In conversation with Krishan Insan, on his journey from working in a Navratna PSU to a Chevening Scholar

Mr Krishan Insan is pursuing LLM (Comparative and International Dispute Resolution) from Queen Mary University of London on the UK’s Government’s fully funded Chevening Scholarship. He has worked with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and is also part of the Third Leadership Class of Institute for Energy Law. He has been interviewed by EBC/SCC Online Student Ambassador Vijaya Singh Gautam who is currently pursuing law from RGNUL

  1. First of all, please tell us about yourself, your interests and ambitions in life?

At the outset, I must thank the SCC Online team and you (Vijaya Singh Gautam) for having me in this session.

I am presently pursuing my second masters in Comparative and International Dispute Resolution from the Queen Mary University of London on Chevening Scholarship (a fully-funded scholarship by Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the UK Government). Before moving to London, I worked in the oil and gas sector in India. I am a law graduate from the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi. I have had the privilege to go to the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) for my previous qualification.

COVID-19 has increased challenges and changed the way we used to live our lives. During the last few months our screen time has increased significantly. One of the positive outcomes from the COVID-19 situation is that one is no longer restricted by the physical boundaries indeed people and organisations are increasingly embracing the virtual medium to connect and work. Hence, I optimally used this lockdown to gain new skills and expertise.

I am humbled to mention that I secured many international awards and recognition in a short period of last one year and I am looking forward to many to come.

  1. Mr Insan, huge congratulations for distinct international awards and many more accolades you have achieved in recent one year, can you please tell us more about:

2.1. Institute for Energy Law, Center for American and International Law,  Leadership Class of 2020?

The Institute for Energy Law (IEL) is a specialised arm under the umbrella of the Center for American and International Law. Leadership class is a flagship one-year program of IEL. I am one of the selected candidates for the 2020 Cohort. This is a one-year long program (most of the sessions happening online due to COVID) which includes many leadership workshops, thematic discussion on emerging energy law practices, changing energy laws across the globe and many more. The cohort is expected to meet in Houston in February 2021 during the Oil and Gas Law Congress. Being the only Indian in the cohort, I am looking forward to optimally utilise this one-year period and bringing the best practices of oil and gas laws from Houston to my home jurisdiction.

2.2. Emerging international leadership award in the UK?

Emerging international leadership award was conferred upon 50 students by the Cumberland Lodge, a UK-based charity engaged with scholars from all over the world. The award was open for the scholars studying across the globe and I was fortunate to get invited for the nine days long leadership workshops on various themes. During this nine-day summit on freedom of religion or belief we had interacted with various scholars from different belief systems. It was an opportunity for me to visit the place of faith of various religions. The key learning from the summit for me was how important it is to respect others faith or belief and how to put our disagreement while respecting others opinion as well.

  1. Where do you get the motivation which helps you to achieve so many things at the same time?

I never satisfy in less than the best. So, I just do my job sincerely with the aim to give my best wherever I am. These efforts help me to deliver my best, at the same time, these results are my biggest motivation to deliver better in every successive assignment.

I recall when I started #MyCheveningJourney last year, I was told that I am sorted for the year because Chevening sponsors all your expenses. But I was aspiring for something more. I secured three-four more funding for different arbitration/energy-related events and travelled to USA, Belgium, Spain and Portugal for different events. So my mantra is work hard for what you have on table and prepare well for what you have in mind.

  1. Since this was your second master’s degree, how was your second master different from your first one, and how would you compare your experience of studying from leading national institutes like the University of Delhi, IIMs with a foreign university?

So the primary difference I can think of is that my second masters was a course which was designed to cater the needs of the global population. As the name itself suggests comparative and international dispute resolution, I had 82 colleagues in my program from about 40 nationalities. Hence, the objective of the course was to provide global competence and exposure. We have had a detailed study plan for applicable laws, provisions and best practices of international arbitration across the globe. We used to attend many international seminars, workshops and conferences during the tenure of the course.

Whereas, my previous qualifications in Indian academic institutions were more focused to cater the needs of the domestic market. I have had access to the best faculties who went the extra mile to help me to groom my research and analytical skills that paved my way for various global opportunities.

  1. Moving ahead to your practical experience, you have worked with the apex institute this summer (ICSID), please share with us your experience and learnings from that. How was it different from your other assignments?

An internship in ICSID is always a first choice for an arbitration aspirant and I was fortunate to be one among 8 interns for summer class of 2020. Since, I have studied investment arbitration in my first term followed by my arbitration master class at Energy Charter Treaty in late 2019 I had already developed an advanced level of understanding in investment arbitration that helped me to capitalise the opportunity at ICSID.

Access and opportunity to work on investment arbitration cases right from dealing with the request for arbitration, doing research on the relevant issues, assisting the Arbitral Tribunal and Tribunal Secretary in investment cases was a very learning experience. Since I worked with the front office team during my tenure so I had first-hand experience in dealing with other institutional matters in addition to the case management activities. I admire the exposure I got to work with the ICSID team and co-interns from all over the world.

  1. How to make an entry in a PSU and what is it to be an executive at navratna company?

So, I am most often asked this question to make it to the PSUs. Most central PSUs are recruiting through CLAT nowadays. Hence, it is very important to keep an eye of the recruitment notifications because it starts coming 6-9 months before the scheduled dates of CLAT. Second step is to prepare well for CLAT. Being in top rankers is very important for getting an interview call. Once you make it to an interview, start gaining sector-specific knowledge to prepare well for the interview for the specific laws like, energy laws, labour laws, Mining Act, Factories Act, commercial laws, copyright laws, etc. depending on the industry you are aiming to work in.

Working in a PSU and in a law firm are two very different nature of professional experience. While working in a PSU you are guided by the established policies, procedures and work culture and you keep public interest at your topmost priority. However, irrespective of the place you work, strong fundamentals play a vital role in a professional journey.

  1. Can you please elaborate about your experience and expertise in the oil and gas sector? How your most recent qualifications will help you and your organisation in the long run?

While working in the oil and gas sector in India, I have delivered in a diverse range of responsibilities. I have worked with oldest and second largest national oil company (NOC) of India. I have also worked with the oil and gas upstream regulatory body in India. So during all my successive positions, I always wanted to work towards energy security of India. While working with the above objective, the international exposure will play a vital role. My expertise and exposure which I have gained through international energy law modules and specialised training and global networking will be an asset to deliver more in this highly competitive sector.

In November 2019, I attended the arbitration master classes at Energy Charter Secretariat in Brussels. In a weeklong special classes diplomats from various nationalities participated and it was a first-hand experience to know more about the policy perspectives to deal with the probable energy disputes. Further, in the second week of March 2020, I was in Lisbon to attend the most famous and extensive course on oil and gas contracts by Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN). So I look forward to using all these skills to benefit my home country.

  1. How important is doing proper legal research and how should law students equip themselves with legal research skills?

We listen in our day-to-day life that a lawyer has to read a lot. Well, that is actually preparing yourself for success and it is important to start it as early as possible. I would say legal research skills have a compounding effect like interest. So earlier you start honing your research skills, it will groom over a period of time you graduate from a law school. In my opinion, to equip yourself with effective research skills, you must develop a habit of reading bare acts and judgments. If you are familiar with these two and then you read other textbooks and secondary sources of the material you will be able to connect the dots and find amazing results. Subscribe to journals of your areas of interest or use library resources to read them.

  1. Final question, what is next in the list?

So from the very beginning of my career, serving the nation has always been my aim and it has been a very inspiring and rewarding journey so far to work in the national interest. I am still aiming to work in the same direction and looking forward to keep adding on my skills to deliver the best in my domain. Since, I am joining my organisation again so I aim to deliver with a new level of expertise in the Indian oil and gas sector.

As a Chevening scholar, I have a moral responsibility to work for the growth of bilateral relationship between UK and India hence I aim to bring synergy between two countries particularly in the oil and gas sector. I will focus on how I can contribute to the ambitious plan of the Government of India to reduce India’s import dependency in the oil and gas sector.

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