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Eller College Home > Eller MBA Programs > Full-Time MBA > Curriculum > MBA Curriculum > Energy Focus
Full-Time MBA

Sustainable Energy Focus Area

The Business of Energy

The sustainable energy focus area is designed for future-minded leaders interested in binding core business fundamentals with current policy and commercial issues within the industry.

Market Relevance

Today’s business and policy environments have an increased focus on energy, its uses, alternative forms, and its creation.  The impact of our shift in focus is expansive, from slowing the growth of global warming to boosting the economy. In fact, the New Energy Plan for America aims to create five million new jobs over the next ten years.

Why Eller?

The Eller MBA Program and the University of Arizona are home to some of the world’s most respected thought leaders in the related sciences and business practices. 

Collectively our expertise in both practice and policy development, location in one of the country’s burgeoning centers for alternative energy, and outreach efforts with like-minded organizations establishes a unique area of study for our Eller MBAs. 

Crafting your experience will include both curricular and experiential components. 

Sustainable Energy Curriculum

The sustainable energy focus’s anchor course, Economics 573: Sustainable Business and Economics and Environmental Policy, exposes students to the financial, policy, and environmental aspects of sustainable business and energy through case work as well as applying your knowledge to an energy-related project within the business community. The course is the cornerstone that brings ideas together while generating new potential.

The course is taught by:

  • Professor Paul Portney, dean of the Eller College of Management and former president of Resources for the Future (RFF), a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that conducts independent research on environmental, energy, and natural resource issues
  • Professor Stanley Reynolds, an expert in energy markets, oligopoly, market power, and business strategy.

Combining this foundational course with a number of Eller MBA electives and a selection of specific offerings through the University’s related colleges and schools will allow you flexibility to direct your studies within the multinational public and private energy sectors.

Required Course:

  • ECON 573:  Sustainable Business, Economics, and Environmental Policy (Spring)

Choose two of the following options:                                                          

  • ECON/AREC 577:  Advanced Topics in Economics of the Environmental Regulation (Fall)
  • GEOS: 578: Global Change (Fall)
  • Econ/RNR/AREC 576: Natural Resource Law and Economics (Spring)
  • PPOL/RNR 581: Environmental Policy (Spring)

ECON: Economics; AREC: Agriculture and Resource Economics; GEOS: Geosciences; RNR: Renewable and Natural Resources

Experiential Learning

Business Intelligence Quotient (BIQ)
The BIQ is a large component of your Business Communication course held in your first semester. The course allows you to investigate a real company and analyze real-world problems that the company faces today, while receiving feedback and guidance along the way. Students have the opportunity to concentrate their efforts on a company that falls within the realm of sustainable business/energy. Business intelligence results from the student team “becoming” the company or organization over the course of 8 weeks. 

Consulting Projects/Advanced Consulting Projects
Students interested in this industry track work with an energy-focused company or organization and apply the skills and knowledge acquired in their BIQ projects. As part of a team, you will have regular interaction with the client, define the scope and objectives of the engagement, and become intricately immersed in the client’s industry, objectives, product or service, management styles, financial data, and marketing agenda. Clients approach our program with a specific objective in mind, and it is the student team’s job to study and address this challenge or issue over the course of a 16-week semester in the spring of your first year. 

Past clients and projects include:

  • Green Block
    Feasibility study to use mining tailings (waste) to create concrete.
  • Puerto Lobos Development Project
    Feasibility study of proposed zero or near zero carbon footprint master planned community near Sea of Cortez.
  • Solar Industries Inc.
    Evaluation of Six Sigma effectiveness for use of process improvement; developed Lean Sigma program tailored to company’s specific needs.
  • UniSource Energy Corporation
    Evaluation of centralized support system; created consolidated plan to improve service delivery processes.
  • Canyon Ranch
    Analysis of resorts current environment, social and economic sustainable practices. Determined activities with highest level of marketing value.
  • Arizona Research Institute for Solar Energy (AZ RISE)
    Develop implementation plan and estimated costs to reach organization’s statewide plan for solar energy development and distribution.

Internships and Experience-Based Growth Opportunities

Schematic photograph of the UA's Solar Decathlon housing model
A schematic photograph of the UA's Solar Decathlon housing model.

Eller MBA Joins U.S. Department of Energy Competition

An Eller MBA student has accepted a position as marketing director for The University of Arizona's Solar Decathlon team. The U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon is an innovative design initiative for a solar-powered house building competition among 20 universities. Demonstration houses will be shown on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Learn moreClick to meet students

An integral component of any MBA program is the internship between the summer of the student's first and second years. The experience gives the student and the employer an opportunity to get to know each other, learn, and later build upon the knowledge in the second year of the Eller MBA program.

MBA students have completed internships with:

  • ASTEC America, Inc.
  • Emerson Network Power
  • Yudelson Associates (green building consultants)

Corporate Relationships

Emerson Power Networks
Emerson (NYSE: EMR) is a diversified global manufacturing and technology company offering a wide range of products and services in the areas of process management, climate technologies, network power, storage solutions, professional tools, appliance solutions, motor technologies, and industrial automation. Recognized widely for its engineering capabilities and management excellence, Emerson has more than 140,000 employees and approximately 265 manufacturing locations worldwide.

Tucson Electric Power: Green Energy
Tucson Electric Power Company (TEP), the principal subsidiary of UniSource Energy (publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol UNS), serves more than 375,000 customers in Southern Arizona. Renewable programs include: biomass, biogas, geothermal, hydro, solar, GreenWatts and wind.

AZ Rise: Arizona Research Institute for Solar Energy
A global institute created at the University of Arizona with academic and industrial partners to enable multi-disciplinary research, development, and practical implementation of solar energy solutions to meet our energy needs by creating innovative collaborations in research, economic and public policy analysis, and education/outreach.  Provides students exposure to: System integration, storage, Photovoltaic Technology, Energy/Water, Sustainable Buildings, Transportation, Policy and Economics Analysis.

GreenSun: The Onsite Solar Utility
Launched by three Eller MBA class of 2007 graduates,GreenSun is a turn-key solar developer for commercial-scale solar solution providing innovative financial solutions, including sales, leases and customized Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), for companies and large organizations interested in solar energy.   

US Solar Holdings
US Solar is a developer of utility-scale solar power projects focused on the desert Southwest, with operations in Tucson, Boise, and Denver. Recently selected by US Department of Energy for Multi-million dollar thermal energy storage project.

Support and Expertise

Faculty Mentors
In addition to the readily available Eller MBA staff resources, each MBA student has a faculty mentor to assist with professional development and academic and personal growth. 

Specialized Career Search Objectives
Our career development coaches work one-on-one to assist students in developing their career plans and reaching their goal.

Active Net Impact chapter with leading offices held by MBA students.

UA Clubs
The University of Arizona recognizes hundreds of student clubs, including Eco-Reps, Charles Darwin Experience, and Real Estate Development Club.                                               

Campus and College Seminars and Speakers

As part of an academic community of over 35,000 faculty, staff, and students, opportunities to learn from field experts are plentiful. 

Campus-wide speakers series include:

For additional information, please contact us.