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As the number of graduates from EPFL’s Master’s program in Energy Management and Sustainability approaches one hundred, we decided to check in on some of our graduates.

Every year since 2013, a new batch of graduates from EPFL’s Master’s program in Energy Management and Sustainability (MES) has entered the job market. Today, they span the globe, from Switzerland to China, from Mexico to the UAE. The broad range of positions they hold today are a reflection of both the diversity of talents the brought with them when they joined the program, and the wide range of topics they were exposed to throughout it, in courses, projects, and internships. We caught up with one of the first MES students to finish the program and two more recent graduates. 

 

 

Paul van Baal, Class of 2016
PhD Research Assistant, Services Industriels de Genève (SIG), Geneva, Switzerland

 

What made you decide to pursue a Master’s degree in Energy Management and Sustainability?
I decided to pursue the degree in Energy Management and Sustainability because of the opportunities it offers. I liked the program’s unique combination between energy and management, and the freedom to create your own curriculum based on your own interests in courses, research projects, and internships. The international atmosphere was also a big plus, with students coming from and going to all kinds of places in the world.

 

What is your fondest memory from your Master’s studies?
Perhaps my fondest memory is going to the United Arab Emirates for an internship. I went for two months to Ras al Khaimah, a small emirate to the north of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. As an engineering student from EPFL, I got a lot of responsibility almost immediately upon arriving. Besides being a great learning opportunity, it was also a unique social and cultural experience.

 

What is your current position?
I am pursuing my PhD at the Doctoral School of Management of Technology at EPFL. My PhD focuses on electricity market regulation and the energy transition. In addition, I work part-time at Services Industriels de Genève (SIG) as a research assistant. My work there is an integral part of my PhD studies.

 

How did the MES program prepare you for your current position?
The MES program taught me to be flexible and look at problems from a broad perspective, a skill that has proven very valuable in many situations. My time in Switzerland and the UAE has also made me grow as a person, showing me what I can do, what I want to achieve, and how to get there.

 

Were your studies also rewarding from a cultural perspective?
Definitely! Leaving my home country to live and study in Switzerland would be a cultural experience on its own, but at EPFL in particular, I have met people from almost every country in the world. I now have friends, and places to visit, in all corners of the world. I can definitely say it has been a rewarding experience, opening my eyes to many new experiences. 

 

 

Mateo Dugand, Class of 2016
Government of Ras Al Khaimah, Waste Management Authority, Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

 

 

What made you decide to pursue a Master’s degree in Energy Management and Sustainability?
I wanted to go further in the energy field and at the same time, work on my soft skills in management.

 

What is your fondest memory from your Master’s studies?
Semester projects were the best part of the MES program. Discovering in depth the scientific world was really interesting. I personally had to work in a wind tunnel at EPFL, from 8am to midnight, as experiments couldn't be stopped in the middle of the process.

 

What is your current position?
I now work at the Government of Ras Al Khaimah, an Emirate in expansion. Some say it looks like Dubai and Abu Dhabi 20 years ago. I work for the Waste Management Authority and I am in charge of Waste to Energy projects, such as incineration, anaerobic digestion and more broadly, food waste treatment and nutrient and energy recovery.

 

How did the MES program prepare you for your current position?
Because we were studying in a very heterogeneous environment, it prepared me for international experiences by developing my open-mindedness and international knowledge. Plus, it required adaptation skills that are a must when working abroad, even more so in developing countries.

 

Were your studies also rewarding from a cultural perspective?
Totally! There was only one Swiss student in my promotion. All of the others came from all parts of the world. I feel good in this type of environment.

 

 

Corina Stoenescu, Class of 2013
Associate at McKinsey & Company, Zurich, currently pursuing 2-year MBA Degree at Harvard Business School

 

What made you decide to pursue a Master’s degree in Energy Management and Sustainability?
I remember thinking of the transition from my Bachelor’s to Master’s studies as the time to decide what type of impact I wanted to have in the world. As an electrical engineer with a strong drive for social impact I immediately recognized energy and cleantech as the topic I would really be happy to contribute to. What made me chose MES in particular was strongly linked to how well the program was designed to prepare us for the particularities of this transforming field: it was bringing together top people from different fields to solve complex, multidisciplinary energy issues, both in Switzerland and in the UAE.

 

What is your fondest memory from your Master’s studies?
The 2-month internship in Dubai was for sure one of the most memorable experiences during MES. I very fondly remember my internship at ABB and the time spent with my MES colleagues discovering the Emirati culture, the local energy policy and last, but not least, the vibrant party scene.

 

What do you do in your current position?
As a consultant with McKinsey & Company I work in teams advising different industries, such as energy & cleantech, electronics, agriculture, on topics predominantly focused on corporate strategy. My projects have spanned from Switzerland to other European countries and the U.S.A. At the moment, I am pursuing my MBA with Harvard Business School as part of the company's Educational Leave program.

 

How did the MES program prepare you for your current?
Working and studying in multidisciplinary teams throughout my Master’s definitely contributed to my ability to understand issues that different organizations are facing in a holistic manner, which has proven useful in my consulting work. Moreover, my knowledge of the energy world and nuanced understanding of the transition process has helped me contribute to high impact studies in the renewables space.  And having had the opportunity to work in multiple international contexts as part of the MES program, including in the UAE, was good practice for my current work.

 

Were your studies also rewarding from a cultural perspective?
As a first generation MES graduate, I got to spend two years among 20 people from 12 different countries. For most of us, it was the first time living abroad, so we not only studied, but also actually lived together. MES was always a space for celebrating our cultural differences and enriching our understanding of the world. And when geographical limitations permit, we still very much enjoy each other's friendship today. In my case, EPFL was also the corner stone of an intercultural future, as it was the place where I (Romanian) met my Costa Rican partner.