Interview with Csaba Zsoter, WPC Young Professionals Committee Member from Hungary

Csaba Zsoter is WPC Young Professionals Committee Member from Hungary and Supply and Trade Director at MOL Group.

The National Petroleum Committee of Serbia is very proud to be hosting the 2018 Tomorrow’s Leaders Symposium this September in Belgrade. Our Committee also actively participated in the previous very successful WPC “Tomorrow’s Leaders Symposium”  hosted by the Hungarian YPC in Budapest in October 2015. Please share with our readers the highlights of this event.  

WPC Tomorrow’s Leaders Symposium, an event series targeting young professionals active in the oil and gas industry, was launched in London in 2014, and the second event took place in the Hungarian capital on 8 October, 2015. 80 participants from 18 countries attended the Symposium and discussed the future of European downstream together with experts from leading oil and gas corporations, consultancy firms and universities.

WPC President, Dr József Tóth, opened the conference and gave the floor to speakers for resourceful presentations and interesting discussions on how the current geopolitical climate affects downstream operations and regulatory issues. Sessions in the afternoon were seeking answers for the sustainability of the downstream business model and brought together HR professionals to discuss the challenges in reducing the generation gap and recruiting top talents in the oil and gas business.

In addition, to extend the professional knowledge at the conference, social events served as great occasions for conference participants to build their networks, including a trip to the OPEC HQ in Vienna.

MOL Group, an integrated, international oil and gas company headquartered in Budapest, Hungary with a track record of 100 years in the industry hosted the WPC Tomorrow’s Leaders Symposium 2015.

We are thankful to the Hungarian YPC for the support to the Belgrade event and are happy to have an expected notable participation of the Hungarian National Committee representatives, both senior panelists at top management level and YPC members and participants. It is indeed recognized a as a good example of regional cooperation. Please bring closer to us the main activities and strategic goals of the WPC National Committee in Hungary.

The Hungarian YPC was established in 2015 for the Symposium organized in Budapest with multiple purpose. The most important ones are to decrease the generation gap by bringing international industry leaders, experts and young professionals together to discuss the hot topics in the industry affecting our region. Initially the organizers of the Symposium in Budapest have been the members of our YPC. Since then our Committee increased the number of active members from all fields of the industry from HR to drilling and from trading to retail. Now we have members not just from MOL, but from MET also and we are planning to involve more and more young professionals of the energy industry to cover all the companies in this field in Hungary.

Since 2015 we have participated at all the WPC events, in Rio Future Leaders’ Forum 2016, World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul, Across the Universe in Russia in 2017, CPC meeting in Krakow in 2018 and we are here again together. We have organized several inhouse events like site visits, knowledge sharing sessions, discussion with leaders in the Hungarian oil industry and of course team buildings.

According to our laid down strategy and mission we are on the way to enhance our members, both companies and enthusiastic young professionals to decrease the generation gap, intensifying our international, mainly regional activities; to bring in fresh approach and increase the participation rate of women. Besides the continuation of our work that we have already started, we are on the way to give external lectures about the actualities of the industry, we are working to participate in international WPC projects and host events.

The focal topic of this year’s Symposium will be “Downstream Energy Transformation”. Bearing in mind your experience in the downstream sector of the industry, what do you recognize as the main challenges in the coming period?

The world, energy and customer needs are changing rapidly and the oil and gas industry, especially Downstream, is changing too. The main challenge is to respond just as rapidly to its expectations. The urgent need to reduce CO2 emissions is recognized by the whole international community, governments are considering to limit fossil fuel cars in the future, both hybrid and electric cars are gaining popularity changing the focus of entire industries worldwide, sharing economy services are providing a wide range of revolutionary solutions in our everyday lives. It does sound like the end of oil industry era, yet we believe it is just a turning point.

We view these fundamental changes as a clear opportunity to make MOL Group better. We believe that the 4 pillars of our new strategy are the answer to changes:

  • Cash engines: cash generation through our integrated business model
  • The rise of Chemicals: set up a new business line by driving an industrial transformation
  • Growth engines: focus on consumer services including retail and industrial services, and new demands and business lines
  • THE BEST CHOICE: MOL Group will be the choice of employees, customers and investors

On the more personal level, we are eager to hear more about your professional career path in the Hungarian petroleum industry. What would be your advice to fellow young professionals who are at their initial stages of career?

First of all, unlike the current fashion says, working in the oil industry in my opinion is cool. You rarely find an industry (if at all) with such a complex environment with 1) high stakes; 2) long investment cycle and 3) disparity between supply and demand, to be balanced globally.

Furthermore personally I would propose three things as one proceeds in the early stage of his/her career. Working on self -awareness and continuous self-development – we learn only minor part of what we need and what we use from the formal education, constant investment into ourselves (let it be hard or soft skills) is a must. Do not forget, asking questions and asking for support (e.g. mentoring, coaching) is also cool.

Secondly, trust others, support others and cooperate. This is how you can advance in your career, whatever industry you are in, whatever your job is. I am not talking about empty networking of course – rather relationship in which both parties can develop.

And of course, hard work and discipline. Might sound boring, but this is where leadership starts.