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Achieving great things with Sasaenia Paul Oluwabunmi CEng MIET

“Perhaps the most challenging part of my current role is the constant switch between cultures and the need for adaptability,” says Paul.

“I can remember travelling to China to appraise a project on Wednesday, flying back to Austria on Friday to present my findings at the office, and leaving on Saturday to Ghana to review another project. It was tough!

“My role entails a lot of business trips (especially pre-Covid) to project locations for meetings and technical appraisal sessions with all stakeholders: contractors, consultants, project sponsors, financiers, government officials, and more.

I’m responsible for leading appraisal teams for several infrastructure projects across nine countries.

From sector analysis, economic and financial modelling to procurement supervision, my role spans across business development, technical analysis, and operations management.”

Inspired by his eldest brother, who studied material sciences engineering

Paul was intrigued by the problem-solving tenets of the engineering profession.

“As a student, I loved the physical sciences (mathematics, physics, and chemistry), and was passionate about energy access,” says Paul.

Paul went on to achieve academic excellence, first with a First Class Honours BSc in Electronic & Electrical Engineering at Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria before achieving an MSc Energy Systems Engineering at Cranfield University, UK.

“I’m currently working towards an MBA with the Kellogg School of Management, USA and WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management, Germany,” says Paul.

“My current role requires technical, finance and project management skills,” says Paul.

“I enjoy my position and I’d like to leverage on these wide-ranging skills even further.”

Moving from core engineering roles to a managerial one, the varied opportunities for Paul to achieve great things in his early career have been limitless

“When working as a volunteer in energy engineering and policy, I was selected to address over 1,300 young people from 196 countries at the One Young World Conference in Thailand,” says Paul.

“I spoke on the role of youths regarding transparency and integrity in the energy sector.

I was invited to speak alongside President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim of Mauritius, President Jorge ‘Tuto’ Quiroga, Former President of Bolivia, Ivonne A-Baki, Politician, Artist and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, and Akala, Social Entrepreneur and Hip-Hop Artist.”

The most memorable project he’s worked on stretched him personally and professionally

“One of the most important projects I worked on was in Mozambique,” says Paul.

“The project consisted of the design, financing, construction and operation of a 400 MW gas-fired Independent Power Plant (IPP) and the construction of a 563km, 400 KV electricity transmission system (including four transformer substations and related infrastructure such as busbars, line reactors etc, and a telecommunications and SCADA control centre.)

Apart from OPEC Fund, the project involved several co-financiers such as International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), United Kingdom’s Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), Government of Norway (GoN), African Development Bank (AfDB), Agence Franciase de Development (AFD), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the Government of Mozambique (GoM).

“I was the technical reviewer for OPEC Fund on the project, in charge of techno-economic analysis, project risk assessment, as well as ensuring conformity with all requisite standards at the design stage.”

Since kicking off his engineering career at Nestlé Nigeria as an Electrical Engineer under the company’s graduate programme, Paul was awarded with another opportunity for his professional growth

“After working for several months at Nestlé, I was awarded the Exxon Mobil international postgraduate scholarship to study for my MSc at Cranfield University, UK,” says Paul.

“Following my MSc, I was employed by GSK UK under its future leader program as an automation engineering associate before taking on roles with the OPEC Fund in Vienna, Austria.

“I joined the IET whilst studying for my MSc,” says Paul. “After a lot of research, I discovered that the IET is one of the world’s most reputable professional institutions.

I wanted to benefit both academically and professionally from all the opportunities the IET offered.”

A personal goal Paul had set out for himself early on in his career was to become a Chartered Engineer

“On my journey to Professional Registration, I benefitted a lot from having an IET mentor.

Additionally, I constantly asked for feedback throughout the application process from friends who were already chartered. I also had a lot of support from my wife which kept me going when the journey became difficult.

“The application process was nerve wracking and required a lot of work. However, the IET was very supportive.

Apart from my mentor who supported me over the five-year period it took for me to become chartered, the IET also connected me with a Professional Registration Advisor who provided helpful feedback on my application.

Career Manager was very useful in keeping track of all my engineering accomplishments."

With unlimited potential for professional growth, Paul also broadened his network by becoming an IET Young Professional (YP) Ambassador

“As the only YP Ambassador in Austria, I participate in several webinars targeted at stimulating the interest of engineering undergrads in becoming chartered.

I find these opportunities very refreshing, as it gives me a chance to give back to the community.

“Being an IET member has been very helpful.”