Teo Dechev


How did you decide on pursuing degree in geoscience? Did you know about geoscience before you entered university?

I decided to pursue Geological Engineering as it had a wide scope of courses that covered everything from earth sciences, engineering and management of systems. I had no idea that Geological Engineering was a discipline until I entered University. Today however, I believe there is a much broader appreciation for mineral resources management globally through the advocacy of the mining sector to society.


How did you land your first position? (Through networking, applying to an ad, etc)

I researched which companies were focusing on equity research in the minerals sector, and I reached out and applied to all of them. I was fortunate that one of those companies happened to be looking for a research associate at that time. The timing and fit were perfect.


Why did you decide to pursue an MBA and how has that impacted your career?

I believe strongly in graduate education. I always knew I would pursue a graduate degree after my undergrad in Engineering. After working for a few years in industry, I was able to hone in on what field I would pursue for a graduate degree. The MBA was a good fit to round out my engineering degree with business, economics and finance. I was and continue to be very interested in economics and policy and have applied that to the minerals sector.


Prior to joining Mundoro Capital, you spent some time as an investment banker. How did you go from mineral engineering to finance?

I went from commodities trading on the corporate side, to equity research at an investment bank. In equity research you are responsible for valuation, for example, determining the value of a mining company. If you have the technical understanding of how a mine operates and what metallurgical processes are relevant versus not, it makes you that much more of an effective analyst. It’s not uncommon in investment-banking to have equity research analysts that are specialists in their sector. An engineering education is a great foundation that can be applied to analyzing companies that operate in various branches of engineering, such as mining engineering, computer engineering, biomedical engineering, etc.


Site visit in Bor, Serbia, November 2019

How do you maintain your team’s daily motivation and inspiration?

The key to motivating talented people is to give them a challenging problem to solve. In the case of a mineral resource company, that may be to discover a Tier 1 deposit or to develop an existing deposit. From our company’s point of view, we’re in the prolific Tethyan mineral belt in an emerging region, Southeastern Europe, that has the potential to be a mineral hub for Europe in the future. Our team is applying leading exploration methodology to this region that has not previously been systematically explored. That keeps everyone in the company motivated and energetic for a new discovery.


Thoughts on what should be focused on or how to improve diversity within geoscience? Do you see, in either your work space or the industry in general, the place of women becoming more main stream, about the same as when you started, or worse?

As an industry we need to advocate why talented new graduates should be entering our industry – mineral resources. There is a more balanced student population than there is in industry which begs the question “how do we attract that talent to then work in industry”. If we succeed in attracting talented graduates and provide opportunity for them to continue their careers in this industry, then we will see a more diverse work force in industry. The two main bottle necks I see in our sector are: (i) attracting graduates to enter the minerals sector, and (ii) keeping women in industry once they begin to think about starting a family. That second decision point is where we lose many women needlessly as there are excellent examples of other sectors (i.e. law firms and accounting firms) that have successful transition programs for men and women as they start families.


Conference in Belgrade, Serbia, with Canadian Ambassador Kati Csaba, November 2019

What advice would you give young professionals starting a career in geoscience?

Research companies that are focused on what you enjoy doing and want to focus your career on. Apply to all of those companies. Be proactive – don’t wait for them to call you. Keep in contact with those companies as you never know when an opportunity will present itself.


Why/How is diversity important to you? Why should others be talking about diversity and trying to improve things?

Diversity, which reflects diverse points of view, is an important factor in understanding objectives and reaching goals. I look at Diversity as bringing different perspectives to a problem. For the same reasons that we bring different disciplines into evaluation of a problem, for example, bringing a geochemist, geophysicist, structural geologist, economic geologist, to the table to solve a geological problem, we need to consider working in teams of professionals with different experiences such men, women, early career, late career, cultural backgrounds and local experiences, as each person brings a unique experience, which with enough diverse points of view, can help a team better eliminate unsuccessful outcomes, reduce risk, and ideally reach more quickly and economically a successful outcome.


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