Learning to Focus on Sustainability â€“Individually and Professionally
Alumni Say Masdar Institute Offers New Frontiers in Scientific Research, Creates Smart Network of Peers in Industries and Helps Personal Growth
Abu Dhabi-UAE: 21 May, 2012 – New frontiers in scientific research, wider recognition and a smart network of peers across various industry sectors, are some of the significant benefits of being associated with Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, indicate the alumni of this independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies.
Most of the first batch of 71 students who received their Master’s degrees at the first-ever Masdar Institute commencement ceremony in June 2011 have firmly established their status as reliable professionals after completing one full year in their careers, reiterating the world class learning experience at Masdar Institute. Some of these graduates may attend the second commencement ceremony but not without taking a trip down memory lane at their alma mater.
Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President of Masdar Institute, said: “Masdar Institute is mandated to help build a knowledge-based economy in the UAE through the development of human capital, R&D and the traditionally vibrant entrepreneurship culture. Our first batch of students proved to be a rich and diverse talent bank – a reason why they have successfully become industry professionals within the first year of their career. We thank the country’s wise leadership for their continuous support that helps us to nurture and develop such innovative young minds and prove their competency among the global workforce.”
A student of Engineering Systems and Management, Shaikha Ali Al Mazrouei, an alumnus (class of 2011), says that working in her area of specialization enhances her capabilities and contributes towards promoting her self-confidence. She says: “After graduating from Masdar Institute, I have become more capable of facing challenges, in addition to gaining skills in coordinating and communicating with others within the scope of my work. My knowledge and experience continue to smoothen my progress towards reaching my ambitions.” She is currently employed with Mubadala Aerospace.
A firm believer in the ideals propagated by the Founding Father of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Al Mazrouei remains confident that she will be able to apply the concept of sustainability in her work as well as her PhD studies in the future. “We must cooperate as a whole and make all efforts in order to achieve the best sustainability model for the country,” she emphasizes.
Among the alumni, Joseph Pan mastered in Engineering Systems and Management and lives in Germany. Pan says: “The main factor that makes Masdar Institute post-graduates stand out in the German job market is the exposure to the international research community. Only a few Master’s students in Germany have publications to their credits (as against several students at Masdar Institute).”
What is more, the learning process at Masdar Institute hones the intellectual acumen and skill sets of the graduates, helping them gain a firm foothold in the labor market.
One of the alumni Brian Warshay was also a student of Engineering Systems and Management who says he has been quite successful in implementing in the workplace what he learnt at Masdar Institute. Warshay says: “The comprehensive research I performed for my thesis has come in handy numerous times as I have written market research reports and insights into the industry sector that I cover. On several occasions I have used my network of classmates now working in similar industries to gather primary information and research about related topics.”
Peer network apart, Masdar Institute offers an array of opportunities to students for overall individual personal development.
Currently employed as a Research Associate with Lux Research, Inc., performing market research on smart grid and grid storage technologies, Warshay proudly points out that he gained tremendous experience from taking advantage of the unparalleled opportunities Masdar Institute had to offer outside of the classroom. He admits that personally he benefited from being an active member of the student government and several clubs. He also points out that he benefited professionally by participating in the Zayed Future Energy Prize Review Committee and by representing Masdar Institute in Germany at the World Student Environmental Summit (WSES) 2011.
As an institution that hosts students from across the globe, Masdar Institute provides a rewarding experience to students and faculty to work cross-culturally with people of different backgrounds.
Another alumnus Josh Halperin a student of Engineering Systems and Management, places such multicultural interaction several notches above the specific knowledge an individual acquires. He says: “Masdar Institute’s great diversity prepared me for working with people across the globe within my company.”
Halperin thinks that the knowledge he gained at Masdar Institute keeps him in a unique position in the energy industry. He adds: “Many of us learned ways to bring value to the energy industryas it transitions toward the broader use of renewable energy. Additionally, I have found that our experience in the Middle East is invaluable because of its significance in the global energy market.”
But he adds: “Whether or not I remain in the energy industry long-term, I will definitely continue to make choices that are more sustainable in both my personal and professional lives.”
New frontiers in scientific research and a platform to debate and learn from a generation that led the change have been the two crucial features that make a post-graduate from Masdar Institute different from others, according to Vijo Varkey T., currently employed with Siemens.
Vijo says: “I have been very successful becauseboth at Masdar Institute and Siemens, sustainability remains a way of life.”
For Steven Meyers, student of Mechanical Engineering, it wasthe hands-on nature of his research and the facilities at Masdar Institute that has made all the difference both to his research and his professional lives.Meyers’ name was included in the esteemed Forbes 30 ‘Under 30’ achievers list in the ‘clean energy’ category for his research in thermal and optical modeling of the Beam Down Solar Thermal Plant in Masdar City.
Meyers says: “Not many schools have concentrated solar research equipment on campus grounds like Masdar Institute and this was a big help. Also, the amount of international exposure I was able to gain through my research, through the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) and other academic conferences. This was absolutely necessary to build a network and helped me to acquire two job offers.”
For Hanan Abdulla Mohammed Al Shemeili (class of 2011), a former student of Computing and Information Science who remains strongly committed to contribute to Abu Dhabi’s Vision 2030 plan, the learning process she underwent at Masdar Institute helped her immensely. She says: “People at Masdar Institute have inspired me in many aspects and I learnt from them how to achieve my targets, no matter the number of obstacles that get in the way.”
Though Al Shemeili has shifted from IT and entered business development and financing, she is utilizing the skill sets she gained in her job as a Senior Analyst with Services Ventures, Mubadala Development Company, while effectively implementing what she learnt at Masdar Institute.
Masdar Institute’s contribution to knowledge development came under spotlight when Rana Qudaih, an alumni majored in Mechanical Engineering, won the Borealis Student Innovation Award.
Probably one of the most succinct advices to the second batch of graduating students came from Vijo Varkey who said: “In life, we can decide to laugh or cry. I choose to laugh. What will you choose?”
Warshay agrees and says: “The benefits from personal connections and the interactions with the international group of students, faculty, and administration throughout the Masdar Institute network is unmatched anywhere in the world and will prove invaluable for future career opportunities and success. And, above all, it helps personal growth.”
Established as an ongoing collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow. With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research.