- Course: Environmental Science BSc (Industrial)
- Nationality: British
- Job title: Retail Accounts Coordinator
- Company: Phillips 66
- Location of year abroad: Warwick
What is the name of the company you work for and what do they do?
Phillips 66 are a downstream, multinational energy company, with significant operations within oil logistics, refining and lubricant productions, specializing in creating natural gas liquids and petrochemicals. They own the JET brand of petrol stations that can be seen across the UK, and in areas of Europe. With over 332 stations on their retail side, they have a significantly large wholesale customer base, with customers such as Tesco and Morrisons. The company has its headquarters in Houston, Texas, and most of the company’s operations are in the US, with 14 refineries owned by Phillips 66 in the USA, and the Humber refinery in the UK. Phillips 66 has the capacity to refine 2.2 million barrels of oil per day.
What is your role within the company?
As a retail accounts coordinator, my role mainly involves running the day to day tasks that keep the JET stations across the UK well stocked with fuel and priced competitively. I’m also expected to complete numerous other ad hoc tasks that keep the forecourts at the best possible standard. I have also taken on various other responsibilities which includes keeping sites safe, since safety is a core principle of Phillips 66, as well as undertaking various projects in other sectors of the business, such as projects on the wholesale side and working with the branding side of the organisation.
Can you please give me an insight into a typical day?
The nature of my role means there is very little I will be doing regularly. Many of my tasks are ad hoc and so need to be done on a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual basis. My role has started to incorporate training new employees at the company, so the work I do is extremely varied throughout, which is an aspect I enjoy, as it keeps the role fresh and interesting.
What do you enjoy the most and do you get involved in any interesting projects?
I enjoy the pricing side of the business the most so far, as it involves getting involved with keeping JET sites competitive, as well as giving me a keen insight into the main two difference pricing mechanisms that operate in the petrochemical industry. Currently, I am working on a branding project that has allowed me to conduct my own research on customer profiling and data collection, with consideration as to how this can be used in future promotions for the company! This is especially important considering the new GDPR* laws that are coming into effect from May next year.
*GDPR laws are a set of data protection laws that effect how numerous business collect, store and use customer data.
Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?
I wanted to take a year in industry because I felt that I would get more out of my degree from spending a year working and getting valuable experience. I also think that in today’s world it is getting more and more important to get this experience at a young age, so being able to get a placement with such a reputable company made me very happy. The varied nature of my role also means I get experience across many different parts of the business, something that will no doubt be very useful both now and later in life.
What do you think you have got out of this experience so far?
I have learnt a lot about the industry including how competitive it is, and also the importance of being accurate and precise in your work. This is because margins in this particular industry are extremely tight, so keeping Phillips 66 both profitable and competitive can be very difficult! I also enjoy working across numerous different parts of the business as part of a wider team. For example, I am often working in sync with the retail account managers, the brand team, the retail services team and the transport team all at once to solve problems and issues as they arise.
Do you have any tips and advice to current students thinking of undertaking a year in industry?
Do it! Although it can be difficult and you might miss university life, I have found the placement to be just as enjoyable and possibly even more rewarding at times! The opportunity to meet and network is extremely valuable, and there is also always a high chance that the company you work for a year may choose to invite you back once you have finished your degree!