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Centre for Energy Economics Research

Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfskunde
Centre for Energy Economics Research
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“Groningen Energy Specialist provides the skills to shape the future look of the energy policies”

Datum:14 augustus 2017
Samuel Ribansky during the European Parliament Plenary in Strasbourg
Samuel Ribansky during the European Parliament Plenary in Strasbourg

We talked to Samuel Ribansky, Senior Research Executive at FleishmanHillard’s Energy Practice in Brussels. From his own business experience he saw the added value FEB’s Energy Specialist education. “The labour market is in need of graduates with effectively balanced skill-set.”

“Unique approach to energy transition that companies face”

Being a relative novelty on the education market, the Energy Specialist [ES] education offered by the Faculty of Economics and Business of the University of Groningen presents an untapped well of both research and career opportunities for Master students within the field of energy transition. According to Mr Ribansky: “In the dynamic energy sector, energy professionals with unconventional thinking are necessary to navigate companies through the global energy shift. Energy Specialist offers a unique approach to energy transition and innovation by looking at all aspects of energy markets. Doing so mainly by connecting the specialized energy education with visits to power plants and organising first-class seminars with energy practitioners from the dominant global energy companies, the ES course offers vibrant future career prospects for any Master student with a passion for energy studies. The variety of subjects offered under the icon of the Energy Specialist caters to all kinds of students from various areas of professional business education.”

“Furthermore, the real life application of both the technical, as well as business/economical/political skills, acquired from the ES education, are truly unparalleled – even more so given the rising political debate around the centralisation of political governance of the European Union in Brussels coupled with Energy policy being the topic driven primarily by the EU institutions, the Energy Specialist provides the successful candidate with a unique set of tools, preparing them for inevitable success in the European, as well as global labour market.”

The Energy Specialist programme

Energy Specialist offers a valuable addition to a FEB student´s Master´s degree education. At present, the Energy Specialist consists of four elective courses oriented at energy-related topics, where each of the courses focuses on a different branch of business studies. Students have a free-hand in choosing the subjects, as long as they are able to satisfy the criteria needed for obtaining the Energy Specialist. Overall, Energy Specialist provides the student with key skills in the areas of finance, regulatory affairs, customer well-being, and innovation with regards to the energy markets.  

Jobs in Public Affairs

“Countless examples come to mind”, says Mr Ribansky. Among the job opportunities where the versatile ES skill set can be applied in its entirety, is the field of Public Affairs, and the consulting thereof, in the Energy sector.”

“Public Affairs or Government Relations, colloquially also referred to as ‘lobbying’, encompasses the business acumen coupled with the technical knowledge that a Groningen Energy Specialist candidate is undoubtedly in the possession of. Furthermore, with students being (at least) bilingual, there are very few real life applications that would allow oneself to channel their theoretical background into real life impact, especially when working towards improving Energy policies that drive the daily life of 500 million people.” 

“Shape the future look of energy policy” 

So what is the job? “Well, what you do as a consultant in Public Affairs/Government Relations (in the field of EU Energy Politics, but not limited to this field only) is the following: 1, you look at a client, 2, you look at the policy, 3, you look at how the policy impacts the client, and 4, you provide a solution. It is precisely during the 4-point process where one needs to apply the knowledge so well-balanced in the Energy Specialist’s curriculum.”

“How? In order to effectively assess your client’s potential wants, needs, and potential business impact, you need to correctly analyse the market (regulatory framework) and your client’s place therein. For point #2, you need to channel your political acumen in order to correctly analyse the political priorities and the future direction of the key decision makers within the frameworks within which your client navigates.

Third, you need to find an overlap between 1 and 2. That means that you need to be able to find where the economic priorities of your client overlap with the political and energy priorities of the decision maker, and where the lack of such overlap might prove to be burdensome. Point #4 is self-explanatory, yet crucial - you need to assign your client’s business goals a ‘political sparkle’ that will showcase how both the priorities of your client and the decision maker align, making it more likely that your client’s interests will be part of the final decision.

If done in a proper way, this would lead to a more efficient, innovative and sustainable development of the EU energy policy and not many programmes manage to strike such an effectively balanced skill-set as the Energy Specialist for the execution thereof.”

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