Alum of the Month - May 2023

Abhishek Dhingra

Currently, I am thoroughly enjoying negotiating strategic partnership agreements with some of the most influential companies, creating my vision of a world where you and I do not have to think about our energy, because it is affordable, reliable, and doesn't harm the planet.


  • Programme studied: MSc Management of Information Systems and Digital Innovation
  • Year of Graduation: 2008
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Abhishek Dhingra graduated from LSE Department of Management in 2008 and is now Shell’s Global Director of Sustainability Strategic Partnerships. Having held several commercial leadership and energy trading roles since graduation, he chooses pragmatic solutions to systematically decarbonise the world, not radical action that disrupts the energy use of the general public. By leading cross-industry agreements on new business models and technologies, he is helping to enable the supply and use of carbon-free energy.

Tell us about your career journey since graduating from LSE. 

I was fortunate enough to graduate with an offer to join Macquarie Bank in their Energy Derivatives department at a time when the world had plunged into the economic crisis. As an analyst on the trading floor with no background in finance or energy, I had a very steep learning curve. One very quickly realises how different the world of trading and finance are from the depictions we see in popular media. Most days were long and grinding, with an ongoing need to communicate regularly (and succinctly) with your team for help and advice. Nevertheless, without actively realising, exposure to the energy sector prompted me to delve deeper into why certain events led to certain market reactions, derivative products, and hedging. Working for an integrated energy company that managed a physical supply chain and sold directly to consumers could only make things more interesting – so I applied to work for Shell. 

It is important to share some thoughts I had in the first few months at Shell as these have gone on to define my decade tenure here: 

1) Culture: For a global organisation of over 80,000 people across multiple energy businesses, ranging from oil and gas to renewables (and non-energy businesses like lubricants and chemicals), Shell has a nurturing and caring environment that encourages learning and curiosity. 

2) Impact: With energy being the lifeblood of economies, policies, and industries, Shell offers the opportunity to create a long-lasting and widespread impact.  

3) Career paths: With the diversity of businesses spanning multiple value chains and geographies, I rarely come across two individuals in comparable jobs who followed a similar path to get there. 

 I decided to take advantage of all three of these.  

I actively sought out opportunities that allowed me to be in sell-side, buy-side, and supply chain roles. Negotiating with large blue-chip companies required completely different considerations, from leading deals with start-ups, as well as navigating mature markets versus emerging ones. Trading environments gave me the skills required for short-term deal value realisation, and commercial leadership allowed me to build global, long-term strategic partnerships that required thoughtfully articulating a compelling yet feasible vision of the future. Whilst I started in highly established conventional oil and gas, I consciously challenged myself to move to the nascent renewables and carbon management businesses. 

Currently, I am thoroughly enjoying negotiating strategic partnership agreements with some of the most influential companies, creating my vision of a world where you and I do not have to think about our energy, because it is affordable, reliable, and doesn't harm the planet.  

Safe to say that there’s no dearth of challenges and my learning hasn’t stopped! 

How did your time at LSE influence your career journey?  

Put thousands of brilliant minds from all walks of life and cultures in a bubble inside a city like London and I wouldn’t be the first or last to admit that the LSE taught me to dream (bigger)! And it also gave me the skills and resilience necessary to work towards those dreams. I trace my drive to set ambitious goals back to all the “so-what” conversations with my LSE peers and faculty. The exposure to different cultures and diverse perspectives fostered a mindset of learning by collaborating with others – essential skills in negotiating business agreements! When I’m unpicking complex situations in the energy industry, I’m brought back to the thrill of dissecting case studies with my LSE peers. 

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career, and what have you learned from it? 

Actively seeking stretch assignments has the benefit of growth, but from time to time it also has the unintended consequence of finding yourself in assignments that you don't enjoy at all. I realised that it could become a vicious cycle of not doing the job well due to a lack of enjoyment, resulting in a lack of excelling and promotion. More than anything else, these experiences made me learn more about myself – what I value in my work life, and what I struggle with. The opportunity for growth is on the edge of your comfort zone, but it is also necessary to identify the edge of your boundaries. 

What is one piece of advice you would share with current students or recent graduates looking to follow in your career footsteps? 

Good things take time and effort. The LSE does very well at attracting, curating, and developing top talent. Graduates enter the real world with a strong drive, a governing purpose, and the gift of knowledge and intellect. And with these qualities one can often have a palpable sense of impatience to do big, news-worthy, or highly lucrative things, which can lead to jumping from one thing to the next. I have discovered that achieving long-term success and impact requires patience, persistence, and a willingness to learn. Challenging myself to think of a longer term (20 - 40 year) goal that I reassess and refine every few years has worked well for me. For me, this long-term goal focuses on the big questions, for example how I picture spending my time at work, and what words people use to describe me. This way I remain focussed on doing the best job in the moment. It always surprises me how much I have learned without thinking about it. 

Share with us your fondest memory of the Department of Management. 

From the comforting warmth of chips at the Wright’s Bar on a rainy and cold London day, to changing electives at the last minute so I could attend the rousing lectures led by Professor Ian Angell in the Peacock theatre; from nights spent agonising over reading lists and toiling over my dissertation, to experiencing beautiful London in the spring over the Easter break – there are far too many memories to pick just one as the fondest! 

If you would like to be our Alum of the Month or if you would like to nominate a Department of Management alumni, please email dom.alumni@lse.ac.uk.