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Marketing Green Power


A Rotman MBA describes a typical day as business development manager for a green electricity startup in Toronto

I am the business development manager for Bullfrog Power, Ontario's first 100% green electricity retailer. We sell electricity to midsize and large businesses in Ontario, with customers ranging from the band The Tragically Hip to eBay Canada (EBAY). My role is to develop sales strategies for large accounts, perform analyses of prospective consumers for sales leads, and gather market information to aid in customer marketing and other areas, among other responsibilities.

We're a startup company based in Toronto, and I'm one of the company's 20 employees.

I received my MBA from Rotman School of Management in 2006. The best way to get your foot in the door in this industry is to follow your passion. It takes a certain type of individual to fit in at Bullfrog. A passion for the environment will get you into the right network of contacts and closer to where you want to be.

Having a balanced mix of technical and soft skills is also important. I have also found that emotional intelligence, or the ability to read people and situations, is also extremely valuable. I was able to land my job at Bullfrog by communicating my passion for green business with every person I met. My network of contacts took over from there, and I was lucky enough to secure a meeting with the president. I joined the ranks of the "bullfrogpowered" shortly thereafter.

Here's a diary of a typical day at work:

7:00 a.m.—I'm out the door and getting dropped off at the nearby GO Train station for my 40-minute commute into downtown Toronto. I take advantage of the peace and quiet of the train ride to identify my priorities for the day and reflect on higher-level issues. Today I'm doing a bit of "light" reading on the implications of carbon regulation for green power markets. How will a cap-and-trade system affect Bullfrog Power's business model?

8:15 a.m.— After a brisk walk through Toronto's Bay Street financial district—spurred on by a morning dose of The Tragically Hip on my iPod—I arrive at my office building ready to start my Friday. Today I'm taking the stairs up to our 10th-floor office as part of my training for the upcoming World Wildlife Fund CN Tower Stair Climb. As I enter the office, I'm greeted by a large Bullfrog Power green frog logo and a growing collection of stuffed animal frogs we've received as gifts from passionate and supportive residential customers. I say hello to the rest of the team coming in as I fill up my water bottle and grab some organic fruit from the office kitchen.

8:30 a.m.— After a quick check of the morning's e-mail, I'm reviewing this week's new "bullfrogpowered" commercial customers and their corresponding green electricity purchases in megawatt-hours (MWhrs). I'll need to finalize the agenda for our weekly 9 a.m. sales strategy meeting.

9:00 a.m.— Off to the boardroom for our sales strategy meeting. I'm joined by our executive chairman, president, vice-president of marketing, and, via conference call from Calgary, the director of our new Western division. While we all have our unique responsibilities, we're all "in sales..."

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Fuentes is a 2006 MBA graduate from Toronto's Rotman School of Management .

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