Sustainable Energy program at REYST, experience from a graduate

Reykjavik Energy Graduate School of Sustainable Systems (REYST), Reykjavik/ Iceland, website snapshot
Alexander Richter 25 Mar 2011

In an interview with ThinkGeoEnergy, Jón Örn Jónsson, Project Manager at Reykjavik Geothermal, provides us with some insights on his experience with the graduate program at the Reykjavik Energy Graduate School of Sustainable Systems (REYST) in Reykjavik, Iceland.

ThinkGeoEnergy aims at promoting geothermal energy and given the expected lack in staffing the ambitious growth plans for geothermal energy projects globally, it is crucial to promote educational programs that educate the geothermal experts of tomorrow.

One program that has been up and running now for a few years is REYST, the Reykjavik Energy Graduate School of Sustainable Systems.

One of the graduates of the program, Jón Örn Jónsson, who graduated in 2010 from the program with a MSc in Sustainable Energy and Business gave us his insight into the program and his experience. Jón is working today at Icelandic geothermal energy company Reykjavik Geothermal as a project manager.

How did you initially decide to pursue a MSc in sustainable energy and business?
I was looking for an opportunity to broaden my educational background. One year earlier I started pursuing a Masters in Project Management when a fellow student pointed out to me this very ambitious MSc program at REYST, which was starting. The program combined one of the strongest companies in the field of Sustainable Energy in the world, Reykjavik Energy and the two best Universities in Iceland. Reykjavik Energy is currently running one of the biggest geothermal power plants in the world with an unparalleled district heating system. The experience within Reykjavik Energy and that the school would be situated within the company walls in close contact with highly experienced staff was a clear selling point for me. After going through the set of courses I also realized that the two Master programs would complement each other. I therefore decided to pursue an MSc at REYST.

Tell us about your experience doing MSc at REYST.
My experience was very good. I believe that if you set the standards high people will rise up them and that was what REYST did for me. What immediately struck me was the high standard of the lecturers and the facility the school provided. It gave me a sense that they really cared for my education and also a sense of privilege, this drove me to do my very best. In a way, one could say that I wanted to repay the good effort the school had put into this program and how Reykjavik Energy had welcomed me and my fellow students with open arms.

In retrospect, what do you know now that you wish you knew before you pursued your MSc education?

There are a few things I learned during my MSc education that can be directly related to my studies but maybe not to the syllabus. First of all, I felt that the more I absorbed during my studies the less I knew. Secondly I wish that I had been able to decide earlier on the subject of my thesis and last but not least that the MSc education will show you where the tools are and how to use them but it is then in the hands of each student to learn and develop their skills.

What factors should prospective students consider when choosing an MSc program in sustainable energy business from REYST?
I think that the programs relationship to the industry is vital. Students should try to choose a program that has a strong link with the industry while studying. It gives all the courses and projects a higher relevance if they are current and deal with real live situations. Working with the industry will also give students the opportunity of getting industry connections which can be of good value after they graduate.

Does graduating from REYST make a difference in landing a good job?
REYST has a strong relationship with the industry and the academics in the field of sustainable energy. Students graduating from REYST will provide them with a strong support network for landing a good job. The readiness of the schools management to aid and support is unmatched.

Do you feel that is important for someone to be passionate about the field of sustainable energy business in order to be successful?
I think that no matter what field you pursue it is very important to be passionate. With passion there is ambition and with ambition you will always succeed.

The program is now open for applications for the new academic year, with a deadline of April 4, 2011.