State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Sustainability Management Alum Directs Energy towards Renewables

MS in Sustainability Management alum Jason Prince ('14)
MS in Sustainability Management alum Jason Prince (’14)

Jason Prince (’14) now works at Karbone, an integrated renewable energy and environmental markets company, as the Director of Research. Before joining the program, he worked as a wilderness guide in his native Canada, taking young people on backcountry canoe trips, which emphasized leave-no-trace practices. Jason has also worked for a non-profit organization that focused on community development in Central America,  where he undertook a project to integrate small-scale solar installations at schools, and to promote the use of sustainable building materials.

1. What is your current job?

I work at Karbone as the Director of Research. It’s an interesting company in that we have three distinct business lines – Market Research, Commodity Brokerage, Capital Advisory – all under one roof. We bill ourselves as an integrated renewable energy and environmental markets company in the sense that you can come to us and we can walk you through the entire process of getting a renewable energy project financed, built, and hedged.

In my role, I spend a lot of time digging into states’ energy policies, tracking legislative developments, and building scenarios to predict evolving market dynamics. I model supply and demand fundamentals for a wide range of environmental commodities (including things like carbon credits and renewable energy credits), and publish analyses on market trends and pricing. A particularly enjoyable part of my job is that I get to do deep dive research, advising clients including major utilities, financial institutions, and developers on how to view the market.

2. Do your current job responsibilities align with the professional goals that you originally had when you began the MSSM program?

They absolutely do. I came to the MSSM program because I wanted to do something good for the environment. I had an interest in renewables and wanted to be part of the transition away from a civilization dependent on burning fossil fuels. Now, I’m able to work in the renewable energy industry, directly helping to accelerate the deployment of cleaner energy sources.

3. What skills has the MSSM program taught you that you think have proven useful to your current position?

I was able to take advantage of a wide range of courses that provided me both the technical and practical skills I rely on day-to-day. Catering my selection to energy courses, and picking classes across various Columbia Departments, I learned about energy economics, policy, markets, and sustainability. I also found that the opportunities to listen to leading industry speakers at various Columbia events cued me in well to the key issues facing energy business today.

4. What skills and tools do you hope to acquire through this job?

I’m very lucky to be covering a wide breadth of energy and environmental markets at Karbone. I get to dig into the array of subsidies incentivizing renewables, understanding how different policies have led to different outcomes across the country and globe. In addition, since in the US most renewable energy is incentivized through market based renewable energy credit mechanisms, I closely track each state market and am building my modeling skills by doing so. Lastly, often client-facing, I am constantly improving my interpersonal and speaking skills, and feel that I’m learning something new every day.

5. How has collaborating with your fellow students in class projects benefitted you professionally and personally?

Group work is a key aspect of the MSSM program. The opportunity to learn from each other and requirement to manage complex assignments together always fostered great relationships.

6. How do you intend to utilize your degree from the MSSM program to further your career?

I intend on sticking in the renewable energy space for a long time to come. I believe that the knowledge I acquired will help me succeed in the industry, and that the connections I made will keep me dialed in to its various facets. I’ve already found that I’ve relied on my Columbia network of fellow students and professors to get me to where I am today, and I look forward to leveraging the content and network that I cultivated at school to help me on my path forward.

The M.S. in Sustainability Management, co-sponsored by the Earth Institute and Columbia’s School of Continuing Education, trains students to tackle complex and pressing environmental and managerial challenges. The program requires the successful completion of 36 credit points. Those credit points are divided among five comprehensive content areas: integrative sustainability management, economics and quantitative analysis, the physical dimensions of sustainability, the public policy environment of sustainability management, and general and financial management. Visit our website to learn more.  

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