MS Student to Marketing Director for Local Solar Company

severin_nesselhaufBy Thunderbird Career Management Center

Who: Severin Nesselhauf, MS ‘11

What: Turned internship as C-Level Marketing and Strategy Consultant at Green Choice Solar, a market leader for non-residential solar integration in the Southwest, to a job offer as Marketing Director after graduation.


Career Management Center: How did you hear about the position?
Severin Nesselhauf: I heard about the job through a classmate at Thunderbird. Both of us wanted to gain experience in the green technology and renewable industry. Fortunately, Green Choice Solar was looking to hire two student consultants over the summer for marketing, strategy and finance related projects.

CMC: What attracted you to it?
SN: I am devoted to the ideal of saving our planet through green business development. Combined with my strengths in marketing and strategy, this results in a strong passion for solar and other renewable energy sources. Hence, starting my career at a solar company makes perfect sense.

CMC: Describe your research on the company.
SN: The company has existed for three years now. Accordingly, there was not much public information out there, apart from their website. However, I made sure to do extensive research on the industry as a whole, as I knew I would have to architect an expansion strategy for Green Choice. The databases available at Thunderbird’s library, the International Business Information Center (IBIC), were a perfect tool for doing so.

CMC: How did your Thunderbird experience help you get the job?
SN: As a Thunderbird, I feel attracted to environments in which I can have an immediate impact. Thus, I was eager to define the scope of my work and responsibilities, instead of waiting for detailed instructions. Additionally, Thunderbird taught me to adapt to unfamiliar situations quickly. That is an incredibly important asset especially for complex and dynamic industries such as the renewable energy sector.

CMC: What was the application/interview/acceptance process like?
SN: There was no formal interview process. However, my performance was reviewed after one month. Accordingly, I had to make sure to deliver on the scope and quality of work I had promised.

CMC: What advice do you have for students in your program looking to get into the company/industry?
SN: Some of the things I would recommend to other students looking for a job in the green business sector are:

  1. Get engaged on campus: I started a campus solar project with a classmate on campus. The experience helped me to market myself to companies.
  2. Learn about the industry: It sounds like a no-brainer, but there is nothing more valuable than a candidate who comes with a set of ideas and visions for a company, based on in-depth research.
  3. Reach out to Alumni: Alumni connections can help you to gain insights into the industry beyond what is written in reports.
  4. Don’t sit and wait for anyone to offer you a job. In a fast growing industry like renewables, you’ve got to do your research, make valuable connections or just create the job yourself.

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