Shell Trading Career Stories: Sophie Tao, Trader Development Programme

My name is Sophie, I’m on
the trader development programme, on the crude trading desk based in London. So the trader development programme
is a structured programme to help to develop the junior traders to get the experience they need
to become a trader. The management team in trading,
they are very supportive as well, so I normally have
a regular catch-up with a mentor or with my line manager
who provide the support and they give me advice
on where I need to go next in order for me to become a trader
in the future. In my view, I think there are three
main factors why I want to join trading. First of all, I think trading
is a very fast-paced environment. Working in trading can have
a direct impact on the bottom line. And secondly I think that Shell trading has an advantage over other
financial institutions or trading houses because Shell has such large
physical assets across all the regions. So lastly I think that the crude oil
market is a very dynamic market and it’s integrated, basically… …for me to look at, for example,
the supply and demand of one region I need to talk to colleagues
in other offices to get an idea of what’s going on
in other markets. So in that sense,
Shell is actually a very good place for me to get exposure
to different markets, and I think that’s not an experience
I probably can get in any other company. Most people may have the impression
that trading is a place where people sit in front of computers
dealing with numbers all day, it’s not entirely true, because managing the relationships
and communication is just as important. Our traders, they normally visit
the counterparties or refineries, and from junior analyst level we also work closely with colleagues
from other parts of the organisation to get the information flow and the information flow in this place
is very important. I think there are a few attributes
that helped me to get here. First of all, I think the strong
analytical skills definitely helped me. On a daily basis,
we do all the analysis work to help the team
to form the trading decisions. And lastly, I think people skills. Be comfortable working
with different stakeholders and getting information from them, I think it’s a key aspect of the job. I think it’s a great place to work
because the market is very dynamic and every day the headline news
can have a direct impact on our PNR, and working with probably
the best people from the organisation is really a privilege.

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