Blog & News

Review: Aberdeen University AAPG- PESGB Joint Student Chapter Careers Event

Mon 17 December 2018

Around 40 students from undergraduate and postgraduate courses including the Integrated Petroleum Geoscience and Oil and Gas Enterprise Management Master’s gathered to listen to advice from a panel of speakers with over 50 years of combined industry experience.

The speakers began by discussing the various ups and downs of their own career paths. John, Douglas and Ewan were able to focus on the E&P view while Max and Ian focused more on the service company perspective.

Everyone had experience from the periodic market downturns. For example, John graduated in 1988 when the oil price was around $7/bbl. Meanwhile the period from 2000-2014 the market for industry jobs was buoyant with a few downturns, 2008 a notable exception.

Attention turned to students growing their network while at university which is considered a must during challenging times. The importance of attending conferences and events was highlighted as an excellent first step. The panel also reflected on the importance of curating an online presence including LinkedIn to actively build valuable relationships.

The students wanted to know what was preferable, a Masters or a PhD. It was said that a taught Master’s was the fastest and best way into the industry while a PhD should only be undertaken if one is very passionate about a specific topic and can see themselves working on it for multiple years. Ewan and Douglas who have both secured positions with major operators (BP and ExxonMobil respectively) through assessed internships in their last year of PhD agreed.

A student from the OGEM course brought up the fact that legislative change in Mexico has brought new investment to the country and asked how to boost his profile in that local market. John explained that speaking at conferences and or publishing articles would be helpful. Max commented that Petrolink had attended CMP Congreso Mexicano del Petroleo.

Figures on the number of students securing placements and internships were discussed. It is expected that around 20/30 IPG students will gain placements next year; a sign of improving market sentiment. 2015-2017 intakes were met with little opportunity as many operators had shelved these projects

The session finished on a buoyant note. John highlighted that early year professionals will soon be thrust into management roles to fill the vacuum left by those in the 55+ age bracket who may have taken retirement.

We would like to thank the event speakers:

  • Ian Greig, PhD student at the University of Aberdeen
  • John Howell, Professor at the University of Aberdeen
  • Douglas Watson, PhD student at the University of Aberdeen soon to be at ExxonMobil
  • Ewan Gray, PhD student at the University of Aberdeen soon to be at BP
  • Max Sheridan PESGB/ Petrolink