My first year at BP

Four graduates who joined the global energy company's trading, technology and commercial teams in summer 2012 report back to Hannah Langworth on their first twelve months

Tara Behtash

Trader Development Programme: a three-year rotational programme intended to give graduates the knowledge and skills needed to be an effective trader at BP.

My role: I spent my first year working on energy-related derivatives trading. Now I've just moved into oil analytics, which is all about monitoring the oil market - tracking supply and demand in different global regions, and asking what's driving price changes.

Typical day: In my former rotation in London, the first thing I'd do in the morning was talk to Singapore to find out what had happened overnight, then make sure our trading positions were in line with it. Then I'd compile reports for the traders about their positions and price movements. In the afternoon, I'd work on longer-term research projects before handing over to Chicago.

How my role developed: My role at the beginning was mainly sending reports but as time went on I got more involved in writing reports and in sending hedging orders to our traders to protect our positions.

What I've learnt: I've gained a lot of technical knowledge - for example, understanding the producer and consumer side of the oil business and how BP makes money, and how the energy options market works and what makes it move.

Biggest challenge: I had to work with analysts in Singapore and Chicago every day without ever meeting them. But we ended up building really strong working relationships.

Biggest surprise about BP: The diversity of roles here and how much you can learn about so many different areas - my new job is a whole new world!

Best moment: When I started realising that I understood my role, got the technical concepts behind it, and could see the bigger picture - as that's when you can really add value.

My plan for the future: At the end of our three years, we take an exam and then, if we pass it, start working as a trader. My aim is to succeed in doing so.

My advice on applying to BP: Getting a job here is a competitive process, so you need to be sharp and well-prepared.

Max Bruegger

Commercial Development Programme: a three-year rotational programme across the commercial aspects of BP's business designed to be a basis for a long-term career at BP.

My role: During my first year, I worked with some of our traders, acting as a point of contact between them and commercial teams. Now I'm in the strategy team, reviewing potential energy projects across the world.

Typical day: One of my responsibilities last year was looking after the jet cargoes BP brings from the Arabian Gulf to Europe. I was in charge of ensuring the risks of these movements were hedged every morning on the Singapore markets, which meant coming in at 7.15am. Then, I would deal with queries, post updates, and liaise with traders and our commercial teams. Trading closed at 4pm, and I'd then put together daily reports.

How my role developed: The first two months were about getting used to everything and how it all fitted together. After Christmas, I took on the jet cargo work, which is when I got real responsibility - significant amounts of money were involved!

What I've learnt: A huge amount about trading as I was interacting with traders every day. Soft skills too, such as how to work in a fast-paced environment and how to sort problems out quickly.

Biggest challenge: Every day, as there was always something new - people would often be talking about things I'd never heard of, meaning I'd have to find out what they were.

Biggest surprise about BP: How helpful everyone was to someone new.

Best moment: No one moment - working with the traders in general and seeing commercial value being added to the business as a result of something I'd done.

My plan for the future: Short term, it's to do well in my current role. Long term, I'm interested in origination - how BP can optimise its global portfolio of oilfields.

My advice on applying to BP: Do an internship - it's a great way to understand the business and how you could fit in.

Aisha Chaudry

Technology Graduate Programme: a two year programme after which graduates are encouraged to apply for a role within BP's technology team.

My role: I speak to various people within the business to identify IT-related improvements that need to be made, and then find and implement solutions.

Typical day: I'm currently managing the implementation of a new type of software. Every morning, I host a meeting where I ask every team member what they're working on and what they plan to deliver that day. During the rest of the day, I might be involved in training sessions or writing communications in the relation to the project. I've also created a newsletter and a share point site, which I'm responsible for updating.

How my role developed: I've gained a lot more responsibility, and have gained an IT project management qualification.

What I've learnt: My presentation skills have improved and I'm much better at communicating in general.

Biggest challenge: Managing change - some people are resistant to it. The best way to do so is to understand the current process and why things have been done that way up until now before finding a new approach.

Biggest surprise about BP: How much BP encourages its employees to connect with the local community. I teach basic IT skills at a local primary school once a week and was involved in an event where we programmed Lego robots to race against each other! The children enjoyed it and it taught them the basics of computer programming - I like being able to give something back.

Best moment: Helping to create an instant messaging tool to connect people at the company with questions to people with the expertise to answer.

My plan for the future: I'd like to progress into a senior IT role at BP and shape business strategy in this area. One day, I'd like to be on BP's board!

My advice on applying to BP: Research BP well, and make sure you look at all the different graduate opportunities on offer.

Katie Pollitt

Commercial Development Programme: a three-year rotational programme across the commercial aspects of BP's business designed to be a basis for a long-term career at BP.

My role: For the past year, I've been a market analyst looking at supply and demand globally for liquified petroleum gas (LPG) - analysing imports and exports around the world, and using that to calculate supply and demand and assess current market prices. Next, I'm moving into supply operations.

Typical day: The type of data I was looking at would change from day to day depending on what the traders were interested in, as would the geographical areas - it could be Latin America one day and Japan the next. Ship tracking was an important part of the role - following LPG tankers using satellites and using that to gather real-time data on imports and exports.

How my role developed: I started off focusing on ship tracking in Europe, then took on the Americas and Asia. I began to do more analysis, as well as simply gathering data, and then moved on to presenting my findings to my team.

What I've learnt: Communication skills - both written and verbal, and the ability to judge what's important and what's not in a mass of data.

Biggest challenge: Understanding trading, which I didn't know anything about before I started at BP.

Biggest surprise about BP: How much the data I gave traders influenced what they did - I really saw the impact of my work.

Best moment: Whenever I saw my predictions about the LPG market later confirmed by official data.

My plan for the future: There are so many areas of work you can get involved in at BP, and I want to try a few more before deciding what to focus on.

My advice on applying to BP: BP's a huge company with so many opportunities for graduates. So if you're interested in finance and business, but not sure exactly what yet, then BP might be a better option than an investment bank.

The legacy of London 2012 for BP graduate joiners

Graduates joining BP always have exciting opportunities open to them.But thanks to BP's position as one of the London 2012 official partners, the energy company offered those joining in the summer of 2012 the chance to start their careers on secondment to London 2012 organisers LOCOG in various roles at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

We asked our four graduate joiners how their experiences at London 2012 had served them in their new role at BP.


Role at London 2012: Co-ordinating transport between the beach volleyball arena and the Olympic Park.

"At the Olympics, I worked with people of all different nationalities, which was great. Doing so has helped me in my role this year as I've been collaborating with people based all across the world, particularly in Chicago and Singapore, but elsewhere too."


Role at London 2012: Co-ordinating transport from a major West End hotel to Olympic venues.

"I still frequently speak to all the other graduates I worked with at London 2012 and have even been on holiday with some of them! Getting to know them was a great introduction to working at BP and helped me to start building the network of friends across the business that I've been able to add to while working here."


Role at London 2012: Helping to manage athlete and official departures and arrivals at Heathrow Airport.

"During London 2012 I worked at Heathrow. The airport was operating 24 hours a day, so I often had to work long and irregular hours. Doing so helped me professionally because I developed a good work ethic - sometimes you have to put extra effort in when you're developing your skills and trying to perform to the best of your abilities."


Role at London 2012: Greeting VIPs on arrival and helping to manage the VIP car system.

"At the Olympics, part of my role was to ensure we kept the VIPs happy. In my new role, where I'll be working on the supply of ground fuels like diesel and kerosene to all our UK clients, I'll be working closely with important customers, so I think the skills I learnt from London 2012 will be very useful."