Breaking into cleantech with an MBA

How can an MBA help you change your career? Stanislav Borisov went into the MBA program at NUS Business School with the intention of moving into the renewable energy industry afterward. Here’s why he chose NUS and how he managed to pivot careers.

In short

Going green in Singapore

When Stanislav Borisov talks animatedly about his interest in renewables and innovation, he’s discussing his future career path. But he could just as easily be talking about his own desire to reinvent himself. 

Stanislav started his career in a number of energy roles across Europe, mainly in the oil & gas sector. When he decided he needed a change of direction in his career, he soon realized that an MBA would give him the exposure, contacts, and business acumen he needed to get a job in renewable energy.

“My idea behind going for an MBA program was to make a switch and transition from traditional energy towards something more sustainable,” he tells MBAGRADSCHOOLS. “It’s a much more innovative part of the energy sector.” (00:29)

Location is always an important factor when choosing your MBA, and for Stanislav, it was no different. In Singapore, he not only found a place with a lot of job opportunities, but also one with an excellent reputation for higher education. It proved to be the perfect combination for him.

“The choice was actually between two locations: the USA and Asia,” he says. “At that time I was really attracted to Singapore and I read some books about it. I had traveled to Singapore myself to see how it functions. I saw was very attractive, both from an economic perspective and an education perspective.” (01:08)

Finding a business school with a focus on green energy

When it came to choosing a business school in Singapore, NUS Business School was an obvious attraction for Stanislav. But of greater interest to him were the school’s green credentials, and the emphasis they place on renewable energy. 

“In this case, when I was looking at NUS’ profile, I found that they have this energy club within the MBA program. That was a big attraction because many programs have more generic clubs which aren’t very industry-specific,” he explains. (08:00)

Equally important was Singapore’s links with the green economy. Stanislav found that the city-state’s connectivity with other Asian countries made it the perfect choice to launch his post-MBA career.

“There are energy companies in Singapore, but the best part is that the industry is not limited to only one country,” Stanislav states. “There is the whole region around it, and Singapore is a hub with a lot of headquarters located here. So it made sense for me.” (08:36)

How to change career with an MBA

But how exactly does an MBA help you change careers? Although it can give you new skills, experience, and contacts, there are no guarantees. In Stanislav’s case, coming from a technical background in engineering, his MBA gave him the business knowledge he needed to break into a new industry and get a job in renewable energy.

“The good part about going for an MBA is that you get a broader picture – because you get this exposure – but at the same time, you’re also learning some new knowledge, especially for people who are coming from a technical background. So for people who didn’t properly study management or business, an MBA is a really good chance to pick up this knowledge,” he says. (06:30)

Besides gaining more knowledge about business fundamentals, Stanislav says that exposure was a huge benefit of the MBA program. The exposure he got to so many new industries opened his eyes to all the possibilities that were out there.

“An MBA is a unique opportunity to explore different areas, and that’s what happened with me in the NUS MBA. When you start your program, you’re getting exposure to so many industry events, networking opportunities, and company visits. So there’s a lot of exposure to companies and industries that you wouldn’t normally see. That was really eye-opening,” he adds. (04:05)

Learning to focus on your strengths

Having so many possibilities out there can make it more difficult to choose the one that’s right for you. Stanislav admits that during the initial stages of his program, he struggled to pursue one single career path. It left him unfocused and unsure of his next steps.

“What I didn’t realize is that when you’re getting exposure to different industries – consulting, finance, tech – then there is a lot of attraction. I see a lot of MBAs who are joining the program, including myself, and we’re getting so excited at all these interesting opportunities. There are so many interesting jobs on the market that you might lose focus,” he explains. (16:20)

In the end, though, Stanislav realized that it was more important to focus on his own strengths and align them with his career ambitions. This meant he was able to get a job in renewable energy by leveraging the opportunities presented to him in his MBA.

“For the first six to eight months of my program, I was really exploring everything,” he tells us. “Maybe I was a little lost to some extent because I was thinking maybe I need to change industries. Fortunately, after the first two semesters, I realized that I need to stick to my strengths and stick to what I know.” (17:01)

Whether you’re hoping to get a job in renewable energy or try out another industry, it’s worth remembering Stanislav’s last words: Stick to your strengths. Regardless of where you came from or where you’re going, you’re likely to have certain skills that will be valuable across various sectors. By combining them with what you’ll get out of an MBA, you’ll be equipped to thrive – in whichever industry you choose.

If you would like to contact one of the Ambassadors and learn from their experiences you can get in touch with them on our MBA Ambassadors page. 

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