Having real responsibilities from day one was really important to economics graduate Jiawei Chang when she was deciding which company to work for. She chose Shell – and says it has lived up to its promise.
“No-one has asked me to make the coffee so far. In fact I’ve been given more responsibility than I expected for a fresh graduate, which is great,” said Jiawei. She joined the Shell Graduate Programme in Malaysia after completing her degree in economics at University College London, sponsored by Shell Malaysia, and a Masters in International Business at Grenoble School of Management in France.
Although she loved her European experience, Jiawei chose to return home to Malaysia to start her career as she missed the sun and food back home, and felt confident about the opportunities open to her with Shell.
Her first role was as a Commercial Advisor, where she was able to work on major projects alongside senior colleagues right from the start.
“I did get a lot of big-ticket items to work on, including contributing to the company’s country strategy for Malaysia, which was a very good opportunity given that I was in my first year,” she said.
Jiawei then moved on to her current role as a Graduate Economist and says she has found this position rewarding as well.
“You have your own contract to look after, for which you do all of the project economics,” she said. “You grow with the project and you’re involved with each phase it goes through, so you really do feel a sense of ownership.”
Jiawei has interacted with representatives from the National Oil Company and other International Oil Companies as well as being exposed to the intricacies of the Malaysian Upstream (exploration and production) environment as a whole. She says it has been great for her development. “There’s a lot to learn, but you have plenty of really experienced people willing to help you out. I’ve had a really good coach giving me help and guidance too.”
Another big plus for Jiawei is the flexibility she has, which allows her to become deeply involved in pioneering projects, while maintaining a balance with life outside work.
Just as rewarding as the personal accomplishments has been the feeling of contributing to the national economy, and to Shell’s drive to make the energy sector cleaner and more sustainable.
“The oil and gas industry in Malaysia is huge and Shell helped pioneer it,” she said. “It has helped build up whole towns and has made a significant difference to the country’s economy. I feel Shell takes care to be a responsible operator. It adheres to strict health, safety and environmental rules and this will hopefully influence other companies to mirror these best practices. I also feel there’s a good corporate culture. People are generally very respectful of one another and there isn’t a large power distance between different levels of the organisation. This appeals to me.
“I’m able to put forward ideas and give feedback too, and I’m listened to.”
Jiawei added: “I would highly recommend the Shell Graduate Programme for the responsibilities and opportunities you get. I value the fact that a lot is expected of me even though I’m a more junior member of the team – I’m as respected and as accountable for delivering on my objectives as everyone else.”