1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Different aspects of the internship were more or less enjoyable. It is satisfying to be given independence and autonomy over your own project. However, at times I felt that I was being made to jump through hoops to please my supervisor and mentor, who were very focussed on the assessment at the end of the internship.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
The project structure of the internship meant that most of my work was independent of the work that my team was doing. I had little chance to interact with my direct team on a professional level. However, people in Shell are always happy to help if you reach out to them and I got the opportunity to meet lots of people working in different areas of Shell. Everyone was very willing to give advice and always made an effort to be interest in me.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My supervisor and mentor were always very helpful. I was able to schedule a meeting with my mentor at any stage to ask him questions, but could also look for help at any stage of the day. He even answered my questions via email when he was away on holidays!
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Although the project took a while to get started, after the initial 2-3 weeks I was quite busy most days. Because I was essentially running my own project, it was up to me to keep myself busy with meetings and tasks! I was also allowed some time at the end of the internship to prepare for my assessment during work hours.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I had quite a lot of autonomy over my own project. The project scope was very wide and I was given a lot of freedom with regard to the direction in which I led the project. I was allowed to schedule my own meetings and find my own contacts in other areas of the Shell business.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I learned a huge amount about commodities trading , especially how oil and chemicals markets work. In order to reach this understanding I also had to learn a lot about oil refining and chemicals manufacturing. This will not be directly relevant to my degree, which focuses on the more technical aspects (Chemical Engineering at Cambridge), however I feel it will be very useful should I decide to pursue a career in commodities trading. I also gained soft skills such as networking and building relationships in a corporate environment.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Although working in Trading is infamous for the intense environment, I found the Trading floor in Shell quite relaxed. My team were very good natured and always having a laugh while they worked. In general, I felt welcome everywhere I went and everyone I spoke with was full of praise for the atmosphere at Shell.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The internship was well organised with a structured assessment at the end. All the interns were subject to the same assessment process, and we were not made to feel that we were competing against each other, which I felt was a strength in the way that the internship was set up.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I did not take part in any formal training or development courses, but my supervisor committed a huge amount of time to me over the summer.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I would really love to work for Shell! At the end of my internship I was offered a place on the Shell Graduate Scheme for Commercial Downstream which I can begin once I have graduated, or postpone if I wish to take a few months off after graduation to travel or rest!
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There was a very good social scene amongst the interns. We went for lunch together as a big group every week and often went to the pub after work on a Thursday! Everyone was very willing to share stories and advice, as well as connecting each other with contacts in different areas of Shell.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
London is very expensive! Commuting to work cost me almost £40 a week, even though I didn't live very far out from the centre of London. Food and drink are naturally very expensive in the centre of London, but there is a huge selection, so you do always get what you want!
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Shell Centre is located on the Southbank, which is full on bars and restaurants which all open late into the evening to allow office workers to enjoy the atmosphere after work.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?