Malgorzata Olesiewicz

MA in Economics, Chair of European Student Energy Summit 2014, University of Aberdeen

Malgorzata is pursuing a MA in Economics at the University of Aberdeen and currently works as an energy business analyst for Pale Blue Dot Energy Ltd. In 2011, she helped create an amendment to the annual plan for environmental protection during the Environmental Leadership Conference in Hong Kong. Her adventure with StudentEnergy began at the ISES2013 conference, where she won the Statkraft case study competition. As Chair of the European Student Energy Summit, she is overseeing a budget of £50K, managing a team of over 50 staff and volunteers and developing detailed progress plans for the event.

We asked Malgorzata:

The OGM: As you embark on your career path, how important is the culture of the organization you choose?

Malgorzata: The culture of the organization I have chosen is particularly important to me. I strongly believe that you learn the most during the first few years of your career, both about the specific industry you work with, but more importantly about the adequate approach to work. The work habits and culture you get expose to in your first years may influence you more than you think.

The OGM: Describe the impact work flexibility will have on your career path.

Malgorzata: For me, flexibility at work is key to my productivity. Let’s face it, there is absolutely nothing good about 9 till 5 fixed work hours. I cannot imagine myself to spend my time at work, especially since I am often involved in a number of extracurricular activities. Work flexibility enables me to keep on indulging in my favorite pursuits outside the office.

The OGM: What does a strong cohesive, team-oriented culture at work mean to you?

Malgorzata: It means to me that everyone shares the same level of responsibility for the work which is delivered as a team. Everyone feels committed and motivated to make sure that the whole company reaches its full potential.

The OGM: Is a transparent work environment in regards to compensation, rewards and career development important to you? If so, why?

Malgorzata: Not really. More important to me is to feel good with the team I am working in, as well as making sure that I always give them 100% of myself. If you are in the right place, the rest will follow.

The OGM: How does technology impact your day-to-day?

Malgorzata: I am a Millennial and therefore, technology is part of my daily routine. At the very moment, I am working on a project that involves members from the 5 continents and which would be impossible without the team’s technology literacy.

The OGM: What does the phrase, ‘sense of community’ mean to you?

Malgorzata: I developed a strong sense of community from my experience with the ESES, where people in my team share the same objectives and the same aspiration to success. But happiness in meeting the targets, they can only find if they work together. And it’s about making sure that no one is left behind.

The OGM: Are acknowledgment and support an integral component to your career needs? If so, how?

Malgorzata: They are indeed: everyone needs to hear, from time to time, that they’re on the right track; even more so at the start of your career, when one can feel somewhat lost in a foreign environment.

The OGM: Tell us about a struggle you faced when transitioning into the workforce?

Malgorzata: I am still struggling… I got my dream job while still at university, which made my transition to the workforce somehow smoother. Realizing how little I know, even though I am at the top of my class, uses to unnerve me. But it also motivates me and remains my most powerful driving engine.

The OGM: For other students just figuring things out, what words of encouragement would you offer?

Malgorzata: Don’t be passive. Talk to as many people as possible. Travel. Explore. Challenge yourself. And wean yourself off your computer from time to time.

The OGM: Did you always know what you wanted to do?

Malgorzata: The issue of climate change has kept fascinating me ever since Junior High school. It took me a while, though, to figure out from which angle I would approach it. I started to study Politics and International Relations but after 2 years, I switched to Economics. It provided me with the very tools and level of understanding that I was looking for.

The OGM: Where does/would your sense of satisfaction come from at work?

Malgorzata: My sense of satisfaction comes from being a good team player: when I know I have helped or inspired someone, when I took an initiative where it was needed, when I have contributed.

The OGM: How important are further education and training to your career development?

Malgorzata: I am final year undergraduate student. I would say it is crucial. 😉

The OGM: How did you differentiate yourself in the workplace as a Millennial?

Malgorzata: Many people believe that Millennials’ main characteristic is their ability to think “outside the box”. But in my opinion, the truth is that we are seldom aware of what “the box” is, and that gives us the ability to challenge common wisdom, as well as those ideas to which people have always clung by convenience.

The OGM: If you could be stuck in an elevator with anybody, who would it be?

Malgorzata: Karen Blixen. You want to be stuck with a person with impeccable talent for storytelling.

The OGM: Did you pursue University right after high school?

Malgorzata: Yes, I did. However, for me, university meant much more than just moving one step in my education. A few days after I passed my finals I packed my bags, moved over 2000 km from home and started a new life in Scotland, a country where there are only two seasons: winter and June!

The OGM: Will/Did your University program play a role in your career path? If not, why?

Malgorzata: I ‘m in love with economics because it gives you the right skills to manipulate abstract ideas, it enables you to pinpoint key elements in complex systems and it helps you explain the scarcity of natural resources at its core. All those qualifications turn out to be essential in the energy sector, and they constitute a starting point in every conversation about the transition to low carbon economies.

The OGM: What are the three most important aspects you feel an organization should offer to retain a Millennial?

Malgorzata: Global opportunities, a good mentor and unlimited room to achieve.

The OGM: Describe your ideal organization, one that you could grow and develop your career in?

Malgorzata: A place where I feel that my opinion matters, where relationships are not biased by a cumbersome hierarchical structure and where everyone’s ideas are equal. A place where I would be challenged and rewarded for my efforts.

The OGM: From a scale of 1 to 10 how important are the following: incentives and rewards, compensation, training and development, global opportunities? 1 being least important.

Malgorzata: 1 being least important: 7,6,10, 10 respectively.

The OGM: Tell us about your most memorable achievement or milestone thus far?

Malgorzata: Definitely, winning the bid to host the first European Student Energy Summit. Over one summer month, four students achieved what looked almost impossible at first glance.


Tina Olivero

Tina Olivero

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