Svenja joined BP in Germany in 2006 on its trainee scheme, straight from school. The three and half year programme requires employees to work in an office role in the mornings and study for their bachelors degrees in the afternoons and weekends. Here she tells us about her experience combining work and studies, and the career that followed.
"Studying while working was exhausting but at the same time so cost and time efficient it makes huge sense. I graduated in 2010 with a degree in International Management.
There were 2,000 people at the office I joined in Germany – it was a very big and challenging environment for a young school leaver to adapt to, with lots of new people to meet. The first six months felt tough but the other trainees and I had mentors who helped us out a lot and before long we established firm friendships. After the apprenticeship I worked for 18 months on German retail sites before moving to a technical assistant role, assisting the site leadership team at a refinery in 2011.
It was in this role I had my first interactions with IST, working on commercial projects dealing with the trading of products from the refinery. I was fascinated and keen to explore this area more in my career.
So in 2014 I moved to IST in London. It was another very big step. The trading floor is a very different environment from any other in BP and, even though it has taken some time to orientate myself, it was the best decision ever! Sure, there are more men than women, but it was the same at the refinery so I am used to that and have learnt that it is best to embrace that difference – it is part of the value you bring and you should feel comfortable with that.
The trading environment is fast moving and so the atmosphere can change rapidly which is something that needs a bit of getting used to. That fact accepted, working with so many quick thinking, responsible, decision-making people is an amazing environment to be a part of.
There is so much going on and such a variety of opportunities and challenges, therefore one day is never like another. In my role I am an interface between the traders and the refineries which provides a great opportunity to learn an enormous amount, understand how the different sides optimise and what their different drivers are."
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