All The New MBA Courses At The Top U.S. B-Schools

Dan Domeracki: “It’s becoming very clear that going forward, fossil fuels will probably be around for a while. Let’s try to make it cleaner and let’s try to help it be a true transition fuel for electrification.”

Dan Domeracki came to the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School in 2019 after more than four decades in the energy industry. A former vice president of government, industry and corporate stewardship at Schlumberger, one of the world’s premier oilfield services companies, he has extensive experience in North America, Europe, and Asia; among his many noteworthy accomplishments is building Schlumberger’s first fully integrated social and environmental corporate responsibility function. He is also a geologist with a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina.

This year Domeracki has designed a course, Fossil Fuel Firms and the Challenge of Carbon, that tackles the “serious dilemma” facing global and national economies and the fossil fuel firms operating within them: The need for fossil fuels has not abated, but because they are the principal sources of greenhouse gas emissions, the view of them as a threat has only become more widely held. Domeracki’s course asks MBA students to answer the question: What should these firms do to continue as viable business entities while also contributing to resolving the climate challenge?

“We’re seeing a time right now where the public is generally becoming more aware that what’s been powering the electric grid that we all use is still primarily fossil fuels,” he tells Poets&Quants. “And then given the shortages that have been occurring now as a result of the Ukraine war in Europe, it’s becoming very clear that going forward, fossil fuels will probably be around for a while. Let’s try to make it cleaner and let’s try to help it be a true transition fuel for electrification, and then get on with the business of bringing on ones that are even cleaner and are robust enough to carry the electric grid.”


Domeracki’s course is a “laboratory course,” which means it addresses sets of questions for which there are still no definitive answers. The concept, he says, is to provide clear problem statements and the set of strategy options currently on the table to address them — a process that will reveal certain gaps which to a large extent have prevented many fossil fuel firms from fully committing to “energy transition” business models.

“From there,” the syllabus reads, “students will consider the technology, commercial development and public policy measures that would enable fossil fuel firms to better reconcile their need for current business success with the evolution required by the energy transition.” By the end of the course, students will be expected to be knowledgeable about energy transition risks, strategic business alternatives available to fossil fuel firms, how to prepare detailed investment economics for a transition business line, and more.

“What we try to do is give the full spectrum,” Domeracki says. “So you’re going to learn about renewable project finance, you’re going to learn about corporate taxation with respect to the energy industries. And my part of it, retired from Schlumberger after 41 years, is the oil and gas sector. So the one course I teach right now is the upstream oil and gas business and its relationship to risk modification and energy transition.”


After more than 40 years in the energy industry, Domeracki has many associates he can call upon as experts to address the class.

“We’re blessed in a lot of different ways!” he says. “We have and senior representative from the national labs that will be talking about some of the science around carbon capture. And we have some actual practitioners that are currently working on the capture and movement of it, and so on.

“What we want the students to be able to get out of this is that first off, you’re moving into an environment, no matter what sector of energy you decide you want to be in, that is going to be in a constant change. And so you will be able to anticipate that change and then see how experts that are working on it right now are still struggling and what they’re finding as solutions. And that’s the main message: to prepare them to be able to handle change and capitalize on that change to the benefit of the companies that they work for.”

Given the rapidly changing nature of energy technology and policy, Domeracki’s class will look very different from year to year. But it will stay relevant indefinitely.

“Actually, if it didn’t change, it would become less valuable, right?” he says. “By the time the students will be taking this course, they will have the basic fundamentals of the MBA program under their belt. So now what we’re looking at is, how do you apply them in an evolutionary field of development that’s going to be critical to a successful energy transition?”

See pages 4-6 for complete lists of the new courses at the top 26 U.S. B-schools, including instructors and disciplines. Some courses are highlighted with descriptions provided by the school.

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