Mackenzie Centrica Graduate: Striking a healthy balance between the financial maths and physical products worlds

16/12/2022 Graduateships Min.

Intro to Mackenzie

I spent my childhood in Birmingham, before studying physics at university. I had very little commodity or financial experience before applying to Centrica Energy Trading, yet my first rotation on a LNG (liquid natural gas) desk at our office in London, helped accelerate my global fundamental understanding of energy markets. Now, I am working as a Gas Analyst on a X-Commodity desk, on my second rotation in Aalborg, Denmark.

How did you end up at the Graduate Programme / when and where did you first hear about it?

Simply just a careers day stall (virtual, because of covid)

 

What attracted you to the company?

Commodity trading strikes a healthy balance between the financial maths and physical products worlds. This parallels the balance I enjoyed from my physics studies which sat between theory and physical observables. Most of what CET offers can be described both in numbers and in quasi-physical objects, e.g. flows on a cable, gas stored underground. I enjoy the challenge of translating the numbers on screen into every-day impacts and vice-versa.

Why did you want to join a graduate program?

The transition from university to work is steep and rather uncertain. I was hesitant to lock myself into any one location, commodity, and business function. Without any experience, I found it hard to judge if I’d prefer working in the UK, or Europe; if I’d feel passionate for energy markets, or other financial markets; if I’d have the appetite for trading, or a keener eye for risk management. The scope of rotations on the graduate scheme has contributed to answers for the above (and more), which has helped to shape my perceptions of where I wish my career to go. 

 

What has surprised you the most about working at the company?

My previous, naïve perception of the workplace was a very hierarchical structure, with graduates being hired in to do the undesirable grunt work. Instead, what I found was a rather flat structure, that promoted myself to develop projects that I found interesting and offering value. 

You’re not going to add massive value straight away to each team you are in - take the beginning of every rotation slowly and gather the foundation knowledge securely
Mackenzie, Centrica Graduate

Biggest challenge as a graduate so far?

Confidence and the ‘imposter syndrome’. Arriving at a new workplace, with limited knowledge and surrounded by experienced professionals in their fields, shook my confidence. The new vocabulary and abbreviations flew around so fast that keeping up was tricky and initially, every question felt like a stupid question – although in hindsight it is always better to ask!  

 

Advice to other applicants?

You’re not going to add massive value straight away to each team you are in – take the beginning of every rotation slowly and gather the foundation knowledge securely. The concept of a graduate scheme acknowledges that you are new, and emphasis should be on the development of core skills rather than coming in, revolutionising a desk and adding new systems within the first few months of a new rotation.

Further, show genuine passion and interest in your new co-worker’s roles. From what I’ve experienced, lots of colleagues really enjoy passing on knowledge and fostering development, if you put the effort in.