Profile interview

– It’s all about you improving professionally

As a global energy company with a plethora of departments, it is a given that not all of Equinor’s employees are at the heart of their operations. For Marjan Movafagh, however, the EMME programme at BI ended up bringing her several steps closer.

Although she had been an employee of Equinor since 2006, former financial analyst Marjan Movafagh often felt that her role in accounting prevented her from contributing at full capacity for the company. That sparked a curiosity which made her look upwards. 

– To get a deeper understanding of the company’s many projects, I decided it was time to expand on my academic background. And after discovering that the top management at Equinor all seemed to have BI on their resume, it felt like the natural place to start searching.

Today she thanks the BI Executive Master of Management in Energy both for getting on the front foot in terms of knowledge about the industry, and for broadening her network. 

– Whenever I finished a module in the programme, I gained new topics to discuss with my colleagues and managers. I felt more confident to put my point of view forward and get involved in the discourse. All of a sudden I found it easier to establish a wide professional network. It has undoubtedly helped me get where I am, Movafagh says.

Hundreds of years of experience put together

An important criteria for most EMME students is being able to combine work and studies in a sustainable manner. The programme gathers professionals already established in the industry, as well as those aspiring to work in the energy field – and the participants often have over ten years of full-time work experience, Dean Lars Huemer explains.

– This year's class consists of over 30 people with an average age of 40. Put together we’re talking about hundreds of years of experience and an invaluable source of knowledge. So for us academics it’s a team exercise with the students – we provide tools and theories that can give them ideas, Huemer says.

Insight that opens doors

Today Norwegian-Iranian Marjan Movafagh maintains the position of asset controller for Equinor’s projects in Algeria. Although still in a finance and control function, she is far more involved in the projects that Equinor is conducting.

– Algeria plays a big role in terms of gas (and oil) export to Europe. We have a lot of discussions about the energy market internally, and I'm not afraid to raise my questions to high level managers to get them to share their thoughts with me. 

– With the proper insight from BI, I find myself learning even more from having thorough conversations with people in the market – people that have an impact on what's going on in the world of energy.


The Executive Master of Management in Energy is a collaboration between the leading international institutions BI Norwegian Business School and IFP School in Paris. The program lasts for 18 months, including four one-week modules and one two-weeks-module. The global focus of the industry is reflected in the structure of this programme, and classes normally have more than 15-20 nationalities represented. The EMME  program is suitable for both professionals already familiar with the industry, as well as those aspiring to work in the energy field.

Learning about the international world of energy

Movafagh still maintains contact with the participants of the EMME programme and asks for advice whenever she feels the need. The fact that she can easily get back to both professors and former students is always a comfort.

– In between the main modules you’ll have group activities where you learn a lot. We were all from different parts of the world – from Africa, Argentina, Norway, Italy – and we all had so many things to share.

– Often you can find yourself reading about the oil and gas industry in one place, but when you are in Algeria, Nigeria or Tanzania, life can sometimes be very different. Things might not be as straightforward as the way it’s presented elsewhere. In that sense, having a broad network is extremely valuable, Movafagh says.

Getting a broader understanding of what energy transition means around the world, helped Movafagh see that simply stopping oil & gas activities is not necessarily the solution. 

– I got so much valuable insight in how energy sectors could work towards net zero and make strategic decisions to achieve Paris Agreement goals.

Gaining confidence through hard work

At times she admits the combination of busy work and education was tough. But feeling her confidence constantly growing made it easier to accept the periods of hard work.

– BI changed my mind when it comes to education. All the effort you put into your studies is for your own sake. The more articles you read, the more involved you get in discussions, the more contact you have with your network – it's all about you improving professionally.

– One of the most valuable aspects for me personally was learning how to increase my knowledge in an effective manner. BI is so good at teaching students how to search for the right information and broaden their skill set.

– At one point I thought to myself: ‘Maybe I should just quit my job and continue studying?’ I just wanted to do research for the rest of my life! Today I am grateful that I didn’t – but I am truly grateful for the EMME experience, Movafagh cheers.

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