"It was such an amazing experience. It exceeded my expectations in terms of what online learning could do. It was really practical and could be integrated into our day-to-day work, even though we are coming from such diverse backgrounds."
- How has this program helped you with your current career success?
It's been really awesome. I came to the program with a background in clean energy engineering and energy policy, so what I was hoping to do through taking this program was round out my knowledge by introducing the finance and innovation sides. I think everything that I learned in the program and all the tools that it gave me have been instrumental to my success and really broadened the content and the expertise that I can bring to my current role.
- What has been unexpected during the program?
I think I was surprised by the breadth of subjects that Yale was able to cover and in such a short period of time. I know that energy and finance are two highly technical fields and in some ways; there's a pretty high bar to entry, so I was really surprised at how well the professors and the wonderful staff that put the program together were able to break down those really technical subjects in such a coherent way.
- How do you think the program filled your knowledge or skills of clean energy?
I think the finance module was the one that I found most valuable. The project finance examples and drawing on the expertise of the professor was just amazing, and that definitely broadened my skillset and introduced me to new subject areas that I can use every day in my job, right now.
- In which ways do you think the program has enabled you to expand your network?
Having the in-person week at the very beginning of the program was great because it allows you to put faces to names and meet people in a more organic way before we all went off on our separate educational paths. I live in Canada, and there was a great diversity in terms of where the participants come from, and I got to meet people from all around the world. There are a lot of people coming from New York and DC, and as somebody working in Canada in the public sector, those were really valuable connections for me to grow.
- In what ways is the cohort diverse, and how did it benefit your learning and career development?
I saw a really diverse cohort, more so than I expected. Geographic location was one aspect where I saw a lot of diversity. There were some participants coming from Africa and a lot of their focus was on development, and then you had people coming from traditional finance backgrounds in New York, the public sector in DC, and others from South America and India. The geographic diversity, I think, was a huge strength of the program because you got to see people coming from different perspectives, approaching the same problems but from different perspectives. I think there was also a lot of diversity in terms of careers; you have public sector, finance, private sector, philanthropy and law. And again, I think that bringing different skillsets and areas of expertise to all speak to the same problems was really enriching for me as a participant.
- In what ways do you connect with your classmates through the weekly discussions or other tools that benefit the social aspect of the program?
I definitely would say that there was a strong sense of us actually being a cohort, not that we were all just individuals doing the same program. I think that the way that the program was set up lent itself to actually building those sorts of social connections.
- What do you think the advantages are of this program being online?
For starters, I wouldn't have been able to take a year off work, and I think a lot of people were in that position where we were all hungry for this knowledge, but it wouldn't have been possible for me to hit pause on my life for a year. Being online really facilitated a different demographic of participants, as most are working professionals. I think the online feature gave a lot of flexibility and was able to pull in a different demographic of students that other programs that were all in-person might not be able to do.
- Why did you choose this program?
I already had a strong background in clean energy policy and engineering, and I was looking to round out my knowledge because the intersection of finance and clean energy is something that is relatively difficult to find, especially in such a comprehensive program. There might be like courses offered here and there, but I was looking for something a little bit more in-depth. That's why this program really stood out to me.
- Who would you recommend this program to and why?
I’ve recommended the program to quite a few people in my professional network. There are obvious candidates who work in finance and are looking to open up new opportunities, but I think the program actually has applicability way beyond that. And, as somebody who’s working in the public sector, I have recommended this program to other public sector colleagues because I think it's so important that people who work for the government have a really clear understanding of how businesses are approaching climate change and clean energy, and that they understand the opportunities and the challenges. For there to be real innovation and meaningful progress on these really important issues, everybody needs to be speaking the same language. So I can say that I have recommended it to other public sector colleagues who may or may not necessarily think of themselves as people that need to know clean energy finance.
- Is there anything else that you would like to add?
It was such an amazing experience. It exceeded my expectations in terms of what online learning could do. I've done some limited online education in the past, and it was a bit of a struggle to stay with it and stay engaged, but I could tell that there has been so much thought and care given to how to create a cohort and create material that was interesting and engaging and wasn't an afterthought. It was really practical and could be integrated into our day-to-day work, even though we are coming from such diverse backgrounds, so I really appreciated that.