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What It Will Take to Master the Global Energy Transformation

June 15, 2020

Prof. Jonas Puck on the new "Energy Transformation" focus of the MBA

In the future, the energy market will be even more complex than it already is today. “In the years to come, disruption, innovations, and regulations will give rise to numerous changes, which will entirely reinvent the way (energy) markets work. The transformation of the global energy market will be at the heart of this development,” Prof. Jonas Puck, Academic Director of the MBA Energy Management, says. This MBA program, featuring the most international student body at the WU Executive Academy, will soon place a new focus on Energy Transformation. This will offer managers the very expertise and practical tools needed to understand both the big picture and the finer details of this complex industry.

Pic of a lightbulb with the globe in it, symbolic for energy transformation
The global energy transformation is the biggest challenge the energy industry is facing. Photo © CC0 License

Disruptive technologies, innovative production, crashing oil prices due to the coronavirus crisis: the global energy market is difficult to maneuver for any of its players. Making strategic decisions as a manager can be very challenging in this industry. One thing is for sure: energy sourcing must become more innovative, effective, and environmentally friendly. But it is also clear that it will not suffice to exclusively rely on renewable forms of energy in the future. A mindset of “fossil fuels are the past, renewables are the future” is a gross oversimplification, says Jonas Puck, Academic Director of the MBA Energy Management. “Fossil-based raw materials and fossil energy production will continue to play a role in the next 30 years,” Puck says. The manufacturing sector produces numerous products that need hydrocarbon deposits, “and for many of them, there are still no alternatives.” Managers involved in the energy transition or projects related to renewable energy must understand the “free play of forces” on the global energy market. “It is not enough to know how to make a company energy-efficient or how renewable energies work,” Puck says.

Energy Transformation – Complex but not Complicated

To respond to this development, the MBA Energy Management will start an Energy Transformation specialization with subject-specific classes offered throughout the entire program from fall 2020.

Portrait Jonas Puck

Prof. Jonas Puck

  • Academic Director of the MBA Energy Management

We want to address the transformation underway in the industry in all our modules – offering just one course on this topic would have been a purely cosmetic measure.

The MBA curriculum focuses on conveying a thorough grasp of this rapidly changing industry. “We want to help students gain a holistic understanding of the energy market, enabling them to recognize and see through complex connections and think in an integrated way,” Jonas Puck stresses. A special focus is put on networking: students from many different parts of the energy industry will share their knowledge and experiences with each other.  

Like Interlocking Gears

Using international case studies, students will work on assignments with a strong practical orientation related to supply and demand, the effects of renewable energy forms, and market regulation: Is the oil price crash caused by the coronavirus pandemic good or bad for the industry overall? Which effects on renewable energy can be expected? What adjustments and adaptations should be made to further future-proof the current system? How do regulations influence the market opportunities of start-ups?

Pic of a windpark representing renewable energy
How can the current system be made sustainable? This is just one of many current questions that are part of the program. Photo © CC0 Licence

The effects and consequences of innovations in the energy market are also explored: “The energy transition is not only about tapping new forms of energy and energy generation; it is also about the technologies used by consumers. How would revolutionizing the development of hydrogen-powered engines affect the booming e-mobility industry? If a technological invention were to reduce the price at which producers offer to sell wind energy, what would that mean for the market? Would more investments in such a technology translate into an increased demand for wind energy? What would that mean for the global market and the positioning of your own enterprise?”. Jonas Puck explains that it is questions like these that are relevant to decision-makers in the energy industry. The MBA program’s focus on Energy Transformation has been designed to equip (future) leaders with the skills they need to tackle challenges and changes in the energy industry.

The Program: MBA Energy Management

The MBA Energy Management program at the WU Executive Academy will start in October 2020 and end in June 2022. In the first part, the Business Core, students acquire expertise related to management and leadership: this includes personnel management and organization development as much as marketing management, controlling, and an in-depth personal reflection on leadership topics as part of the Leadership Lab. In this MBA, students receive a solid knowledge base of the global energy market, the renewable energies sector, and market regulations. In September 2021, participants can embark on an exciting international residency in the USA (Houston or San Francisco): classes given by guest lecturers and visits to energy corporations and start-ups will convey practical know-how about the regional energy markets and energy trading in America.

For more information about the MBA Energy Management, please click here.

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