BCom 1981Alumni 100
Former Minister of Energy, Department of Energy and Climate Change and Visiting Professor at the University of Edinburgh
With dreams of making an impact on big issues affecting the world, Charles Hendry knew he wanted to go into politics.
He also knew that sharpening his business brain first would better prepare him to tackle the issues that mattered to him. He worked in PR for 10 years, before working as William Hague's chief of staff. Then, he formed his own business networking company—before business networking was a thing. All this experience set Charles up for his years in politics.
During his role as Energy Minister, he could understand the challenges faced by the energy industry. Later in his career, he played a huge part in taking offshore wind from a niche concern to a global industry. His business acumen was invaluable in attracting overseas companies and setting a model that could be replicated across the world. This is one of his proudest achievements. Another is becoming a professor in the Business School and giving back to the place that helped shape him.
A quote he lives by comes from the Israeli politician, Shimon Peres, who was in turn quoting his father:
"Count the number of dreams you have and compare them with the number of achievements you have had. If you have more dreams than achievements, then you are still young."
How does it feel to be selected for the Alumni 100 list?
"A great honour (and quite surprised!)."
What made you choose to study at the University of Edinburgh Business School?
"A sense of inherited Scottish-ness; the opportunity to study at one of the leading business schools in the country in one of the greatest cities."
What are your memories of studying at the Business School?
"My first 'international' experience with people from a number of other countries; a great sense of open-mindedness and to explore new thinking."
What key thing that you learnt at the Business School do you still rely on today?
"Respect the views of others."
What's the one thing you think current students need to develop or learn before entering the modern workplace?
"I am privileged to lecture some of today's students at the School. They are better and brighter (and I think probably work harder) than in my day. My thought would be to remember that an employer is recruiting a 'whole person', not just a business graduate, so they need to know how they have applied the knowledge they have learned and their wider Edinburgh University experience."
Proudest work-related achievement to date?
"Putting in place the measures which have made the UK the world leader in offshore wind and beating some very challenging de-carbonisation targets."
Remember that an employer is recruiting a 'whole person', not just a business graduate.