An internship that culminated into a Pre Placement Offer in one of the largest Oil and Gas companies in the world. Read Gaurav’s internship experience which was both fun and enlightening at the same time.
About Author: Gaurav is a final year B.Tech student at Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad. He is doing his majors in the Mining field and interned at Shell Technology Centre, Bangalore.
As the most memorable, fun-filled summer culminated in a Pre-Placement Offer from Shell, largely putting to rest my placement worries, I felt the urge to share my experiences through this article, in the hope that many are able to avail of this wonderful opportunity in the future. Shell is one of the largest Oil and Gas companies in the world and has 3 Technology Centres, one of them being at Bangalore, where we interns worked. Two points to note about Shell Technology Centre, Bangalore (STCB) before I go further: 1. STCB floats its internship as late as in the middle of the even semester. 2. STCB takes interns with the purpose of giving as many Pre Placement Offers as possible. STCB generally offers internships to pre-final year undergraduates of Mining Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Petroleum Engineering, and pre-final year post-graduates of Chemical Engineering and the Earth Sciences.
The process began by submitting applications on an online portal, followed by telephonic interviews of shortlisted candidates. These were essentially non-technical, and had to do with showcasing your people skills through prior projects and activities you’ve been part of, and a set of situational questions. There were 20 of us from across 4 IITs (B, D, M, R) and ISM Dhanbad who were distributed among various departments in the company, given work on live businesses broadly classified under Upstream (dealing with exploration and extraction of oil), Downstream (post extraction processing and refining) and Projects. We were later joined by 2 students from MIT Pune. I was a part of Upstream. We were blown away by the initial accommodation given to us: a week-long stay in a condo apartment at a 4 star hotel! It was indeed quite cruel to move to PG accommodation (a short distance away) 7 days later, which we soon got used to, nonetheless. We travelled to work by the local Volvo buses, which are quite frequent. People in formals, wearing a badge much like ourselves, are a common sight in Whitefield, where my workplace is located. I was part of MENA (Middle East and North African) team. I worked as a Reservoir Engineer. As I was from Mining background, it was somewhat difficult to understand and work in an oil and gas industry. But my guide (or buddy as we call them) was really helpful and full of calm. He cleared all my stupid doubts calmly and helped me in every step of my internship.
Technically my work was not very difficult but to prove myself on all the criteria of Shell was somewhat challenging. One of the best things I felt about Shell is the ease with which one can approach any employee for help, irrespective of his position in the hierarchy. Often, hurdles I encountered at different stages in my project required inputs from different people to be resolved, ranging from seniors a few years older than myself, to experts having almost 40 years of experience in those domains, and mostly outside my team. Not once was my request to meet or talk to any of those relevant people turned down. What is important here, however, is that your own team takes note of the efforts you take to overcome difficulties by interacting with new people, who may be outside your comfort zone.
Assessment of progress was also made through a Midterm Review and a Final Presentation, apart from the day-to-day observations the team made about me. The Midterm helped me set my final goals for the internship from among a variety of possible options, as well as was a reminder for me to interact with more people from outside the team, something I hadn’t done much till then. The final presentation was a more professional affair, with a presentation to be made strictly within 15 minutes to a panel of technical and HR people, followed by a question-answer session testing my technical ability, my understanding of how my project fits into the bigger picture, soft skills and methodology. Office timings were 8 am to 4:30 pm, and in compliance, one would find the office nearly empty by 6 pm. People at Shell (especially foreigners, who are often at the helm of project teams here) strongly discourage working beyond hours or on weekends. They value their free time and need to rest, and believe that having to work overtime is a sign of inefficiency at work. Hence most of us would be home, or out on treats from generous seniors after hours!
I wonder whether I was elated, or just relieved that I was among the 14 interns who had made it! What marred my happiness was the fact that 6 of us had not, given the close bonding we had developed over the interim. The internship left us all overwhelmed by the scale at which Shell works! Working on live projects made it a little easier to comprehend, and gave us a sense of achievement as our work would possibly be used by the company. The relaxed office timings afforded us interns a lot of free time, and while we explored the city, visited Nandi Hills nearby, caught a movie, played Laser Tag and did many more things, all these activities fade into the background in comparison to the incredibly hilarious times we had with each other, constantly pulling each others legs and discussing the most random things possible! While our PG (shared by 7 of us, each a sample in his own way!) was not as lavish as the 4 star, it was always full of life, noise, and laughter! I’m extremely grateful to my guide, co-workers and co-interns at Shell for a most enlightening experience, and will cherish the epic times I spent with my co-interns for long!
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