Wharton Trek to the Marcellus Shale

Early in the morning on April 26th 2012, a group of students from the Wharton Energy Club made the 3-hour trip to the Marcellus Shale. Cabot Oil and Gas was kind enough to host and take us around their Tioga County operations. We visited sites that are representative of the entire well construction process including drilling, fracturing, and producing wells. At each site after a safety demonstration, the students were walked around by the site coordinator who explained the process taking place and answered questions. It was a fantastic opportunity for students entering a variety of fields related to the energy industry to get a firsthand understanding of shale gas development.

Wharton West Coast Energy Trek

A dozen Wharton students passionate about the future of clean energy kicked off the Spring 2012 Semester by heading to Silicon Valley. The two-day trek enabled the group of students to meet with and learn from ten of the most respected and reputable investors in start-up and late stage clean energy companies. The students represented Wharton’s strengths with their diverse backgrounds ranging from growth equity investing in clean energy companies to deep technical expertise in core clean energy topics, such as battery storage. Given this diversity of experience and interest, each firm appealed uniquely to each student. Many students enjoyed the perspective of the innovative early stage investors – DFJ, Mayfield, and Rockport Capital Partners – while other students were attracted to the later stage strategies of Battery Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, NEA, Silver Lake Kraftwerk and Vantage Point Venture Partners. In addition to meeting a number of Wharton alumni at each of these firms, students had the great opportunity to network with Wharton Energy Club alumni living in San Francisco before heading back to Philadelphia.

Wharton Energy/Power Banking Trek

Energy Club members who are pursuing careers in Power and Energy finance headed to New York on December 12, 2011 for the Energy/Power Investment Banking Trek. Seven MBAs and two Executive MBAs met with representatives from Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Energy & Power Group, Credit Suisse’s Power and Renewables Group, and Goldman Sachs’s Natural Resources Group. Topics included: the outlook for natural gas prices, opportunities related to the shift away from coal and nuclear generation in the US, and prospects for renewable energy projects in a post-subsidy world.

Wharton Energy Conference – the leading MBA energy conference

The Wharton Energy Conference is the leading MBA energy conference in the nation. With over 550 attendees, more than 40 participating companies, and over 50 speakers, the fifth Wharton Energy Conference took place at the historic Union League of Philadelphia in October 2011. Thought leaders across the energy spectrum participated in three overarching conference tracks: traditional energy and oil and gas, alternative energy, and regulation and finance. The level of enthusiasm of industry professionals, alumni, and current students set the tone for a memorable day.

In an emotive morning keynote address, John Rowe, former CEO of Exelon Corporation, made a farewell speech conveying his wealth of knowledge in the power industry and the challenges ahead for our country. Following his remarks, attendees engaged with the several industry panels including strategies to develop shale gas, solar energy, and U.S. energy policy, among others. As the day progressed, all attention centered on the lunch address jointly made by Daniel Pickering, Co-President of Tudor Pickering Holt, and Ravi Viswanathan, General Partner of NEA, a $11 Billion dollar venture capital fund. Their insights on investment opportunities in the energy sector segued into the afternoon industry panels focused on innovation, private equity, and venture capital. The day closed with an enthusiastically attended reception in the early evening.

In 2011, building on previous success, the Wharton Energy Conference had the highest level of corporate sponsorships, largest number of C-level executives in attendance, and overall the largest number of attendees ever registered in the history of the event. This overwhelming success would not have been possible without the dedication and commitment of over 30 first year and second year Wharton MBA students that comprised the Conference Team.

With a solid foundation in 2011, the energy club is now looking forward to the 2012 Energy Conference, which is on track to break even more records. This year, Meghan Leggett WG’13, John Mongan WG’13, and Kristina Kazarian WG’13, are leading the organization and coordination of the conference, which is entitled “Our Energy Future: Searching for Solutions”. Without a doubt, the 2012 Conference Team is set to surpass all expectations.

For more information, please visit our website for past conferences:

Energy education – The Energy 101 Education Series

The Energy 101 education series is organized by the Energy Club. In this format, students with extensive prior knowledge of an energy sector provide an overview to their fellow students. Typically, a formal presentation is followed by Q&A. By attending these sessions, students build over the year a good understanding of major trends in the industry. Students value the informal setting, and also the help in preparing for upcoming job interviews. Events planned for the coming year are:

  • • US Power Markets
  • • Upstream Oil and Gas
  • • Downstream Oil and Gas
  • • Shale Gas
  • • Coal
  • • Wind
  • • Solar
  • • Biofuels
  • • Smart Grid
  • • Energy Storage
  • • Energy Efficiency
  • • Geothermal
  • • Rare Earths

With the support of the Energy Club, Wharton also recently introduced an intensive class in alternative energy policy. In academic year 2011/2012, a group of over 50 students learned about renewable energy generation, the carbon challenge, energy efficiency and demand response. Each team also developed a business plan for a wind or solar facility. Speakers included CEOs, policymakers, renewable developers, financiers, consultants and other leading industry experts.

Alumni Outreach – 20111 Morgan Lewis Wharton Energy Alumni Dinner

On October 27th, 2011 the Morgan Lewis Wharton Energy Alumni Dinner attracted over 50 Wharton Alumni from around the country to an education and networking event at the Waterworks Restaurant along the Schuylkill in Philadelphia. Featuring addresses by Craig Isakow (WG ’08) of Johnson Controls, Kenneth Kulak of Morgan Lewis, and a keynote address by John Moore, Chief Executive Officer of Acorn Energy, the event provided a great kickoff to the hugely successful Wharton Energy Conference taking place the next day.

Bay Area Trek

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — Six Wharton MBA second-year students, two first-year Wharton MBA students, one exchange student from London Business School, one Wharton West EMBA student (total = 10) headed to the Bay Area over the school’s winter break to learn a bit about the energy sector and the future of renewables. The group visited Pacific Gas & Electricity, NextLight Renewable Power, BP Wind, Recurrent Energy, Chevron Energy Solutions, Virgin Green Fund, Nanosolar, Applied Materials, and SunPower.

Topics discussed ran the gamut: electric vehicles, thin-film solar technology, and business models for manufacturing and developing solar power, plus the latest in what the Great Recession has wrought for the solar energy industry. Turns out, the economic downturn hasn’t been all bad: it has driven down the the cost of solar panels for both manufacturers and developers.

Lastly, the trip capped off in true Wharton style:  Thursday night Pub, co-hosted with Wharton West.
— Russell Sprole

NYC Energy Trek





The Wharton Energy Conference




PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA — An undeniable success, this year’s Oct. 30 conference featured speakers and panelists from nearly every industry and functional role. And whether the topic was project development, the electric grid, or energy investing, the role of government was not far behind — a perfect forum for former Secretary of Energy Federico F. Peña. Michael Allman, CEO of Sempra Generation, and H. Jeffrey Leonard, president of Global Environment Fund, were also featured speakers.

The conference hosted more than 400 participants total, twice as many as last year. Sixty percent of those who attended were professionals, and the students traveled from all across North America, representing HEC Montreal, the University of Alberta, Yale, Cornell, Georgetown, George Washington University, NYU, Columbia, John Hopkins, the University of Maryland, Dartmouth, and the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona.


Smita Jain, Noah Kaye, and Ghazal Badiozamani, (above) were conference chairs, and had the help of a team of 27 first and second year Wharton students.

Houston Energy Trek


HOUSTON, TEXAS — Seven Wharton students made their way down to Houston, Texas, to visit the home of big oil over the Nov. 13 weekend. The team met with Conoco Phillips’s chief economist Marianne Kah, who dove deep into the dynamics of oil/gas supply and demand, and gave her prediction for the economy (a potential dip in the second half of 2010 after stimulus funds run dry). The trek also visited Royal Dutch Shell, Cameron, and National Oilwell Varco, where they discussed the shortage of MBAs and young talent in the energy sector. And, don’t forget, no trip to Texas is complete without country dancing (sorry, no pictures included).

Photo from Cameron manufacturing plant.

Trading Floor Visit to Exelon and PJM Interconnection


KENNETT SQUARE, PENNSYLVANIA — On Friday, Nov. 6, several members of the Energy Club visited the Power Marketing division of Exelon at Exelon’s office in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. The visit included an interactive tour of the Exelon trading floor — reminiscent of a traditional trading floor, but instead of stock indices, these screens reflected energy production in real time. Several traders discussed their specialities: One traded coal, while another who specialized in eliminating risk spoke about the potential of renewable energy like wind. Exelon’s strategy is to establish a broad portfolio of power production, and its current portfolio includes America’s largest commercial nuclear fleet, and it is combined with fossil, hydro, wind, and renewable energy resources. Lastly, the club met with the senior leaders of the Power Team for an informal overview of their positions, followed by a Q&A.

After the visit to Exelon, the club drove to Valley Forge to meet with PJM Interconnection. PJM Interconnection is responsible for electricity transmission in 13 states and Washington, D.C. The PJM representatives explained how the PJM system works, and discussed transmission, problems with renewable generation assets, and energy politics. — Laura Moss, 2011

Industry Information Sessions

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA — The energy club introduced an ambitious new education series at the beginning of the year, which included five lunchtime sessions, each featuring second-year experts from the solar, wind, nuclear, oil, biofuel, geothermal, and smart grid industries. A small sampling of industry knowledge:

Oil and Gas
* Oil production is growing fastest in the Middle East, and reserves are increasingly concentrated there
* Asia has overtaken America as the largest oil consumer
* Gas production growth is primarily driven by Europe/Russia; Iran and Qatar also have sizeable reserves which are beginning to be exploited
* Oil prices have been very volatile recently on the back of changing fundamentals, though geopolitics and speculation are important
* Gas prices and price drivers are highly variable between regions, but overall tend to track global oil prices
— Matias Fernandez Barrio, 2010

Geothermal is low-hanging fruit in the renewable energy space, and in some regions, it is economically feasible without subsidies.
There are two main ways to use geothermal:
* Geothermal loop for heating purposes: A fluid circulates through a closed loop below the surface. This loop extracts heat from earth. This heat can be used for heating purposes.
* Geothermal power generation: At places with geological abnormalities, the earth can be very hot near the surface. Underground water is heated by the earth and can be pumped to the surface. This water is warm enough to be used in a steam turbine cycle to generate power. An emerging technology aims to artificially engineer such a system, which would enable a wider use of geothermal energy.

Unused potential:
Identified traditional resources: 2,675 MWe
Unidentified traditional resources: 7,917 MWe
Resources accessible through enhanced geothermal systems: 345,100 MWe
Career opportunities:
Most career opportunities exist with Oil & Gas companies that are involved in geothermal energy. Other opportunities are present in dedicated developers, investors, and equipment manufacturers.
— Raphael Speck, 2010

Newsletter produced by Alison Go, 2011. Special thanks to Ghazal Badiozamani, Zachary Fenton, Matias Fernandez Barrio, Laura Moss, Jordan Roberts, Andrew Hines, Elle Seybold, and Raphael Speck.

Sponsors: Husky Energy