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Lawrence Ramnath

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EMBA in Energy Alumni Spotlight: Lawrence Ramnath

Headshot of Lawrence Ramnath

Lawrence Ramnath earned his EMBA in Energy in 2017 as a member of Class 6. Based in Houston, Lawrence works at BP as senior manager of health, safety and environment and low carbon for the world regions. 

Why did you choose the EMBA in Energy program at OU?  

The OU EMBA program was unique and attractive in several ways: 

•It was specifically designed to help energy professionals progress their career into senior leadership roles. 

•The curriculum was wholly focused on the energy industry. 

•The program was mostly virtual, providing working professionals with greater flexibility to complete the coursework. 

•The duration was only 16 months (which was much more appealing than some of the competing 24-month programs with weekend classes). 

•The faculty who supported the program were very qualified academically and as industry leaders. 

•It was an executive program that presented many opportunities for the cohort to learn from each other’s experiences.  

Overall, the OU EMBA program was a well-refined product that made positive, impactful change to my career and exceeded my expectations.  

What was your favorite or the most valuable aspect of the EMBA program and why?  

My favorite part of the EMBA program was the curriculum. The program courses not only inspired genuine interest but were critical to any energy leader wanting to enhance their career and generate value for the business they represented. The material was current and prolific; it explored the breadth and depth of relevant energy issues, and there was a strong focus toward successfully managing future energy challenges, opportunities and trends.  

In addition, there was an underlying professional coaching aspect of the program that helped each individual leverage their strengths and present their best self to navigate their future career. This was an invaluable experience that complemented every other aspect of the OU EMBA in energy.  

How has earning your EMBA affected your career?  

Since completing my EMBA, I am grateful to have been promoted in several ways. Firstly, within one year of completing the program I successfully achieved a senior leader position at the company where I work. This was a promotion into a technical leadership role aligned with my career core-discipline. During the interview process, I incorporated the knowledge gained from “Module 2 – Organizational Behavior” into the conversation, which thoroughly impressed the panel and contributed to my attaining the role. Secondly, my confidence with financial statements because of “Module 3 – Accounting II,” and greater understanding of quality leadership as a result of “Module 9 – Negotiation and Leadership,” promoted my professional visibility and improved my career networking amongst certain business resource groups and company executives. Thirdly, I was asked to lead one of the most interesting and important projects in my career regarding the use of data analytics to directly improve business performance based on the knowledge gained from “Module 4 – Quantitative Methods and Models.”  

Finally, after a recent major company reorganization, I was placed in a new role and in a new discipline. Rather than view this as a career negative, I leveraged the wisdom from my executive career coaching sessions to accept this as an opportunity to refine myself into a more diverse leader and offer my capabilities to a new part of the company. This allowed me to better adjust to the changes, navigate the new career path, and perform to the high standard that I was accustomed.  

What advice do you have for navigating change and uncertainty in today’s energy market?  

I’m not sure if I have advice, but I can share some thoughts on the matter. A career or business in energy can be viewed as a long game. The word “long” is used deliberately given that our industry is over 150 years old and both change and uncertainty could be considered commonplace. Through my brief 20-year career I have seen aberrations in commodity prices due to geopolitical conflicts, natural disasters, market crashes, emerging economies and, most recently, a global pandemic. Yet, despite the times of instability, normalizing forces in the market are constantly at work to return us to a somewhat steady position. Therefore, a practice of patience versus panic may be a better approach to preserving our mental health, careers and businesses during difficult times.  

The word “game” is used deliberately given that we need to constantly think ahead and formulate our next move to survive the everchanging landscape. We need to be intelligent, resourceful, resilient and well-versed in the rules. We need to know who can support us and how, then collaboratively work with them to achieve differentiating results that are mutually beneficial. At times, we may need to change our strategy, employ different tactics, take a break or ask for help, view things from a different perspective, or fold and start a new game altogether. Regardless of what the game brings, always remember to take care of yourself, make your family and loved ones a priority, and know that you are not alone through the difficulties.