Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Nicholas Bilcheck, Columbia Business School

Nicholas Bilcheck

Columbia Business School

“Passionately advancing clean energy and the energy transition, I’m an avid-learner and devoted community mentor.”

Hometown: Milford, CT

Fun Fact About Yourself: While I volunteer as a mentor and tutor to high school students in NYC through iMentor, I am also a professional tutor; I have tutored celebrities and athletes including a recent Super Bowl MVP.

Undergraduate School and Major: Bucknell University; Electrical Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Efficio Consulting; Consultant II

What makes New York City such a great place to earn an MBA? Apart from the personal benefit of my fiancée and I being based in NYC, pursuing an MBA in NYC offers several advantages linked to my personal goals. With my strong interest in Power & Utility Sector Finance, centered around clean energy, NYC’s status as a global financial hub is ideal for my post-graduation aspirations. In fact, most of my target companies are conveniently located in NYC and surrounding areas.

Additionally, the city enables unparalleled access to opportunities for corporate and entrepreneurial exposure given its concentration of Fortune 500 companies, venture capital firms, and startup incubators. I have already benefited from networking with industry leaders in diverse fields through Columbia’s frequent and high-profile conferences. Moreover, NYC’s dynamic and diverse culture is something I’ve cherished during my young adult life, and I am confident that it will continue to enrich my personal growth and development throughout my MBA journey.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Columbia Business School’s MBA curriculum programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The primary reason for selecting CBS relative to its curriculum programming was its prominent position at the intersection of business and energy. I vividly recall reading an article featuring a quote from Dean Costis Maglaras; he identified climate change and energy as the major challenges for future businesses. It is his goal, which I have seen play out in my discussions with current students and alumni, to enable CBS students to make a significant impact and lead in this transformative future. These remarks resonated deeply with my background and interests.

As I engaged with students and alumni, I discovered that the Dean’s vision is actively reflected on campus. A remarkable number of students were actively involved in the energy industry through clubs and courses, often without prior experience. The presence of faculty like Professor Bruce Usher and initiatives like Three Cairns Fellows, which enable access to industry leaders and real-world client-facing experiences in support of the energy transition, reinforced my decision to choose CBS. It was clear that these valuable resources were readily accessible to those expressing interest, further affirming the school’s commitment to empowering students to make a real difference in the energy sector.

What has been your first impression of the Columbia Business School MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best CBS story so far. My first impression of the Columbia Business School MBA students and alumni has been how responsive and active they are. Prior to being accepted, I began connecting with students and alumni on LinkedIn and through the Hermes Society to get a feel for the culture and learn about different opportunities available at CBS. I found the CBS students and alumni incredibly welcoming and stimulating. I was amazed at the research, in-semester opportunities, and leadership roles taken on by nearly every person I contacted.

My best CBS story so far was the Columbia Energy Symposium, which I was invited to by one of the board members for the CBS Energy and Infrastructure Club shortly after being admitted. Here, I was able to hear from economists from the IMF, investment banking managing partners in the power and utilities sector, and government officials on the forefront of energy policy. The access to industry leaders and opportunity to solicit their opinions on a range of topics was both insightful and inspiring.

I am about to head out on a pre-orientation trip with my fellow classmates and expect to have a new favorite CBS story with every day that comes.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Columbia Business School? The organization that excites me the most at CBS is the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise. Co-directed by professors Bruce Usher and Dan Wang, the Tamer Center strives to leverage business practices, research, and economic resources to impact the world of social enterprise. Through this initiative, I hope to become involved in opportunities to provide financing to venture startups in the climate start-up industry, partake in research on financing clean energy projects, and contribute to the Three Cairns Fellows program to support initiatives on the intersection of business and climate.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I was working with a large regional electric utility on a small team (<5 consultants) and was tasked with modernizing their operational practices across crew, engineering, and warehouse management. We had received a mandate to improve response and delivery times for blue-sky and storm-related outages and short- and long-term projects.

I was able to coordinate with leadership across asset management, supply chain, and operations to define an overall strategy, identify technological solutions, and design future processes. I developed project documentation presenting the implementation opportunity and supported the presentation to leading executives, which ended up getting approved. The project has since been implemented with tangible response time and overall experience improvements achieved across the board, benefiting more than a million of customers.

What do you hope to do after graduation? Throughout the early part of my career, I had the opportunity to support a variety of initiatives across electric utilities, renewable generation, and clean technology in support of the clean energy transition. One consistent driving force behind the success or failure of each of these projects was the financing source and the strategy envisioned by major investors. Post-graduation, I strive to play a major role in the financial services industry in enabling the clean energy transition. I am passionate about understanding the process and rationale that leads to major deals in the power sector, and am excited to become a decision-maker, heavily involved in the success and implementation of major industry altering transactions.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to MIT Sloan, Harvard Business School, and Wharton in addition to Columbia Business School.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Columbia Business School’s MBA program? My advice for potential applicants is to take the time to connect with current CBS students and alumni. I have found that CBS students are very willing to connect and provide you with candid advice aligned with your specific interests, professional or otherwise. I have a list of dozens of contacts who were willing to discuss their experiences and offer advice, which not only helped me understand how CBS could support me in achieving my professional goals through less publicized in-class opportunities and extracurriculars, but it also showed how powerful and active the CBS community is, all of which was incredibly useful in developing my application.


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