Environmentally focused opportunities are found in industries as diverse as law, medicine and public health, business, teaching, writing, environmental management and conservation, energy production and exploration, and agribusiness. Harvard students have pursued diverse careers, from ecological research in the field to sustainable practices in business.
Whether seeking a job or internship within the carbon-fuels industry or the renewables sector, opportunities working in energy are diverse. Positions may be in the field, a research lab, or in a business role. One of the broadest areas of work within energy is consulting and advisory services, which includes topics as diverse as analysis on energy markets, geopolitics, industry trends, investment evaluation, technical delivery and accessibility issues, and strategy. Within the energy field you could help decision makers anticipate the future of energy supply and demand, determine the most appropriate way to build around protected wetlands and sensitive ecosystems, and devise successful plans in the face of rapid changes and uncertainty.
Sustainability and sustainable development have become a regular part of our vocabulary, and will be increasingly important for many jobs and industries in the future. Sustainable business practices, buildings, development, planning, energy, and natural resources promise to impact many settings and industries. Career paths within sustainability often wind through universities, government, and the private sector. Recently, large employers in diverse industries have shown interest in hiring individuals to help their organizations develop sustainable business practices, particularly related to supply chain.
Internships in the environmental sector provide great training ground for students to explore the broad terrain of this field, from conservation, climate change, and sustainable development, to policy, advocacy, and government. Students usually determine whether interests lie in the scientific underpinnings of environmental issues (i.e. the science behind climate change), or the policy implications of environmental issues (i.e. legislation and advocacy seeking to avert climate change) before choosing an appropriate experience.
There is no shortage of job sites online posting opportunities related to environmental careers. Explore comprehensive directories, which will point you toward additional resources if you prefer a larger pool of sites and examples of typical employers. Some employers in the environmental and energy sectors may visit campus; look for these employers in both fall and spring of your senior year. The annual All Ivy Environmental & Sustainable Development Career Fair is a fantastic event to attend and make connections with employers hiring for full time and internship roles.
The international impact of environmental and energy concerns requires individuals to think globally about careers. Many companies in this arena are multinational, thus providing geographic flexibility for job seekers.
Graduate and Professional Programs
Given the interdisciplinary and broad nature of careers within the environment, energy, and sustainability, many individuals choose to pursue graduate study to hone particular interests and narrow functional areas within the fields. Interdisciplinary programs are growing, allowing students to incorporate multiple interests into a field of study. Graduate study may lead to diverse careers in law, medicine and public health, business, teaching, writing, energy discovery, environmental management and conservation, among many others.