Alum of the Month - November 2021

Manuel Geggus

The academic rigour at LSE is world class. Teaching was always about understanding the root cause of things as well as implications and impact, and this forced me to always think through a question or challenge at hand and develop my own opinion.
Manuel Geggus

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  • Programme studied: BSc Management, MSc International Management
  • Year of Graduation: 2010, 2011
  • LinkedIn profile

Meet our November Alum of the Month, Manuel Geggus. Since graduating from LSE, Manuel has worked in the energy industry, managing transformation and business development projects at E.ON, and is now Head of Storage Development Europe at RWE Renewables. Manuel is Vice President of the German Friends of LSE. 

Tell us about your career journey since graduating from LSE.

After I graduated from LSE I wanted to combine my interest in working on impactful projects with my interest to work in an industry that needed to undergo a fundamental transformation and thereby make a positive impact on wider society.

This led me to start my career at E.ON Inhouse Consulting and I joined a few months after the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, which forced E.ON to fundamentally move away from nuclear power generation. During the next eight years, I worked on various transformational projects, ranging from the development of a group-wide strategy for energy storage to the preparation and implementation of E.ON’s various organisational transformations.

In 2016, I was promoted to Project Manager and led teams of consultants and colleagues from other departments in projects while taking the full responsibility for project results. After E.ON and RWE decided to restructure both groups’ activities in 2018, I took the next step and joined the combined renewable energy business at RWE as Head of Storage Development Europe in October 2019. My team and I develop large scale battery storage projects in several European countries, which are increasingly necessary to stabilise the fluctuating output from an increasing share of renewable energy in the countries’ energy system.

How did your time at LSE prepare you for professional life, and to make an impact on the world?

I believe the BSc Management and particularly the MSc International Management programme prepared me well for professional life due to three characteristics.

First, the academic rigour at LSE is world-class. Teaching was always about understanding the root cause of things as well as implications and impacts. This forced me to always think through a question or challenge at hand and develop my own opinion, rather than only memorise facts and figures. In the energy industry, which has undergone tremendous change in the past decade and will continue to do so, thinking independently about root causes and implications is crucial – and highly valued by employers.

Second, the vibrant international student body had brought many different perspectives into discussions inside and outside class. This experience made me truly appreciate a broad range of different points of views, ways of working and thinking. LSE is uniquely suited for this learning due to its exceptionally international student body and broad range of speakers, who come each year to speak at the School.

Finally, the exchange term at the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, which was part of my Master’s programme, offered me a different, yet complementary, experience to LSE. The combination of the LSE’s academic rigour and Chicago Booth’s more practice-oriented approach has been a great preparation for professional life, where both the depth and practical application of knowledge count.

What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your career and what lessons have you learned from it?

My greatest challenge so far has been stepping up to the first leadership role and the required fundamental shift of perspective. After I had successfully worked as a consultant with increasingly large work packages and interaction with senior clients, I initially failed to appreciate the difference between executing my work and what it means to truly lead a project. I learned that leadership means thought leadership, i.e. having your own vision of the project results as well as the necessary steps to get there – combined with a willingness to challenge your clients/colleagues to achieve the best possible outcome for the company. I learnt to take conscious time to reflect and think through what each new role means especially in terms of required mindset.

As the Vice President of the German Friends of LSE (Alumni Association), what do you enjoy most?
I find volunteering as Vice President enjoyable and rewarding. I enjoy staying connected to fellow alumni and LSE professors, who we regularly invite to Germany. Second, giving back by supporting new students heading to London as well as new graduates returning to Germany with advice about studying at LSE or career prospects. Finally, the exchange with fellow global alumni leaders especially during the regular Alumni Leadership Forums, which are always a great place to exchange ideas and experiences.

What is your fondest memory whilst you were studying with us?

In my first year at LSE I was a board member of the Students’ Union German Society. We had invited Gregor Gysi, one of the leaders of Germany’s left party, to speak at our flagship event “German Symposium”. Ahead of his speech, we had arranged to meet Gregor Gysi together with Professor Schelkle of the European Institute, who had agreed to chair the event, at the Garrick for a cup of tea. After sitting down, Gregor Gysi showed his rhetoric skill by asking us: “Why are you studying here at LSE rather than something useful, like medicine at the University of Greifswald?”, upon which a lively discussion about the merits of different courses and universities started in our small group which nearly caused us to miss being at the lecture theatre in time...