How to become a graduate commodities trader at BP

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Most people know BP as an oil and gas company, but BP is also one of the largest physical traders of oil and gas in the world. Last year our Integrated Supply and Trading (IST) division completed around 550,000 transactions – over 1,500 for each day of the year.

Understandably, therefore, we hire graduate commodities traders. And these traders don’t conform to stereotype either. You won’t find brash traders strutting around the trading floor at BP - you’ll encounter working mothers, finance graduates, linguists, A-level hires (you’ll need 320 UCAS points) and interns, to name but a few.

We currently have between 40-50 graduate positions in IST globally, along with internships for first and penultimate year university students. Positions are spread across London, Houston, Chicago, Calgary and Singapore. Across our internship and graduate positions, we receive 2,800 applications annually.

When we’re hiring, we look for strong analytical and research skills. Our trading hires need the ability to forward-plan. They need to keep track of upcoming announcements and events in different parts of the world that might affect the prices or availability of commodities, and alter their trading strategy.

A maths or business-related degree helps, but isn’t compulsory. We recruit students from a wide variety of backgrounds and degree disciplines. Paul Reed, CEO of IST, graduated in Classics, and several members of senior management joined us straight from school on our A-level programme.

Because commodities trading is very sensitive to the social, economic, political, and even meteorological nuances of global affairs, foreign language skills are a plus. So is an understanding of other business cultures. - IST serves over 12,000 customers in more than 140 countries.

When we’re interviewing candidates for IST roles, we initially assess them against the BP values and associated behaviours, so candidates should expect questions which relate to these at the telephone interview stage. The next stage is a technical interview, where candidates will be asked to apply their knowledge to scenarios and exercises that are specifically relevant to the area they are applying to - for example, trading or technology. We’re looking for graduates who can demonstrate a logical and clear thought process in terms of how they analyse the information provided and solve problems.

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