Chad Reed is a Haas MBA and on the Structured Finance and Global Capital Markets at TerraForm Power. He crowdfunded a loan to refinance his student loans. We got to catch up with Chad to discuss his time at Haas, his interest in sustainability, and his experience using WeFinance.
MBA Corner with WeFinance is a regular series that looks at alumni, their experiences, and what they’ve learned.
Looking to refinance your student loans or cover living expenses during your MBA program? WeFinance is the fastest way to crowdfund a personal loan for any purpose.
What were you doing before Haas? How did you go from the Department of Defense, to the Department of the Treasury, to sustainability consulting?
Inspired to take action after the events of September 11, 2001, I started my career in the US intelligence community, specializing in Middle Eastern culture and language. The more time I spent there, the more I came to see the centrality of US energy security interests to US involvement in the region. At the same time, reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made me acutely aware of the social, economic, and environmental threats posed by global climate change.
As a result, I married my desire to support US energy independence with my desire to engage in climate change activism by attempting to develop the business case for sustainable and climate resilient investments, with brief stints with the Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Corps program, a Rockefeller Foundation grant, and utility-scale and residential solar developers.
Fortunately, my experience at Haas put me on track to co-found a sustainable investment firm - Blue Forest Conservation - and serve in the inaugural class of the Management Leadership Development Program (MLDP) at TerraForm Power - a leading renewable energy yieldco.
Is there a big cultural difference work wise between DC and California? How did you adapt?
Having lived and worked in both the DC Area and the Bay Area on multiple occasions, there are some pronounced cultural differences between the two. Where DC work culture often demands some level of conformism and long work hours, Bay Area work culture celebrates informality, individual autonomy, and work-life balance.
The two areas share a culture of serving a mission greater than one’s individual interests. Transitioning between the two cultures has been challenging at times, but pales in comparison to the cultural differences I adapted to earlier in my career when moving from the US to the Middle East.
What in particular drove you to TerraForm after Haas?
In addition to family concerns on the East Coast, I was eager to serve in the inaugural class of a rotational leadership program of a leading renewable energy yieldco. In just four short months, I’m already well on my way to developing the crossfunctional skills and industry expertise I had initially set out to.
What do you look for when you consider financial products?
To me, trust and transparency are the most important criteria when selecting a financial product provider. Through its easy-to-use platform, WeFinance allows customers to leverage their own trust networks to obtain transparent financing terms that both sides can benefit from.
What advice would you give to incoming Haas students?
Give your all to engaging the industries you’re most interested in. Focus on developing meaningful long-term relationships with those who share your values and interests. Travel as much as you can.
What innovations in energy/cleantech are you most excited about?
Technological innovation to reduce the price of and expand the capacity of renewable technologies combined with financial and business model innovation to ensure new technologies secure an enduring position in the energy ecosystem have driven recent exponential growth in this industry. Going forward, the energy storage and vehicle-to-grid spaces are the ones most ripe to take off.
What was your experience with WeFinance? How did it compare with other services you’ve used in the past?
I could not have had a better customer experience with WeFinance. I’ve used other services to refinance loans in the past, but for those customers seeking customization, social network solidarity, and ease of use, WeFinance is pretty hard to beat.
Do you see yourself lending on the platform in the future? Only to your network? To Haas students? Friends of friends?
I am definitely considering lending on the WeFinance platform in the future. It not only provides a means for me to support the aspirations of those I trust but also supports a well diversified portfolio.
Do you think international students would benefit from crowdfunding a loan on WeFinance?
My understanding is that talented international students have difficulty accessing the capital markets to finance their education. WeFinance seems perfectly suited to meet the needs of these students.