My name is Lincoln Smith. I am studying Chemical & Energy Engineering with Industrial experience. I was extremely pleased I had been selected to be mentored by Mike Welton in my final year, the chairman of Premier Oil, and former director of Balfour Beatty.
The main reason for wanting a mentor was to give some focus to the decisions I would be making about graduate placements, and to learn about leadership skills.
It was not until early December when we finally made contact. On the phone we talked about careers, and the steps I was taking to make my career choices. One of the best things he said was that I was free to contact him whenever, which made it very easy for me to feel comfortable to talk to him from the outset.
I was interested to know about his career and the decisions he had taken, in order to help guide my own. There were other things I was interested to learn about from him, such as the perception of young graduates within industry; gaining an insider’s perspective on the operation of the oil and gas industry; and his thoughts on what it takes to be an effective leader.
I met up with Mike in Birmingham at the end of January. His advice on leadership was to gain an understanding of what motivates people, and to create good personal relationships with people. A great tip he gave for when I start work was ’have a chat with people who you work with, even if there is nothing to talk about as it can help organise your own thoughts.’ I will keeping in touch with Mike over the coming months as I prepare for my final exams and graduate job.