Why did you join Shell Australia’s Graduate Programme?
I had completed an internship at Shell in the previous summer, and had concluded that Shell was definitely an organisation I wanted to join as a graduate. I was looking for a program that would take my generalist skills from undergraduate studies and help me gain a deeper understanding of a growing industry, and develop the competencies required for a career in senior leadership positions. I also enjoyed the working environment, the relationship with my colleagues and line managers, and lifestyle outcomes that the organisation supports.
Tell us about your career path at Shell?
My first role as a graduate was in the Supply business, managing the operations of Shell Australia’s oil tanker fleet. In this role I was working with some of Shell’s most experiences Supply & Marine professionals, and was given a broad insight into operations, shipping and trading activities – and some great personal experiences as well. Following this, I joined the Pricing & Portfolio team in Commercial Fuels, where I was responsible for fuels pricing and portfolio optimisation for the mining and wholesale segments of the B2B market. I returned to Supply upon finishing the graduate program, as a Negotiator/Trader.
After a total of six years in Shell’s downstream business I transferred to their upstream business in Perth as an Economist on the Browse LNG development, prior to securing the role of Commercial Manager in 2014. In the future, I am interested in continuing to add value and develop my commercial competencies in the broad areas of commercial business development, Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestment, commercial management, and strategy & portfolio.
How did the Graduate Programme prepare you for the next phase in your career?
The structure of the graduate program allowed me to experience a variety of roles at the foundation level in Shell, and set me up with a high degree of industry awareness and a competency profile upon which to specialise after completing the program. The organisation invested heavily in my development, particularly through on-the-job learning on assignments with genuine accountability and development scope in the initial years.
I was encouraged to take on roles that were well outside my comfort zone, and worked with very experienced technical and functional staff from the beginning. I also established relationships with mentors and an internal network that has served me well in my career to date.
Describe what makes Shell’s Graduate Programme unique?
The program is well-defined but adaptable. There is a lot of emphasis on the individual’s career aspirations and development needs, in the way roles are developed and executed. There is as much responsibility on you to really take charge of and own your development, as there is the company.
Rather than training you to do a specific job, the program is developing you to be a future leader of Shell. This requires a broad set of experiences (in terms of functional areas, projects and locations), and also an emphasis on developing leadership attributes as well as technical/functional skills. There is no such thing as a “graduate job”; rather there are roles which graduates frequently perform due to the valuable experience and exposure they provide.
Why should today’s graduates join the programme?
The program is designed to set you up for long-term success in a highly competitive industry and employment market. The energy industry is central to both business and society worldwide, and faces a unique set of challenges in the future – for which the organisation will clearly require strong leadership.
What can graduates expect from the recruitment process?
The recruitment process is challenging but can be enjoyable. At all times, human interaction is emphasised; whether it is through initial telephone interviews, case study presentations, group activities or face-to-face conversations with Shell leaders. It requires you to be adaptable and willing to think on your feet; not necessarily to the depths of your knowledge in your technical discipline, but on a range of issues and topics that organisations and individuals may face.
Final words of advice for applicants?
In the early stages of the process, have a clear understanding of the things you have done to get to where you are today, and the things you’ve learned and experienced along the way. Think broadly, and don’t limit yourself to a narrow field when considering your strengths and achievements. As the process progresses, the most important advice I can give is to be yourself.
As this process is assessing more than just your technical capabilities, your authenticity and genuineness will go a long way to strengthen your case. Take your time, and try to use logical and structured thinking wherever possible; casting your net wide on the issues with which you are presented. Finally, although it may sound challenging, try to have some fun!