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Deepak Kumar Thakur, CFA

Group Petroleum Economist and UK JV-Asset Manager

Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad

Deepak is an oil and gas professional with 12 years of diverse work experience in economic modeling, valuation, corporate strategy and planning, mergers and acquisitions, investor relations, economic analysis, and petroleum engineering. He has worked on multiple oil and gas opportunities across Malaysia, India, Indonesia, North Sea United Kingdom, Australia, Africa, and Middle East. In his current role, he conducts economic evaluations of existing and new business opportunities, and provides regular economic analysis and group cash flow forecasts for Hibiscus group, in addition to monitoring UK assets.

“Education is the only way one can make meaningful contribution to society as it has the power to change generations.”


Tell us more about your career in oil and gas.

I started out as a petroleum engineer in 2005 with an Indian oil and gas company after graduating with a degree in petroleum engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Dhanbad. Then, I pursued my Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore and worked as an analyst with Morgan Stanley and as Senior Finance Manager with Essar Group before I moved to Kuala Lumpur to join Hibiscus Petroleum as Petroleum Economist in 2012.

Currently I am Group Petroleum Economist and UK JV-Asset Manager at Hibiscus Petroleum. As Group Petroleum Economist, I conduct economic evaluations of existing and new business opportunities, and provide regular economic analysis and group cash flow forecasts to understand funding needs for the group in the short and long term. As UK JV-Asset Manager, I monitor our UK assets from commercial aspects.


How would you describe yourself?

I am an honest, hardworking, passionate, and self-driven individual, known as a team player among peers.


Have you always had an interest in finance?

I was always interested in numbers and math. While studying for my MBA, I developed a deep interest in finance and majored in it. Post-MBA, I realised I needed a wider understanding of global financial markets, and that’s when I decided to obtain the CFA® charter.


Tell us about your time obtaining the CFA charter.

It was very difficult to pass the CFA® exams, especially after marriage and while working with a growing company. I am fortunate to have a supportive partner.

On weekdays, I would study for two hours in the morning before going to work. I would also spend around eight to 10 hours studying on weekends. However, I made sure to get enough sleep; studying for the CFA exams is a marathon, not a sprint.


How did you stay motivated while you were pursuing the CFA® Program?

I would visualize myself as a CFA® charterholder whenever my motivation levels dipped. I told myself that with hard work and perseverance, I would definitely get through it.


Is the CFA Program curriculum relevant to your job/role/career?

The CFA Program helped me develop competency in the finance domain, and has made me more analytical and logical. The curriculum is extremely comprehensive and is relevant for many aspects of my job. In addition, having broad knowledge of the global financial market and valuation techniques, as well as sound technical skills helps me to identify good oil and gas acquisition opportunities across the globe.


Any suggestions for future CFA® Program candidates?

The CFA charter is the gold standard for those seeking a career in the finance and investment industry. It is a one-time investment, but you reap the benefits throughout your career. A few tips to passing the CFA exams: start studying early; time management is key, so practice a lot with the end-of-chapter questions; and sit for your mock tests as if they are the real thing.


Thinking About Your Next Career Step?

A CFA charter can help boost your finance credentials. The CFA Program is designed to equip you with the kind of expertise and real-world skills in investment analysis that will help you advance your career. Once you complete all three exam levels and demonstrate the required experience, you can apply to become a charterholder.

Take our assessment to learn whether becoming a CFA charterholder is right for you.

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Have you faced any ethical dilemmas in your career?

There were a few occasions when I didn’t agree with a company decision, especially during screening of oil and gas asset acquisition opportunities when my recommendation contradicted others’. When this happened, I spoke to a few key people and tried to understand the big picture; several times, I managed to convince the rest of the team not to pursue that opportunity.


What is your work or life motto?

Education is the only way one can make meaningful contribution to society as it has the power to change generations. I also believe we should constantly upgrade ourselves through reading, to stay relevant in the rapidly changing global economy. There is no age limit when it comes to learning.


What is the favorite part of your job? What is the most challenging?

I like the intellectual challenges. What excites me most are opportunities to learn.


Tell us your proudest moment to date.

Clearing IIT JEE and the Common Admission Test (CAT), and obtaining my CFA charter have been the proudest moments in my life. IIT JEE is one of the toughest engineering entrance exams in the world, with a success rate of around 2 percent. CAT is the gateway to India's best management and business schools like the IIMs. And the CFA charter is the gold standard for the investment industry.


What is your favorite type of holiday?

One where I can spend quality time with my wife and my little daughter, just relaxing away from work.


Disclaimer: The content was written in March 2019. Information, views, opinions, and recommendations expressed belong to the interviewees thereof. They do not necessarily reflect the views of CFA Society Malaysia. In no event shall CFA Society Malaysia be liable for any damages resulting from their opinions.

Be inspired by CFA® charterholders and learn how their achievements can guide your career path.


Be inspired by CFA® charterholders and learn how their achievements can guide your career path.