Please tell us about yourself.
Sunay Gupta is an Investment Analyst at Swedfund, the Swedish Government’s development financier, contributing to economic and environmental development through sustainable investments.
I graduated with B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Delhi (2013) in India. When I started my bachelors programme, I had limited clue about what I wanted to do in long term. However, after working for two years in a financial consulting firm, I realized that I have a passion for engineering and creating affordable energy solutions. Thereafter, I decided to pursue a master’s degree where I could develop my engineering skills in renewable energy.
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How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and interesting career?
I am passionate about renewable energy but I’m also very business-oriented. The RENE program offers me solid technical expertise and then knowledge how to actually apply it in the industry. This is very different from conventional master programmes, which focus more on the laboratory based research work. I want to learn to design, develop and then deliver ideas to the marketplace.
I believe that it’s possible to create a positive change in this world, especially in developing countries through renewable energy. It is this field that makes me feel satisfied everyday about my work – which is not something that everyone can say – and hope that it continues to do in future. I am passionate about decentralized electricity generation to provide electricity in off-grid areas in developing countries.
Where did you study and why?
I applied for three highly ranked master programmes in Europe and was fortunate enough to be accepted in all of them. However, I chose the MSc RENE programme over others for few specific reasons. First, the double degree from two top European universities is very valuable and secondly, I really liked the entrepreneurship element, which is pretty unique. Additionally, the summer school at ESADE Business School is a wonderful platform to hone management and communication skills. I was also lucky to receive a KIC InnoEnergy Master School scholarship which made supporting myself during the programme much easier.
The opportunity to study in at least two different European countries is really appealing. And in fact, MSc RENE offers studying in three different universities if you include summer school at ESADE. I believe that studying in different universities and living in a multi-cultural setting gives you access to immense opportunities which conventional master’s programmes may not be able to provide.
How the experience studying at KTH?
I’ve just completed my first year at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and I’ve found the courses to be really in-depth. The professors are amazing and the entire curriculum is very well organized. Outside academics, KTH has numerous chapters, both technical and non-technical, which you can join based on your interest area. And for entrepreneurs, both KTH and Stockholm have several workshops and incubators to support start-ups and I am actively involved with them.
KIC InnoEnergy is a community of people from different master’s programmes with diverse backgrounds and interest areas. This community is a window to network with lots of smart people and entrepreneurs. I have really enjoyed interacting with fellow students in the community and learnt a lot from their experiences.
Is there any special project or a degree thesis that you are working on at the moment – or have worked on before?
Yes, several interesting ones during this master programme. Right now I am working with my Swedish friend on a cleantech initiative to provide an affordable and accessible phone charging solution in Tanzania. Our initiative received support from KTH Innovation – which is funded by the Swedish government. I’m really proud of what we’re doing. And then during my thesis, I am going to work as a Renewable Energy Strategy Market Analyst for EDF in Paris, one of the InnoEnergy industry partners. I’m really excited! They are the world’s biggest electricity provider… so it’s going to be very interesting to work there – and will give me invaluable insight into how these big companies work.
How do you find the integration of business and entrepreneurship in the programme?
It matches perfectly with what I wanted in my master’s programme. The training in management and innovation – but also business and entrepreneurship are very important elements. These connect you with the real world. They prepare you, both skill-wise and mentally, to find viable business solutions to tackle the energy problems of the future. This is also where you really develop that perfect mix of hard and soft skills needed to succeed.
In what way, do you believe your 2 years at InnoEnergy Master’s School will contribute to your professional career?
A lot! It’s giving me an opportunity to study cutting edge renewable energy courses at top universities in Europe – with access to in-depth industrial knowledge through a large network of research centres. Moreover, this immense exposure and skills on adapting to cultural diversity through my international travel and lifestyle – this benefits are immeasurable. That’s not something that’s learned in a textbook. That’s real-life. Without any doubt, I can say my experiences here are going to help me a lot in the future. I really made the right decision when I chose this programme. I wanted to make a change and now I have a chance to do that.
What do you expect to gain from this programme?
I started this programme with the intention to specialize in Solar PV and contribute towards providing decentralised electricity generation solutions for developing countries. I feel a pull towards entrepreneurship but haven’t yet worked out which path I want to follow. However I do have another year of my programme to go through!