After graduating from college, Kathleen Ward found work as an energy efficiency consultant at Navigant. She excelled at the programming part of her new job but lacked the necessary background in econometrics and theory.
“I felt that getting a master’s in applied economics would strengthen my skill set substantially,” she says.
Ward considered two-year programs but decided on the accelerated professional master’s degree in Resource and Energy Demand Analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She liked the program’s focus on energy, not to mention the fact that she’d be back in the working world within a year.
“I’ll be going back to Navigant after the program, and I can say that I’ll be able to apply what I’ve learned day one,” Ward says. “I have a much deeper understanding of econometric models, program evaluation, and the energy industry, all of which will help with the consulting work done at Navigant.”
The professional master’s degree in Resource and Energy Demand Analysis (REDA) gives students the quantitative skills to manage and evaluate energy-efficiency and resource conservation programs. Housed within UW-Madison’s Agricultural & Applied Economics department, it prepares them for successful careers with utilities, consulting firms, regulators, and other organizations involved in protecting natural resources. There’s a high demand for such specialized skills, given the growth of energy and resource-conservation programs around the world.
‘Intuition behind the math’
Ward enjoyed her classes in Natural Resource Economics and Econometrics. She particularly liked Introductory Econometrics, calling Dan Phaneuf one of the best math instructors she’s ever had.
“Not only does his methodological approach to teaching the material make it easier to comprehend, but he also tries to help his students develop some intuition behind the math,” she says.
Along with economic theory and econometrics, REDA students learn survey methodology and statistics. Ward says the program’s cohort design made everything go easier.
“Our cohort studies together, works on projects together, and has been a great academic support system throughout the program,” she says. “Outside academics, we’ve had happy hours, gone ice skating, attended football games, and just entered a softball tournament.”
Ward found the REDA program challenging, to be sure, but she’s convinced it was a worthwhile investment.
“Anyone can spare a year to advance their knowledge and career,” she says.
For more information on the master’s degree in Resource and Energy Demand Analysis, see here.