Asif Hashim feels the wind of offshore green energy. Since graduating from the Aston Business School MBA in 2013, he has moved into a commercial business management role at oil and energy specialist Green Palm Marine Consultancy.
Asif sees offshore renewables as the future of energy production in the UK and Europe, as the coming years continue to look bleak for the oil industry, with crude prices having fallen some 35% this year.
Based in North Sea energy hub Aberdeen and in Hull in the UK, Asif analyzes business trends in the oil and gas and offshore renewables industry and explores opportunities for field operators.
Previously, the electronic engineering graduate worked for IT services group Syntel, and mobile broadband specialist Nokia Networks.
The Aston MBA helped him to view business in a global context. A program highlight is a project with telecoms network BT, which saw him present to senior management at the company’s Innovation Center.
Why did you opt for an MBA at Aston Business School?
To formally get trained in the field of management and to learn the building blocks of a successful business. Aston Business School was unique, as it was triple accredited and had a rare blend of highly-qualified teaching staff, industry association, and the right balance of student portfolios for an MBA cohort.
You opted for the specialization in international business. What has this added to your toolkit in a global business environment?
It made me think broader in terms of things like how business culture, the organizational structure of clients, and business ethics in each geographical location can have a significant impact on the outcome of a business venture.
It helped me understand how to adapt to different business environments and how to modify your product/service based on local preferences or business area of operation.
What makes engineers great MBA candidates? What skills are transferable to business management?
An engineering background for an MBA candidate helps them to visualize the reality of business outcomes. The skills that can be transferred vary, from shop floor knowledge in an industry to [knowledge of] research and innovation.
Tell us about your project with BT. What are your key takeaways?
The project with BT helped me to understand the UK telecoms industry and gave me the perfect opportunity to compare the industry with the Asian market, especially India, as I have previous exposure with Vodafone in India.
My project topic was based around product development and commercialization of a cyber security tool to combat all major kinds of cyber attacks in the UK network.
What are the key trends you see in the offshore renewables industry?
Offshore renewables is the future for meeting the energy needs of the UK and Europe in the comings years. As there a is a UK government target to provide 10GW of green power, it is full steam ahead for the offshore wind farm sector, with many new projects in the pipeline and some already approved in and around North Sea area.
On a positive note, the decline of oil prices has pushed oil majors to invest heavily in offshore renewables to diversify their energy portfolios.
Will we ever see oil prices back at $100/b?
Oil prices can bounce back to $100/barrel, but that is subject to many factors, like OPEC’s decision on global oil production to meet the demand and supply of petroleum products.
The reduced demand for oil in the US and emerging countries in Asia has worsened the situation in a big way. Again, the rise of US shale gas production and fracking processes has put traditional oil production on the back foot.
2016 and 2017 look bleak for the oil industry, as the sector is highly volatile and several factors like the lifting of Iranian sanctions and points mentioned above are crucial in the pricing of oil.