For a scholar-turned-manager such as Wang Zhen, striking a balance between operating a business and academic research can be a challenge.

He was promoted in 2020 to chairman and president of CNOOC Energy Economics Institute, the think tank of China National Offshore Oil Corporation, where he leads a team of 130 researchers.

Both business and academic research are valuable pursuits, Wang says, and key to freeing up time for research without office management is to establish a clear schedule and set realistic expectations for each area, he tells Upstream.