I interned at this place called Schlumberger (an oilfield services company) and an old friend asked me to write about it for the benefit of future generations of black-gold-diggers. I was also asked by said friend to introduce myself – I’m Pojo (Sanjay Guruprasad, IV year, EP). I like Drams, WM, LitSoc, Saarang and Apple. I also like food (this is important, I shall get back to this at a later point).
So, without further ado – Why intern with Schlum? How do you pronounce Schlum? How do you get selected for the intern? What is Schlum and that profile they offer all about? Here are the answers…
1. Shortlist based on CV: Some 50-100 (number varies year to year, IIT to IIT) people get shortlisted based on the CV they submitted. Schlumberger really doesn’t care about your academics (but CG above 7.0 needed). They look for positions of responsibility (especially secretaries and sports captains). They also have a questionnaire which you should take trouble to answer carefully.
2. GeeDee: The shortlist will be put up immediately after the PPT and the GD round starts almost immediately after. In the GD round you will be given ridiculous topics (normally one word), and have 7-10 people with you. Topic examples – “Robo”, “Box”, “97.8” (or some such number). The topic is given and you get some one minute to prepare individually. After this you are given 10 minutes to “discuss”. During this process, they basically look at who is driving the argument and emerging to naturally take charge of shaping the argument. Topics are intentionally vague, so that someone has to take charge and give the discussion direction. Do not shout.
3. The interview. Be prepared to be asked about anything in your CV (especially leadership related). Confidence is important. If they ask you if you’re okay with being sent to dig for oil in a Naxalite territory and stuff, be prepared with a smart answer. It helps if you’re tall/well-built – the work is pretty physical, and they like fit/out-doorsy people.
The internship can be reasonably gruelling. I was in the “Well Services” segment and got posted in Ahmedabad (for 6 weeks). The internship experience is very segment-specific, and Fracturing (pumping water+additives at very high pressures into an oil reservoir to increase permeability and therefore production) is very physically demanding. We had an initial orientation in Bombay. I spent my last 10 days on location on the Gujarat coast (Hazira). Those days were when pretty much all the learning in the technical side of things happened. The rest of the time was more a test of character – long hours working in the sun, lifting heavy metal pipes/valves, painting things, maintenance work on high pressure pumps, coordinating the lifting of very heavy (upto 10 tons) objects using cranes etc. They want to see how you work in a team and how easily you adapt to the physical “Schlum Life”.
The last 10 days was a different experience altogether. I cannot give any details (confidentiality agreement), but we learnt a whole lot hands on, and pretty much know how the oilfield industry works now. We also gained a very in-depth technical understanding of our segment.
Schlumberger takes VERY good care of you. They spent approximately 60-70 grand on my stay and food. Laundry is also taken care of. We were allowed to eat anywhere and produce bills and they were re-imbursed.
Bottom line – Schlum pays you a lot of money and takes very good care of you, but in return expects you to be prepared for rough, physically exhausting work. They want outgoing people with good leadership skills and expect you to serve “in the field” for at least 3 years, before you move into management. You will be doing quality technical work (in the fracturing segment at least). And if you are unsure if you will be suited to that kind of work, the internship is a good way to find out.
I will be writing all exams that are MBA related. Placements – I will be looking at a consultancy/bank/non-core job or Schlum (if they decide they want me).
Editor’s note: He isn’t this cocky in real life.