses
Northwestern Courses
Non-Credit Seminars

Kellogg Courses

The following courses have a substantial focus on energy, are taught by Kellogg professors, and earn course credit:

KPPI 936: Sustainability Across The Enterprise - spring quarter
This course integrates concepts from a variety of courses in the MBA curriculum with the principles and practices of sustainability, and brings them to bear on a "live" sustainability project with a client organization. Throughout the quarter, teams of 3-5 students work on projects with an enterprise that has requested Kellogg's help in addressing an issue related to sustainability. The course also has a smaller lecture-based component that provides a crash course on sustainability management topics relevant to the projects. The class is suitable for students who want to pursue a career in sustainability, and for students who are interested in exposure to sustainability aspects of any business. No background in sustainability is needed. Enrollment is through application for specific projects.

ACCT 459-5: Sustainability Reporting and Analysis - spring quarter
This course introduces students to sustainability reporting, a system of analysis and reporting that attempts to bridge these gaps and provide a more expansive view of an organization's social and environmental performance, sometimes called the triple bottom line. Through lectures, cases, and a research project, students will examine markets for sustainability reporting and metrics that have been developed to supply information to these markets. The class will address a number of important topics, such as socially responsible investing, the Global Reporting Initiative, carbon disclosure, tracking and controlling product and labor standards in the supply chain, accounting for legal and environmental liabilities, and the role of intangible assets in long-run performance.


STRT 958: The Economics of Energy Markets - winter quarter
This course is about the economics of energy markets. Energy industries in particular are strongly driven by fundamental economic forces, which means that strategy-setting and decision making in energy (and energy-facing) industries relies on having a good understanding of how energy markets work. While the course covers various energy industries, the main emphasis is on microeconomic tools of analysis that are useful across multiple industries. Topics include the drivers of supply and demand in competitive energy markets, including the roles of storage and transportation, market power and antitrust concerns, and the rationale for economic and environmental regulations. The course examines the economic determinants of industry structure and the evolution of competition among firms in these industries, and analyzes the role of environmental and other public policies in energy markets.

FINC 946: Impact Investing and Sustainable Finance - winter quarter
This class will address three broad themes of impact investing today:

1) The evolution of impact investing from niche field to mainstream;
2) Exposure to a broad spectrum of impact investment strategies;
3) Learning the tools, models and frameworks behind impact investing.

Each week, senior investment managers of leading sustainable and impact investment firms are brought into the classroom to illustrate how their strategies generate and deliver impact. The backbone of the class is an experiential team project that will invite students to create a financial vehicle (e.g. investment firm, fund or instrument) capable of fitting within an asset allocation of institutional investor portfolios (public equities, fixed income, hard assets, private equities, alternative assets, etc.) while delivering social & environmental impact. In some cases, these class projects have wound up coming to fruition and are in the market today.


KPPI 484: Thought Leadership Seminar: Sustainable Development - winter quarter
This seminar is designed to develop your skill to assess the most effective role of business in sustainability and development, and to innovate solutions in business sustainability. The course provides a solid understanding of the fundamentals and current thinking on sustainability and development, makes students conversant in central debates, and fosters the ability to independently develop and defend informed positions and solutions. The course engages with the primary literature and influential current positions in the science, economics, politics and ethos of sustainability, and applies this knowledge to business questions. The course includes a number of discussions of provocative questions with thought leaders in areas like renewable energy, impact investing or global food supply chains, and a quarter length whitepaper project.

KPPI 470: Public Economics for Business Leaders: Federal Policy - winter quarter
To be an effective business leader in today's complex world requires an understanding of the important public policy issues facing society. Managers need to understand society's problems and the range of possible public solutions and policies in order to know how to influence, incorporate and respond to public actions. This class will enable students to understand, analyze and take the perspective of government and non-government organizations as they attempt to alleviate societal problems. Topics include the interface of government and business, the justification for and principle methods of government intervention in the market place, the primary means of paying for government, measuring the costs and benefits of government policies, and current policy applications such as the ethanol blenders’ credit and federal gasoline tax in the U.S., China’s cap and trade policy, nuclear security with regard to Iran, and Brazil’s ethanol pipelines.

KPPI 452: Social Innovation: Designing for Change - fall quarter

In this experiential lab course, students will explore - in class and through quarter-long consulting projects - innovation as a mechanism for social problem solving. The lab component of this course places teams of Kellogg students with a local organization that has an innovative product, service or business model. Teams will work with nonprofit organizations with revenue-generating initiatives and for-profit companies working in: education; energy & sustainability; financial services; healthcare; and housing & community development. This class will be beneficial for students who want to start, work for, advise or invest in a business with an innovation that is designed to have a social impact.

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Northwestern Courses

The following courses, offered by the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN), are open to students across Northwestern and thus provide an opportunity for Kellogg students to engage with students in other disciplines while earning course credit at Kellogg:

ISEN 430: NUvention Energy - winter quarter
Energy is one of an expanding NUvention portfolio of topically focused cross campus entrepreneurship programs. Over an intense quarter, graduate students from schools across campus will come together in interdisciplinary teams to develop a product or service and a business in the burgeoning sustainable energy industry. Students benefit from interaction with NUvention: Energy’s Advisory Board of business leaders in the sustainable energy field.  More information available here.

ISEN 410: Topics in Contemporary Energy & Climate Change - fall quarter
The increasing worldwide demand for energy presents a number of complex interdisciplinary challenges, from oil depletion to global warming. This class will challenge students to answer the question, How shall we power the world in the 21st century? We will examine the history and geography of energy use; links between energy and climate change; and technological, economic and environmental benefits and drawbacks of various energy sources. This is a non-technical course and students from all disciplines are welcome.

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Non-Credit Seminars

ISEN and Kellogg collaborate to offer a series of non-credit coursework in the energy arena, open to students across Northwestern:

Business of Energy / Technology of Energy - spring quarter
The Business of Energy / Technology of Energy Seminar Series is an annual collaboration between students at Kellogg and the McCormick School of Engineering. The student-led series consists of 8 sessions covering everything from the grid, oil and gas, renewables, energy storage, transportation fuels and more. Each hour-long session is split in half – during one half a student from Kellogg educates the group about the business aspects of that energy topic, and during the other half a student from McCormick educates the group about the technology aspects of the topic. The purpose of the seminar is to learn from our fellow students about topics in energy that aren’t covered in the Kellogg curriculum. In the past these sessions have also been critical in helping prepare for interviews with energy companies.

Powering the Future - spring quarter

In this weekly seminar, senior-level cleantech and utility executives will lead discussions on new technologies and novel financing structures that are presently disrupting U.S. power markets.  Following each weekly lecture, students will have an opportunity to network with executives over dinner and explore employment opportunities.

2018 lecturers include:
-Nat Kreamer (Comm '99): Former Board Chairman of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
-Gary Kremen (MEAS '85): Founder, Match.com, Clean Power Finance Founder, Santa Clara Valley Water Distric Elected Board Chair
-Bert Valdman (WCAS '84): CEO, Optimum Energy


Previous guest lecturers have included:
-Former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
-CEOs of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
-Former Chief Scientist for the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
-Former President and CEO of NRG Energy
-Former US Chief Sustainability Officer
-AVP Energy & Smart Buildings for AT&T
-Chief Human Resources Officer for Exelon Corporation

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