| in Alumni, GRS, Students

Name: Bolaji Olagbegi

Company/Organization: Ceres, Senior Associate 

Program: MS in Energy & Environment, 2020 

Describe your experience in the program: 

My experience in the dual degree master’s program was filled with many ups and downs. Firstly, I am so thankful to my advisors and professors along the way who I think really do care about their students– it makes a difference. Three years seems so long ago now, but the most memorable and useful skills I learned that I still rely on today include policy analysis, sustainable development, assessing clean energy tech, and navigating the complexities of the energy market. It was a fairly intense program, but I appreciate the work ethic I developed as a result. I also appreciated the flexibility I had in choosing courses that aligned with my interests. Additionally, I gained a lot of perspectives that I found helpful as I started my career soon after. Specifically, courses that offered international perspectives and connected to actual energy and climate trends helped to bridge the disconnect I felt at times between academia and the real world. I was able to analyze emerging clean energy tech feasibility, scenario plan carbon mitigation measures based on different policies, and examine the intersectionality of climate with food insecurity, public health, and development. It was definitely an intense, fast-paced program but I’m grateful for what I learned and the friends I made along the way.

Explain what your job is now.

Working at Ceres, my focus is on decarbonizing the power sector through activities like examining the viability of natural gas distribution decarbonization pathways, assessing utility climate transition planning for alignment to 1.5C as it relates to planned renewable capacity additions, coal retirements, and utilization rates; and also emphasizing the importance of energy efficiency, equity, and accessibility in utility program design. I also support investors engaging with utilities on climate-related topics such as Paris-aligned capital expenditure and a just clean energy transition for customers and workers, and occasionally I also coordinate with our policy team on state and federal advocacy efforts.

What aspect of your success do you specifically credit with your time at the school/with the organization? 

Throughout my entire time at BU, I was involved in the student group Divest BU, advocating for the school’s divestment from fossil fuels, and while my views on divestment have changed (to encourage more active, climate-aligned shareholder engagement in heavy emitting industries), my time with the group taught me so much about building effective climate campaigns, environmental justice, and the understated potential for people power. On the more academic side, I was fortunate to be able to lead and support many research projects connected to the City of Boston and statewide which helped contextualize a lot of my education and prepare me for work in the real world. 

What advice do you have for students/young adults who plan to pursue a career in this field?

Take your time and remember there’s something you can learn in any job – sometimes it’s expertise in your field, other times it can be program management, problem-solving, or simply refining your communication skills in a McDonald’s drive-thru- it’s a versatile field and most skills will apply. Be patient with yourself, learning takes time even if it seems like everyone around you became an expert overnight. The reality is you’ll likely work with people who’ve been in this field for decades before you. And lastly, a favorite of mine, is that success is what feels right to you, whether that’s co-developing tree conservation projects in Senegal or teaching 3rd graders about the sky, or consulting. Wherever and whenever possible, try to find that balance between enjoying your life and making a difference. Burnout is very real, and life should be lived in the way that best suits you!