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Saad Rahim, Manager

Saad Rahim

He started the first Internet consultancy in the Middle East when he was in high school. He’s a knowledgeable expert on politics, economics and energy concerning Asia and the Middle East. He’s a strategic advisor to the top business leaders in America and he’s only 27. At such a young age he carries the wisdom and advice of those more than double his age. Saad Rahim, Manager of the Country Strategies Group at PFC Energy, shares with us what it’s like to be advising on issues and regions that are in this day in age very volatile. Learn more about his unexpected learnings in his industry, what motivates his for success and his outlook on the future as we feature Saad in this week’s Young and Professional Profile.


PFC Energy




Saad Rahim, 27, Manager, Country Strategies Group


Salwa, Kuwait

Current residence

Washington, DC


Stanford University, BA Economics and Political Science, 2000

Work experience

Homestead Technologies, Business Development Manager, 2000-2002; Looksmart, Product Manager, 2002-2003; InfiNet Technologies (Kuwait), 1996



About company

We’re strategic advisors in Global Energy. We advise energy companies, governments and other organizations on global risk, energy strategies and country profiles, among other things.

What are your responsibilities?

I like to joke that my job is explaining how the world works to CEOs, government ministers, academics and policymakers. Officially, my group analyses country risk and global, macro-risk issues. I’m responsible for looking at political issues in the Middle East and all of Asia (India, China, Japan, etc). What this means on a day-to-day basis is constantly following the region as well as events outside that might affect it, speaking to people on the ground and in the government, analyzing the outlook on stability and investment in a given country or region, and then putting that into a form that our clients can understand. My job is to advise our clients on issues such as whether a potential Taiwan-China conflict will erupt, whether India and China will cooperate or compete for energy in the future, and whether militants are ever really going to blow up Saudi Arabia.

As a result, no day is the same. One day it will be talking to the CEO of one of the largest companies in the world about whether to invest in China, the next it’s addressing an energy analysts conference, and on another it’s writing a chapter for a book.

Most notable milestones

Professionally: being considered by our clients as someone whose advice they need and trust. Also, having two articles published; being interviewed on NPR and by Fareed Zakaria. Personally, having friends and family who will still speak to me no matter how bad I am about keeping in touch!

What’s the niche?

Our company, despite the fact that we have “Energy” in the name, is really about more than just energy. Our clients value us for our ability to maintain a broad perspective, to be able to analyze any issue, and to be able to integrate politics, economics, energy and strategy. For me personally, I’ve been lucky enough to have joined the industry at a time when not only energy, but India, China and the Middle East, all of which I cover, are all really hot topics.

Unexpected learnings along the way

The people who are the real decision makers, the real movers and difference-makers, are more often than not the ones you actually least expect. Often, it’s just one person with a good idea, or a powerful vision.

What’s in store for the future?

One of the things we look at in depth is the development of oil-producing economies. We’ve now started advising the governments of some of these countries on how best to manage this development, and I’d like to really work on that on a broader scale. Other than that, I’d love to write a book on global politics.

Who would you like to be contacted by?

I always enjoy talking to people who challenge me, and make me think. Our best clients are the ones who challenge and interact with us, and the more of those, the better.

On a different note, I made some unconventional transitions to get to where I am, and I like being able to share those experiences with people, to help them understand that you never have to be boxed in to any one thing.

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Best way to stay ahead

Always, always be learning new things. Make it a point to learn, and, more importantly, understand, something new every single day.

Guiding principle in life

Nothing comes easy; but if it were easy, it’d be no fun.

Yardstick of success

Respect of my peers and colleagues, and of my friends and family.

Goal yet to be achieved

Writing a book; being invited to the World Economic Forum; setting up a school for teachers in Pakistan; learning to give succinct answers!

Best practical advice

Do what you love. It’s such a cliché, but there is no other way to be successful in every sense of the word. It often involves risks and sacrifice, but do it anyway, you’ll come out better in the long run.

Supportive words from a family member or friend on your venture

Actually, the best practical advice is based solely on supportive words from family members and friends. They’re the ones, especially my parents, who encouraged me to take risks in order to be happy, and to be secure in the knowledge that they would be there to back me up.

Most memorable business experience

Having the CEO of the third largest company in the US ask for my advice…and actually take it. A close second was sitting at a dinner table with Alan Greenspan.


Professionally: Fareed Mohamedi; Chief Economist, PFC Energy. Personally: My father. Oh, and every teacher I’ve ever had; even the bad ones taught me something.

What motivates you for success

Being respected by people I hold in high esteem.

Like best about what you do

I get to explain interesting things to interesting people.

Like least about what you do

The hours. Energy is a global business, so sleep is purely optional.

At age 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An astronomer. Then I realized it involved math, so I changed it to chef. That apparently required talent, so here I am.

Biggest pastimes outside of work

Reading, movies, playing or watching just about any sport, theater.

Person most interested in meeting and why?

Bill Clinton. Talk about an interesting life…

Leader in business most interested in meeting and why

George Soros. It’s not about the money (well, okay, maybe a little bit!), but what he’s doing with it, including the Open Society Initiative.

Threee interesting fact about yourself

I grew up in Kuwait; I started the first Internet consultancy in the Middle East, while in high school; I think the best way to kickstart Pakistan of its perennial doldrums is to start a school for teachers

Three characteristics that describe you

Good-humored; passionate; polymath

Three greatest passions

Books, movies, global issues

Favorite book

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller; I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan; and Hamlet (yes, really. Almost went for a PhD in Shakespeare at one point)

Favorite cause

Eidhi Charitable Trust (Pakistan). Eidhi is a multi-billionaire who spends his time running a free ambulance service (driving one around himself, even at age 80!), dispensing food, disaster aid and medicines, and so on.

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