Piotr Konopka (SEF 13-14) is a consultant at Navigant, Energy Practice and also the newly elected Chair of the Energy Institute’s Young Professionals Network (YPN). We had a catch up to find out what the YPN is and how he became involved.
What is the Energy Institute: Young Professionals Network?
The Young Professionals Network is part of the Energy Institute acting as ‘the hub for tomorrow’s energy leaders.’ Our mission is to draw together cross-discipline energy professionals from diverse backgrounds to learn about and discuss key energy issues. We provide a platform from which they can grow and develop whilst building strong multidisciplinary networks, spanning the whole energy sector.
What is your role within the network?
I am the Chair of the committee formed of 13 volunteers, of which five of us are SEF alumni. I oversee the organisation of various events for our members (currently over 3,000 people), help secure sponsorship and partnerships as well as work on ensuring the longevity of the committee. As an example of our activities, in November this year we organised a joint event with the Institute of Directors, with an audience of 200 professionals and Lord Billimoria as one of the speakers.
How did you get involved in YPN?
I attended various YPN events back when I was a student at Imperial, then after getting to know a few members, many of which were also alumni of the course, I was elected onto the committee during an AGM.
What are the benefits of joining the YPN?
Joining our events gives a great opportunity to learn about the energy sector from industry leaders and network with other young professionals working within the industry and students from across the county. It is also a lot of fun, particularly during our socials.
How has your time on the MSc in Sustainable Energy Futures helped you with this role?
I was responsible for organising the annual Sustainable Energy Future Student Conference and I managed to leverage this skill during the elections. It was a great introduction to organising high-profile events with the YPN.
How has being involved in the EI helped with your professional role?
Being a part of the EI YPN also helped me develop many soft skills such as public speaking, communication skills and and teamwork. I have also met a lot of interesting and inspirational people from the energy industry. Working on the committee has also required me to develop strong project management skills and the brand of the Energy Institute is a great addition to my CV.
What was your most memorable moment as a student of the MSc course?
Many alumni would respond to this question pointing to the legendary field trip. It was indeed great, but there have also been a lot of other memorable moments. Aside from the field trip it was definitely the conference when everyone got together, presented their cutting-edge research, celebrated successful completion of the year and shared a lot of good memories.
What is your lasting impression of the course?
It has definitely been life changing. I joined the course from an engineering background, looking for the ‘bigger picture’ and connecting the dots between technical understanding, business aspects, and policy and regulation. Imperial has definitely helped my achieve this and led me to a very fulfilling job in a leading management consultancy.
What advice would you give to our current students?
Networking is more important than grades. In the end your network is your net worth, and an Imperial network can indeed be worth a fortune. I guarantee that you will end up working with or alongside your Imperial colleagues in the future, so it’s worth building up good relationships with them!
Find out more about the Young Professionals Network and the benefits involved in joining via the website.