PhD graduate Sara Ghaem Sigarchian is already in her perfect job.
She uses her KTH research skills, combined with the skills she gained in the EIT InnoEnergy PhD school, to help companies create and develop innovative products. Her time in the programme has also given her the know-how and most importantly courage to launch her own start-up!
What are you working on at the moment? And how did your time in the programme prepare you for this?
I am a senior energy specialist at EIT InnoEnergy. At my current work, we help companies to grow – which I really enjoy being a part of. I have a lot of interesting responsibilities in this role, for example; market potential analysis, creating business models, and suggesting financial models and profitability of a product. To do this, I am directly using the entrepreneurship skills which I obtained during the programme – as well as running my own start-up through EIT InnoEnergy’s Business Creation Services.
What do you think are the main qualities needed to launch a business project? How does the programme help with this?
Having a great team and a good business plan are key; however, choosing a business idea at the right time is also crucially important. During a few of the PhD courses, I learned how to create a business plan and how to evaluate a business idea and its market potential. I was also encouraged to think about various ideas and urged to choose one for further evaluation in regards to creating a business. This programme gave me the confidence and courage to see myself as an entrepreneur.
What’s your next challenge?
I have really enjoyed creating and developing ideas, so I believe my next challenge is to help companies (in the energy field) to offer successful products and services to the market. I know that this is not going to be easy due to the highly competitive market, talented people and fast-growing market in this industry – but I do feel that I have a lot of ideas and expertise to bring to the table.
How did you manage the EIT InnoEnergy PhD School activities with your PhD research?
It was not easy – but things of value never are. However, at KTH we need to pass 60 credits during our PhD education anyway. So I was able to use the courses from the EIT InnoEnergy PhD school for my PhD education, which was great!
What were your personal highlights from the programme? And the main benefit?
In one of the courses, we were encouraged to take one business ideas and move it into the next stages – to create a business model. I enjoyed this course so much that I decided to start my business idea! Learning the process of how to take an idea to market is such a valuable lesson, something very much missing from traditional studies. The main benefits of the EIT InnoEnergy PhD programme are the networking, the business creation knowledge and the courage it provides the students to go out and use these things in real-life to succeed.
Where will the skills you have gained take you in the future?
I am already there! At my current job, I use my KTH research skills combined with the skills I gained through the InnoEnergy PhD school. In this way, I help companies to create and develop innovative products. It’s exciting and fulfilling work – and I’m exactly where I want to be!
Anything you’d like to share about the programme or your fellow students?
If you are looking at the programme, I would say this is a chance you must take – and if you are already in the programme, please get fully engaged. This will pay off much earlier and on a much larger scale that you can imagine.
Become part of the EIT InnoEnergy ecosystem, gain access to a network of like-minded individuals, start-ups, scale-ups, innovation projects, universities and industrial partners across Europe. Apply to the EIT InnoEnergy PHD School before 12 May deadline.
Like this story? Follow the EIT to get more!