Career Spotlights

Get to know the graduates of the MSc Program „Renewable Energy Systems“.

Find out why they decided to do this MSc program and how it influenced their professional life.

Today in conversation: Karolina Cegir, BEng MSc (Gas Expert, Energy Community Secretariat), Graduate MSc „Renewable Energy Systems“ Class 2011-2013

Can you shortly describe the program?

Good mixture of technical, economical, legal, social and practical topics in friendly, supportive atmosphere.

Did your studies enable you to develop professionally?

Yes, by all means. It has extended horizons and enables solving problems from different perspectives.

Can you apply your knowledge on an international level?

Yes, I work in an international surrounding, from the EU to the Caspian. Gained knowledge on the energy sectors and renewable energy sources employment in the Central and Eastern European countries has special additional value - since their solutions and lessons learned are very much applicable in non-EU countries with which I work.

Do you believe that the program is internationally renowned? What is your experience with your university degree abroad?

Since I do not work exactly in the area of Renewable Energy Sources those questions are hard to be answered, while I do not have comparable references. But, what is recognised and well known is the reputation of TU Wien, if not necessary for RES, then for sure in the energy sector.

What career plans do you have for the next 3-5 years?

To interlink in more structured manner my knowledge and experience on natural gas and Renewables, i.e. to be involved in projects which combine new player "biogas" and existing natural gas infrastructure. Further, waste as a source of energy is extremely interesting to me, and I would like to go into this direction

What is your motto?

Never give up.

(Interview dtd. February 2017)

Today in conversation: DI Dr.techn. Cesar Aguiari, MSc (Fitroleum Biochemicals GmbH, Graduate MSc „Renewable Energy Systems“ Class 2010-2012W)

Why did you choose for the master course at TU Wien?
The MSc program Renewable Energy at TU Wien is offering a very interesting combination: On the one hand you will be confronted with all technologies in the field of renewable energy, and students are expected to get to know the relevant planning phases, as well as to become acquainted with the general frameworks and most important planning parameters for the respective technologies. On the other hand economic and political frameworks being the key factors for successfully implementing these technologies are dealt with in-depth. This combination gives a deep insight and is in my opinion the key to successful implementation and roll-out of these technologies.

How was the REN master course crucial for your professional development?
After my graduation and based on the topic of my master´s thesis I founded my own company and began writing my PhD thesis at the Institute of Chemical Engineering at TU Wien (meanwhile successfully completed). You can definitely state, that the master program was giving distinction to my professional development and enhancement. Who knows what life may still bring?

What advices would you want to give to new prospective students for the master course - what you should they know?
Renewable energy technologies are an important part of climate protection and therefore currently are changing worldwide. Technologies, as wind power and PV have shown an impressive positive development and progress, plants have become more cost-efficient and therefore more competitive. New markets are arising day by day and want to be covered. That´s the interesting side of the story. The other side is more challenging: a lot of things still have to grow. You have to bring along a great deal of endurance and creativity to identify, devise and realign the missing pieces of a puzzle. If you want to flower out, you should take up a creative and pro-active stance. The ones who seek a comfortable job are out of place.

You have studied Industrial Engineering - What prompted you to complete an additional degree?
The field of renewable energy aroused my interest long time ago. Some years later and several jobs after my first degree I was convinced that the time for recycling has come. A well-founded postgraduate program would provide me a framework to prepare myself on the challenges in this sector. The MSc program Renewable Energy was definitely the best choice.

Have there been useful contacts and tips during your study?
It is no secret that networking is one of the key assets of this MSc program. You get in touch with experts of the renewable energy sector, and this opens up new vistas for projects and ventures. In this connection I very much appreciate the new focus of the MSc program (not only „CEE“) and reorientating to Germany and other drivers of Energy Turnaround. This will enrich the program´s potential for networking and cooperation – and will make the program even more attractive for future students.

Renewable Energy is a vital topic nowadays. How do you practice environment protection at home?
That´s a good question. My experience with two children at home has shown, that there is fierce resistance to climate protection, no matter whether it concerns recycling of envelopes or switching-off lights in the bath-room. But if we negotiate this hurdle, we will even cope with Mr. Trump ;-).

Which book do you read currently?
Quite recently I´ve read „Das Buch des Wandels“ by Matthias Horx – very interesting. In a nutshell, it´s about how mankind will shape the future. It matches perfectly to our mission being drivers oft he turnaround.

(Interview: January 2017)

Today in conversation with: Magdalena Sanguinetti, MSc (Project Assistant, IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency), Alumnus Class 2009-2011

How did you become aware of the TU Wien and this MSc program „Renewable Energy Systems“?

Back in 2008 I was very interested in the subject of Renewable Energies and had spent hours searching for an adequate MSc Program by surfing in Internet. It proved not to be easy since many Programs had the limitation of exclusively catering for students with a technical background.

You studied „Public Accounting” in Uruguay. Why did you decide to study a second master program?

The Public Accounting degree has mostly to do with social sciences (economy, accounting, finance, etc). But I always had an interest for natural sciences as well. Beyond the fact that I was interested in Renewable Energies in particular, I was thrilled at the idea of complementing my education with a Program focusing on natural sciences.

You are a member of SERVAS, an international, non-governmental, multicultural peace association run by volunteers in over 100 countries. So you must be a very good networker. Could you make international contacts during the course, which have been helpful for your career?

Absolutely! The diversity among the professors and managers of the Program, the alumni of previous generations and my own class colleagues, made the whole learning process more enriching and holistic and the discussions more thought-provoking.

In your class at the MSc program female students had a share of 25 %. What advices would you want to give to young female colleagues for their career?

Female students shouldn’t be discouraged by the gender imbalance as long as they have legitimate interest in the content of the Program. The doors that will open during the course and along their careers will make no gender distinction.

Renewable Energy is a vital topic nowadays. How do you practice environment protection at home?

In several different ways the Program has reinforced the fact that all resources in the planet are limited. Therefore, my contribution to environment protection is to apply the 3R principle: REDUCING the amount of waste generated in everyday life; REUSING –giving at least a second life– to as many things as possible before discarding them; and RECYCLING - the existing infrastructure in Vienna allows recycling of more than 15 different waste categories and is a model that should be replicated in other countries.Some concrete examples: I use public transport as much as possible, I am a customer of a green electricity provider, I consciously try to minimize the use of plastics (including plastic bags!), I strive to purchase local produce when possible rather than imported, I try to use water responsibly and also avoid leaving the heating, the boiler running and the electronics in stand-by mode when not necessary.

With which celebrity (alive or historic) would you like to spend your lunch break?

Charles Darwin or Sigmund Freud or Angela Merkel!

(Interview dtd. Nov. 12, 2014)

Today in conversation: Özge Dolunay, MSc MSc (General Manager, ATHISA Environmental Health Service), Graduate MSc „Renewable Energy Systems“ Class 2011-2013

Before you decided to study our MSc program „Renewable Energy Systems“, you´ve already studied „Sustainable Ressource Management“ in Munich. What is the feature of our master program at the TU Wien (in comparison to other courses)?

The previous Master course that I had completed on Sustainable Resource Management at the TU Munich had focused on the management of different resource management issues and projects such as waste management, water treatment, wild life management, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, geographical information systems, water management, forestry management, leadership skills, resource economics and environmental law etc.

Whereas in Vienna, the scope of the course was the production of energy renewable energy from every possible source of energy. It also included the management of these renewable energy resources, their technical characteristics, the project financial viabilities and its management. Further it also focused on the legislation that applies for each particular Country, the legal background for renewable energy developments and their prospects, as well as the overall energy dynamics of the world. Coming from an engineering background and having already managed some projects in Turkey, this programme seemed very interesting to me. It also gave me all the complementary background associated with each type of renewable energy project. We would also get on-site experience by visiting projects in different countries in the Eastern Europe. I think this was one of the outstanding features of the programme that enabled the Master course current students, and alumni to meet at different project sites, and bringing both the University and renewable energy companies together.

How do you rate the MSc program, with regard to contents and interdisciplinarity?

The modules that I studied in Vienna and in different countries (Croatia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary) were very interesting for me. I was continuously comparing everything with what I already understood of Turkey and the potential applications. From the beginning, I had always thought that Turkey could be a wonderful country module in order to show a big diversity of projects, such as Solar PV, Wind, Geothermal, Biomass and Hydro electric power. Eventually, I was able to organize the module in Turkey with TU Wien after I finished my studies there. The partnering universities (University of Bahçesehir and Ege Universty) were very glad to be part of this module. I could make good contacts with some professors which may lead us to different projects in the future with the willingness to continue the country module in Turkey in future years.

Has the application of the online learning environment CECnet and the iPad been useful and serviceable?

The online learning from CECnet was very useful in being able to reach to the documentation we required whenever we needed to, from wherever we were. On the other hand, I do not belong to the year of students with IPad but I believe it was very useful for them also rather than carrying all the printouts all the way around from one country to another.

What advices would you want to give to new prospective students for the master program - what should they know?

This Master programme is a very good tool for learning the Renewable Energy economics, the project financial and implementation requirements, the scientific and technical background and principles of each renewable energy source, soft skills, and to make good contacts both from within the course and outside the course. However, the density of the weekly courses and the effects on the current business life should not be underestimated 

What career plans do you have for the next 3-5 years?

When I started the programme in Vienna, I was planning on adding one more sector into my consultancy firm. As a result, I started doing consultancy for both waste management and renewable energy in Turkey. Very recently, I started a new business with a business partner in solar powered irrigation systems in Turkey. The next 3-5 years, I plan to grow more in this business as well as to include more solar, wind and maybe hydro projects.

What is your motto?

This is a hard question as I have many. But, the one that I mostly use, ’Everything is possible in life’.

Date of interview: Sept 10, 2014

Today in conversation with DI Ivan Milovanovic, MSc (OMV AG) - MSc Renewable Energy Systems, Class 2010-2012

1) Why did you choose the Master Program at the TU Wien?

At the time when I decided to enroll in this Master program, most of the renewable energy technologies had already passed the research and development phase and become largely commercialized – making it more useful to me in terms of broadening my project management knowledge and skills. Additionally, the chance to study at a prestigious university in one of the most beautiful cities in the world was also a driver in my decision to opt for TU Wien.

2) In what ways has the REN Master Program proven crucial to your professional development?

A solar thermal and several energy efficiency projects were some of the projects I undertook in my capacity as a project manager at OMV before these studies. Upon completion of the Master program, I haven’t been in a situation to deal with renewable projects, mainly because such projects are currently not a focus in the OMV department to which I’m assigned. Nevertheless, the Master program broadened my overall understanding of renewables as well as my project management knowledge in several aspects regarding technology, economics, the environment, as well as legal and management issues, which can be applied not only in renewable but also in other types of investment projects.

3) What advice might you wish to give to new prospective students for the Master Program - what should they know?

I strongly believe that renewable energy share will prevail in the future energy final consumption at least as far as most of the European countries are concerned. Renewable energy will also be one of the major drivers of the global economy. Therefore gaining knowledge in this field and obtaining an internationally recognized degree is an ideal step towards securing a job in the future.
It may sound like a commercial, but if students are truly interested in achieving knowledge about renewable energy at an academic level which is very well combined with a healthy amount of fun, plentiful excursions, visits to renewable plants, at the same time obtaining valuable experience in the application of renewable energy in other CEE countries (e.g. my generation had country modules in Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic) – then they should enroll this course of studies.
A real lure towards dealing with these technologies is that they are a substantial source of options for those who like to develop different strategies during the project set-up phase in order to enable plenty of flexible solutions in later project phases as well as in the operation of the renewable plants. In that regard, one need look no further than at bio-refinery concept which, as an input, have a variety of renewable feedstock and, as an output, a whole spectrum of different products, or at power to gas concepts by using excess wind and solar power for hydrogen production and further methanation as an option. Furthermore, coupling renewable and fossil fuel plants into one system is also one such example – e.g. combined cycle gas fired power plant coupled with wind farm and/or with concentrated solar power plant.
Additionally, I find this Master Program tailor-made for enthusiasts and entrepreneurs, at the same time serving as a solid basis for developing your own business. If all these things sound interesting and inspiring, then go for it.

4) In 10 years I will be….?

More experienced ;) and hopefully have plenty of renewable projects developed and in operation in my professional record.

5) What book are you currently reading?

Two of them simultaneously and both are partly dealing with renewables in a visionary way - Powering the future by R.B. Laughlin and 2052: A global forecast for the next forty years by J. Randers. I would like to recommend these books to the renewable energy fans.

6) You studied civil engineering and obtained Dipl.Ing (Master) degree. What prompted you to complete a second degree?

As I completed my civil engineering studies more than a decade ago, I found this course to be an excellent opportunity to refresh my existing knowledge at an academic level, as well as to gain additional knowledge about trends and new technologies which have recently been developed and/or technologies whose development is still in progress.

7) Renewable Energy is a vital issue nowadays. How do you practice environmental protection at home?

The importance of environmental protection is one of the aspects of modern life where parents can learn from their children. I was pleasantly surprised a couple of years ago when my daughter, who was in the 2nd grade at that time, came back from school where they had a lecture on recycling, and started to argue with me when I accidentally threw some consumed batteries into a regular waste bin. She asked me to separate them and to deliver them to the certain collection points in the city – immediately! When I explained to her that if I did that for every single consumed battery, I would increase my carbon footprint because I would be going to the collection point by car powered by fossil fuel – she replied that either I should go by public transport or by bicycle instead or, if I insist on going there by car, to keep collecting consumed batteries in a special box and deliver them periodically. So, somehow we came to a consensus 

Date of interview: 30.06.2014

Today in conversation with DI (FH) Franz Mühlbacher, MSc (Frequentis AG) "Renewable Energy Systems" Class 2008-2010

1) Why did you choose for the master course at the TU Wien?

A very intensive and stressful phase in my professional life was the crucial factor which induced me to reconsider my lifestyle and my dealing with resources (also personal resources). One can say safely, that I have asked myself a kind of question of meaning. At the time I was already interested in the topic of renewable energy and besides it was in the media often, which is still the case. Then I discovered the master course about a newspaper advertisement and I did not think it over for a long time. Even though there were hardly overlaps with my immediate professional tasks which has not changed up till now in fact. But I thought it was an appropriate perspective to advance myself. So I started in autumn 2008.

2) How was the REN master course crucial for your professional development?

As said, I cannot really use the acquired knowledge in my professional life. At least I have the possibility to bring in some ideas in a consulting function, because I am member of the internal environmental board, to influence my company to act resource-conserving as possible. My direct professional environment reacted also positively to my further education. However it is definitely my aim to work in the field of renewable energy in the medium term. This September I successfully completed the “energy efficiency consultant course”. It was a good possibility to refresh and advance my knowledge.

3) What advices would you want to give to new prospective students for the master course - what you should they know?

My main message: If you are interested in renewable energy – SUBSCRIBE, APPLY, DO IT.

The study has a broad spectrum of subjects and covers nearly all issues of renewable energies. But it is clear that you cannot convey each topic up to the last details. If you like to drill into certain details then just get in contact with the lectors and ask, ask, ask…there is an open culture of discussion in the master course.  Students are welcome if they are looking for special information. In general you will meet very interesting lectors as well as students / colleagues. In addition, working with like-minded persons makes the study very recommendable.

4) How has the REN master course changed your lifestyle?

Well, I try if possible to get by avoiding the use of a car. In town, I usually use public transport or use my bike. Currently, I am actually wondering if I really need that much living space (which also means energy). A book which I am currently reading motivates me to think this way. The energy efficiency consultant course induced me to observe my electricity consumption with a measurement device. That way I tried to identify the main energy consuming appliances in my apartment. “Self – awareness” is an important step to optimize or cut down your own energy consumption. Regarding consumer products I am looking for regional goods to lower the share of products from Far East which is sometimes very difficult – especially with textiles.

5) What was your funniest experience during your REN study time?

After a visitation of a ship–mill in Mureck (Styria) the claim “Welcome to Mureck” became a running gag in our course. The owner of the ship-mill – a down to earth Styrian in his 80es – welcomed our group verbosely. Because he did not speak English one of our colleagues translated simultaneously. The wordy welcome was condensed to a short “Welcome to Mureck”. In addition, the guy´s wording was not always “political correct”, which was also filtered very skilfully by our colleague.

Another experience is also still in my mind. During one of the intensive week modules in Bruck /Leitha I had an inspiring talk with Prof. Hofbauer of TU Vienna. My colleagues left me somehow alone for lunch and so I got the chance to discuss informally with Prof. Hofbauer about combustion engineering and cockle stoves.

6) Which book do you read currently?

Niko Paech: „Liberation from Excess“ and „Sustainable economic activities beyond innovation and growth“

(This is the scientific basis for the theory of post-growth economy).

Date: October 31, 2013

Today in conversation with: DI Ursula Mollay, MSc (Österreichisches Institut für Raumplanung (OIR), Alumna MSc „Renewable Energy Systems“ Class 2008-2010

Why did you choose the master course at the TU Wien?

My interest in the topic “Renewable Energy” exists for a long time. Toward the end of my study “Spatial planning” at the TU Vienna I also started to study “Enviromental Engineering”. But the double work load with studies and job was too much and so I decided to stop my additional study. My interest still remains and then I discovered the PRESSE scholarship of the university course in an article in "Oekonews". I used the opportunity, applied for the scholarship and was lucky to be selected. So it started.

How was the MSC program "Renewable Energy Systems" crucial for your professional development?

The knowledge, which I could acquire in the university course, is getting highly important in the context of my occupational activity just now. The OIR participates in the “Smart City” initiative of Vienna. The combination of spatial planning and energy planning represents an essential element in this project. The knowledge from the university course helps me very much in the collaboration with Wien Energie and energy planners. But also in my other professional emphasis – regional/urban planning – questions concerning energy production and usage are becoming more and more important and here I can use my further education.

What advices would you want to give to new prospective students for the master course - what should they know?

The curriculum of the university course covers a wide range of topics. The goal is to represent all forms of renewable energies and with that related topics comprehensively. This turns out quite well, because the lecturers are very competent. However it is clear, that you cannot provide deep insights into each topic. Everybody should be conscious of that fact.

This is very suitable for people, who do not have certain (technical) previous knowledge. But there are many links to focus on a special topic also for those, who already have experience in the field of renewable energy. I have found the study as an absolute upgrading in consideration of my career. But it is unrealistic to believe to get hired from the university course directly. Here you need your own initiative – as in the case of every job change.

What career plans do you have for the next 3-5 years?

With regards to contents I would like to participate in this very interesting subject of energy – spatial planning furthermore. The planning elements – spatial planning and energy planning - have been implemented separately from each other so far. But now an exciting change process is taking place. These changes concern both -  topics and the process – of a combined perception of spatial planning and energy planning.

Renewable Energy is a vital topic nowadays. How do you practice environment protection at home?

Ten years ago we have opted for green electricity and we are living without a car and TV. We are mainly going by bike or public transport in the town. Also in the holydays we like to go by train or bus and we travel by plane very rarely.

Which hobbies do you have?

My children, volleyball, reading books.

Which book do you read currently?

T.C.Boyle „When the Killing´s Done”.

(Interview dated: August 23, 2013)

Today in conversation with: Mag.(FH) Victoria Hala, MSc (Project Assistant, tatwort), Alumna MSc „Renewable Energy Systems“ Class 2010-2012s

Your first academic degree was a Master in „Communication Management“ at the University of Applied Sciences for Management and Communication in Vienna. Then you were employed as a PR consultant at a PR agency. How did you come across TU Vienna and the MSc program „Renewable Energy Systems“?

As I worked in a very small team in my first job after studying Communication  Management I had the opportunity to develop very quickly and gain working experience very fast. Everyone was responsible for everything. After approximately two years I had a feeling, that I had to develop one step further, to use my skills more focussed on topics which meet my interests. I was alway curious about sustainability and my aim was to find a job, where I can use both scientific fields, maybe even combined. Very quickly I found out, that sustainable development is extremely dependent on sustainable solutions in energy matters. I knew that this study would be the right choice to meet my personal and professional targets.

 „Communication Management“ and „Renewable Energy“ – an unusual combination. What did you expect from the MSc program? Have your expectations been met?

At first glance the combination of these studies may seem strange but in the CV it stands out – I received much positive feedback on it. At tatwort Nachhaltige Projekte I now have the possibility to work for both disciplines – communications within the field of sustainability and research projects in the field of renewable energy. During the project Plus-Energy-Check, for example, a software is being developed,  which helps evaluating fast and easily how buildings can reach “plus-energy” standard. Within the project Biogas Smart Business the team tried to develop alternative business models for operators of biogas plants. The project PV-roof garden just started a view months ago and will be specifically interesting. The consortium consists of different partners from research and industry and develops integrated modular concepts for a combinated use of the roof as living-space, green-roof and for renewable electricity production through photovoltaic. I reached my goal – to work on both disciplines in the same job.

In your class at the MSc program female students had a share of 20 %. What advices would you want to give to young female colleagues for their career?

I would recommend being self-confident and breaking through conventional thought patterns. I remember attending a presentation about the future of energy grids at Wien Energie. Including myself there were two women surrounded by grey men's suits. Women can also be interested in technical fields. I remember being asked by friends, and even at the application interview, if this is quite complicated and how I can manage learning technical staff without having the basis for it. But women have different skills to men and in my opinion the branch realises this and increasinlgy demands for it. As a woman you stand out of the crowd at some events within the field of renewable energy. But women should see it as advantage and avoid wearing grey female costumes at such events :).

You´ve been of the three youngest participants in your class. How did you benefit from the program personally (networking, management of relationships)?

I really enjoyed the numerous excursions to different plants where we were able to learn how renewable energy is being generated. Within almost every project in my job I meet people from my studies: lecturers suddenly become partners in projects. That is what I like in Austria – the size of branches are limited and once you built up your network you can rely on it.  

What career plans do you have for the next 3-5 years?

I would like to sharpen my qualifications in the field of renewable energy with the work experience I gain during the projects I work on. Regarding my competences I see myself in a leading position in project management.

If you had the chance to rule the world for one day, what would you change?

One day ist not enough to make the world more sustainable. For such a process strategic perspectives, plans and honest, realistic targets as well as integrated expertise of different disciplines are needed. You need someone, who brings all relevant stakeholders together and who maintains an overview on the process. If I had the chance to rule the world for one day, I would try to bring together experts, opinion leaders and deciders of the whole world (and I really mean of every country) on one table to develop together a strategic sustainable way for our single world, which allows different needs of development of different countries.

(Interview dtd. August 09, 2013)

Today in conversation with: Dr. Karol Galek, MSc (Energiepark Bruck/Leitha), Alumnus MSc „Renewable Energy Systems“ Class 2006-2008

Why did you choose for the REN master course at the TU Wien?
As a trained geologist I got a chance, in my second job, to manage also some projects focused on renewable energy. Since this topic was in Slovakia on that time quite new, and nobody from us has a real experience in this field, after conversation with my boss Franz Blochberger we found the MSc course at the TU Vienna which started for the second time, and I decided to undertake it. It was probably the best decision in my life from the professional point of view.

How was the REN master course crucial for your professional development?
I gained a lot of knowledge not only about technological side of renewables, but also their economical parameters, utilization, and also how the information use and present practically. The best confirmation of the course relevance is probably, that I am since graduation still professionally dealing with REN.

What advices would you want to give to new prospective students for the REN master course - what should they know?
Besides the studies, there are a lot of excursions, worthwhile conversations with your colleagues and lectures, and because you will be a student again, also social student life.

What’s the USP of the MSc REN (in comparison with other master programmes)?
The MSc course is very complex, international and on a very high professional level. Because of the international character, you can get a lot of new valuable contacts and experiences.

Have there been useful contacts and tips during your study?
My classmate Michael Hannesschläger after graduation asked me to join the Energiepark Bruck/Leitha to coordinate projects between Slovakia and Austria with regard to energy efficiency and utilization of REN. Right now we are starting a continuation of the primary project, which will last until the end of the year 2014.

Your life device?

“The best things in life aren't things.”

 (Interview dtd. July 18, 2013)

Today in conversation with: Samir Al-Wakeel, MBA MSc (owner energyvision), Alumnus Class 2010-2012s

You already have had a Bachelor „Electrical Engineeering“ at the University of Applied Sciences in Zurich and an Executive MBA „Business Administration“  at the International Institute of Management in Technology at the University of Fribourg. So, one program with technical, the other one with business focus. Why did you decide on another program with a technical focus? What did you expect from the MSc program „Renewable Energy Systems“?

I've always been interested in technology and in particular "new and innovative technologies". My first experience with PV, I made in 1990 during my apprenticeship as physics laboratory technician at the ETH in Zurich. Regarding the MSc course with main focus on subjects related to environment, energy efficiency and renewable energies, I find it an ideal supplement to a purely technical bachelor's degree. In general I’ve perceived the curriculum as very well balanced. In addition to technology developments, great emphasis was placed on economic, environmental and legal aspects. Furthermore, many relevant topics, such as energy storage, smart grids, LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) and CO2 certificates were discussed as well as trainings in general management with focus on leadership and team building behaviour, public participation, conflict management and social skills to name a few, have provided a comprehensive and a well-rounded program. In that respect the offered course of studies is unique in Europe regarding the selection of topics, the practical relevance, international orientation and particularly the modular design. It’s a great advantage that you can easily study and work at the same time, even abroad, in my case, in Zurich.  Hence, my expectations were therefore fully met. As for the MBA, I believe that business management and economic skills are just a necessity today if you want to meet professional demands of increasing responsibility.

You´ve intermitted for several years between each of your three study programs for working. Do you consider it important to gain working experience?

Well, actually, I was always working. I have completed all three studies while working. However, in principal I think it is very important gaining working experience, building up a professional network and to get a feeling of the challenges and needs of the private sector and the market. Last but not least it’s also very important to apply what you have learned in the professional world. On the other hand, while working for a certain period you have time to make up your mind and concretize own interests and preferences in peace, so that you pick out the right education or select an appropriate future training. As you know, flexibility, mobility and continuous education are nowadays more in demand than ever.

By now you look back on 25 years of working experience. You carried out various projects worldwide – in Europe, Asia and the USA. Have the contents of the MSc program „Renewable Energy in CEE“ been internationally usable?

Well yes, but let me answer this way…
I have completed my study of renewable energy only one year ago. So, not much time to apply. Previously, the last 15 years I was working mainly in the ICT industry. But I will certainly profit from these experiences. However, in this context, I find the overlaps and the interface between the ICT-world and the power supply of a post-fossil energy society very interesting, namely the upcoming topics such as Smart Grid, Smart City and Smart Home. Furthermore during the master study one could get a good insight into the energy markets of different CEE countries and establish valuable contacts. In this respect, great opportunities, synergies and chances are available for the future.

Did the program enhance your international career or did it open the door to an international career?

Oh yes. With one of my fellow students I even work together. After the completion of the program we have set up our own business. "Energy Vision" our company is internationally active with offices in Germany, Switzerland, Slovakia and Czech Republic. On top of that and based on the alumni network we have also established some business relations and co-operations with other companies in the industry, such as CES (Combi Energy Systems), or EWS Consulting in Austria. These are all former fellow students. Of course, we also continue to maintain the contact with the TU Wien and the Energiepark Bruck/Leitha. However, I also would like to point out, that on the personal level many wonderful friendships has been formed. Some of my colleagues I meet regularly.

What career plans do you have for the next 3-5 years?

I will certainly continue to be involved in and work on topics related to renewable energy and sustainable environment.  Thereby my major focus will of course lie on the development of our business. "Energy Vision" will then be a successfully and internationally operating company. However, I do not want to exclude the possibility of attending a further training or a study, according to my lifelong learning motto. Maybe I'll even be delivering casually some lectures at the university or a technical college.

How do you start your working day?

My day begins with an aromatic fragrant Nespresso coffee. At the same time I check the online headlines of the daily press on my iPad. After that, the laptop is used. For about 30 minutes, I dedicate myself to e-mail reading and I check my agenda for the day ... When done I’m ready to take off …

(Interview dtd June 17, 2013)

Today in conversation with: Martin Hujsa, BSc MSc (project manager, sun4energy), Alumnus Class 2007-2009

Why did you choose for the REN master course at the Vienna University of Technology?
REN  is shaping the whole energy sector. It is the most dynamic and youngest business, which helps to “green” the world in a sustainable way. This master course offers the most suitable education in this sector in Central Europe. At the time of my studies, there were no options for such educational portfolio suited for the business. Experienced lecturers, professionals and positive references from alumni gave me “green” to go for this course.

How was the REN master course crucial for your professional development?
I have received a compact overview of all divisions in REN (hydro, wind, geothermal, solar, ...) which helped me to orient myself in the sector. But the most crucial point was to meet my colleagues (also alumni from the same course) - with them we started our business in renewable energies. We are still staying in contact with other alumni, so thanks to REN master course networking is easy.

What advices would you want to give to new prospective students for the REN master course - what should they know?
To know what you want to do after your studies. Only then you can specify your requests for the lecturers.

What was your funniest experience during your REN study time?
A lot of funny stories, especially the evening sessions with other students …

In 10 years I will be….?
President of Slovakia :-) No, rather no.

What is your motto?
Do the things you really like.

(Interview dtd. May 17, 2013)

Today in conversation with: DI(FH) Harald Stütz, MSc (Lead Engineer - Design Battery Systems, AVL List GmbH), Alumnus Class 2005-2007

You already have had education and training at the College for Automotive Engineering in Steyr (Austria) and your first academic degree in „Mechanical Engineering“ at the University of Applied Sciences in Mittweida (Germany). Both of them are technology-orientated programs. Why did you decide on another program with a technical focus? What did you expect from the MSc program „Renewable Energy Systems“?
Regarding renewable energy I have always been interested in the technical realization and in the detail of solutions. Consequently my expectation from the MSc program was to get a complete overview on technical approaches in the use of renewable energy sources, in order to understand the systems. It was important to me as an engineer to be able to spot potential for optimization or to integrate existing solutions into new systems.

You have written your master´s thesis in the work scope of an R&D project at AVL List, your employer. How did the master program influence your professional life?
Even though I am still working for the same company, my positions has changed completely. AVL List is an engineering partner for automotive OEMs in the development of powertrain systems. After designing internal combustion engines for more than 13 years, today I am exclusively working on the development of the electrified powertrain. I am leading a team which is specialized in the design of battery systems for electric vehicles. This has a lot to do with renewable energy. In my opinion, the only way to run a car on renewable energy in a sustainable way is electrically. The recently achieved grid parity of photovoltaic systems is the most important argument for the electric car.

How did you benefit from the program personally? (Networking, management of relationships)
On one hand the MSc program offers access to very valuable contacts coming from many different business sectors. On the other hand, due to the program, my initial interest in renewable energy has developed to a consolidated determination to commit myself  to these technologies in a professional way. As a result of that very good possibilities have emerged for myself, in my case even without changing the employer.

Your graduation dates back several years. What comes to your mind when you think about the program? What were the highlights?
I have always enjoyed attending the courses, not only because I was very interested in the content. Beside a lot of stimulating discussions among colleagues with entirely different professional background, above all we had one thing: a lot of fun. In addition, it wasn’t a bad thing to be regularly pulled out a little bit from the daily working routine.

What private plans do you have for the next 3-5 years?
My plans are primarily focused on my family. Our children’s development and well-being are most important for me and my wife.
Beyond that I want to contribute as much as possible, so that comprehensive mobility solutions can arise, which are free from emissions and can be supplied with energy in a decentralized and sustainable way. I think we are currently witnessing an exciting period of substantial change.

What are your hobbies?
I spend my spare time with my little children. Apart from that my most favorite sport is skiing. And, even though that doesn’t really fit to renewable energy, I enjoy kart racing.

(Interview dtd. Apr 08, 2013)

Today in conversation with: DI Martina Prechtl-Grundnig, MSc (Director, Kleinwasserkraft Österreich), Alumna Class 2005-2007

Why did you choose for the master course at the Vienna University of Technology?
As former managing director of Energiepark Bruck I had the pleasure to co-develop and shape the course substantially. Energiepark Bruck started this- in the meantime very successful – master program in cooperation with the Technical University Vienna, because we saw a huge gap: The sector of renewable energy was growing constantly and became more and more important, yet there were hardly no adequate training offers in the entire educational landscape – certainly not in the area of postgraduate studies. In order to serve that demand, we have developed the course, which caused some troubles. When the course finally was ready to start, I wanted to participate of course. One reason was that we –as a co-founder of the course -could do an immediate quality control. Another reason was that I already gained a lot of practical experience in the field of renewable energy, but I had no comprehensive training in legal, economic and technical terms, which I considered very much for my further professional development.

How was the REN master course crucial for your professional development?
It brought me an expansion of knowledge about renewable energy and energy efficiency and enlarged my personal network.

What advices would you want to give to new prospective students for the master course - what you should they know?
They should use their study period actively – even sharing with colleagues and lectors. So they can benefit from the course best.

It is always said that women have a different management style than men. Do you think that's true in general? How do you see yourself as an executive manager?
I do believe that women have a different management style than men. But I don´t want to generalize or to make any evaluation. I'm just convinced that the style of communication, the way of finding solutions, the approaches in analysis, etc. differ between men and women. Therefore women and men can complement well in leadership. Using these facts consciously definitely can bring advantages for companies.
I think it is important to remain authentic in the assumption of leadership in order to use your strengths best. It certainly does not work, if women try to lead like men or vice versa.
As manager I prefer a very cooperative relationship. I appreciate it when employees work on their own, contribute ideas, show commitment and I can rely on them - but who does not?
And how do I see myself as a boss? This is a question, which I ask myself very often, because I am reflecting my leadership behaviour strongly. I think to some extent, this is necessary for performing well, but sometimes it can also be confusing. Since then discussions with "outsiders" - friends, family members or a coach are helpful.

Which book is currently on your bedside table?
Hannah Arendt – Eichmann in Jerusalem. A report on the banality of evil

What is your motto?
I consider myself a rather spontaneous person and therefore I don't live by any specific motto – still you will find a certain consistency in my resume.

(Interview dtd. Mar 20, 2013)

Career Spotlight: Marlene Buchinger
Today in conversation with: Mag. Marlene Buchinger, MSc (Project Manager, BayWe r.e. Wind GmbH)

Your first academic degree was a Bachelor in „Business Management“. Why did you decide just on a master program with technical background? Why did you just decide on the MSc Renewable Energy?
At the respective time I have had several years working experience in technically related industries, hence I wanted to enlarge my knowledge in a technical discipline. The focus on renewable energies especially in Eastern Europe was convincing for me. I liked the close dialog with the fellow students from which also work-related cooperation has resulted. 

At the beginning of the MSc you were employed as Business Developer at JUWI. Just after graduation of the MSc you  switched to RENERCO Renewable Energy Concepts AG (now: BayWe r.e. Wind GmbH).. How was the master programm crucial for your professional career?
The MSc studies were not a decisive factor for the job change, but I have benefited from the lectures in my current position as project manager for wind power projects. The knowledge about other renewable energy forms is beneficial as my company works also in the business areas photovoltaic, biomass and geothermal energy. For example my RENERCO colleagues have developed the two geothermal projects  Dürrnhaar and Kirchstockach, near Munich, which are producing 5.5 MW electrical power each. Those projects are known as lighthouse projects in Germany.

In your class at the MSc programm female students had a share of 25 %. What advices would you want to give to young female colleagues for their career?
Women should not be scared by technical contents and I would really appreciate if the share of female students further increases over the next years.

What career plans do you have for the next 3-5 years?
My focus will still be on wind power projects in the UK. Also I would like to apply my knowledge at projects in Austria and Eastern Europe, time will tell.

Renewable Energy is a vital topic nowadays. How do you practice environment protection at home?
In my opinion everybody can contribute to environmental protection. It starts with small steps like energy saving (turning off the lights), shopping (buying groceries directly at a farm) or using existing resources (heating or water usage). Additionally I cycle to work or use public transport and recently I bought a solar charging device for my mobile phone.

Which book do read currently?
It is the highly interesting and contemporary frightening book of Jorgen Randers „2052 – A Gobal Forecast for the Next Forty Years“ written on behalf of The Club of Rome. The complex consideration of ecological and hence social challenges in future are arousing. Finally nobody can overcome nature and according to Randers “the adjustment process of mankind to the boundaries of our planet has already started”.

(Interview dtd. Feb 21, 2013)

Career Spotlight: Philipp Wieltschnig
Today in conversation with: Mag. Philipp Wieltschnig, MSc (Project Development, Verbund Renewable Power GmbH)

Why did you decide just on this MSc program?
To get an extensive technical, economic and legal education in the future market of Renewable Energy and to strengthen my personal network in this area.

How was the REN master program crucial for your professional development?
The master program has given me the opportunity to deepen my professional activities, especially in the area of Renewable Energy and provided an important basis for my current professional task "project development of wind power projects", which I may exercise for Austria's largest electricity company VERBUND.

What advices would you want to give to new prospective students for the master program - what should they know?
The more you also actively contribute to the lectures, the more will be the output.
Not only the presented extensive information but especially the exciting mix of lecturers, students and alumni, who are all dealing in different ways with the topic of renewable energy, shows the high potential, that the master program offers.

What was your funniest experience during your REN study time?

Especially the excursions and visits abroad provided an opportunity to know each other better in a new relaxed environment - there was always a well-balanced evening program.

What career plans do you have for the next 3-5 years?

My goal is to further expand the share of renewable energy with new power plant projects.

What is your motto?
„Just do it“.

(Interview dtd. Jan 30, 2013)

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