From Akamai to The Boston Globe: How energy efficiency know-how headlines a career path

EDF Climate Corps fellow | April 5, 2011

By: Shruthi Rao, Sustainability Consultant at The Boston Globe, 2010 EDF Climate Corps fellow at Akamai Technologies

Nearly a year ago, I sat beside 25 other EDF Climate Corps fellows on the first day of the 2010 EDF Climate Corps training in New York City. With a background in IT, I initially thought myself clueless when it came to building design and air flow variables. Fortunately, the training not only provided a solid foundation for examining all types of facility energy needs, but also guidance for breaking down organizational barriers and implementing behavior change methods applicable across a plethora of industries. I am now happy to say it is with thanks to these transferable learnings that I was able to land my current position as a sustainability consultant for The Boston Globe, one of the country's leading newspapers.

With so much buzz around the Green MBA lately, I am happy to share my story from the road that led me from my books and exams at Thunderbird School of Global Management to the start of an exciting career in sustainability.

After the training last year, I went on to spend that summer as a 2010 Climate Corps fellow at Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ: AKAM) in Cambridge, MA. At Akamai, I was responsible for analyzing different types of data center collocation provider contracts and developing a re-structuring strategy to help remove barriers to higher energy efficiency in data centers, particularly during off-peak usage. In addition, I evaluated the potential financial savings and reduction in CO2 emissions if specific off-peak energy efficiencies were to be implemented.

Funnily enough, it was this work on sustainability at Akamai that directed my attention toward The Boston Globe in the first place. A few weeks into my Climate Corps fellowship there, The Globe published an article about Akamai's sustainability initiatives. This got me to thinking about the types of sustainability opportunities available to newspaper offices.  At the end of November 2010, I approached The Globe about its own sustainability practices and offered my services with my newly gained expertise. After submitting a proposal with strategic sustainability plans, I excitedly accepted an offer for a consulting position at the newspaper.

I am now responsible for energy assessment (including carbon accounting), identifying and prioritizing projects that could reduce office IT and data center energy consumption, and ultimately reducing the company's carbon footprint. I often refer back to EDF's Climate Corps training, especially its guidance on catalyzing organizational change.

With this said, I encourage all MBAs looking to have an impact in the world of sustainability to equip themselves with credible training and information, find an internship like Climate Corps to provide tangible, transferable experience, and always keep your eyes open for opportunities. The next newspaper article you read just might turn into your next job.