Christina JeffressAssociate, ScottMadden
Tina Jeffress is an associate at ScottMadden, Inc, a management consulting firm specializing in the electric utility business.
Tina served as president of the MBA Energy Club in the 2017-2018 academic year, supporting 40+ students as they recruited for energy roles. In this capacity, she also contributed to the Energy Center’s conference planning, corporate outreach, and fundraising efforts. She received the Core Value Award for Leadership at the 2018 MBA commencement ceremony.
Prior to business school, Tina was associate director of the Project on U.S. Leadership in Development at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC. While at CSIS, she managed corporate partnerships and research for a $1.5M program focused on the role of the private sector in global development. She previously served as local program director for an education organization in the Dominican Republic.
Tina holds an MBA from UNC Kenan-Flagler with concentrations in Energy and Sustainable Enterprise and a BA in International Development and Spanish from UCLA.
- Tell us about your background, and how you became interested in the Kenan-Flagler Energy Program?
- What were your favorite resources for learning about the energy industry at Kenan-Flagler?
- How did the Energy Center, and Energy Club, help you secure your career post-MBA?
- What were your biggest takeaways from the educational experience that you are using now, or that you see will help you succeed in your career?
- And your favorite memory with the Energy Club…
I studied International Development and Spanish at UCLA and then pursued a career in global development. I worked for non-profits in LA, DC, and the Dominican Republic, and eventually spent 3 years researching the role of the private sector in development at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). I went to Kenan-Flagler looking for a way to bridge my interest in development and public policy with the potential I saw for promoting social and environmental change in the private sector. I had one conversation with Professor Stephen Arbogast at orientation and he convinced me that I could have the impact I was looking for in the energy sector.
I learned so much about the energy industry through the Houston and San Francisco career treks. The visits helped to ground my nascent interest in the industry in some actual knowledge. The school and Energy Center have incredible connections in all segments of the industry, and the treks provided the opportunity to hear directly from leaders and practitioners in a small group setting. Energy case competitions are also a great way to learn. The process can be painful, but they bring together everything you should learn in business school, from excel modeling to project management (they’re also great for learning who in your class can still stand you after 12+ hour working sessions trying to figure out Cuba’s renewables potential).
Energy Club students were willing to meet with me early and often to talk through potential opportunities and how they aligned with my interests. Their honest guidance helped me figure out who to connect with, where to apply, and how to prep for interviews. The mock interviews held by the club helped us all to prepare for tough questions and better understand our potential future roles in the energy sector. At the same time, all of us pursuing energy helped one another throughout the process, even when we were competing for the same roles. We didn’t see it as competing with one another – it was about each of us finding the right internship fit.
I’m an associate at ScottMadden, a consulting firm that specializes in the utility industry. Utilities have a unique business model with idiosyncrasies that wouldn’t be taught in most MBA programs. I was able to learn utility basics in Professor Arbogast’s Energy Value Chain course, and then had the opportunity to learn directly from a current Duke Energy executive in the Business of Power weekend class. I’m able to be more effective in my role because I don’t have to start from scratch when working to understand our clients’ challenges.
I met some of my closest friends at Kenan-Flagler through the Energy concentration. We came from very different backgrounds (a veteran, retail manager, solar ops coordinator, reporter, and political advocate come to mind), but we helped each other get through coursework and recruiting in addition to all the personal challenges we faced over those two years. Though hard to choose, my favorite memories have to be the dinner we held at Bin54 to celebrate the end of our board term (the board presented me with a hilarious retirement card and a book on the electric grid) and the road trip I took through Wyoming, South Dakota, and Colorado with energy classmates following graduation.