Clean Energy Engineering
Alumnus Story — Ali Abbas
With the strong foundation of an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA, Ali Abbas built a successful career in the oil and gas industry. He was with Shell for over eight years in Pakistan and the Middle East, advancing into positions of increasing responsibility, culminating in looking after supply chain operations and engineering management of several fuel terminals.
A springboard to a career in Canada
When Ali and his family moved to Canada in 2016, he decided to take a year to deepen his understanding of evolving trends in energy markets, technologies and policies. The one-year Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) in Clean Energy Engineering program appealed as it would allow him to explore these interests, gain a degree from a leading university and familiarize himself with Canadian business culture.
Sixty percent of the program’s classes were technically focused, with the remaining courses devoted to business leadership.
Energy policy was one of the technical classes that stood out for Ali. “I think this is a field that, unfortunately, all too often gets ignored. Engineers tend to focus on the technologies, those with a business inclination look at the economic feasibilities, but policy impacts everything.”
Although he came into the program with an MBA from Cardiff University in the UK and had held management positions in the past, Ali says that the MEL’s business classes enabled him to brush up on the latest best practices. “The organizational leadership class stood out — we looked at Harvard Business School case studies, and there were some great management lessons to be learned there.”
He also says that some of his best experiences during the year at UBC came from interactions with fellow students in his cohort. “We came from different industry backgrounds and had varying experiences, but we learned a lot from each other,” he says.
Opportunities beyond the classroom
Ali pursued many opportunities beyond the classroom as well. He and two other students were selected to participate in e@UBC, an entrepreneurial program that supports innovative ventures. Recognizing an unmet market need, his team explored the opportunity for an online information portal of clean-tech products, to provide smart information to buyers and sellers. They worked with mentors and advisers from industry and the UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School to refine their idea.
Within the first few weeks of school, Ali was elected student president of the combined Master of Engineering Leadership and Master of Health Leadership and Policy programs. In this role, he led an executive committee of students and worked with the program management to identify ways to improve the program and student experience.
Ready to take on new challenges
As he looks ahead to the next chapter of his career, Ali clearly has much to offer prospective employers — from his passion for analyzing new energy market trends for their potential to decarbonize conventional energy systems to his proven ability to succeed in complex business situations and his years of industry experience.
Above all, Ali brings an openness to learning and a desire to continue building his strengths.
“Throughout my career, I’ve always pursued additional education — completing various professional certifications and being a trainer for my staff. I’ve always believed in continually developing my skills and knowledge base.”
Clean Energy Engineering
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