Alumni Mentorship Leads to 'Dream Job' Tackling Climate Change at Shell

When Tyler Van Leeuwen '14 saw the name of Roberto Jiménez ‘09 in the Yale School of Management alumni mentor database two years ago, he immediately sent Jiménez an email. "You are essentially doing my dream job," Van Leeuwen recalls writing. "What do I need to do to get into a job like this?"

Roberto Jiménez '09, left, and Tyler Van Leeuwen '14, right.

Jiménez, the CO2 portfolio advisor for Royal Dutch Shell, agreed to help Van Leeuwen explore opportunities in the energy sector. That initial contact started a two-year collaboration that culminated in Van Leeuwen joining Shell after graduating this year. "It's an amazing opportunity, and the perfect fit of my interests and the company's initiatives," he says.

Jiménez says that while Van Leeuwen's hiring may sound serendipitous, it wasn't. "Tyler came in very early during his time at Yale and asked for guidance," he says. "I could see that he was interested in climate issues and clear on where he wanted to make an impact. This was quite important. I had a similar trajectory when I was at SOM."

During his first year at SOM, Van Leeuwen says, Jiménez helped him understand how the energy sector approaches climate change issues. "He helped me sift through information and prioritize opportunities that would move me closer to my goals," he says.

After a summer internship as a Climate Corps Fellow at the Adidas Group, Van Leeuwen did an independent study with Jiménez on stranded assets—fossil-fuel assets that may become uneconomic due to the effects of CO2 policies. Marian Chertow, associate professor of industrial environmental management, served as Van Leeuwen's faculty advisor.

"The project looked at how the financial community is starting to think about and analyze the stranded-asset issue," Van Leeuwen says. "I provided Shell with insights on a stranded-assets tool that some stakeholders are using. The project gave me just what I was hoping for: a look at how to be effective on these issues in a corporate environment."

Jiménez also introduced Van Leeuwen to Shell's MBA recruiter, and he says that Van Leeuwen's demonstrated passion for the sector, his ability to collaborate effectively with others during the independent study, and his strong skill set got him a job on the company's Corporate CO2 strategy team.

 "Shell is always interested in drawing the top talent," Jiménez says. "We're looking for people who want to work in a very challenging space. The people who are drawn to SOM, in general, are people who are passionate about a specific change they want to make."

As a mentor, Jiménez has counseled a number of SOM students interested in the energy sector. "When I was at SOM, they said there are three ways you can contribute as an alum: wisdom, wealth, or work," he explains. "This is the way I give back to the community now."