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Skipping the description of surrounding scenic beauty and a cozy working atmosphere, because let’s get it straight – they are non-existent. Life in the Oil Industry is tough. Yet, if one likes to slog it out on the field, this industry has much to offer apart from high pay packages.
I had already done a core intern at Larsen and Toubro in my sophomore year, but I always felt the need to explore a few other options as well. With no inclination towards the financial sector, I started exploring the Oil and Gas industry and took up a course viz. Exploratory Seismology in the Earth Sciences department to learn more about the wide scope of this field. Other companies like Shell were also on my radar, but I was lucky enough to get through in Schlumberger early in the internship season. The lucrative job prospects in the oil industry were an added incentive.
The Selection Process
Usually, the selection process begins with resume-based shortlisting followed by a GD, and concludes with a PI. But this year the recruiting team decided to skip the GD and went directly for PIs. The PIs are a combination of HR and technical questions. Their main focus is on the activities or projects taken up by the student and the depth to which he or she was involved to in the given activity.[pullquote]The PIs are a combination of HR and technical questions. Their main focus is on the activities or projects taken up by the student and the depth to which he or she was involved to in the given activity.[/pullquote] The resume points are taken very seriously and discussed in great detail, so it’s advisable to be quite thorough with your resume. The HR questions are very generic, e.g. describing one’s biggest achievements or weaknesses. Interestingly, the technical questions were not based on the oil industry, but rather on rudimentary knowledge like workshop tools. An important fact to be noted here is that Schlumberger doesn’t specifically focus on CPI while shortlisting, but on an overall involvement of the student in institute activities or projects that may have been pursued.
It is important to figure out the relevance of your resume points to the oil sector because if the interviewer asks you, “Why this field?”, which (s)he would, mentioning the job package won’t be a smart answer. Say for me, trekking or travelling is a hobby. Since a job in the oil industry involves working in very remote conditions, this point or just the mention of it in the interview went in my favor. I emphasized on my interest in courses like ‘Surveying’ or ‘Seismology’ to get my point across the table.
During the Internship
Schlumberger has numerous sub-domains in which it offers its expertise. I had been assigned to the Well-Services segment which mostly involved field work based in a remote location on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. The gigantic base was mostly composed of big servicing yards and huge pumping units. The temperature during summers in such locations can easily shoot up to 45 degrees. Schlumberger is known for driving its interns to sweat it out in the fields (again this depends on the segment), but it is also known for its high standard of accommodation and food arrangements. The guest houses were luxurious with cooks to cater to our hunger at any time. We literally had a feast everyday!
The internship (Well-Services, in particular) mandated us to familiarize ourselves with the diverse tools and components of an oil rig setup. We even worked with base level operators in the maintenance yards, doing cleaning and repairing jobs! All of this, I must say, was quite a humbling experience. Frequent visits to the job sites were organized to teach us about other technicalities involved in a job operation. Learning about these operations and the technologies employed was very interesting. A daily slogging involving long work hours from 7 in the morning till 6 in the evening ensued. The tasks were physically draining but understandably a necessity. Apart from this, each intern was assigned a specific project under the mentorship of senior engineers who are usually IITians themselves. Thus, it was a lot easier and fun to work under their tutelage, given the occasional weekly treats and outings we had.[pullquote]My project was based on creating and implementing a Traceable Database of safety certifications for lifting gears (i.e. equipment involved in lifting operations which requires annual testing) and putting a system in place to manage the same for the Indian region.
[/pullquote] My project was based on creating and implementing a Traceable Database of safety certifications for lifting gears (i.e. equipment involved in lifting operations which requires annual testing) and putting a system in place to manage the same for the Indian region.
The global nature of this company is another positive and offers one a wide diversity of cultures and nationalities to familiarize yourself with. This internship can provide a truly unique experience when it comes to professional exposure.
Advice to Juniors
I do not intend to demotivate anyone, but this type of lifestyle is not easy to adapt to. For a field employee, a single job duration can stretch to more than 4 months and the definition of weekends doesn’t exist. But a rotation policy is followed which gifts you a month or two of leisure break in between the jobs.[pullquote]For a field employee, a single job duration can stretch to more than 4 months and the definition of weekends doesn’t exist. But a rotation policy is followed which gifts you a month or two of leisure break in between the jobs.[/pullquote] Some juniors did put up concerns regarding the slump in the oil prices. To answer them – yes, this industry is quite volatile politically as well as financially. Our internship was reduced to a one month duration because of similar reasons. But when it comes to employment, this industry is still huge with good absorptive capacity and we IITians in particular enjoy some level of job security.
Schlumberger offers the best pay relative to the working hours put in, even compared to most banking firms like Goldman Sachs. There are frequent trips abroad and the growth prospects are great. The services offered are excellent with high focus on employee safety in remote locations. With months of continuous work, one develops a bonding with colleagues, something which I didn’t find in my previous internships. Be a workaholic and join the chorus – ‘Work hard, party harder!’
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