Alex Kranitzky T’13 is a vice president in power and utilities in Barclay’s investment banking division. He was kind enough to answer a few questions about his experience after Tuck.
As told to Pooja Yadav T’18
What was the most important part of your Tuck experience that you’ve taken with you to your job and/or life?
I came to business school with a background in accounting and finance, so my goal was to expand my capabilities as a leader. Therefore, the most important parts of my experience were the opportunities to lead teams, observe others leading teams, and engage with a rich set of classmates who were also expanding their sense of leadership, both inside and outside of the classroom.
What are some of the biggest challenges that your clients face in the power and utilities space and how are you working to solve those?
As the world becomes more energy efficient, our utility clients face limited load growth, which has pressured organic growth plans. As a result, they’re looking for opportunities to fill that void that are outside of their core regulated activities. We’ve helped our clients expand their focus into energy infrastructure more broadly, including renewables and midstream assets. This shift is most readily apparent in the increasing number of electric utilities buying into the natural gas infrastructure space, both transmission and distribution. Additionally, we’re helping our clients as they focus on non-traditional investments in technology, like storage and distributed generation, to help them address structural changes to the grid and grow in this new energy economy.
How do you expect the type of transactions to change, if at all, in the energy space?
From a utility perspective, M&A (mergers & acquisitions) have been really robust over the last few years, and that trend will likely continue as companies look to inorganic growth to replace earnings lost to energy efficiency, etc. However, as rates rise and leverage levels increase, there will likely be a shift away from the debt-funded, all-cash acquisitions we’ve seen recently to an environment where stock-for-stock mergers of equals become more common. This could be hastened if corporate tax reform affects the tax deductibility of interest, as is reflected in some of the current proposals.
What advice would you give to current students interested in working in energy?
I had no experience in the energy sector prior to Tuck, and as a student I felt that it would make for a very difficult transition. However, I find energy to be incredibly interesting, because it touches every aspect of the economy. Working in a sector that focuses on a pure commodity, where brand doesn’t matter, is particularly compelling in an intellectual sense. Additionally, the complexities of the process of removing natural resources from the ground and converting them to usable products provides a wealth of opportunities to keep you learning every day.
My advice for students who don’t have a background that’s energy specific is to take advantage of the many opportunities at Tuck to help get ahead of the learning curve. The complexities of energy can seem intimidating, but by taking energy electives and/or working with the Revers Center for Energy, there are many ways to familiarize yourself with the space.
Favorite place in the Upper Valley?
It’s a tossup between Killington and Murphy’s, with a slight edge towards Murphy’s. Whenever my wife and I are back in Hanover, we stop by Murphy’s and they still know our names and our drinks. It feels like home.