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LUMES alumni Takehiro Kawahara's path from graduation to research analyst in Tokyo

LUMES alumni Takehiro Kawahara shares the most important skills he learned from the LUMES programme and tell us about his career path after graduation.
The most important skills Takehiro Kawahara learnt in LUMES are: knowledge related to energy systems and environmental policies, research methodology such as interviews, and collaboration within a culturally diverse group.

Takehiro Kawahara graduated from the LUMES programme in 2012. He works as an Analyst at BloombergNEF, which offers advisory service based on analysis on global commodity markets and the disruptive technologies driving the transition to a low-carbon economy. It covers energy, transport, commodities, materials and agriculture. Takehiro emphasises that the skills he learnt in the LUMES programme have critically boosted his learning in his current position. '

What do you do today? 

I work as an analyst (senior associate) at BloombergNEF, a research section within Bloomberg. BloombergNEF covers energy, transport, commodities, materials and agriculture in research to support decision makers towards a low-carbon economy. 

How did the path towards your current job look like?

After graduating from LUMES in 2012, I joined BloombergNEF. I covered Japan's renewable energy sector until March 2017 with a focus on market trends and regulatory changes in Japan's solar and wind sectors. In April 2017, I relocated to the London office to cover distributed energy in sub-Saharan Africa and South & Southeast Asia (ie, off-grid energy sector). I covered various topics ranging from energy supply for off-grid telecom towers, on-site solar for commercial and industrial buildings, to microgrids for rural electrification. In this role, I worked with various international organisations such as the World Bank and Sustainable Energy for All.

In March 2021, I relocated back to the Tokyo office and started covering aviation. My current responsibility is to analyze technologies, businesses, economics and policies to assist the global aviation sector towards net-zero emissions.  

What were the most important skills you learnt in the LUMES programme?

Knowledge related to energy systems and environmental policies. The second is research methodology such as interviews. The third is collaboration within a culturally diverse group. 

How do you use these skills today?

I do not directly use knowledge I gained in LUMES to my current work, but they were a critical foundation to boost my learning about energy technologies, policies and businesses after joining BloombergNEF. I had many research interviews for my analysis. BloombergNEF has offices across the world and I work with my colleagues from a wide variety of countries on a daily-basis. The batch 14 of LUMES was also a diverse group, in which I built a foundation for collaboration.

What sustainability challenges do you work with?

Net-zero carbon emissions in the aviation sector (for my current role). The aviation sector's contribution to global CO2 emissions was just around 2%. This is likely to increase dramatically by 2050 without taking any actions. In my previous role, universal electricity access was the main challenge I worked with.

What is your best memory from the LUMES programme?

I have many, but one of my best memories is the final project in the social theory course in the first year of LUMES programme. We had a task to write four letters that proposed how to tackle an environmental challenge assuming that we were four famous philosophers in history. The project allowed me to learn how to think about the same issue from different perspectives and it was really fun.

What advice would you give to current/future LUMES students?

LUMES is a great programme for those who want to learn how to think critically. Enjoy exchanging information and ideas with your classmates and even those outside the programme. Group work projects are great opportunities to learn how to work in a collaborative manner in a diverse environment.