I meet a great number of people who want to work in the green arena, but have been unsuccessful in their efforts to make a green career change. Many consider getting a green MBA as a way of greening their credentials, but worry that they will get their MBA, and still be unable to make that transition successfully. I have also met some graduates of green MBA programs, who have faced difficulties with jump starting their careers. Despite that, the number of people I have met that see their green MBA as a stepping stone is very high. It made me want to explore the possible causes for this disconnect. So, I decided to interview some of the people who have been successful in their efforts to use their green MBA as a green career stepping stone.
It is my hope that through this interview series, you will gain insight into how professionals are successfully transitioning to careers working in sustainability and other green sectors during these times of economic hardship. We will explore how they used their green MBA to transition successfully. I also hope to help you better understand the work that is being done in these green sectors. Ultimately, I want you to be able to apply the information you obtain from this interview series to your own life, and use it to map out you own green career success story.
First up is Adam, D. Granz. Before getting into energy efficiency, Adam D. Ganz worked in real estate. He is a former real estate broker, property manager and escrow officer. In this capacity, he represented clients in the buying, selling, and leasing of commercial and residential property, managed over 2 million square feet of commercial and residential property and conducted residential sales transactions and refinances totaling over $55 Million for 80 clients. Since getting his MBA, Adam has taken on the role of Energy Efficiency Program Manager at Willdan Energy Solutions.
Q. What are the responsibilities of your job?
A. I manage a $2.6 million energy efficiency program on behalf of one of the three major investor owned utilities in California. Specifically, I specialize in assisting data centers, local government agencies, and educational facilities identify optimal carbon reduction strategies, while simultaneously securing money to offset the implementation costs.
Q. What do you enjoy most about your job?
A. Assisting corporations to reduce their carbon footprint, while simultaneously decrease their overhead costs.
Q. Green MBA Program Attended/Year Completed:
Q. What, if any additional certifications, training, degrees do you have that have helped you in your obtaining a position in the sustainability/green section?
A. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Associate
Note from editor: Adam also has a California Real Estate Broker's License and a BS in Communication Design: Instructional Technology from California State University-Chico.
Q. Why did you decide to make a career change into sustainability?
A. Prior to attending graduate school, I built a successful career in the highly competitive Southern California real estate industry. Focusing on brokerage, property management, and escrow, I earned my real estate broker's license in 2007. The experience taught me that my true passion lies not in the business of buying and selling of land, but in the land itself. Working on various green building initiatives while in business school, brought me to the realization that I could apply my real estate expertise to honor my core values.
Note from Editor: While at Duquesne, Adam assessed the carbon footprint for the South Fayette School District superintendent's energy reduction initiative; made recommendations to Allegheny County to decrease energy use and improve carbon footprint; participated in the development of a material life-cycle analysis to evaluate short and long-term costs and feasibility of using recyclable aluminum in consumer products; as well as identified environmental emissions break-even point for recyclable aluminum versus plastic in selected product categories for Alcoa, Inc. Adam also identified system upgrades, process improvements, and triple bottom line impacts for the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh's green building initiative, which included evaluating the costs and requirements associated with achieving LEED certification for an existing building.
Q. What steps did you take that were the most effective in helping you make the transition to a career in sustainability?
A. Without question, leveraging the consulting engagements that I participated in while in business school was the most effective tool in helping me to make the transition to a career in sustainability. Being able to share my firsthand experience assisting companies to reduce their environmental impact in a cost-effective and in some cases a profitable way was very attractive to recruiters that contacted me following graduation. Furthermore, speaking to companies about how adopting a triple bottom line approach to grow their business is extremely compelling in our current economy and social climate. Businesses throughout corporate America are looking for ways to reduce their overhead costs while concurrently becoming better corporate citizens. My MBA program provided me with relevant consulting experience in assisting companies to achieve this objective.
Q. What are your long term career goals?
A. Ascend to a director level position whereby I become responsible for overseeing energy efficiency programs through the State of California.
Q. Please share any additional thoughts that you feel might be helpful to someone seeking to make this type of career transition?
A. About three years ago, I was watching the Big Idea with Donny Deutsch on CNBC. During the broadcast, Donny said, and I am paraphrasing, "If your Friday nights are much more enjoyable than your Sunday nights, then you're in the wrong business". What his words conveyed to me, was if you are chomping at the bit to get out of the office on Friday, and are miserable at the thought of going into the office on Monday, then you owe it to yourself to make a career change.
Donny's words really resonated with me at that time, as I was in the mist of doing some serious soul searching about making a major career change. Shorting thereafter, I begin to write a mission statement about who I am and about what I really value in life. The common theme throughout my mission statement was my genuine concern about the health of the natural environment and my desire to create a more sustainable planet for future generations. This exercise played a major factor in my decision to attend a graduate business school program with a focus in sustainability.
My current career path affords me the opportunity to honor my mission statement.
Join us each week as we introduce to sustainability professionals who used a green MBA to make a green career transition. If you have a green MBA, have successfully transitioned into a career in sustainability, and would like us to spotlight you in the Green MBA Success Series, drop me a line.