Graduate schemes at E.ON: International Business Management

Keely Lockhart speaks to Sophie Foxall about her experience of the International Business Management scheme at energy giant E.ON

I studied International Business at the University of Loughborough. Before I joined E.ON's International Business Management graduate scheme, I'd already spent a year working at E.ON as part of my industrial placement. I'm also interested in renewable energy, and I feel E.ON are really leading the way in this area.

I specifically chose the International Business Management scheme because there's the opportunity to travel abroad. I grew up in Hong Kong and I speak Chinese, so I saw the scheme as a stepping stone to an international business career.

The placements

One of the major projects for E.ON at the moment is to replace all our gas and electricity meters with smart meters to comply with government regulations. For my first placement, I was in the project management office dealing with our smart metering rollout.

My role involved a lot of milestone planning, which meant applying a lot of the theory I learnt at university - something I didn't expect to do straight away. I also had to make sure that there was clear communication between all the different sub-teams within the project, and that they were all aware of their targets.

For my second placement I joined the oil and gas business in London where I was involved in procurement. I would be taking orders, liaising with tendering suppliers and drawing up licensing agreements in order to purchase a product - it could be anything from simple stationery to £100,000 pieces of pipeline! I also got to work with high-level oil and gas professionals who are international industry veterans, so I was learning something new every day.

Halfway through my second placement an opportunity came up for me to use my language skills. I was transferred to the E.ON offices in Germany where there was a team trying to expand our supply chain for smart meters into China and became the initial point of contact between E.ON and businesses in China. Right now, I've just moved out to Sweden and I'm working in business development for onshore wind, which means I'm helping a team out here develop wind projects in northern Europe.

The people at E.ON

One of the things I like the most about my placement out in Sweden is that all my seniors are female. In particular, one of the most senior members of staff is also a mother and I'm so impressed with how she manages her work and family time so well. She's made me realise that it's possible to be a senior woman and have a good family life. It's very inspiring.

Why choose E.ON?

As a graduate at E.ON, you'll be working for a company at the forefront of renewable energy development. You'll also have the opportunity to choose from a broad variety of schemes that are challenging, exciting, international and dynamic, with generous starting salaries.

The schemes are between 18 months and two years long and consist of four six-month placements, one of which could be spent working for E.ON in Europe. The aim of the schemes is to ensure graduates gain a breadth of experience, get a broad insight into career opportunities at E.ON and maximise their potential.