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Focus on: Internships with BP

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Internships can be the gateway to fantastic careers as a former BP intern-turned-graduate testifies to graduatejobs.com.

Internships give students and graduates a glimpse into the working world and a fantastic opportunity to develop new skills. Placements and internships have become a key cornerstone of many company's graduate recruitment and, according to the latest High Fliers report, three-quarters of the leading employers now offer these kinds of temporary employment.

Hadi Wibawa studied Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London so he was well aware of the oil and gas multinational BP and knew it would be a fantastic place to start his career.

"I always wanted to work for BP because I studied Chemical Engineering at Imperial and BP is one of the top employers for Imperial's graduates," Hadi says.

"BP runs quite a few careers events at Imperial and I was able to meet real members of staff from BP. Before I submitted my application, I was invited to the Integrated Supply and Trading (IST) offices in London and I met the CEO at the time, Paul Reed, at an LGBT event."

"I felt like the hierarchy at BP is really flat and you can easily communicate with very senior members of staff and they are very approachable."

Hadi Wibawa

For Hadi, despite his background being in Chemical Engineering, he was able to pursue his dream career in IT with BP.

"During my internship, I found the team at BP really supportive because, even though I studied Chemical Engineering, I was really interested in computer programming," he says. "I self-taught myself programming throughout my time at university so when I landed an internship here I wasn't too confident in my abilities, but the team really supported me in terms of the technical side."

Even though he faced various technical challenges, Hadi says he really appreciated the support from his colleagues as he was developing his skills.

"It wasn't easy to pick up software development - it is a really steep learning curve. The world of programming changes all the time, but I know my team will help me along the way with technical issues and they have a lot of resources I can utilise."

The support he received made the decision to join BP's Challenger Programme very easy. Hadi says he is still learning all the time.

"They gave me lots of confidence to continue and improve my skills, so I instantly accepted their offer for a place on the graduate programme. Now I'm on the graduate programme I get lots of online and offline training, and I've just come back from a week's intensive training in C# (programming language) which was really exciting."

Hadi is now settled onto the graduate programme and he has worked on some really important, wide reaching projects. He worked in a team with 13 developers and developing an application which helps inform a key area of the organisations supply & trading division.

"I am currently a .NET developer using Microsoft Technology Stack, which means I build desktop applications and web applications for the traders and analysts," Hadi explains.

"One of the most exciting applications I've worked on is a scraping service. The application, or scraping service, collects data from different sources on the web and it arrives in a variety formats. So we created a solution to collect all of the data and put it into one framework which is time series format."

"When the traders and analysts need access to the information, they can find it quickly and, most importantly, it will be correct," he says. "This scraping service runs around the clock and the analysts use it every day because they need to know how much oil and gas costs every hour of every day."

Hadi believes he would not have been able to be confident enough to pursue a computing role if it had not been for his three month internship at BP.

"When I've spoken to other graduates on the tech programme, and from my own experiences, at university, you learn a wide breath of skills and knowledge but rarely go too in-deep on a particular area," Hadi explains. "For example, in your role as a data scientist you need to know machine learning inside out, but it's a type of skill you might not have learnt at university because it is so specific."

"I needed to know around seven different programming languages, which was really interesting and fun to learn. If you have that on your CV already it will be a massive benefit, because sometimes you will be working on a project and there will be a part that needs a specific language and you need to learn it quickly."

Hadi enjoyed his internship and now enjoys life on the BP Graduate Scheme, but he encourages students to consider taking an internship anywhere, not just at BP.

"If you have the opportunity to undertake an internship you should definitely go for it, because you will gain a great understanding of the company," he says.

"Internships are definitely one of the ways to go, but if you don't have the opportunity to do one then seek out opportunities to talk with people from the industry, because it's a long term career and they will be able to provide you with valuable insight into what it's like."

Check out what internships and work placements are available now.

Image Credit: Lewis Pratt