My graduate scheme - Jake Egbers @ BP
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Jake Egbers is currently a strategy analyst at BP Castrol, based in Pangbourne, near Reading. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Bath University. He joined BP in September 2015 on the Commercial Downstream graduate scheme.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’d describe myself as a solid problem solver, as I did engineering at university and really enjoyed maths at school… I just really like learning new things and working on varied projects. I’m also really into adrenaline sports like windsurfing, skiing, surfing and mountain biking .
Why did you decide to join BP?
My engineering degree at university was a four year sandwich course, meaning I spent my third year in industry. During this year, I spent 12 months working for BP in Commercial Downstream, so that’s how I joined the company – they offered me a graduate role after completing my degree. I just couldn’t see another company being better, as there is so much variation and opportunity in the company.
I knew I wanted to go into a business role, but still wanted to be part of the engineering ecosystem somehow. Commercial Downstream at BP was a perfect fit, as I get to do a business role but within a company that is grounded in engineering.
So what exactly does Commercial Downstream mean?
Downstream is the part of the business that refines the oil and gas, and then brings it out to market. There is a lot of engineering involved in the refining part, but in Commercial Downstream, we don’t do anything that operational – we don’t go out to plants to make sure they’re working, or do any of the engineering or surveying. It’s more to do with sales, marketing, strategy, finance, and supply chain to name a few.
Commercial Downstream involves selling to customers and consumers – for example, products developed and manufactured by Castrol, which is BP’s advanced engine oil brand. We have a lot more competitors in terms of all the brands that other oil & gas companies have out in the market, so you get to be a lot more strategic and customer focused, which I like. My role in Commercial Downstream has really helped me to put the skills I learnt during my degree to practical use.
What does your current role involve?
I’m currently seconded to a Global Strategy Project as a strategy analyst with Castrol.It’s a challenging role where I’m involved in the whole process from the initial data analysis to finalising a detailed global strategy document. For example, in the past few months, I’ve been involved in researching the impacts from future trends such as electric vehicles and shared mobility; modelling future markets opportunities and doing ‘forensic’ analysis on our historical financial performance.
The big challenge in developing a global strategy is making it relevant and flexible enough to be applied across the globe as the market needs of China are different to the USA for example.
What do you like most about your role?
During my time at BP I’ve been involved in some great projects. I’ve gone from leading large market research projects co-developing global strategies, to working with Universities such as London Business School and Hult International Business School. I enjoy how I’m challenged in my role and get to push my problem solving skills to good use. The great advantage of the BP graduate scheme is that, once you’ve got a good network, you can get involved in some really interesting projects, which may not necessarily be related to your job spec. You have a lot of freedom in that way.
Do you have any advice for other students thinking of applying to BP?
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What has struck me is that everyone is super friendly and senior people are very approachable. Everyone is really passionate about their work and what they do. I would say read up on the company, look at the corporate website and try to understand how BP works. The big one is the values and behaviours – that’s probably key.