Megan is a senior Environmental Studies major, working as a finance analyst for Cypress Creek Renewables.
Q: Describe a typical day at your job.
A: “There is no such thing! Broadly, I work on financial models, investor requests, and strategic initiatives between project and corporate finance.”
Q: What past work experience do you have in clean-tech?
A: “I previously worked in marketing at Sungevity, in Oakland, CA, where I focused on data analysis and customer engagement.”
Q: What skills did you need to learn that other job-hunters should cultivate?
A: “I think a strong background in Excel is essential. As an underclassman, I believed I knew how to use excel; after working in data analysis for a residential solar company and project finance at a utility-scale solar company, I realized not only did I not know how to use excel as well as I thought, but also I used the program very inefficiently. There are many classes at UNC in the statistics department and business school that are open to all students. I also believe involvement on campus and learning how to work effectively within a team is very important. While many students dislike group projects, the lessons of accountability, responsibility, and cooperation are invaluable.”
Q: Describe a time you messed up at work or were uncertain of what to do. What happened? How did you handle it? What did you learn?
A: “I often joke that working at a start up is like trying to drink out of a fire hose, so I’ve often found myself uncertain about something I had to do. I always try to clarify directions upfront and then just jump right in! Sometimes if it is new terrain for everyone, I just start with diving into the work and breaking it down into more digestible pieces. Afterwards, when sharing the work or the deliverable, I make sure to outline all my assumptions and methodology very clearly so it is not only easy for everyone to understand, but also straightforward for someone to audit. Communication is key.”
Q: What is the #1 thing you wish you’d known earlier during job-hunting?
A: “While I had an understanding of this beforehand, I would reiterate to a younger version of myself just how small the renewable energy space is right now. You may be working side-by-side or across the table from any of your peers at UNC in the future, which is very exciting, so keep in touch with people from your internships, classes, and campus groups. One of my close friends who was a senior when I was a freshman thought of me when she got an email about Cypress and forwarded it along, changing my life. What you do today really does translate into your career and helps grow your network in the future.”