Sainsbury Management Fellows

Interview 6: James Diaz-Sokoloff

James Diaz-Sokoloff (MEng, University of Bristol), London Business School
Prior to London Business School, James enjoyed a broad career within the specialised area of subsea oil and gas projects.  Most recently he was a subsea project engineer within BP’s global projects organisation, responsible for the manufacturing, testing and supplier management of subsea well systems to BP’s flagship gas project in the Caspian Sea region. Prior to that, he worked in the North Sea region, working on subsea electro-hydraulic power cable projects from manufacture and testing through to offshore installation.

What tip would you give an applicant for the SMF scholarship?
For the written aspect of the scholarship, I encourage the use of literary hooks to entice the selection panel into wanting to learn more about your achievements to date and future potential.  For the interview, I encourage you to be ready to talk about your career goals and more, be ready to have a little debate on your aspirations and to delve into the detail of your current role as you may find that a selection panel member has extensive experience in your field!

What does winning the scholarship mean to you?
The generous monetary value of the SMF scholarship has made the financial aspects of attending a top-tier business school both achievable and realistic.  In addition, I look forward to the longer-term benefit of access to the extensive network within the Sainsbury Management Fellowship and the career mentoring that the Fellowship will offer.

What is your first impression of business school?
Some may consider taking two years out of paid employment a bit of a gamble, or even a bout of madness, but six weeks into the LBS programme and any feelings of cold feet are gone.  Being surrounded by so many highly driven and accomplished individuals, within my cohort, has forced me to raise my own performance in taking advantage of what the school has to offer.

Other than your studies, what activities will you get involved in at business school? 
Outside of academic study, I shall be an active member of the LBS Energy Club, with the intent of growing my knowledge and network across the wider energy sector. On a sporting basis, I will be getting stuck into playing rugby for the affectionately named LBS Hawaiians and being part of the organising committee for the LBS snow sports trips.

How do you think your MBA skills will take you forward in your career?
Whether I return to BP or experience opportunities elsewhere within the energy sector, the MBA programme provides a solid foundation for me to continue progressing professionally.  Having a firm awareness and grounding in accounting, finance and economics are fundamental areas of knowledge that I will need to reach the higher levels of engineering leadership.

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