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From discovery week to internship to graduate trader

23 August 2019
George Buff montage

George Buff joined BP IST’s trader graduate programme in September 2014. His first exposure to BP was an IST discovery week, which led to a summer internship followed by a graduate job offer. He studied philosophy, politics and economics at Warwick University and is currently working as an emissions analyst.

He studied philosophy, politics and economics at Warwick University and is currently working as an emissions analyst


Why did you choose to explore the energy sector and BP?


I was interested in markets and wanted to learn more about commodity markets, partly because I was fascinated by the fact they have varied drivers such as global politics. Recognising where my interests lay led me to BP’s discovery week where I was able to find out how oil majors use their expertise to trade entrepreneurially.


What did you do during the discovery week?


The first day included talks providing an introduction to oil markets, locational arbitrage and the basics about crude oil benchmarks. I then spent three days work shadowing – first a commercial graduate who was looking after a gas storage facility, then a trading graduate who was doing deal entry and finally a graduate in operations. I enjoyed learning about different trading strategies and it was great to see how diverse trading is.


What do you think you got out of the discovery week as a whole?


It provided a really good insight to both the profession and BP as a business. It was really important for me as a first year student to learn about the organization. It was also very useful to actually see what the graduates were doing, this was important in helping me decide that I wanted to work for BP. I also learnt a lot more about the energy markets and the scale and sophistication of trading and commercial risk management at BP.


Would you recommend the discovery week to other students?


Yes, because you get a wide variety of experience. BP really invests in its graduates. I had a lot of friends that did other ‘spring weeks’ at banks because they thought that’s what they wanted to do. However, I think you need to get as broad an experience of different corporate environments as you can and BP IST is definitely an experience I would recommend applying for.


The Discovery Week led to a place on the Trading Summer Internship – Can you tell us about what you did during the Summer Internship?


I worked in the fuel oil trading bench where I was tasked with a variety of responsibilities which was great! For instance I took on some graduate work tracking low sulphur cargos across Europe, informing the supply and demand picture for that product in Europe. I also had a couple of projects to work on, which allowed me to take ownership of my work. One involved putting together a presentation for a strategy meeting with an external counterparty – to do so I had to learn about BP’s asset structure.


What were the highlights of the 11 weeks for you?


I enjoyed learning about the fuel oil market, attending team meetings and talking to traders at social events afterwards as everyone was very friendly and happy to talk to me about the industry.


You are now a graduate at BP, what is it like being on the graduate programme?


We have a lot of expert led training in the first year, it’s demanding and challenging but that’s what I would want from a graduate programme because I like to feel stretched. In addition, the analysts and traders I work with are particularly good at training and investing in me. For example, they advised me to keep a “dummy” book. I have a market view then record pretend trades in my book in order to see how the trades work out had they been real. The trader I work with takes time to regularly review and discuss my dummy trades which I find really useful.


What have been the highlights for you so far?


My first rotation has been on the Emissions Bench where I work supporting the trader, the analyst and the originator analysing the emissions market which is affected a lot by regulatory news. I’ve especially enjoyed the days of a major policy vote. It has been exciting working with the team during a resultant market move.

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