Step up to the challenge, believe in yourself, ask for guidance, and do what it takes
Tag along with Jun Song as he shares what the life of a Shell Graduate Economist is like and learn what will set you apart at Shell.
Jun Song studied a Bachelor of Commerce, Accounting and Tax at Curtin University, and is now a Economist at Shell.
6.00 AM: Emails and production. Outside of work I’ve been running a production company over the last 6 years previously specialising in wedding photography and now expanding to cinematography/video production. I use this time in the morning to liaise with my clients on upcoming meetings/shoots and stay on top of my editing.
8.00 AM: The daily commute, a 15 minute cruise in or 10 minutes if I pretend to be in the Tour de France.
8.30 AM: Procaffeinating; The tendency to delay beginning anything productive until you’ve had a coffee. Uncle Joes is a local favourite where I catch up on the news and markets before I jump into the day.
9.00 AM: This morning I am compiling the quarterly short term prices from the region to support evaluations with a shorter time horizon. It’s important to note they are not forecasts trying to predict the future but rather allowing the company to view all their opportunities in a consistent perspective to understand the relative value of opportunities we are looking at.
Here I had to engage colleagues in the Singapore office in the Pricing and Strategy Team to collect the regional gas prices and shipping rates. The colleague who helped me with this is the same colleague I befriended and partied with when I worked from the Singapore office for a week to broaden my networks on my way home from a shoot in Sri Lanka last year.
10.30 AM: Reorganising the network drives in a more logical manner. It’s important to be honest and realistic about expectations and reality. No matter what company you work for, what stage of your career you’re at, be prepared to roll up your sleeves and be a team player. Our expectations are built on the career highlights of those that came before us. Before going out to negotiate your first deal or evaluating an opportunity, you need to earn your seat at the table.
Here is the greatest opportunity for all graduates: Solve the problems that everyone is too busy to put energy into but live with on a daily basis. Put your hand up to do the work that isn’t “sexy” that no one else wants to do but needs to get done. Look for every opportunity to fulfil the gaps to potential and don’t settle for “good enough”. At this early stage in our career it’s not just about what we impact deliver, but also, if not more importantly, how we deliver it. I don’t promise much, but I am willing to promise if you do that there will be no shortage of exciting opportunities heading your way.
12.00 PM: Time to hit gym. I teach group fitness (any Bodypump fans out there?) at the gym in the next building a few times a week and half the class is filled by my colleagues too. There is nothing more energising than being in a room full of people who are dedicating all their time and energy to becoming the best versions of themselves. I take that energy and feel good vibes back into the office and run on endorphins for the rest of the day.
2.30 PM: One of my key projects since joining the economics team was to develop and rollout an Economics Screening Tool to the Technical community in Australia and New Zealand. This allowed opportunities to be screened early and allow the economists to focus their time and energy on opportunities that passed the screening criteria to develop deeper insights rather than churning through cases.
One thing that I was surprised about was the scope of autonomy and responsibility we are given at Shell. My manager does not ask me every day what I’m doing or where my project is at. Instead she expects me to manage the project with all my stakeholders and check in for support when needed and at agreed milestones. I personally find that so empowering as it gives me the freedom and support to do my best work as well as maintain my lifestyle.
5.30 PM: Briefing calls with my Relocations Advisor. In April, I will be moving to the Netherlands and join the Deal Delivery (Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestment Transactions) team in The Hague as part of my final rotation in the graduate programme. This assignment will help broaden my knowledge across different value chains, fiscal and regulatory environments as well as asset lifecycles to help me develop as a commercial professional in the energy industry. I will be supporting the Deal Teams in exploring the opportunities to reshape our portfolio into a world class investment case.
6.45 PM: On set at producing a series inspired by Netflix’s Chef’s Table with a very talented baker and pastry chef duo. Whether that be quick thinking and adaptability required to shoot in any location with unpredictable lighting, the grit required to push through discomfort on that last set in Bodypump or project management skills to prioritise and deliver multiple projects, I bring all the cross-learnings between all of my roles to help me on the job I am doing. Thankfully my managers to date have shared the same view in developing and supporting me “as a person” rather than “as a professional” as they can see I am performing at my best when I have balance.
10.35 PM: WhatsApp-ing my mentor currently based in The Hague who is giving me some further advice with the move as well general life advice. Though usually by this time, I’m in bed ready to do it all over again the next day.
Mentoring culture is strong at Shell and starts with a formal mentoring program. However, it doesn’t preclude you from finding mentors organically. Once you find someone you connect with, latch onto them like a barnacle on a humpback whale and learn as much as you can!
Disclaimer: Views expressed are of the individuals featured and are not representative of the views of the Shell group of companies and their affiliates.