Doostang News May11: A Monday walk down to electric avenue

Senior Business Analyst, Leading Solar Company, Santa Clara, CA

Sr. Associate Manager, Fortune 500 Utilities Firm, Ann Arbor, MI
Solar Energy Intern, Solar Provider, San Jose, CA
Energy Analyst, Consulting Firm, Washington, DC
Market Development Intern, Carbon Generation Firm, New York, NY

It’s hard to miss the chatter about energy jobs right now — whether in traditional sectors or renewables. At Doostang, it’s been just as hard to miss a growing trend among our Premium members: energy and utilities is currently the fastest growing career interest among them.

So, this week we talked to Pedram, a USC Marshall MBA who now works in Strategic Planning for Southern California Edison, the largest subsidiary of Edison International. Listen up, folks, Pedram’s consulting-like role within this dynamic industry may open your eyes to new ways to engage your skills and interests.

How did you get your current position at Southern California Edison?

A lot of times you hear that the best way to find a job is through networking. Well, that turned out to be the case for me as I found my current position by networking in my Business School classes. One of my classmates was working for Southern California Edison at the time and he helped introduce me to the hiring manager.

Describe a day in your life in your current role.

In my current role working in the “Strategic Planning Group” at Southern California Edison, my work is similar to working as an internal consultant. My group takes on large strategic projects that have a significant impact to the corporation. The work is project-based so that means there is a lot of variety in my day-to-day activities. Depending on the nature of the project my daily activities may involve team meetings, working with Excel models, interacting with external parties or updating senior management. Examples of some recent projects include evaluating the financial impact of legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, assessing the effect of electric vehicles on electricity demand over the next decade and working to integrate renewable energy into the electric grid.

Where are the career opportunities in energy right now?

I see a broad array of opportunities in the electric sector ranging from positions with utilities, consultants, regulators to renewable energy start-ups. Also, the electric sector currently faces an aging work-force with a large percentage of employees at or near retirement age. This age bubble will likely create a lot of new opportunities for younger professionals. For example Southern California Edison has created two Analyst Rotation Programs to help fill the talent pipeline. One rotation program is in our Power Procurement Business Unit which involves purchasing wholesale electricity and natural gas through contracts and energy markets. The second rotation program is in our Customer Service Business Unit which administers customer programs such as energy efficiency, customer owned solar panels and the roll-out of second of generation electric meters. Both programs are geared towards recent grads (within the last year) and are two year programs with 4 to 6 month assignments through different departments within each Business Unit. Interested applicants should send an email to CollegeRelations AT

What are your longer term career plans? How does your current job fit into them?

Longer term, I plan to continue working in the energy industry, in particular the electric industry. Given the world’s increasing demand for sustainable energy sources I see electricity playing a key role in meeting those needs. The electric sector, which has been relatively stagnant for the past several decades, is currently on the cusp of a dramatic change. I think legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increased demand for renewable energy, second-generation electric meters, continued population growth, the nuclear renaissance, and the fruition of the electric car are all powerful market forces that will create significant long term opportunities in the electric sector. There may be a few losers along the way, merchant coal generators seem to be the most at risk, but all in all I’m very bullish on the electric sector.

Learn more about Southern California Edison. What other companies interest you? Drop us a note.

MBAs on Doostang

Last week, we welcomed Northwestern’s Kellogg School and INSEAD to Doostang’s family of MBA partners. If you are an MBA candidate from one of these schools, might we urge you to upgrade your membership FREE to access thousands of relevant opportunities in a time of scarcity.

Or, perhaps you’ve already landed a job or internship. Word on the street is that, compared to previous years, more MBAs are returning to their pre-MBA careers rather than switching to new ones. What’s your story? Help out your peers by telling us about it.

Happy New Week,

Team Doostang

Doostang News Apr23: The Ins and Outs of Consulting

International Consultant, New York, NY Summer Intern, Consulting & Strategy, Boston, MA

PE/HF Business Consultant, Washington, DC

Hedge Fund Internship, New York, NY

Senior Manager, Strategy & Business Development, Miami, FL

Venture Capital/Private Equity Associate, San Francisco, CA

According to our numbers, about 63% of you have indicated consulting as a career interest. That’s more people than live in Pittsburgh, so we took a break from finding over 400 awesome new Premium Jobs this week to do some homework.

Let’s be honest: hiring targets at consulting firms are down, but do take a moment to check out the nearly 1,000 consulting jobs on Doostang. Focus on small pockets where hiring is happening, for instance, Energy, Supply Chain and Healthcare consulting.

Then read our interview with Mada. Whether you’re transitioning into or out of consulting, we think you’ll find her story relevant. After completing her Master’s at Stanford, Mada moved onto Deloitte and then a start-up, Yola, and she was kind enough to speak with us about her path.

From Consulting to a Start-up with Mada Seghete

How did you get into consulting originally? What motivated that choice?

In grad school, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do after I got my degree or what type of business would be the best fit for me. I knew I wanted to try many different things, and consulting seemed like the best choice for that.

What do consulting firms look for in a candidate?

Consulting firms are really looking for just a few basic characteristics. First, they want to be confident that the candidate would represent the company competently in front of a client. You can’t underestimate the importance of people skills. Secondly, they want to know how well the candidate can analyze a problem and whether that person can easily adapt to different projects and environments. And finally, they are looking for someone who fits the culture of the company. 

What are the most valuable experiences/skills you gained in consulting?

The best thing about consulting was the diversity of things I was doing at any one time. I got to work on strategy, financial, and pro-bono projects, led activities in recruiting, and got papers published. I most valued the projects that I did for smaller firms. Overall, I feel like I gained very good analytical skills, and I learned a lot about delivering a good presentation. Overall, it was a great experience, and Deloitte was a great place for me. 

What has the transition from consulting to Business Product Manager at a start-up been like?

I’m not going to lie, it’s been very different. I see the same people everyday, I don’t travel, I feel like I get things done rather than simply advise. I must say I have loved every minute of it. Yola is such an amazing environment — I can bring my puppy to work, and although we all work very hard, we always have a really good time together. It’s almost a paradox. It feels a lot more laid back than consulting, but at the same time, my work is a lot more intense. I know everything I do has a direct impact on our goals and that kind of responsibility is great.

What do you think gave you an edge over other candidates when interviewing at Yola?

They were looking for someone with enough technical experience to understand the product, but also the business acumen to manage big projects. I had worked as a developer before Deloitte, so that took care of the technical experience. Consulting really helped me on the business side. Also, it helped that I was really passionate about the product — I put a lot of work into buidling my own website, I followed Web 2.0 trends, and I really did my research.

Why did you decide to go to grad school and how has that choice impacted your career? I decided to go to grad school mainly because I knew I didn’t want to be a developer (  in the long term (my undergrad was in electrical and computer engineering). I loved coding, but I felt that it wasn’t what I really wanted to do.  Grad school changed my life. It propelled me into a completely different direction, and I learned I loved business, strategy and design. I use things I learned in school every day at work, whether it’s a marketing framework, a way to approach our users, or a presentation. What role had being an international student/job candidate played in your career?

It has always been harder as an international person. I always felt I had fewer choices, and I had to find jobs earlier. I think as I have gained more experience, things have become easier, but I definetly had a hard time in the beginning. The worse time was when I didn’t get my H1B visa with my first company, Siemens, and I had to leave when my OPT (Optional Practical Training) expired. Fortunately, I was accepted into Stanford, so I just took the summer off and travelled for a month around the country. What advice do you have for international students/employees in the present job market? Start you job search early! Make sure you know your options, talk to your school’s international students office as much as you can. Go to workshops, and tell your employers about your situation early on. Do lots and lots of research and for every form that you are asked to submit, make it your top priority to send it out as soon as you can.

See Mada’s profile. Learn more about Yola.

How can we help you out with your career transition? Submit your questions and we’ll answer them.

Class of 2009 – Your Number’s Almost Up

Graduation is coming and all you keep hearing is that hiring is down by 22% for graduating students. For those of you who are interested in consulting, the good news is the majority of consulting recruiting happens on campus – for graduating seniors and MBAs alike. The bad news? Well, that stat we won’t repeat makes every industry all the more competitive these days.

Whether you’re set on consulting, or looking for an alternative, allow us to step on the soapbox for approximately 30 seconds.

You’ve invested in your education and you deserve the best. Know that, take a deep breath, and please do let us know how we can help.

May your day trend upward and to the right,

Team Doostang

Has George W. gone Premium? And other questions of import

Our Premium Jobs have generated a lot of interest from our members (not to mention Businessweek), and a few questions. Whether you’re on the market and curious due to the recession or term limits, we wanted to take a moment to answer them:

Is Premium right for me?
You’re really the best judge of this, if we had to characterize our Premium Jobs here’s what we’d say: several thousand elite opportunities, about half in finance and half in other industries (consulting, media, entertainment and technology are big), mostly in major metro areas (New York, San Francisco, LA, etc), and from the internship to VP level, with a sweet spot at the 2-6 years of experience range. It’s no coincidence that mirrors our community demographics ;). Here’s a quick taste:

Once I Go Premium, can I see the names of the hiring companies?
Absolutely. You’ll have access to the full description of every Premium Job, and can apply to as many as you’d like for the duration of your subscription.

What happens when I submit my application? Where does it go?
ALL of our Premium Jobs go to REAL PEOPLE, i.e. hiring managers. Why should you care? A lot of jobs posted online aren’t advertisements for real openings. If you’ve ever encountered postings tied to generic company inboxes or, worse yet, fake postings by a recruiting agency that’s just collecting resumes, you know how frustrating this is. Not on Doostang – our Premium Jobs are real jobs, with real people and a real inbox behind them. Beat’s a black hole, right?

These jobs are great, but it would be nice to save some money right now. Any discounts?
Damn straight. There are two ways to Go Premium and save. First, all members of our preferred alumni networks are eligible for exclusive discounts up to 40% so, join your school network today. Second, once you go premium, you can refer your friends to Premium and have your membership extended for free every time one of your friends upgrades. And get this – your friends will get a 50% discount, something they will likely appreciate in light of, well, the “R” word.

So, has George W. gone Premium?
Either that or the guys with wires in their ears in an unmarked van outside our office are just the future of bluetooth.

That’s it for now, but please keep the questions coming! That’s how we make Doostang better for you.

Happy Tuesday,

Team Doostang