Strengthening the Culture of Innovation Through Talented and Qualified Individuals

Haris Rehman was born in Pakistan in 1986. He became an expert in the field of renewable energy after having completed KIC InnoEnergy´s Master programme in Renewable Energy. He shared his experience as a KIC InnoEnergy student with us, explaining how the programme nurtures the game changers of the future.

In recent years, the need to have both highly skilled and entrepreneurially minded graduates on the European market has become increasingly urgent. The employment market requires more than just workers to fill posts, it needs ambitious individuals with the skills and ability to become Europe’s future entrepreneurs and employers.

A belief in such individuals lies at the core of KIC InnoEnergy’s goal: to become Europe’s leading engine in innovation and entrepreneurship in sustainable energy. It is for this reason that the company has developed a set of well-structured educational programmes with the aim of creating the future game changers in the energy field.

But what would be a practical example of how the KIC InnoEnergy Master School programmes can support students?

Tell us about your studies and your professional experience.

In 2008, I completed my training in BS Aerospace Engineering at the Institute of Space Technology in Islamabad (IST). I then decided to launch a start-up based on a business idea that I’d used as my final year project: the development of an aluminised fire fighting suit for the use of fire fighters in the Pakistan Air Force. I founded my company at IST’s business incubation centre; it was a pioneer project for that incubator, too, as well as my own.

Why did you choose the KIC InnoEnergy Master School programme in Renewable Energy? 

At that stage, the future success of my start-up was looking shaky. I strongly felt the need for more expertise, especially in the realms of business and entrepreneurship. I saw a huge opportunity in KIC InnoEnergy´s Master programme in Renewable Energy. The programme caught my eye, as it not only included renewable energy studies but there was an emphasis on real life business skills, as well as an opportunity to study entrepreneurship at ESADE, one of Europe’s leading business schools. I found both the crash course and the summer course at ESADE to be the best learning experiences of my life, so far.

Providing opportunities to motivated, entrepreneurial students

What makes KIC InnoEnergy’s educational programme unique when compared to those of other business schools? In most cases, a Masters programme in renewable energy is purely technical. The difference between KIC InnoEnergy´s Master programme and that of other such schools is that business courses are fully incorporated into your studies. A graduate, therefore, not only has command of the technical side of things but also boasts a solid knowledge of business practices. The combination of technical and business courses on the programme provides the graduate with the confidence and know-how to enter the job market successfully.

As an entrepreneur, what role do you feel KIC InnoEnergy played in helping you create your own business?

The confidence I gained from studying at top-notch schools, the knowledge I received from such a diverse curriculum, the exposure I was given to practical examples having travelled throughout Europe and having met people from all different cultures. I feel that none of this would have been possible to experience, in such a short space of time, without KIC InnoEnergy.

I also found that nothing can be more effective than providing an entrepreneur with strong industry contacts, which I gained through KIC InnoEnergy’s extensive network. Its legal advice too proved vital. And once the business was underway, KIC InnoEnergy helped make it sustainable. I believe that ‘driving force’ companies, such as KIC InnoEnergy, play a vital role in ensuring a start-up’s success: getting you on the right track and keeping you there.

Once your Masters programme in Renewable Energy is completed, would you like KIC InnoEnergy to play a further role in your professional career?

Yes. I think the learning process isn’t complete without the experience of working in Europe for a period of time, at least, after finishing your studies. We study in a European environment and it is in this environment that our skills and aptitudes develop. However, for non- European graduates, such as myself, it can be difficult to find a job in the European industry. That’s where it would be great for KIC InnoEnergy to step in, helping graduates secure a position in the European renewable energy sector.

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