Behyad Jafari

CEO Electric Vehicle Council, AGSM MBA (Executive) 2022

Beyhad Jafari BUS alumni Bondi
My AGSM MBA taught me how to work with different people with different interests – and understand their language. When we want banks and energy companies to collaborate, knowing how to speak those two different languages and bring them together is invaluable.

Accelerating Australia’s access to electric vehicles

Behyad Jafari is CEO of the Electric Vehicle Council (EVC) of Australia. He founded the industry association to get companies and government agencies with diverse agendas = working together to accelerate Australia’s transition to zero-emission vehicles. 

Finding a bigger problem to solve

Behyad was working in renewable energy when he saw an opportunity to make an even greater impact in the fight against climate change.

While it was clear to him that good work was underway across the renewables sector, he noticed that transport – a major carbon emitter - was largely overlooked. Significantly, there was no coordinated effort to solve the problem of transitioning to zero emission vehicles in Australia. 

Transport’s our third largest source of emissions and by 2030, it's going to be number one. If we don't do something about it, our ambitions of stopping climate change or reaching net zero by 2050, are all up in smoke.

Behyad formed the Electric Vehicle Council (EVC) in 2016 to unite electric vehicle sector stakeholders in solving the challenges of transitioning to zero emissions transport.

Everyone could see the need for this transition, but there were common issues no single company or government could solve alone.
Behyad Jafari, CEO Electric Vehicle Council AGSM @ UNSW Business School

Australia’s ‘car chase’

When we started, Australia was lagging the rest of the world in electric vehicles and had stalled. Now we're doubling sales every year and very quickly catching up.

Behyad saw Australia was falling behind the rest of the world and didn't want that to continue.  

We want to make sure we're a country that builds batteries, not just sells rocks to the rest of the world. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for us.

The world is shifting to electric vehicles. Australia can take advantage of some of the opportunities to build the technologies, build the batteries, even build the vehicles to supply to the whole world. But first he needed to get everyone moving toward a common goal. 

Building bridges based on shared interest

The EVC includes groups as diverse as truck manufacturers, banks, car manufacturers, electricity companies and more. Often with competing interests.

It’s not enough just to be right and have a solution: you need people to come along with you. That’s where impact happens. You have to go out and bring people together on the journey to create change.

Behyad says it's about finding what other people are passionate about and speaking to that. It's not good enough just to say: “Here's what I care about, and you should care about it too. That never works. You need to find out what matters to them”. 

This insight sparked a desire to deepen his ability to connect with the many disparate transport players he needed onside to accelerate change at scale.

Beyhad Jafari, CEO Electric Vehicle Council AGSM @ UNSW Business School

Behyad credits joining the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) with showing him how to go about making an impact. He says it gave him the tools to work with diverse agendas, companies, and government agencies and establish why the issues are important and their role in driving positive change. 

I already had a burning desire to do something important and make an impact. Studying an MBA for me was about learning how to go about it. 
Behyad Jafari CEO Electric Vehicle Council AGSM @ UNSW Business School

Real world reconciliation skills at AGSM

An expert in his own field, Behyad says he came to the AGSM wanting to know what makes others tick and how to speak to them. Only then could he get them to care about his issue and work together to solve it.

We get companies across different traditional sectors to work together on electric vehicles – reconciling their differences enroute.
Beyhad Jafari, CEO Electric Vehicle Council AGSM @ UNSW Business School

Peer learning and networking for better

Behyad says one of the great things about doing an MBA at the AGSM is the friends you make along the way: for him it was a network spanning bankers, accountants, engineers and other advocates all learning the same thing. But getting different things out of it.

It's by speaking with one another, keeping that network going over the years where you just continue to learn more and more.

When it comes getting banks and energy companies to collaborate, knowing how to speak those two different languages and bring them together is the AGSM MBA difference.

Behyad says his AGSM MBA gave him the tools to address challenges in any field without the need to be an expert.

If you're someone who wants to do more and isn't entirely sure what's getting in your way, doing an AGSM MBA will help you figure it out.

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