Rachel Chua is a commodity risk analyst based in Singapore. We spoke to her about how she made the choice of where to start her career, and how she’s found her feet in a career with purpose and opportunities.
How did you go about choosing which company to start your career?
Choosing which company to work for at the beginning of your career can be a daunting task. There are many factors to consider: The size of the business, the specifics of the role and the culture of the organisation, to give a few examples. For me, it was the opportunities for growth as well as bp’s culture that made it an easy decision to start my career here. I joined bp as an intern with the Strategic Change and Operational Excellence team while studying business and economics at university. Though I had never considered a career in the energy industry before then, the dynamic working environment and caring culture I saw even in that short period of time convinced me that bp was the right place for me. After graduating, I joined bp on the Finance and Risk graduate programme and have been here ever since!
What’s surprised you about your career at bp so far?
My first five years at bp have been marked by the ability to gain exposure to so many different areas of the business. I’ve worked with teams across Australia, Asia, the Middle East, London and the US. During my three years on the graduate programme alone, I spent time within commodity risk, treasury, operations and commercial development, broadening my skillset and knowledge base with each rotation. I really appreciate the culture of collaboration and openness both within and across teams, as it really facilitates a more holistic understanding of the business and its processes. The other thing I have learned over the past few years is that bp doesn’t shy away from giving people opportunities to have a real impact, no matter their level. Even as an intern, I’ve worked on projects with practical applications where I could see the tangible value of our work. Coupled with the right level of support, the exposure I’ve had in different teams and the opportunities to contribute in projects with meaningful impact have been valuable building blocks in my development.
What does your role involve?
My role as a commodity risk analyst involves profit and loss and exposure reporting – similar to a product control role you’d find at a bank. I analyse the commercial team’s daily transactions and ensure that trading performance and exposure information is accurately presented. As the business starts projects in new areas, I also help identify what’s needed to operationalise new activities, potential risks and find solutions to mitigate them. One key area of focus for the team is to grow the biofuels portfolio in Asia-Pacific, and it’s been really exciting to be part of this effort.
Finally, what’s your advice for people starting out in their careers?
I’d say, if choosing a company to work for feels nerve-wracking, focus on finding a culture that inspires and supports you to stretch your development, and be open to the learning opportunities that come your way!