Intern to analyst: integrating the next generation

In August this year Michael Keen joined Mabanaft’s London team as a full-time analyst to the supply team having previously spent 14 months at Mabanaft UK as an undergraduate intern in the product control team, before completing his Economics degree at the University of Bath.

Intern to analyst: integrating the next generation

Interns play a crucial role in the business at Mabanaft, bringing fresh perspectives and innovative ideas in an industry that continues to grow and evolve. Bringing new energy and enthusiasm to the workplace interns can help companies stay on the cutting edge of technology and industry advancements. They also provide valuable support to existing teams, allowing them to take on more projects and tackle new challenges.

As Paul Emery, head of supply trading at Mabanaft UK, says: “We are committed to our internship programme, internships provide a unique opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience and build their professional network. They often bring new skills and ideas to the table and can help companies identify areas for growth and improvement, I am pleased to see Michael back with us and know he will succeed in his new full-time role.”

When Matthew took up the full-time position he enthused: “I’m looking forward to the constant new learning opportunities from the UK team. Everyone at Mabanaft is friendly and helpful. I look forward to coming into the office each day, knowing that I will be learning something new, and feeling like I am continuing to develop my understanding of the industry in which I work.”

Margaret Major, Publishing Director of Fuel Oil News, spoke with Michael, shortly after he started, to hear more about his experience of joining the industry.

How long have you worked in this industry?

Full time, I have been working for Mabanaft for about two and half weeks. However, I previously spent 14 months as an intern in the product control team at Mabanaft – before I completed my university degree. I have now returned to join the supply team full-time.

What made you want to join an industry that receives a fair amount of critical exposure?

I find the wider fuel industry fascinating as a driver of economic circumstances, with road fuel pricing being a huge contributor to the overall headline inflation rate.

Furthermore, I am keen to be involved in the evolution of the industry over future decades, as fuel providers seek to bring alternative offerings to market, driven by policy and regulatory changes and a desire to move toward sustainable practices. Whilst the industry does receive a fair amount of critical exposure externally, I think it is important to recognise the progress that is already being made towards long-term evolution, with growing usage of biofuel alternatives and increasing investment in entirely renewable fuels.

What do your friends and family think about the job that you do?

My family are all supportive of and very interested in the career that I have chosen.

Tell us about a typical day for you – what does a normal day involve?

A typical day for me involves intra-day hedging any spot deals that have been made by the sales team, as well as reporting and hedging our end of day deal exposure on term sales and product purchases. I also carry out additional ad-hoc analysis work required by the supply team. I am only just settling into the job, so I’m sure there will be more responsibilities as time progresses!

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I most enjoy the constant learning opportunities and the team within which I work. Everyone at Mabanaft is friendly and helpful, and I look forward to coming in to the office each day, knowing that I will be learning something new, and feeling like I am continuing to develop my understanding of the industry in which I work.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given so far?

“Go for it!”

The industry is so broad and varied that you can gain a wide range of skills by working across departments and undertaking new and challenging projects. Particularly whilst working within a small team at Mabanaft, there is plenty of opportunity to explore new sectors of the industry, that you would not otherwise have understood.

What do you think is your greatest strength as a young person working in the industry?

I believe that my greatest strength as a young person within the industry is my tenacity and enthusiasm. Having moved straight into the industry after University, I am impressed by the constant learning opportunities, and how forthcoming my colleagues are to teach me about their roles within the business.

Who inspires you?

Everybody that I work with at Mabanaft. I have been consistently impressed by the level of experience amongst my colleagues and learn new things every day that I spend working!

What is your experience of diversity in the industry?

Very good – There is a wealth of diversity within the broader team at Mabanaft, across age, race and gender.

The fuel distribution sector is changing – what are your thoughts on the future?

I believe that the future of the fuel distribution sector revolves entirely around its speed and success of adjustment to the implementation of alternative, renewable, fuel solutions.

What advice do you have for someone new to, or considering, the industry?

Go for it! Joining the industry is a fantastic opportunity to be involved in the success of an essential market and is a great route to learning more about the energy transition and broader macro-economic markets.

Don’t be put off by the negative attention towards fossil fuels, as the industry is changing quickly, and your career can evolve with it.

If you could change one thing about the industry – what would it be?

If I could change one thing about the industry, it would be improving the speed of innovation towards energy efficiency and carbon neutrality. Whilst vast progress continues to be made, I would like to see further emphasis on the transitionary period, through higher R&D spending, and more of a focus on promoting a circular economy through biofuels usage or alternative fuels such as hydrogen.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

Running, walking, anything outdoors really!