Colony To Country – Basanthy Singampalli – XSoS
I sat by the Seine and watched the emerald greens ripple slightly and kiss the cobblestone shore while a fairy white swan bobbed its head stealthily wondering why I seem so enamoured by the view in front of me. Why wouldn’t I be? It’s the city that left me feeling so. Paris has always had its own charm and the cosmopolitan French, disciplined. How do I know this? To my sheer disbelief, I have had the opportunity to intern in the Corporate Operating Center for one of the global leaders in the Oil & Gas contracting sector. I would like to walk you through my internship experience and try to make this read as pleasant as my walks through the many paved boulevards.
An internship is believed to be the most crucial part of a student’s life, for a simple reason that it exposes you to a world, you were a spectator of. Internships prepare you for challenges ahead and many more positives that none of us is aware of. My internship exposed me to the real corporate culture and so much more than I could have only dreamt of experiencing. The French are world leaders in sustainability, the root of which is the sustainability thinking engrained in their minds. Sustainability in simple terms is to generate long-term value/impact or longevity of an action performed and this thinking is precisely how most corporates there function and evolve with.
I interned at Technip Corporate Services, TechnipFMC, Paris. They are global leaders in project management and contracting services in subsea, onshore/offshore and surface operations of the Oil & Gas field. My journey started off with an email which I believed was lost to the enormous virtual data junk. Just as my tensions began to peak at the height of our summer internship placement processes, I received a reply as a breath of oxygenated air in this carbon-purified world. A call was scheduled, a short interview was taken, stipend discussed and the next thing I know, Jane (name changed) gave me everything and more. It was all there, sitting in front of my screen from Ms Jane (my manager), a long list of my allowances. I was psyched.
Fast forward 2 months to April 16th, 2018, I found myself at my table with all the arrangements made for my work. Ms Jane left me a cute welcome note as she wouldn’t be available for the rest of the week.
Corporate Sustainability at this current state is being embraced by most industries through various policy regulations and agreements on the global stage. These sustainability strategies are essentially risk mitigation techniques that foster innovation and sustenance. Like all strategies, they are aligned with the vision, the mission and the foundational beliefs of the company. Determining the materiality focus is crucial as these decisions, once approved, are commitments with huge environmental and social impacts.
My learnings from the internship were beyond the technical managerial subjects. The role cultures play in the integration of organizations, the deployment of sustainability through an equity-based approach and the staunch need for assessment studies was aptly laid down. How leading organizations perceive carbon offsetting and strive/innovate to reduce their carbon footprint taught me how to begin with benchmarking these capital-intensive firms.
Having been exposed to the corporate, I believe it is important for us managers to assume operational roles in order to develop a concrete knowledge of the industry’s functioning for effective decision-making and leading through change. France is the said to be the face of global sustainability leadership and after my experience, I would say that it is so for all the right reasons.
To conclude, I must say – survival in Paris has to come with a level of the frugality of the individual. The struggle is real as being broke in the foreign land with a tardy banking system is not very pretty. If there is one life lesson I learned the hard way, it is to plan my expenditure. Wouldn’t we make horrible managers if we can’t manage our own finances?
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