Changing Careers: Manny Shar
Manny Shar is the Head of Analytics at BryceTech, after deciding to change careers from investment banking.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Manny Shar, Head of Analytics at BryceTech in the UK. I lead consulting engagements for government and commercial clients across the space sector. I conduct analysis and provide decision-making support on a number of topics, including launch demand assessment, spaceports and spaceflight development, technology forecasting, and market analysis. I’m also a co-founder of the London Space Network, which hosts monthly networking events with the goal of strengthening the UK space community. I advise space start-ups, providing strategic business and technical advice, and am a qualified mentor for the astropreneurs.eu initiative. In addition, I am a member of several working groups and committees, including the International Astronautical Federation’s Entrepreneurship and Investment Committee and UKSA’s Space Technology Advisory Committee. I hold a master’s degree in Space Studies from the International Space University (ISU) and a bachelor’s in Computer Science from the University of Kent.
What does your role involve?
My role is quite varied and involves a combination of activities from business development and engaging directly with senior leadership at private companies and space agencies, through to executing projects in support of international government clients and conducting analysis related to a range of space and satellite topics, as well as adjacent technology areas.
What’s your background and career path?
After completing my undergraduate degree in Computer Science from the University of Kent, I took part in the 1 year Mountbatten Institute's work/study internship programme in New York where I worked full time at Citi Private Bank and studied International Business Practice in the evenings. Upon returning, I was a Business Analyst for Barclays Capital and then Goldman Sachs at which point I decided to study at the International Space University. After completing my master’s in Space Studies at ISU, I joined Inmarsat first as an intern then a full-time Business Analyst and then a manager. After a few years at Inmarsat, I joined Bryce Space and Technology and took a lead role in setting up the European office in London.
What did you do to go about changing your career?
Studying at ISU was a fundamental driver in helping me to change careers. It opened the door to many opportunities, particularly through the ISU network where I was able to meet lots of like-minded people who were able to guide me through to a career in the space industry. The internship at Inmarsat was the first step in that.
What resources, organisations, events, etc. were most useful to you?
During university, I was part of UKSEDS which helped me to get comfortable with the idea of working in the space industry one day. During ISU, I joined SGAC (Space Generation Advisory Council) which became a fantastic avenue for building relationships across the industry and getting a broader understanding of the international breadth of space activities.
How did you get your first job in the space sector?
I received partial scholarship support from Inmarsat to attend ISU, part of the requirement for this was to intern there. After interning, I was offered a full-time role.
Why did you want to move to the space sector? When did you decide to try?
During my time at Goldman (2013-2014), I realised the space industry was going through a transformative moment and it was a fantastic time to join the industry, so I researched numerous pathways to doing so. I did not see myself staying in investment banking in the long term, so I decided to pursue a master's from ISU.
Did you feel like there was a job for you in the sector?
I was not certain about job prospects, but I thought it was the right time to take a risk and do something I really wanted, rather than keep on doing something I wasn't particularly passionate about. Speaking to others in the industry helped build up my confidence in taking the leap.
Were there any barriers you had to overcome? How did you overcome them?
My experience was a hybrid of technical and business experience so one challenge was identifying the niche I should go into (engineering or business). In the end, I found a hybrid role at Inmarsat which meant I was able to learn and use my background to the fullest.
Was the style of your job applications in the space sector different from what you were used to?
I found my job applications reflected my passion more and I could see myself in a wide variety of jobs in the space industry whereas that was not the case in my previous career in investment banking.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
In my current role as Head of Analytics at Bryce Space and Technology, I enjoy the diversity in projects and the depth of knowledge I am gaining from working on advanced technology projects. I am fortunate to have a job where I am constantly learning and growing while engaging with different clients across various space domains and sub-sectors.
Do you have any other advice for people wanting to make a similar change?
I would highly recommend taking a look at the various opportunities in the sector, identifying where you may have gaps to fill, and mapping out potential options for making the change, which may include a combination of conducting a master's or SSP (Space Studies Program) at ISU (or elsewhere focused on space), actively applying yourself towards understanding the sector, and building relationships through attendance of virtual, and where possible, in-person events. There are many opportunities in the sector and lots of ways to go about making the change so the approach will have to be tailored to your circumstances.