Industrial Interviews: Woody Nunn
Chemical engineers at work 22nd January 2016
Hello everyone! And welcome to our second industrial experience interview blog. Today I’ll be interviewing a good friend of mine, Woody Nunn. He’s a fellow third year Chemical Engineering MEng student who managed to snag himself a pretty popular and highly competitive Industrial Placement. I’ll let you read on and learn more from Woody himself. Enjoy!
What company are you doing your placement with? Could you tell us a bit about what they do?
I’m with ExxonMobil. They’re the largest privately owned oil company in the world. They focus on downstream operations and have multiple refineries across each continent.
What was the application process for the role like?
Exxon’s application process was one of the simplest; a CV, a cover letter, and a psychometric test. We then followed that up with a telephone interview and then a face to face interview.
So what does your average day consist of at the moment?
I spend a lot of my time performing analysis of our site operations, looking at how well we model (predict) the running of the refinery. This involves a lot of communication across all areas of the site, as well as the use of many modelling and analysis tools to compare data.
Are there any big and interesting projects you’re involved in?
Yes, but I’m afraid I couldn’t say much about them without breaching confidentiality. Sorry!
Not a problem, we wouldn’t want to get you in trouble. So what new things have you learnt during your placement?
It’s been an amazing learning experience. I’ve probably learnt more here than at any other time. I have learned about the reality of running process units and how to apply engineering fundamentals in order to make real, impactful decisions. I have learned a great deal about communication and working in teams as well as process and office safety and the required controls for running a large scale process.
What’s been your favourite part about the role so far?
I really enjoy the sense of achievement from seeing the benefit of work I‘ve completed. It’s great to see how the effort I put in is beneficial to the operation of the refinery.
What are your interests outside of work? What do you do in your spare time?
Most weeks I play 5 a side football in an Exxon organised game. I’ve also spent a good amount of time playing squash and cycling around new forest.
Finally, do you have any advice for people thinking of doing an Industrial Placement?
Pick what you apply for carefully. Aim to apply for companies which have relatively simple application processes, unless you are really keen to work for them. It can be very demoralising being rejected after having spent hours toiling over an application. I would only apply to companies with long applications if they were companies I had a specific interest in.
Also, take all the experience you can get. If you are offered an interview at a company you have decided you don’t want to work for, go to the interview and get the feedback. You’ll learn a huge amount.
Thanks Woody. Coming up we’ll be having more Year in Industry posts along with a few on my London to Paris bike ride for Breast Cancer Now. Training will be starting soon and a few fundraising events around campus will be taking place in the next semester so I’ll make sure you’re all up to date.
See you next time!
Words – Sam Peckett