“Growing up I looked up to figures like Marie Curie or Charles Darwin, so I quickly developed an ambition for science,” recalls Paula Vinyeta, Natural Gas Analyst at MET International (the trading & wholesale arm of MET Group) who obtained her Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, and Bachelors in Energy Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. Together with her colleagues, they quash two clichés at once: science is rather for men, and that men dominate the energy sector.
MET International’s (METI) Power Structurer Zsófia Kovács – who obtained her Bachelor of Science in Energy Engineering from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, and Master of Science in Energy Science and Technology at ETH Zürich – says the inspiration to study engineering came from her appreciation for problem-solving and comprehending the logical underpinnings of complex questions.
Decoding problems also attracted Saleta Díez Rodríguez-Arias, EUA and Certificates Trader on METI’s trading floor, who studied Civil Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Madrid. “Somehow, I have always known that I liked solving problems and working with numbers. There was a time when, after traveling to different developing countries, I considered studying social work and it was my father, an engineer who convinced me to enhance my skills and to pursue a career where I could make the world a better place from a different point of view.”
Energy trading is definitely an exciting, but also very complex area which scientific or engineering studies can help ones navigate. “In energy trading, a strong analytical foundation is invaluable for making informed decisions based on data analysis, understanding market dynamics, and implementing effective strategies,” explains Julia Matas, Junior Data Engineer at METI, who gained her Bachelors in Economics with a minor in Data Science from the University of St. Gallen.
Another advantage, mentioned by Zsófia Kovács: studying science can greatly benefit a career in energy trading due to the analytical skills and quantitative mindset developed during those studies. “An engineering background can also provide a deeper understanding of the technical aspects of energy systems and fundamental factors driving the energy markets,” she says. For Saleta Díez Rodríguez-Arias, an engineering mindset helped to acquire very useful skills in the energy sector, such as analysis, commitment to hard work and resilience.
Our colleagues also emphasize that it is interesting to see more and more women working in energy trading jobs.
“It has been a reality for many years that jobs on trading floors were mainly held by men, with women in leadership roles within the commodities sector being an exception. However, there is a gradual shift towards more inclusivity,” Paula Vinyeta considers. Her colleague, Zsófia Kovács stresses that she has received recognition based on her skills and contributions, rather than her gender – adding: “Surprisingly enough, the gender ratio within my team, METI Power Desk, is quite the opposite of the expectations.”
All four of these MET International professionals work on the company’s trading floor in the Swiss headquarters, in Baar. Paula says that the thrill lies in the direct connection to global events influencing energy markets, such as the realization that weather patterns in distant countries can impact local electricity prices.
“The most exciting part of working on a trading floor is the dynamic and fast-paced environment, presenting a new challenge at every moment,” states Zsófia. Her trader colleague Saleta highlights their jobs’ European dimension: “Being surrounded by smart and experienced people covering different markets and commodities gives a very broad view of what is going on in Europe.”
As a Data Engineer, Julia talks about the exhilaration stemming “from the diversity and intensity of data that streams in, coupled with the constant challenge to forecast and adapt to the ever-evolving market dynamics”. She thinks that data science at MET Group plays an essential role, utilizing advanced analytics, machine learning, and statistical models to derive insights from data. “It goes beyond traditional IT functions by focusing on extracting knowledge and predictions from data, contributing directly to informed decision-making.”
Although science can help doing your work, it can also teach you important life lessons. Saleta says it taught her to remain humble. “In a constantly changing world in which even scientific theories are updated every time new information or data is found, we have no choice but to recognize how small we are, and how much we have to learn.”
Paula feels that science underlines the importance of critical thinking, demonstrating that rigorous inquiry and an open mind can overturn even the most longstanding misconceptions – such as the true shape of the Earth. Zsófia has the impression that science made her life easier. “Science has taught me that every question in life has a logical explanation. Whether it relates to a mathematical exam, professional task or interpersonal relationship, the comprehension of logical principles makes these challenges easier to overcome.”