Conor Wilkinson

Field Engineering Services

"Working for a large, multinational organisation gives a fantastic opportunity to interact with local and international departments . . ."

Role: Field Engineering Services, Industrial L&S

Degree: MEng Chemical Engineering, Queen’s University Belfast

Why ExxonMobil?

In my final year of university I realised that with an engineering background there was a wide number of potential disciplines in which I could forge a career. After considering various options across diverse fields, I decided to pursue a career with ExxonMobil because the offer comfortably met all of the criteria that I was searching for in a graduate role.

I was looking for an opportunity that would be immediately challenging, could provide plenty of variety, and also offer opportunities for travel, while at the same time being enjoyable and enabling me to put to use those skills I had worked so hard to develop in completing my Master’s degree.

Before assuming a graduate role with the company I had little previous knowledge of the Lubricants & Specialties business, only some familiarity with engine oils through a keen interest in motor sport. However I quickly came to see how important the products we sell are to the performance of almost every machine used in the production industry, having visited numerous sites, including coal and gas-fired power stations, paper mills, cement mills and general manufacturing plants.

Filling a gas turbine on a power station with 40,000 litres of lubricating oil certainly dwarfs the litre of engine oil you put into your car!

My Role

My role as a field engineer in the industrial lubricants department is to provide technical support to the territory managers who work throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland servicing industrial sites with our products. This comes in the form of product recommendations for specific applications, running projects to improve efficiency through the use of higher quality synthetic lubricants, and providing expertise on oil analysis to help our customers maximise the life of the lubricants and protect their equipment.

It is one of the very few technical roles within the organisation that allows for direct contact with our customers, enabling us to see first-hand the benefits our products offer and the expertise we can provide.

Personal Development

I was immediately welcomed as part of the team, and was involved in group and individual projects from the outset. Within a matter of months I was trained in the techniques of oil analysis and had devised and delivered training sessions to customers on the subject, which I found extremely rewarding, giving me the responsibility I was looking for.

The nature of the job, from the varying projects I have worked on, the reactive and proactive response to customers needs, and the synergistic approach required to balance field work with office roles and responsibilities certainly mean that there is great variety in my role. It is this variety which ultimately gives a great sense of job satisfaction and ensures that I feel consistently challenged.

In my first year alone I have worked in the fields of lubrication fundamentals, synthetic lubricant sales, oil analysis and industrial marketing, and have gained a wide assortment of skills that will be of great benefit to me in subsequent roles.

Working for a large, multinational organisation gives a fantastic opportunity to interact with local and international departments. I was amazed at how interlinked each function is at ExxonMobil; with fantastic interaction between departments from across the globe. There is constant support from your peers, supervisors and other team members, whether locally or on an international level.  So although I feel challenged and have to work hard, I certainly never feel I’m on my own!

Regarding my thirst for travel I have already spent more than a month in Brussels for lubrication and selling skills training, and represented the company at trade shows in Amsterdam. I have also run projects from Prague, and constantly liaise with my peers in the Benelux and European region. This is not to mention extensive travelling throughout the UK, from pharmaceutical plants in Scotland to power stations in Wales and cement mills in the Midlands. Together this brings a great sense of diversity to everyday work, and will be of great benefit in the future if I am lucky enough to work on more foreign assignments or even move abroad with the company.

In the future I hope to continue my career in the challenging, unique environment provided by ExxonMobil, and to build on the knowledge and skills I have already acquired, while benefiting from the expertise of my colleagues. I’m hoping that the diverse roles and complex assignments I will be involved in will help to shape a successful career, and will take me to overseas roles with managerial responsibility.

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