It was a varied day, with a mix of talks, interview practise and opportunities to network with other BP STEM Scholars. There were talks from people working in BP's 3 main business areas (IST, Upstream & Downstream) which was useful in confirming which internship programme I wish to apply for. There probably was too much time for the networking lunch and snack breaks though, as by now the Scholar cohort know each other pretty well and it felt like we were killing time.
BP clearly cares about its STEM Scholars. They invest a lot of time and money into the programme, and it is an invaluable insight into BP, as well as the oil and gas industry more generally. The Early Careers team are really friendly and happy to answer questions about internships and grad schemes.
As part of the STEM Scholarship, I have been to a number of events at BP before - so although the information given was useful, some of the talks felt like we were going over things we'd been told before. However, the advice on how to make a good internship or grad scheme application to BP has been helpful to have fresh in my mind, now that I am coming to physically do the application.
As BP's graduate / intern schemes don't directly follow on from my degree (in the way they might if I studied geology, or mechanical engineering), the day is unlikely to help me with my physics course. However, the day highlighted to me that I would need to do some reading around geology/geophysics in preparation for an interview with BP.
The day was well run. There were plenty of refreshments provided, and the sessions were about the right length. There were lots of opportunities to ask questions. Sessions ran to time, and the day ended slightly early. Ending the day with playing the Energy Game in teams was good fun.
By now, the BP STEM Scholars have been to a number of events together, so the atmosphere within the cohort is friendly and relaxed. We networked at lunch with current/recent Challengers, and they were friendly and easy to chat to. The Early Careers team are friendly and approachable, and BP comes across as a welcoming employer.
As part of the BP STEM Scholarship programme, I have received training, insights into BP and the oil and gas industry, as well as substantial financial contributions. Considering I don't work for BP, and am currently adding little value to the company, I view this as an extremely generous scheme!
I've spoken to lots of interns, Challengers and experienced professionals at BP, who have all been very open about their careers and experiences at BP. I understand not only what Early Careers opportunities BP offers, but also how a career at BP might progress. I have had (and taken!) lots of opportunities to ask questions about what working for BP is like.
BP's core values completely drive the company culture. The most obvious perhaps is Health & Safety - as soon as you arrive in the car park, you see the signs telling you to reverse park, and when you enter a building, you get told to hold the handrail on the stairs. One Team is evident as soon as you ask a BP employee about their job - they talk about mentoring within BP, and what teams they have worked in.
The day was useful in confirming to me what stream I wish to apply for a summer internship in (and if I were to apply to any other oil & gas companies, I would apply for something similar). I still don't know for sure if oil & gas is for me, or even if I want a grad scheme job, but I know that the opportunities at BP do appeal.
Travel expenses up to £150 were covered, including petrol at 22p per mile. Hotel stays the night before would be paid for if you had travelled for greater than 3 hours to the Sunbury Upon Thames head offices. Food and refreshments were provided free of charge throughout the insight day.
We had lunch with Challengers and there was a technical interview preparation session with an experienced BP professional.
There were lots of opportunities to ask questions and the BP employees were open and friendly with their answers. The sessions probably went on too long though, and perhaps an extra structured session could be incorporated into the day, if the time spent networking was slightly reduced. Scholars have had ample networking opportunities in the past!
BP encourages a good work-life balance, but extra-curricular activities were not focussed on.
A lot of the information was stuff we'd heard before, but it was an enjoyable day. I'm glad I have this fresh in my mind as I do my internship application.