“I'm twice the leader now in every way than I was when I left the Marine Corps.”
I came to Tuck from the military, the United States Marine Corps, where I spent my entire adult life. I learned so many important skills and I loved every second of my time in the Marine Corps. But I didn’t get the hard business and quantitative skills I needed. I wanted to be able to bolster the experiences I had in the military, which were very heavy in leadership and analytical problem solving, with the hard quantitative skills—finance, accounting, marketing—that an MBA offers. I also wanted the time and space to explore the renewable industry, which has always interested me. Coming to a full-time MBA program like Tuck gave me the opportunity to fully explore the industry and to gain a very solid foundation of business knowledge and experience. I came to Tuck with zero experience in energy.
The Tuck community shares a whole lot of values with the military community. One of the main reasons why Tuck was my number one choice for getting my MBA was because of its community values. It’s collaborative. It’s team-based. It’s honest. Everyone acts with integrity here. We all respect each other. Don’t get me wrong—we’re highly competitive, purpose-driven people, but at the same time, we acknowledge that there’s a community, and that there’s more than just ourselves in the world. We try to actively support that community and make it better—just like the military. There’s a fundamental alignment in values. And now, I’m going to be able to go out and make a difference in the world sooner than if I had gone straight into industry from the Marine Corps.
I knew I wanted to go into the renewable energy industry. But I didn’t have any clue what role I would play, what function I would be in, or what kind of company I wanted to be in. My job in the Marine Corps was always very mission driven. It was a mission I was passionate about and could get behind 100 percent. I would wake up every morning, go into work, and be excited to be there. And at the end of the day, I felt fulfilled in what I was doing. I think I’m the kind of person who needs that in all aspects of my life. So leaving the Marine Corps, I wanted to transition into something that I could be equally passionate about. I have a deep-rooted passion for land and water conservation. Renewable energy is one of the best ways we can help conserve our lands and water. I think climate change is perhaps the most important issue of our time, and renewable energy is a powerful tool to combat it. In addition to all the idealistic reasons, renewable energy is a great business to be in right now.
Since coming to Tuck, I’ve tied myself with all things energy. I’ve worked closely with the Revers Center for Energy. I’m co-chair of the Energy Club. I’ve attended energy conferences, such as the Global Energy Forum in Beaver Creek, CO. I’ve gone on career treks sponsored by the Revers Center where I’ve visited everything from large businesses like Pacific Gas and Electric, to tiny startups and companies like Green Mountain Power Energy. Experiential learning sponsored by the Revers Center facilitated my personal path towards not only gaining the right business skills, but the energy knowledge I needed to succeed in a career in energy. Last year, in addition to the core curriculum, I did an independent study with two of my classmates sponsored by Revers. We worked with a private equity firm that invests solely in renewable energy. We created a greenhouse gas emissions offset impact report for their investors. It gave me a good look behind the curtain. The Revers Center for Energy also facilitated my First-Year Project. I teamed up with a couple of classmates and we sourced our own FYP with AMBRI, a utility scale battery storage company based in Cambridge, MA. That experience helped me build confidence going into my internship with Cypress Creek Renewables. I was staffed on a battery storage project right away. And I felt very comfortable to be able to go in and talk the talk—I dove right in.
Before I came to Tuck, I had never even put an equal sign into an Excel spreadsheet. In college, I never took any finance or accounting courses. Through the military, I developed a very strong foundation in analytical problem solving. But it wasn’t quantitative. So my learning curve coming into Tuck was pretty steep. Just about everything at Tuck is team-based. The school is built on this close-knit collaborative community, and that extends into its academics. I felt compelled to make sure I was pulling my weight for my team. I learned as much from my study group as I did from the courses themselves. One of the things that makes Tuck most distinctive is the access we have to faculty and staff—and I think that’s not always obvious to prospective students. For example, accounting was a challenge for me. My accounting professor Dirk Black spent a significant amount of time away from his family to help me after hours. I struggled on the midterm, and then I did well above average on the final, and I owe that to the work he put in personally for me.
State University of New York at Oswego, BA, economics, 2004
United States Marine Corps
Fellow at the Revers Center for Energy, Co-chair Tuck Energy Club
Independent Study Project with New Energy Capital; First-Year Project with a utility-scale battery technology startup
Argentina GIX; Prior to Tuck, I worked all over Asia and the Pacific with the Marine Corps
Cypress Creek Renewables, a utility-scale solar and storage developer
April Salas, executive director of the Revers Center for Energy, has been fundamental to my professional development in the energy industry. Being introduced to the leadership of New Energy Capital, a private equity firm that invests solely in renewable energy, was also essential to my transition from the Marine Corps to energy.
Dean Matthew J. Slaughter
I arrived at Tuck with a passion for renewable energy, but zero knowledge or experience in the industry. Tuck facilitated my professional development by sending me to industry workshops, energy conferences, the Global Energy Forum (!), and allowed me to complete two experiential projects in energy during my first year. I went on industry treks to San Francisco and Vermont, met with executives from two energy companies in Argentina, and was given access to CEOs, board members, managing directors, and policy-makers throughout the United States. My internship at Cypress Creek Renewables exposed me to energy project development and project finance in the solar and storage space. As a fellow in the Revers Center for Energy, I will spend my second year at Tuck completing a center project in renewable energy and helping others along their energy career pathways.