Alumni Spotlight: Early Joiner Carrying Forward UAE’s Sustainability Transformation

September 21, 2018

When Karim Mousa joined Masdar Institute in 2008, the Institute was still a year away from launching academic operations, but that did not deter him from enrolling to join what he identified as the region’s ‘first movement towards modern energy solutions’.

“I wanted to be part of that movement. I wanted to contribute to a real change in the UAE, which has been my home since I was born, and the wider region. The hopes of seeing the results of my work have a tangible positive effect was certainly an incentive to enroll,” the Class of 2011 graduate shared.

However, as the Institute was still a year before classes were scheduled to start, Mousa and 14 others were able to join as research assistants while the final touches were being put on the Institute’s academic programs. During that year he worked closely with faculty on research projects before joining the Institute’s MSc in Engineering Systems and Management program in 2009, where he would focus on operations research for the design and optimization of hybrid solar-wind power plants to meet the demands of different energy loads.

“That experience, of being part of that small and tightknit community of early joiners, was one of my most memorable ones. We were able to play a part in shaping the Institute. We later held the first student council election where I was elected as president and as a result, I even drafted the Institute’s first student constitution,” he recalled.

After graduation Mousa put his plan of being a part of the region’s evolving energy landscape into practice by joining German electronics and manufacturing giant Siemens, where he started as a strategy and business development specialist in energy and since moved up to become regional business development manager.

“I am lucky to be part of a company like Siemens, which I believe is helping to shape the future of energy in the Middle East towards being more sustainable. I also believe the region’s shift towards sustainability will not be achieved by one company or individual. It will take a collective and gradual shift. That is why I also try to contribute to this transformation by embedding sustainable practices in my day-to-day work,” he shared.

Mousa said his time at MI equipped him with many skills and ideas on how to achieve conventional business targets while improving sustainable outcomes in his professional work.

“You come out of MI with ideas on how to shape a sustainable future for the UAE and the region. Whenever I work with decision makers or customers, I try to make sure to offer added value with respect to environmental responsibility. For instance, I tend to show them where they can cut carbon emissions or fuel costs without having to cut quality and still meet or exceed their original requirements. I have noticed this attribute in many of my fellow alumni, that we go the extra mile to find a more optimal or innovative solution to address a pressing issue,” he explained.

Mousa also credits MI’s academic rigor with his focus on critical details and numbers, which he says ensures his projects are always backed up with clear and understandable data. He says he has applied these valuable skills to the varying roles he has held at Siemens, covering strategy, business development, planning, and sales.

During his work Mousa has also traveled the world to meet with ministers, regulators and decision makers to discuss opportunities in the energy market. He has even co-founded an online sports platform and is currently leading an initiative to develop a partnership between Siemens and Masdar Institute in specific energy areas.

“I have had many exciting experiences since joining Siemens, but perhaps the most meaningful was when I was selected to be an ambassador at the One Young World Summit. There I got to meet some phenomenally intellectual and hard-working people. We explored solutions for global challenges in poverty, hunger, and climate change. To say the experience was extremely inspiring would be an understatement,” he shared.

Mousa is planning to eventually to shift into energy policy work, to continue his pursuit of tangible change for his community.

“My overarching goal is to make a valuable contribution to humankind, to the region and to my country. I am fascinated with the dynamics of environmental and energy economics, free markets, and looking at historical government policies and how they have affected a country in terms of environment and energy. If I want my work to have a tangible effect on my community, then perhaps it may make sense to move closer to the decision-making and governing institutions. Let’s see where this goes!” he shared.

Zarina Khan
Senior Editor
14 May 2017