From Aberdeen to Robotics Guru - Benjamin KarenziBenjamin Karenzi

MSc Oil and Gas Enterprise Management
From Aberdeen to Robotics Guru

Your Time at Aberdeen

Why did you choose to study at Aberdeen?
The University of Aberdeen is the world leader in petroleum and energy studies, capitalising on Scotland's position as the energy capital of Europe and Aberdeen as the functional city for the exploration and production of oil and gas.

Why did you choose your particular course?
I wanted to do a course that could combine engineering, science and business together and I found OGEM the best and most unique MSc program. Coming from a finance and economics academic background, with good experience in telecommunications technologies and international business, with an interest in pursuing petroleum and energy studies, I couldn't have found any better program than OGEM.

What did you most enjoy about your time at Aberdeen? Did you have any particularly memorable student experiences?
I enjoyed spending time with friends at the Bobbin, Club Institute, Revolution de Cuba and the Espionage nightclub.

If you were involved in any clubs and societies as a student, what did you enjoy most about them and what benefit do you think they have for students?
Yes, I was a Student Ambassador and participated in several SPE, AUSA activities. I was an active member of AIPN - the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators. My participation allowed to make more friends and most of them form the backbone of my professional network.

If while at Aberdeen you took part in a foreign exchange, e.g. Erasmus or Study Abroad, where did you go and what did you do?
Part of my program was a study visit to Highlands and Islands of Scotland. We were based in Dingwall and experienced the environmental, social and economic implications of oil and gas production, some positive, and others negative. This experience formed my scope of understanding when contributing my quota to Rwanda's efforts in Hydrocarbon exploration on the Lake Kivu.

If talking to a group of prospective students, what advice would you give them to help them make the most of their time at the University of Aberdeen?
I always tell prospective students to get out of the apartments and join societies and class activities, as it is a good way to make friends and make study life enjoyable.

Did you undertake any co-curricular activities while at Aberdeen, e.g. Aberdeen Internships, Career Mentoring, STAR Award?
Yes, as a Student Ambassador I participated in many calls, online enquiries and campus tours with prospective students and parents. I also supported the events team during graduation ceremonies.

Your Time After Aberdeen

What was the title of your first job after graduating from Aberdeen?
Special Advisor at Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board.

What did your first role involve?
Advising senior management of hydrocarbon exploration planning including 2D Seismic Campaign, Methane Gas extraction operations and drafting the petroleum and gas legal and regulatory framework. I am also Acting HoD of the Petroleum and Gas Department.

What is your current job title?
As well as my role with Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board I am the CEO of ZoraBots Africa.

What is your current role?
Advisory and Business in Robotics.

Please briefly describe the journey from your first job after graduating to where you are now.
While in Aberdeen I attended several business forums across Scotland and in 2018 I met Myles Bax, the Business Development Manager of Robotical Ltd, a start-up company specializing in K-12 solutions. We agreed to promote the same in Africa. A few months later in early 2019 a deal was closed with MTN Group, and in early 2020 another deal was closed with Nokia. At the end of 2019, H.E. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda invited another company called Zora Robotics NV based in Beligium that specialize in humanoid Robots in Healthcare, Retail and Education and Research to come and set-up in Rwanda. Then, together with Zora Robotics we agreed to work together. Now I am the CEO of ZoraBots Africa that recently deployed Smart Anti-Epidemic Robots in Rwanda's Covid-19 Special Treatment Centers, and in places of large gatherings such as Airports in the efforts to mitigate cross contamination of Covid-19.

Was your degree at Aberdeen essential for getting to where you are now? If so, in what way?
Education, connections and exposure to different ways of doing things starting with my classmates. We were multiple nationalities with a range of ambitions.

One Top Tip

Beside attending classes, most professors and staff at Aberdeen are very welcoming and supportive - I suggest students should book coffee or lunch with them and seek advice to nurture their own ideas. Ask them questions. Likewise, utilise the careers department. This is what I did, and I gathered many insights that eventually shaped my entrepreneurial desire and commitment.