By Sona Senapati, Berkeley-Haas Center for Responsible Business, Student Editorial Writer
The Center for Responsible Business is excited to announce Adam Brudnick as our newest Center for Responsible Business Fellow. He is a member of Haas’ MBA class of 2019, and graduated Wesleyan University in 2013 with a dual degree in Music and Mathematical Economics. His incredible passion for green energy and sustainable business has been a guidepost to his professional life for many years, dating back to a high-school internship with the Northeast Clean Energy Council, where he was first exposed to trends in the space.
From there, he led a student run green venture capital fund on his former campus and consulted several clients on renewable energy strategy at McKinsey. Most recently he spent two years at the New York Power Authority, a state-owned utility company with $2b in revenue, where he worked directly with the CEO and head of strategy to create new business lines that drive forward clean energy in New York. It is this dedication to sustainability that led him to be chosen as this year’s CRB Fellow.
Adam’s work experiences also touch on other areas of focus for the CRB, from helping policy and education non-profits with their strategy to helping municipal governments make better decisions in support of financial and social equity. We had a chance to sit down with Adam at the beginning of the school year to learn more about why he choose Haas, and talked through his goals for the next two years.
Why did you choose Haas?
There are of course bright, talented, and inspiring people at all the major business schools, but Haas’ culture deeply resonated with me. The defining principles align really well with my own personal philosophy and ambitions, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they weren’t just words on a webpage somewhere. When I was researching Haas, it was extremely clear that these principles were being lived day in and day out by every single student and alumni I spoke with. Based on that simple fact, I decided that there’s really no better place for me to study, learn, and grow into the kind of leader I want to become.
What are some goals you have for Haas collaborations?
I think MIT has a great program with their Clean Energy Prize, and that Berkeley could host the west-coast version of it. I know that Berkeley already has the Cleantech University Prize, but I think there’s real potential to grow the event to rival MIT’s, attract more competitors and — ultimately — drive more startup innovation in the space.
As part of this effort I think a key step will be creating opportunities for the technical, legal, and business communities at Berkeley’s campus to exchange ideas and stimulate the kind of innovation solving the climate problem requires. BERC already does a great job of this, but the CRB can continue to leverage its convening power to further those efforts and help transition conversations into corporate action, whether on the startup side or within existing firms.
Additionally, there’s some really incredible work being done at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) on efficiency and software in particular. This seems like a ripe opportunity, and bolstering connections between LBNL and the CRB/Haas will be a main goal of mine over these two years.
When do you find yourself most energized?
I find myself most energized when working at the intersection of science/technology and business, as it’s a really interesting (and impactful) place to be. I’ve had some experiences working in this space before, both as part of the innovating organization and as a consultant, and I’d like to explore what it’s like to do this from the entrepreneurship and investment side. One of the hypotheses I’m testing this year at Haas is whether I find a more natural fit with seed stage or growth stage companies from an operating and investing side, but regardless of where I land on that spectrum, I’m pretty confident that this intersection of science/technology and business is where I want to be.
What do you like to do in your free time when you’re not saving the world?
About the CRB Fellowship
The CRB Fellow serves as a point person between the Center for Responsible Business and the Haas student body and receives an automatic placement on the CRB Student Advisory Board to help set the agenda for the CRB. The CRB Fellow is selected from Round 1 Haas MBA applicants. This is done by a committee made up of representatives from the Institute for Business and Social Impact and the admissions office, with top candidates being interviewed by CRB Fellow donor Scott Pinkus, and CRB Program Director Seren Pendleton-Knoll. Successful applicants consider how the Center for Responsible Business will support their aspirations and how they intend to further the mission of the CRB to “develop leaders who redefine business for a sustainable future.” Application information can be found here.