Posted by on January 24, 2017 at 9:43 am

Trafigura---Scott-NicholsName: Scott Nicholl

Company name: Trafigura

Position: Oil and Its Derivatives Graduate

What did you want to be when you grew up? Up until I was 18 I never knew what I wanted to do. I always had an interest in business, so thought I could end up being an accountant. Then after talking to my neighbour, who is a fund manager I realised that I wanted to go into something which involved investing and analysing businesses.

How did you know Business Management with Finance was what you wanted to study at the University of Huddersfield? My reason for going to university was to get into fund management. So I thought studying Business Management would help me out, also I hoped to get a basic understanding of accounting which is why I chose the finance course.

What was your plan of action when searching for jobs post-graduation? My plan was to prioritize which jobs were my favorite first, and to start the application process very early. It turns out the first job I applied for back in August was at Trafigura.

What did you find the hardest when searching for jobs post-graduation? It takes a long time to apply, and you often get nothing in return. For me the most difficult part was psychometric testing. I think that large organizations often look for a particular person to fit into their business, by nature I am quite contrarian so do not pass psychometric tests. I’m more entrepreneurial, so finding an organization which encouraged that was important.

What was the recruitment process like at Trafigura like? I initially applied online by submitting my CV and answering 5 questions on the website. About a month later I got a call from the recruitment department who wanted to speak with me and ask some screening questions. At the end of this call I got invited to Geneva for an interview. I had two interviews, each with two people from the company lasting around 30 minutes. The following day I got a call inviting me back for two more interviews, which were the same structure, I was just told they would be with more senior people and the questions would be harder. A couple of weeks later they offered me the job!

How did you prepare for the interviews? I researched the company and its subsidiaries extensively, by reading the information on the website, accounts and research papers published by the company. I read a book on physical oil trading to try and understand what actually happens in the industry, which was not easy because it’s quite opaque. The job specification didn’t give away much at all, but along with using websites such as Glassdoor I figured out the interviews would be unstructured. Because of this I prepared lots of information on trading I have done in the oil markets, I showed them my processes and pointed out how I though my experiences would make me potentially useful in their business. Three of the interviews as anticipated were quite unstructured, the forth however was very structured and technical.

How is the scheme structured at Trafigura? The scheme is designed to give me an understanding of different parts of the business. I will initially do three eight month rotations. Which will be in Trade finance, Deals Desk and Operations. I will then specialize in whichever role is best suited to me. For two of the rotations I will be based in Geneva then for the third I could be in Mumbai, Johannesburg, Rio de Janerio, Montevideo, Singapore or Texas.

Do you know what each of the roles will involve? Trade Finance has a lot of do with making sure the company has liquidity for trades. I will be involved in arranging letters of credit and bank guarantees. I will monitor risk, arrange insurance and work closely with traders.

Deals desk is all to do with risk and providing the traders with information. I will have to analyze how events will impact the company’s P&L and constantly monitor exposure.

Operations is all to do with the physical movement of oil and other products. It will involve ensuring products are delivered in a timely manner and on spec, so I will work with various organization such as port authorities, the shipping companies and customers.

Are the company helping you with living in another country? Yes it all seems very organized. I have a contract of employment then also a relocation agreement. I have a dedicated contact at the company to deal with any of my questions. The company will ship all of my stuff, organize my work permit, provide me with temporary accommodation and help me set up a bank account.

What are you most looking forward to at Trafigura? From the interview process it was very clear I’ll be working with some very intelligent people so I’m looking forward to learning from them. I find the oil industry and financial markets interesting, I can’t wait to get involved, for example visiting refiners. I also love to travel, I’ll be living in a new country and will travel to some remote places with work.


Click here to find out more information about what it is like at working at Trafigura.


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