French energy giant TotalEnergies (TTE) is a prestigious shareholder at EIT InnoEnergy – and a company with highly coveted internships. Formerly a classic oil and gas titan, their transformation and commitment to net zero by 2050 (with society) has them poised to be a significant player in the energy transition. Two students from the Master’s in Renewable Energies programme, who also happen to be twin brothers, share what it’s like to work on their master’s thesis there
How are Alexander and Frederik Van Ballaer finding their new roles, which by sheer coincidence are in the same department? Alex explains, “I get to use my technical knowledge in a business development scope, working on an offshore wind development proposal. With technological and ecological elements to be researched and worked out, the challenge is bringing them together into one thesis project. I’m also part of a team outlining the increasingly important role of circularity in the offshore wind sector country by country. It feels good to contribute tangibly – and being surrounded by bright minds from all over the globe inspires me. TTE has the means to realise the biggest renewable energy projects in the world, and I’m proud to be a part of that.” Frederik shares his role, “I’m focused on offshore wind business development in Germany, a country with massive renewable ambitions. Our team deals with competitor analyses, market developments (power, energy and hydrogen), legislation, and political reform from a regional to a European scale. It’s fast-paced work, with unexpected challenges almost daily, which helps keep me motivated!”
EIT InnoEnergy support
Acquiring their great positions at TTE came with some challenges of its own. Frederik says, “We ran into some initial barriers which Career Services at EIT InnoEnergy helped us overcome. Thanks to their adaptability and dynamic perspective, several other students and I were able to commence our thesis/internship with TTE. EIT InnoEnergy has been supportive in multiple ways, and thanks to their very prestigious partner universities (and being well-known globally), I presented a very attractive CV to the hiring team. Besides, TTE has always had a very close relationship with EIT InnoEnergy’s partner university École Polytechnique..” Alexander adds, “TTE seemed to appreciate the EIT InnoEnergy component of my resume, helping me stand out, and is partly why they chose me. And I’m very grateful for EIT InnoEnergy’s guidance during the contract signing. They made it happen!”
For students, connecting to industry before graduation is key to getting their careers off to a successful start, whether they want to work for industry leaders or start their own companies. Alexander shares how EIT InnoEnergy gives students a leg up in this area: “The connection to the industry is quite good with regular excursions, networking events and guest lecturers during both years of the programme. École Polytechnique and Instituto Superior Técnico also allowed me to spend several months working in the energy industry on currently relevant topics.” Frederik felt the connection with the industry was very strong during his time at École Polytechnique, saying, “They offer extensive career counselling services, company presentations and help students to intern at some of the biggest players in renewable energy.”
A great career start
These brothers are committed to playing an important role in the energy transition and find their work at TTE a great start. Frederik says, “The vast amount of diversity, knowledge and expertise wielded by TTE is inspiring. And Paris is a great city to start your professional career in, given the number of headquarters, international corporations, etc. – Plus, there’s always something fun to do!” Alex adds, “I get to learn from some of the brightest people in this space, motivating me to do my best. And I think learning about the actual, practical, and economic development of renewable energy projects will benefit me, no matter where I end up. On top of that, the TotalEnergies name is a great addition to the resume, as it’s synonymous with excellence. I’m very grateful for the direction the EIT InnoEnergy programme has allowed me to take so far!”
Find out which direction the EIT InnoEnergy Master School could take you! Learn more about programmes here.