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Case Study: Stefan

Personal details
Degree:Geoscience (BSc) now Geology (BSc) Profile picture
School(s): School of Geography and Geosciences
Year of Graduation:Jun-2010
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: Wintershall AG (BASF Group)
Job title: Petroleum Geologist
Occupational Sector: Geology
What has been your route to getting your current position?

After graduating at St Andrews I was offered sponsorship from ConocoPhillips to study at Imperial College for an MSc in Petroleum Geoscience. During the course I applied for numerous oil and gas companies, eventually landing a position as a geologist within Germany’s leading oil and gas company.

What does your job involve ?

Although I haven’t started yet, I will start within a 2 year graduate programme which will let me work on four 6 month placements in countries like Argentina, Norway, Netherlands, Russia, Qatar etc. After completing these placements I will probably be permanently based in Germany although international work opportunities are likely to be possible. The original position will allow me to explore and hopefully discover oil and gas in some of the most extreme and harsh locations in the world. With time my role is likely to become more specialised.

What are the best bits of your job ?

Travelling and getting to see the world will definitely be the best part. Likewise the chance to learn multiple languages while doing this will be extremely useful. Along with this I am getting to work on interesting projects and more importantly using the skills I have learnt over my two degrees. Finally the salary is one of the best within the oil and gas industry making it very attractive!

Why were you successful?

Work experience was crucial. I tried my best to network with professionals within the oil and gas industry in order to gain work experience during my summers. Along with this I showed great enthusiasm and showed that I was willing to live abroad without a permanent home wouldn’t phase me.

Competition within this line of work is extremely high, with most companies offering only one or two graduate positions. This means that you have to have great determination and realize that a job won’t necessarily magically appear. I was interviewed by five other companies with positive feedback from all of them until being successful with Wintershall.

What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
The St Andrews course is known to be one of the best for field geology. The ability to think on a wide range of scales in different dimensions through this work has helped significantly when interpreting data.
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?

Never presume that you will not get an interview or a job just because of one thing. For example, I cannot speak any other languages apart from English and everyone else at the final round interviews of Wintershall were bilingual. Companies are often looking for individuals that fit in their company, its not always just what you know.