Suyash Nathani

Digital Technology in Asset Management

"Being in such a global role, I have had my share of globe-trotting rather early on in my career..."

Job Title: Digital Technology in Asset Management - Data Visualisation Application Lead

Degree: BEng. Electronics Engineering & Computer Science

I first applied for ExxonMobil 5 years ago to work as an Industrial Placement Student (IPS). My biggest draw at that time was the fact that I would be working for the most valuable company in the world, based at UK’s largest oil refinery and I was keen to get some hands-on experience to see if I could really apply anything taught in those early morning lectures and lab sessions at University! What really struck me during the interview stages was that this wasn’t meant to be a year where you do odd jobs for the organisation and the company gives you a chance to put its name on your CV – I was amazed at how real my job sounded and I could see how it would potentially help the business going forwards. I still remember the friendliness of the interviewers and how they seemed supportive of helping me do well even though I wasn’t even hired by then. It spoke a lot about the culture and how this prospective employer treated its recruits.

My year as an IPS was spent in the Refining and Supply organisation in the Plant Computing department working on maintaining, upgrading and looking after various refinery-specific databases and IT systems. Even as an IPS, it was a business-critical job as many of the applications I supported were used in the day-to-day running of the refinery. I thoroughly enjoyed my year at ExxonMobil and learnt much more than I had expected.

Based on my performance in my IPS year, I was fast tracked through the graduate recruitment process and received a job offer to start 3 years ago. I had two other offers from leading financial organisations, but a few things stood out in my IPS year which made me choose ExxonMobil, and in my career to date these have remained true :-

  • Everyone here has a strong emphasis on work-life balance and nobody expects you to give up your life – My managers, supervisors etc. have been extremely supportive of me throughout, be it learning on the job or helping me go through adverse personal circumstances. This is one company which looks after you even beyond the workplace.
  • Irrespective of your position in the organisation, you’re always treated respectfully as a valuable team member and your views are heard from day one.
  • The focus on personal training and individual development is second to none in the industry and the company strongly believes in training you, not only for their needs but also to develop your potential to the fullest.  Over the past three years, I have been on a number of formal training courses to aid in my job, attended a vendor’s user group conference in Singapore as part of my training plan and also participated in a 2 year development program at a leading business school learning more about various aspects of the oil industry which eventually led alumni status.

Starting as a graduate 3 years ago in Downstream IT, my first role was working as a support analyst for a visualisation software (Data Visualisation or DV) used by approximately 20,000 users in ExxonMobil refineries and chemical plants globally. I was part of a global team maintaining, developing and enhancing a business-critical IT application. Our team was responsible for ensuring smooth running of the application across 60 global sites, maintaining and performing any upgrades, liaising with the vendor etc. As an example, the level of IT skills involved in this role was knowledge of Active Directory, IIS, working with SQL, Oracle and bit of programming but even if you have a fairly modest IT background, the company will provide training needed to perform your job – All you need is a willingness to learn and drive to do well! I used to work with people from Singapore, USA, Canada, Brazil and this role gave me tremendous exposure and I learnt a lot about the organisation and its different teams.

The first substantial project I led was 18 months into my career working to implement and deliver the data visualisation (DV) tools for facilities surveillance as a pilot for Upstream locations. This paved the way for me to move into what is my current role.

A year ago my second role moved me from the Downstream Support organisation into the Upstream Business Projects group to work as the Data Visualisation Application Lead for a massive program (series of projects) deploying DV to ExxonMobil Upstream facilities worldwide. My current role involves coordinating work efforts of resources located in Singapore and Canada and working as a track lead for ExxonMobil’s new operations in Canada, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. For each site I start by gathering requirements and aligning IT deliverables with the business (basically understanding what the business want to do and then working out timing, resources, cost estimate etc.) and then working with my team to put in place a project to deploy DV – setting up infrastructure, installing the application, development, deployment, testing, delivery and finally training the users.

Being in such a global role, I have had my share of globe-trotting rather early on in my career and so far I’ve been to Singapore, Houston, Calgary, Melbourne and I’ve even stayed in ExxonMobil camps in locations like Papua New Guinea and Northern Canada – It has been very interesting and varied!

It’s been 3 years since I joined (and it has flown by!) and I must admit I have been very fortunate regarding the kinds of work I’ve done so far, I’ve immensely enjoyed every bit of it and it has never  seemed like a burden. I have met and worked with some great people during the course of these 3 years and even though I’m not a Chemical Engineer, I’ve learnt an awful lot about how the business works and the culture of the industry in general. I like to take each day as it comes and the plan is to excel at whatever I’m working on today and keep learning so I can keep getting better each day!

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