Career Story: Roman Samoylov, Porocel

June 04, 2018

MBA Energy Management alumnus

What stages in your life have had the greatest impact on you and why?

Living for long time in three different cultures: Central Asian (childhood), Russian (adolescence) and European (adulthood) and studying in multinational environment with over 10 nationalities in small classes have had the greatest impact on me. It gave me self-awareness & awareness of other cultures, patience & tolerance, ability to find compromise & understanding various ways of approaching tasks

Did you originally want to pursue a different career? If so, what made you change your plans?

In high school time I was passionate about ancient history, literature and English classes, so I wanted to be diplomate. During last year of high school, I completely changed my direction thanks to chemistry teacher. I got passion about chemistry and then applied for chemical engineering in Gubkin Russian state university of Oil & Gas, which I graduated with honors. This was a first step in my career in oil & gas industry.

How and why did you come to work for Porocel Corporation?

After graduating from French Petroleum Institute with MSc, I worked in technical positions at Axens, worldwide leader in oil & gas downstream engineering solutions.  Having gained technical expertise, I was looking for greater responsibilities on commercial side of the business. Not getting this job probably due to not having enough “grey hair” for such kind of role, I decided to pursue MBA to expand my opportunities and be more competitive. My current employer Porocel, leading company in providing services and catalysts for oil & gas processing industry, was looking for ambitious profile with technical expertise and commercial acumen.

What has changed in your career as a result of your MBA degree? How did the program (state-of-the-art knowledge, skills, networking) support you in reaching your career goals? What concrete career opportunities (promotions, new responsibilities, etc.) have opened up for you?

MBA is not going to put your dream job in hand, but rather give you necessary tools to thrive. Personally, I feel this MBA is investment for life.  This MBA definitely expanded my career options in energy industry. It created also a legacy of having friendship and peers network from energy industry.  The MBA developed skills to lead you into management track career. On top of that I got practical results: during MBA course I changed the company, the country and salary. I moved from technical to commercial role. This position gave me a great level of responsibility over vast region.

What was your biggest professional/personal success?

I consider that to be on a position of sales manager in age of 30 with responsibility over huge region is my professional success. As for personal success, the balance between private life and professional life is where I am doing not bad, that indeed I will continue to maintain.

What are your goals for the coming year? Your goals in general? Is there still something you absolutely want to do?

In coming year, I commit to succeed in my new position, achieving my targets and applying MBA in my job. I also want to continue to enjoy Europe, as I am based in the heart of it - Luxembourg.  Another big thing for me is 42 km marathon in Paris.  

What do you consider a “great luxury”?

Go for vacations and switch off the mobile phone is something I cannot allow myself. Job requires always be ready to support my customers.

What was the last book/movie you really enjoyed?

“The power of your subconscious mind” by J. Murphy. It unveils some secrets of our life.

How would you characterize your philosophy of leadership? Has it been influenced by a leadership role-model?

I believe my philosophy of leadership evolves from experience with people I met in life: teachers, colleagues, managers at work, my family. I believe that lead by example, be adaptive to change and value relationship with people is what contributes to good leadership.

How do you recharge your batteries when you are not pursuing your demanding career?

Renting a car and travelling from one city to another, playing Pink Floyd songs on guitar…

If you could change places with anyone for a day, who would it be?

Probably we admire the people, whose character we want to see in ourselves. it would be some great people, who had an impact on people’s life. This comes from desire to see the way of thinking of those people and the ideas they were driven by.

Why would you recommend the MBA Energy Management of the WU Executive Academy? What did you like the most?

MBA is an excellent opportunity for a change. Most of all I appreciated this atmosphere of learning and interaction we had in the class. I was always waiting for the next module to get myself in this atmosphere. I enjoyed the process – class lectures, module assignments, field trips. This particular MBA course let you interact very closely with group peers, professors and industry leaders. All of them were top class lecturers, but some were outstanding, like Shell VP. Another thing is very relevant module courses.  In addition to excellent business core subjects, a great focus was on renewable energies that I appreciated a lot. Last but not least, thesis let you dig into energy topic and gain expertise there. This can be even applicable to your company’s business.

Undoubtedly, this MBA gives you all you need for business leader career and you can get from this MBA as much as you can.


My motto in life:
“Happiness is where I am” – my wife.
I can laugh about:
Louis de Funes acting in his movies.
Shortcomings I am most likely willing to overlook:
My wife’s too much love for chocolate and ice-cream.
I would spend my last money on:
Going to Val d’Orca in Toscana.
In 20 years I will:
Be still throwing new challenges to myself, traveling over the world and making people’s life better from energy industry perspective.

Read more interesting career stories of our students and alumni here.

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