Dian Wang

Dian, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. Can you start by telling us about how your early career was shaped?

I’d say there are several factors that have shaped my early career.

First is my education: I got my undergraduate degree in accounting in China and Master’s degree in Accounting and Finance in University of Melbourne in Australia, and that educational background was what set me up for the financial industry.

Secondly, I did a variety of internships in different industries and functions, which helped me find my interests and ultimately choose the specific field that I would like to work in in the future.

Those two factors meant that while I was in Australia I applied to bp’s Challenger programme and received an offer for a role in China. The first rotation was in Castrol as an Assistant Key Account Manager. Now I’m in my second rotation as a market strategist in the Trading & Shipping (T&S) team, analysing and forecasting supply and demand for petrochemicals using data models, and helping traders develop trading strategies.

Why did you choose bp?

When I was still a student, I realised I didn’t want to go down the conventional accounting or banking route. I wanted to do something a bit different and challenge myself in new ways while making use of the skills I had.

To be honest, until I went to Australia I only knew of bp because of their service stations. At the same time, bp started to show up in case studies on my course, so I thought I’d research more about the different opportunities.

When it came to applying for a graduate role, I saw bp’s Challenger scheme, which is rotational, and I was really excited at the thought of being able to try out different roles in order to figure out what my real interests are. Through the process, I also came to see how the culture and opportunities at bp would be a good fit for me.

What has your journey been in the business so far?

In my first rotation, I was an assistant key account manager in Castrol, which involved learning about sales and strategy in the industrial-used lubricant market. At the same time I joined the Agile program – an initiative which helps Challengers get a wider understanding of bp by working part-time for other business units.

Through this program I occasionally helped the Trading & Shipping (T&S) team. It seemed like a great place to put my analytical skills to work in a real way, so when it came to applying for my second rotation, it was an easy choice to apply to T&S. Since joining, I’ve even found that my less conventional route into the team has been a benefit, bringing a different perspective and skill-set.

Why do you think bp is a good place to start your career?

One of the best things about starting your career at bp is the range of opportunities it gives you. It’s an amazing platform to kick-start a career from because there are so many things to learn and such a global environment to immerse yourself in.

At the same time, you’re working in the energy industry which is at the root of everything, so you get exposure across all kinds of business, industries, countries and cultures. This kind of exposure so early on in your career helps you become a well-rounded person who can analyse situations from multiple perspectives.

What the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in your career so far?

The biggest challenge has been the learning curve moving into my current role in T&S. I don’t have a background in Chemistry and, when I first joined, the products I was working with were also new to the team. This meant there weren’t any existing models to apply.

I needed to undertake a whole process, starting from learning about products and how the market works, to building up an applicable analysis model to help make trades, in my first few months on board. The pandemic was an added challenge as it made it hard for me to build connections with and learn from market players.

However, my biggest lesson from the experience was how important it is to ask for help and keep yourself motivated. I spent a lot of time studying and reading up on the industry so I could get up to speed faster. On top of that, asking for help from the team and knowing the supportive culture at bp meant my questions were always welcome, made all the difference.

After several months of effort, now I am able to produce regular market updates together with feasible balance models, helping the team build a better understanding of the market.

What one piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

It would be: Never be afraid of trying new things.

There are always opportunities to experiment, by taking learnings and inspiration from other projects and applying them to your work, or even by trying out different roles within a business.

It is very human to be afraid of change but embracing the fear that comes with it can be incredibly rewarding. You never know what amazing things can be achieved if you have big dreams and the courage to experiment along the way.