From October1-4, a group of nine MSc in Management students from Nyenrode Business Universiteit attended the International Gas Forum and the Youth Day in St. Petersburg, Russia. This was a special event for young talents who are interested in energy. They reflect on their experience.
"After a full week of working on our theses, it was time to pack up our suits and fly to Russia. The nine of us – Bart, Stefan, Nurjahan, Bas, Agnes, Robbie, Olivia, Alejandro and Justine (all students from the MSc26 cohort of the MSc in Management) – were all very excited on Sunday. Many questions popped up in our minds: What will we experience this week? Who will we meet? What will the culture be like? What will we learn about the gas industry? How is digitalization taking place in this industry? We would soon find out!
We arrived at our hotel at 3:00 in the morning, but by 9:30 we were awake again and preparing to head to the Dutch embassy. The Dutch Consulate General had invited us to come and see how the Dutch embassy is stimulating business between Russia and the Netherlands, learn why human rights are important and meet interesting people, such as representatives from the business university in St. Petersburg. We were honored to be invited and truly enjoyed our visit.
Tuesday kicked off with the Youth Day opening ceremony. It was really nice to meet all the other students from all over the world: from Africa, the UK, China, Germany and of course many from Russia as well. When we walked into the conference room, we were randomly divided in groups and given the challenge of using gestures to illustrate different energy-related words and concepts, like fat gas and renewable energy. This resulted in some hilarious demonstrations. Luckily, we still have the videos! ;-) In the afternoon we had some free time to either visit the expo or explore the city, but instead we went directly back to the hotel to practice for the case competition which would be taking place the next day.
Wednesday was our moment to shine. The case, titled “Advanced Natural Gas Future”, focused on digitalization as well as diversification in the gas sector. To prepare, we used the knowledge we had gained during the Case-based Leadership course at Nyenrode. This helped us to identify the major challenges in the case and structure our solution accordingly. We proposed a partnership between a major player in the oil and gas sector and another major player in the digitalization sector to facilitate a self-driving car service for commuters.
The setting we had to present in, was slightly different than what we are used to, as we had to give our presentation while sitting in big white chairs. Nevertheless, it went really well because we are accustomed to being flexible and presenting in front of a group. We did not win the case, unfortunately, but we did receive many compliments on our presentation skills and professional appearance.
The last day was just as exciting as the first few days. In addition to the event’s plenary session, there was a no-tie meeting with executives from leading energy companies in which we were able to ask questions about digitalization and future work in the industry. Alexey Miller, the CEO of world’s largest public energy supplier Gazprom, also spoke to us about the importance of the next generation of future leaders. He was surrounded by a whole entourage of people, which made us realize that we were experiencing a unique moment.
After hearing the final words of inspiration and taking some group photos, it was time for the closing party. With live music, tasty finger food, smooth dance moves and new friends, we finished off this amazing week at a club in the city center of St. Petersburg.
We had a wonderful week full of learning and new friendships. We would like to give a special thanks to our coach Jochem Durenkamp from the Energy Delta Institute in Groningen, who contributed to our high-level performance as well as the great atmosphere throughout the week."