My Journey into BP
Seeing as Wikijobs has been a real asset in my graduate scheme hunt and with me finally landing a fantastic graduate role with BP, I only see it fair that I contribute back to the website which helped me through this journey!
I applied to the BP Commercial Stream (Integrated Supply & Trading/Refining & Marketing) 2011
Pretty standard application with a selection of basic competencies, I strongly suggest that questions are answered in a clear and structured manner. Use STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) when answering and keep focused on YOUR personal contributions.
Lastly, of course keep your examples varied and impressive.
Having applied to BP in the past, I noticed that I was a lot more comfortable with the tests that I undertook this year. They were not SHL, nor were they your standard structure.
There were 3 tests- Numerical, Verbal and Analytical. If I correctly recall, there were 6 questions separated into two sets of 3 per topic.
So for example: You would complete 3 questions, take a break then complete another 3.
I may incorrect on the numbers but one thing for certain is that the second ‘set’ becomes progressively more difficult.
However I found the Numerical test a lot simpler and easier than SHL tests I completed in the past. Some less complicated percentages and statistical related questions.
Verbal was reasonable, the passages of text become progressively larger but question style is the same as SHL
Analytical was tricky in parts, there were questions relating to pattern sequences. For example, you are given a scenario where conditions are applied to a set of shapes such as bigger or change colour to black and using the information provided you must understand the following sequence in the pattern.
This interview lasted a good few hours; I got to my interview for 12:30pm and didn’t leave till about 4:30p / 5:00pm
The interview consists of one personal interview with a HR representative (third party) lasting 45 minutes and one technical interview with two employees from BP directly including one manager which lasted 90 minutes.
The afternoon in general was relaxed and nicely paced, you are given a great opportunity to mingle and meet with other candidates which squashed any last minute nerves I had!
The interviews themselves were very relaxed and not incredibly structured like other interviews I have attended.
The personal interview was more or less a competency interview with some discussion on what you’re up to, your degree and why the energy industry.
I only really talked about two or three specific competencies which were delved into by the interviewer.
The interview was incredibly relaxed and as cliché as it sounds, it was definitely more of a genuine conversation. The interviewer was very friendly too. It wasn’t an interview where very specific examples were needed or where the interviewer unloaded lots of competency questions and asked for more and more examples.
The technical interview was interesting, we were given 2/3 case study scenario’s where we were required to make decisions and highlight concerns or questions. One involved determining whether or not BP should expand operations onto a fictional island and the concerns that should be reviewed. The other case study involved deciding which location out of two, BP should build a refinery in.
I suggest utilising the paper on the desk to review the scenarios and you are given heaps of time to collate notes. Feel free to ask for things to be clarified or repeated if required!
I was asked to review advantages and disadvantages as well as concerns, dangers and issues to consider. You are given progressive information throughout the case study which will change the situation and you are tested on your ability to adapt your reasoning.
They are looking for your ability to review situations holistically and analyse the issues that need to be considered when making a decision.
Be as open as you think, even if it isn’t correct, it’s important to express your reasoning and decision making.
I found out the following day I got through to the two-day assessment centre which took place the following week
TWO-DAY ASSESSMENT CENTRE
Very quick turnaround time had the 1-2-1 interview on Thursday and the AC took place the following Mon/Tues.
Candidates meet early in the first evening to get to know each other then are briefed about the following day. Again BP’s approach to assessment is refreshingly different and IMO more focused on relaxing candidates, encouraging them to mingle and generally find out the genuine person behind the candidate. This is reflected by an evening of dinner and drinks after, purely to meet fellow candidates, current graduates as well as BP Managers.
The day itself revolved around group activity, no 1-2-1 competency interviews or technical interviews, no e-trays.
The day was broken into around 5 tasks which revolved around the typical business process that takes place in the oil industry, from exploration to refining and marketing the product:
Groups are allocated; we were in a group of four which we kept with throughout the day.
First was a simple group task where you needed to come to a decision about which field to explore for oil reserves. The group is given options to invest in gaining additional information to structure the decision better.
Second task was a split into two parts, in pair’s you were required to firstly review options for extraction of the oil and then question a ‘manager’ who had experience in that particular method of extraction.
The next part was to collaborate with the other pair in your group who conducted the same task for the other options and within a group assessed environment we were required to make a decision as to which method of extraction/refinement we would take.I strongly suggest the use of the flipchart that is included to review the advantages and disadvantages of all options. I found it useful to define elements or characteristics that could be compared against each other to help come to a decision.
The Third Task involved a 1-2-1 presentation. You were required to review 3 business strategy options and pick one to suggest and explain the reasons why.
The three decisions were, Diversify product portfolio (move into biofuels and diesel), Specialise in gasoline products or sell a refinery.
We were all given a long 8(ish) page brief which detailed a number of topics covering the fictional business you were ‘working for’. Topics included financial strength/balance sheet of the company, current business operations, HR statistics, market information and competitor news.
We were given 1 hour 15 minutes (I think) to read through the brief and prepare a presentation (we were given a template to utilise)
You are then required to present your decision and the reasons why over 10/15 minutes to a BP manager and answer questions/rebuttals.
Fourth Task involved another group task which involved deciding on marketing options to sell product. You were also given some brief information about the market environment of a location.
The group task was similar to the first and second except that ‘breaking news’ and new information was distributed across the time of the task which required us to review and adapt to the new information. I suggest really clarifying what these changes mean to the group and the decision to be made.
Fifth and final task involved a 1-2-1 ‘reflective review’ on how you felt the day went and certain things that went well or that you found challenging. This was conducted with a BP manager and was a nice way to wind down the day.
The day is challenging and tiring but the pace was reasonable and the tasks were logical! The assessors were all from BP and were incredibly pleasant and friendly which made a heap of difference!
I was told the following day that I had been awarded a place on the BP Graduate Scheme
For anyone who is starting with BP September 2011, do get in touch or join the facebook group – BP Graduates 2011 – UK !
For the rest of you applying- good luck! And I will be more than happy to clarify any points if they arise.
This was done pretty quickly, but I hope it helps!