A business role with international opportunities at BP

A BP graduate recruit talks about working on global commercial issues with colleagues around the world and getting some time abroad herself

Amy Taylor joined BP's graduate programme in London in 2011 in BP's Integrated Supply and Trading team (IST), which manages many of the commercial aspects of BP's operations, including the supply of BP's products to customers, trading, risk management, and technology.

She completed three year-long rotations in IST, including a placement in BP's Madrid office, and recently joined BP's Gas Trading Europe team within IST as a commercial analyst.

Here she explains what her job involves and how it fits into BP's global operations, how international her work is, and the exciting opportunities she's had in her career at BP so far, including a chance to work abroad.

The international gas market is constantly changing

"Working in the Gas Europe team in IST, I'm really in the thick of the action as far as the global energy market is concerned. We're witnessing high levels of economic volatility across the region, which present interesting challenges to the European natural gas sector.

As a commercial analyst, my role is to provide much of the groundwork for the mid- to long-term energy deals carried out by the IST team. This involves researching industry and economic developments and potential risks surrounding the European natural gas sector.

The first thing I do when I arrive at work each day is sift through the international and industry press to find out what's taken place in the market overnight. This helps identify potential opportunities and informs the economic modelling I perform, which is used to support BP's longer-term energy deals.

As well as supporting traders in the UK and overseas, I'm also communicating regularly with other parts of BP, including credit risk and compliance. On any given day, there's usually something happening globally which will have an impact on the work we are doing, so I really need to be on my toes."

I loved Madrid. I'd go back in a heartbeat

"Spending my third graduate rotation in Madrid (pictured) was definitely one of the highlights of my time at BP so far.

There was an opening for an IST graduate in the Madrid office and I was asked whether I'd be interested in being considered. My immediate response was "yes please".

While the Europe Gas team in Madrid all speak good English, business is conducted entirely in Spanish. The prospect of going over there with a limited grasp of the language was a little daunting, I'll admit. But it didn't stop me from fully immersing myself in Madrid life, both professionally and socially.

As part of the natural gas team there too, I was able to draw on the skills and experience I'd already built up in London. The work I was doing each day, which included analysing deal structures and measuring commercial risk, was related to what I'd been doing in the UK.

Madrid has got its work-life balance sorted: it's a hardworking capital city, but the people certainly know how to enjoy themselves. The weather and food are beautiful, and the people are friendly. I'd go back in a heartbeat."

Wherever you are, you're still part of a team

"My time in Madrid showed me that BP really is one big team environment. There's a constant dialogue between offices and regions which means that, wherever you are, you still feel closely connected to colleagues in the UK and elsewhere.

The graduate scheme is an important factor in developing this global network: the people you join with when you start out are drawn from different backgrounds. As you transition to a permanent role, many of us go off and work in other parts of the business, but you never lose touch.

Towards the end of my Madrid rotation, the Gas Europe team ran the Edinburgh Half Marathon alongside some of the London team. It was fantastic to catch up with my old colleagues, many of whom I hadn't seen for several months.

These kinds of experiences really help to bring people together and make them feel like part of a community."

It's up to you to create your own opportunities

"I've been at BP for three years now, and perhaps the main thing I've learned is that you need to be willing to shape your own career and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

It's up to you to get involved and push yourself to do things that don't necessarily fall within your specific job description. For example, there are a series of changes about to be implemented to the UK in the power market which will change the economics of running power plants.

Energy regulation is an area I'm really interested in getting more involved in at some stage in my career, and my team here at BP have been very supportive in allowing me to further my knowledge of the area.

I'd definitely jump at the chance to go overseas again at some point. While I love living in London, the energy sector is about as international as it gets, which provides opportunities for working overseas."

Image: Jose Maria Cuellar (  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cuellar/)

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