Energy Internships and Recruiting
Hi everyone, Erik here again! As I mentioned in my last post, I came to business school to pivot from the military into renewable energy development. I was fortunate enough to get an internship offer with Oriden Power in Pittsburgh, where I’ll be learning more about renewable energy development over the summer. I wanted to share my experience recruiting for energy internships, as well as share some advice for future students.
While investment banking, consulting, and tech project management have a structured internship recruiting preparation process, renewable energy does not. That being said, recruiters and alumni you’ll be talking to will expect you to have a baseline knowledge of the energy industry and what kind of roles interest you.
The Tepper Energy and Cleantech Club was a huge help in getting me ready for internship applications. Our educational events throughout the fall are geared towards showcasing the various roles in energy that are available out of an MBA program. The club also helps facilitate case competitions throughout the fall. These are a great way to learn more about energy and understand how different parts of the industry operate, as well as common problems facing companies in the industry.
Finding job openings:
In terms of job boards, Dayaway Careers is by far the best resource out there. It’s specifically tailored to entry-level and internship opportunities in energy and cleantech.
ClimateBase is also a good resource, but has a much broader scope, so you may have to sift through jobs targeted at experienced professionals instead of recent grads.
Finally, leverage the alumni network. Even alums who don’t have direct oversight of the internship hiring process can be incredibly helpful. They can make connections to recruiters, vouch for you in the hiring process, and sometimes even be the ones who conduct your interview. Talking to recent alumni is also really fun and they often want to hear about your experiences, so it’s a win-win.
In general, when starting to network at a company, it's best to start with more recent alumni who are junior in the company, then work your way up in both length of time since graduation and seniority. More recent alumni are more likely to answer a cold email or LinkedIn message, for one, and are also more likely to be willing to talk about the company on a more general level, allowing you to prepare to talk to more senior people.
Unlike consulting or investment banking, which have fairly standard timelines for the recruitment process, each energy company is different. Larger companies like utilities may start earlier because they have structured internship programs, but smaller developers or startups may hire on a more ad hoc basis as they get an idea of what their staffing needs will be later in the year.
In general, energy recruiting takes place somewhat later than most other industries. Relatively few energy companies attend the big marquee conferences in the early fall, for instance, and most jobs start to get posted in late December and into January. Some even continue to get posted through April and May; one recent grad got an energy internship offer in the last week of April. That being said, it’s important to stay on top of job posting throughout the fall, since some companies do recruit early. Fall is also a good time to learn about company culture from recent alumni and get warm introductions to the people making final internship decisions.