Economics Alumni Feature: Maxim Tikhomolov (BA, 2012)

July 19, 2022

After graduating from SFU in 2012 with his undergraduate degree in economics, Maxim Tikhomolov (ERP, PMP) has gone to work in several consulting and leadership roles in the energy market. He is currently the Vice President of Technology at KWA Analytics where he manages development and the new technologies practice area.

He has over a decade of client experience working on technology solutions for energy trading and risk and risk management in oil, gas, power, and renewables. He is also leads the software development team as a Director at Rossby Energy Inc., a consulting practice which he founded in 2019.

Before joining KWA, Maxim was a Manager in Accenture's Energy & Commodities practice where he worked with energy clients on their trading and risk management technology needs. Prior to that he was a Senior Consultant in Structure Group's ETRM practice.  

Maxim has a strong interest in applying his experience in technology, software development, energy trading, and risk management to create unique, innovative solutions.   

How did SFU Economics influence you and your career?

Throughout my career I have found that a combination of business-functional and technical/quantitative skills is a highly regarded combination. SFU Economics helped develop those skills which prepared me well in my career.

My economics education helped me with answering questions that don’t seem to have a precise answer. It also helped me build a base understanding of technical skills (SQL, Python, R) and quantitative analytical skills such as optimization and trade-offs.

Looking back at your university experience, what is one piece of advice you would give to current students? 

Look for relevant work experience as soon as you're able to, whether it's part-time or summer internships, many companies look for students they can nurture and hire post-graduation.

You have more experience and skills than you think – uncover those. Create a goal in mind and communicate that goal to your prospective employer.

What should students know about breaking into your industry/profession? 

What is energy and commodities trading? Energy = electricity, oil, natural gas and renewables. Commodities = metals such as gold, silver, copper. Every major brand in energy and commodities industry has a trading division, such as BC Hydro, Fortis, Suncor, TransCanada, Enbridge etc. Banks participation as well such as RBC, Scotiabank, JP Morgan among many others.

For the most part, post-secondary education won't teach the specifics needed but rather provide a framework that you can utilize to learn. As long as you have a learning spirit and some analytical and technical skills are presented, it'll give you a nice edge over your competition. 

Industry credentials like the Project Management Professional (PMP) and Energy Risk Professional (ERP) certifications are helpful as well.