On Friday 4 October, the Carnegie Club hosted its IDEAS Conference. This conference included three different panels: “Power Politics & Revolution”,” The Energy Sector, A Fossilized Monopoly?” and “Fuelling Entrepreneurship & Innovation”. There was also an interactive session with Gwyn Day who provided a great deal of useful advice for getting a job. Ultimately, this event was an excellent way to meet new people, learn about different issues, and should have definitely be written down in your diary.

While the Carnegie Club is one of the newer societies, it has already accomplished quite a lot. The inspiration behind the foundation of the club was Andrew Carnegie, one of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful men, who served as rector at the University of St Andrews. Carnegie worked hard to acquire his wealth and was munificent, using his money to sponsor education through his generous donation to many schools and libraries. Following in this former rector’s footsteps, the Carnegie Club aims to provide a setting in which the leaders of today can meet and debate about pressing issues in order to impart their wisdom to the world’s future leaders.

The first panel, “Power Politics & Revolution”, explored the issue of limited resources and how this could impact the behavior of different actors in the international field. The speakers at this panel included J Todd Morley, the founder, chairman and CEO of G2 Investment Group; Sir Menzies Campbell MP, chancellor of the University; and Roger Caberra, director of advisory for Oxford Analytica and a graduate of St Andrews. For approximately 45 minutes these speakers discussed many different responses to the world’s limited resources. Sir Menzies focused on the political implications of how limited resources in the world will affect migration and the implications for the countries involved. Meanwhile, Mr Morley talked from a more financial viewpoint regarding resources and how, because they are necessary, they would make a good long-term investment. Finally, Mr Caberra pointed out how important it is for companies to be aware when interacting with resources and how there can always be a change from what was forecasted. For instance, ten years ago it was expected that the US would be one of the world’s largest gas importers, but now it is expected to be one of the world’s largest gas exporters.

The second panel, “The Energy Sector: A Fossilized Monopoly?”, analysed the role that oil companies play in influencing our world and whether this is likely to change over the next 20 years. While the first panel was very interesting, possibly owing to expectations and the absence of a break, the second was more difficult to pay attention to. There were still some good aspects and interesting things to be learned, though. The speakers at this panel included John Purvis MSP; Niall Stuart, CEO of Scottish Renewables; and Paul Younger, a professor of energy engineering at the University of Glasgow. These speakers also focused on discussing the issue of energy demand and the necessity to find some form of sustainability in order to preserve our resources.

The third panel, “Fueling Entrepreneurship & Innovation”, was the most interesting and inspiring and covered the topic of how new technologies and innovations will change the energy market over the next 20 years. The speakers at this panel included Colin Welsh, CEO of Simmons and Company International; Diana Rifai, CEO of Paradigm Change Capital Partners; and John Ferguson, director of EcoideaM. In addition to discussing matters in energy, these speakers also imparted their wisdom on what it is like to be an entrepreneur, including the hardships of risk and the rewards.

The most engaging part of the day was the interactive session with Gwyn Day, employability consultant. During the session he provided tips on how to write a successful cover letter and gave insightful information as to what the top five personal skills employers look for: communication, determination, creativity, adaptability and strategic thinking.

Ultimately the IDEAS Conference was very interesting and a great way to learn about new things. Covering a vast number of topics and perspectives this event could have been attended by students from any discipline, and provided a valuable networking platform.

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