James Kruse, International MBA 2015 Alumni, shares his secrets on entering at BP.
How did you find out about this job opportunity?
Early on in the MBA I started researching rotational programs. The CMC provides a good resource called MBA-Exchange that was very helpful in narrowing the search, and this is where I found the BP’s Future Leaders Program. When the BP application opened in September I was ready to go. The CMC sent the application link out about a week or two after the process had opened, but I already had my application in by then.
How did the CMC and your IE experience help you during the recruiting process?
I attended CMC events related to industries I was interested in, one of which was oil & gas. These events helped me learn about industries I had no experience in. I was also able to get good advice from CMC advisors who had experience in the sector. BP is looking for people with potential for advancement within the company, so I think the leadership skills and confidence I gained at IE helped set me apart from other candidates.
How was the recruiting process: stages, tests, interviews, etc?
The whole process takes a little over 2 months. The first stage was the online application. It’s an international rotation program but you need to apply for a position in a country where you already have work authorization. The next stage is a digital interview, which was probably the most difficult simply because I’d never done one before. It’s a typical behavioral interview but the questions are pre-recorded. After viewing a question you get a limited amount of time to prepare your response, then your webcam turns on automatically and you start your response. Your time is limited and you only get one chance on each question. The next stage is a video interview similar to skype. They dive deeper into your background to determine both your leadership potential and whether your experience is a good fit. The positions in the program are mostly commercial skills but they also like technical backgrounds. The final stage is an assessment center. Since I applied to the US program I would normally have gone to Chicago, but they were flexible and let me attend the one in London. The assessment includes more individual interviews, a group exercise, and a simple presentation. You will meet a variety of people including HR, line managers, and current FLP participants.
Would you want to share any tips, advice with current student interested in applying to this company?
Take advantage of the practice questions they offer you during the digital interview. Make sure you get as comfortable as possible with the format before starting the real questions because this is where most people get filtered out. The format is difficult to handle. In fact after I finished I thought it was the worst interview I’d ever given. Also be sure to review BP’s values which are clearly stated on its website. The company takes these very seriously, so keep them in mind during all stages of the process.