How to combine several career tracks
Ayomikun Bello, 2022 MSc graduate and Phd-1 in Petroleum Engineering

CTO at Startup Eco-Energy and Research intern at Skoltech
Meet Ayomikun Bello, Petroleum Engineering graduate of class 2022 and CTO at startup Eco-Energy. Enjoy a story about a talented person who managed to combine different career tracks at the same time.
Skoltech journey
After completing my bachelor's degree in Kazan, Russia, I had a few options for pursuing a master's degree. Since I don't particularly fancy a "nomadic" lifestyle, I knew it would be a critical decision for me, so I sought for where I could build a career for myself.

I found a good fit between my passion, my future prospective and what Skoltech offers in its entirety. I wanted to have an interesting adventure with experimental research in my field of study, and I learned that Skoltech has a cutting-edge lab facility devoted to just that. It wasn't until after I joined Skoltech and started working in the lab, that I realise the gold mine I had struck. So far, choosing Skoltech has been one of my best decisions.


PETROLEUM ENGINEERING MASTER'S PROGRAM
trains a new generation of scientists and engineers capable of dealing with the key challenges of the oil and gas sector, and creating innovative solutions for enhanced oil recovery from the existing sources and development of unconventional and hard-to-recover reserves. The program combines high-level engineering training with teaching of mathematical modeling and data analysis and gaining field experience through research and industry projects.
Learn more >>
startup activities
I'm a co-founder and CTO at Eco-Energy, a Skoltech startup that specialises on developing smart waste management solutions for both residential and industrial use.

My duties involve overseeing scientific research, development of technical strategies, and technological infrastructure of our product(s). Currently, we are a registered company in Russia and week-in week-out, we are transforming our pilot project into launch phase. In fact, we already have an industrial partner whom we'll conduct a pilot test with.

We are also on our final stages with an investment company. I'm a part of a fantastic team of five, which includes two faculty members and three Skoltech graduates.

Pitch session at Startup Village 2022
current work
Currently I'm working as a research intern at Skoltech's Center for Petroleum Science and Engineering on 2 industrial projects.

The first project resulted from my MSс studies. We suggested the idea to an industrial partner and they were interested in having a project with us. The aim of the project is to increase oil recovery in a carbonate oilfield by injecting CO2 foams. Everyone who knows something about petroleum engineering knows that gas breakthrough is a common limitation of gas EOR which negatively impacts oil production. My research focuses on foaming the gas in-situ with nanoparticles and surfactant solutions, in order to improve viscosity and create a more uniform propagation front. The project centers around this, as our partners are interested in conducting a pilot test on one of their fields. Therefore, a comprehensive experimental research is required based on the field conditions.

The second project is a fluid optimization test for hydraulic fracturing. This project entails investigating how different fluids and emulsions behave with formation rock; as well as investigating the effectiveness of alternative demulsifiers.

In November, I will commence my PhD study.

career plans
With regards to my future career, I'll like borrow the words of my favourite faculty at Skoltech - "Science, research, publications are all good, but of what use are they if they just sit there in the corners of your lab". Thus, even though I want to stay in academia, I would also like to engage in consultancy for petroleum service or operating companies while overseeing the affairs at Eco-Energy.

I'm confident that the skills I've acquired at Skoltech—and will continue to acquire—will support me and help me succeed. In the future, I hope to make available as many as possible technologies for enhanced oil recovery and CO2 sequestration.
time management
Time management was one of my biggest challenges in combining startup and study. I was aware that I needed to keep up with my team in order to launch our startup as soon as we can. I also wanted to finish my MSc degree and graduate with honors, at the same time I wanted to be a researcher which means spending time in the lab and having publications. All these activities are time-consuming, and I wouldn't deny that finding a balance was difficult.

However, I learnt to identify what is urgent and what's not. I enjoy working with deadlines, not because I will complete the task on the deadline but it allows me to plan ahead and prioritise based on my goals, and that of my team.

I always set my goals in accordance with our key objectives in startup running, but feeling strong responsibility for my academic performance at the same time. Finally, I'd like to add that I work with the best team who appreciate one another and make it easier to overcome any challenges.

advice to students who want to develop their project during their study
✦ Firstly, I want to stress the importance of believing in your idea, no matter how simple or 'unsophisticated' it seems. Whether you have to write 1 line of code or 25 pages of code, the consumer won't care.

✦ Don't forget to use all Skoltech resources that are made for you.

✦ Keep going, keep innovating but stay focused and be true to your values.

✦ Finally, take your time and enjoy the process. Your project won't be built overnight, you will have to go through many stages, you will have to put in the work, your product will go through myriad of iterations based on the specifications and feedback of your end users (customers).
and now about Skoltech
We are Skoltech – a new international English-speaking STEM university that was founded by the group of world-renowned scientists in 2011 in Moscow, Russia. In just 8 years, we united dozens of researchers and globally renowned professors, built a stunning campus, set up world-class labs and made it to the top 100 young universities in the Nature Index. Read more >>
Discover Skoltech in less than 3 minutes
more stories? sure: