Mallika Kumar ’14 worked at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an international environmental advocacy group. Mallika worked at NRDC’s Energy and Transportation Program, where she assisted a team of policy staff on projects for advancing industrial energy efficiency. In this role, she researched and analyzed various proposals for states and utilities to increase deployment of industrial energy efficiency technologies, drafted a plan for executing next steps on specific proposals with partners, such as Northeast Utilities, and liaised with utilities, industrial end-users, industry, and state and federal government experts, as well as other NRDC partners including the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, and the Consortium for Energy Efficiency.
My biggest takeaway from this experience is that to sell an idea with social or environmental impact, it is not enough to demonstrate societal benefits. Showing monetary savings and bottom-line impacts is much more powerful and effective in motivating utilities and businesses to implement energy efficiency programs.
The second takeaway was setting priorities and objectives. Given the short duration of my internship, it was important to set realistic expectations and an achievable and feasible scope of work.
I enjoyed the office culture at NRDC, and discovered that I thrive in dynamic and entrepreneurial environments. I enjoyed opportunities to drive projects entirely, and being able to set the strategic direction of the project. The various talks I attended at NRDC during my internship were also very useful in helping me gain a broader understanding in the field.