Friday, October 24, 2014

Shell-FOM CSER (Computational Sciences for Energy Research) PhD 75 Programme 2014-15 [Part 4]

Click Here to Read Round 2 Details

Round 3: Shell Recruitment Day

 There was a long wait and finally I was invited for the Shell Recruitment Day in Oberoi, New Delhi. It lasted from 8.00am to 5pm.

The assessment day involved case study undertaken individually and as a group exercise, with a break for lunch in the middle. It was divided in 5 stages:
1.    Case Study
2.    CBI (Technical & HR interview)
3.    E Tray
4.    SRI
5.    GD

During the interview and assessment process your academic credentials and results will play almost no part in determining whether you're a suitable employee for Shell (except the Technical interview part). These are only really important for getting past the online application stage. Your assessors will predominantly focus on analysing your CART skills.

Stage 1: Case Study

We were divided into groups of 6 and a case study was handed over to us. I estimate that around 60-70 people got to this round all over India.
The business case study was based on a fictitious setting, a fictitious island called Opana (with 3 countries – Bouka, Yana and Goura). The case focused on one country Bouka which was ruled by the – Central Party. Shell has some activities and plan to increase the activities there by taking over more oil exploration, bidding, etc. You had to think about various issues like research and development, safety, environment, work force, corporate social responsibility, financial data, etc. A lot of information was provided to you like official reports, emails, press release, charts, graphs, etc. and half hour was given for the preparation.

The key question that you need to prepare was your recommendation for one of the 3 projects that Shell needed to undertake in that region keeping all aspects in mind – company finances, competitors, people, stakeholders, etc. So you have to read emails and headings and try to catch the key words. Think about increasing capacity of plants, ensuring safety, work life balance, local work force, satisfying the govt, stakeholders, environment, etc. also care for shell employees. You will have to think about the budget allocated and hence see how you plan for short, medium and long term like:
1) Balancing Global standardisation with local leads
2) Meeting Global energy needs whilst paying respect to the environment
3) Implementing Health, Safety, Security and Environmental controls
4) Keeping up with market innovation and technology.

There were some environmental concerns like endangering a rare species of whale in that region whose mating activities were hampered due to the noise generated by oil drilling. Your need to look and try to come up with some figures. You were also supposed to think about the short term and long term strategy and what would be the broader implications of your decision.

The three projects were:
1.    Oil Exploration Software – This software accessed the data to predict the possible oil locations. This project promoted partnership with the local technology institute. This project had a larger application if successful in the long term for exploring other oil fields around the world.
2.    Biodiesel – Help the society and environment by developing Biodiesel with the help of locally grown crops.
3.    Drilling noise reduction – The government had mandated to do this project if the company wanted to do deep sea oil rigging in order to protect the whales.
Read the entire case carefully and make your decision.

Stage 2: CBI

This round was not associated to the case and comprised a technical and HR round purely accessing your CART abilities:
The technical round stressed on your projects, applications, problems you encountered and solved, why you were interested in this program, etc.
The HR round had some of the following questions:
- A time when you had to explain a complex or difficult issue to someone?
- Example when I have had to work hard to achieve a goal? Proudest achievement?
- Example of a time when I have had to work in a group and faced differences with another member?
- Example of when I have engaged or built relationship with different people/groups/cultures and my success depended on it?
Answer these questions wisely.

Stage 3: E-tray

This round judged your organizational capability and crisis management. You were one of the project managers of Bouka East Project and the entire task was simulated in the form of an email system.
The crisis situations came in the form of the emails which you had to respond to. There was a time limit so you were required to be quick and smart. Some sample emails are as follows:
- Worker strike in one of the location due to low wage pay.
- Fraud made by a supplier.
- Green Party notice against the company activity (This political party is opposite the Central Party and is very vocal about the environment and people’s concerns and it wants to put a stop on the activities of Oil companies).

Stage 4: SRI – Self Reflective Interview

A very polite lady (probably her major was psychology) took my interview. It was based on how I approached the E-tray questions. What all things I took into consideration while answering those questions? How did I perform according to myself? Was there any change of approach midway? If so why? What did I learn from this exercise? Will I perform it better if I take E-tray again?

She will be polite, but she will ask counter-questions which will nail you. You need to escape her intelligently, and yes politely. No anger/aggression/confusion, just remain calm and composed, as your fate is in her hands.

Stage 5: Group Discussion

This was the only group activity. The GD group comprised all 6 members of your group and it was observed by around 10-12 Shell officials, who were familiar as they came in one round or the other previously to interview you.

The atmosphere was tense. There was a white board. Few markers lying on the table. And one sheet given to each member which had 2 points that can help you in the GD. There were 6 different set of points, each for one member.

A video was shown which showed the upcoming crisis as the Central Party had been voted out in Bouka and Green Party was in power. The group had to come up with ways to handle this situation and identify the stakeholders whom they need to address and how – Shareholders/Board members, Green Party, Environmental Groups, Local peoples, Employees. You need to handle the situation very carefully as you are being observed by the Shell officials. Speak up your points clearly. Make use of the white board before someone else picks up the marker. It is a gamble which I played. I went to the white board and my group members listened to me. They followed me. In your case they might continue the discussion and reject you by just dictating the points and making you write. So it will be your call. The safest thing to do is to put forward your points consistently.

Click Here to Read Round 4 Details

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