McCombs Alumni Spotlight: An Accounting Career in Energy at ConocoPhillips

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September 19, 2014 by texasbbacareerservices

conocoblogcarolineName: Caroline Verver
Current Position: ConocoPhillips, Internal Audit
Degree Program: MPA
Grad Year: 2012

Please tell us about your career path and how you found your way to ConocoPhillips.
In the fall of my fourth year as an MPA, I went to an industry career night where I attended a presentation put on by ConocoPhillips recruiters. ConocoPhillips is also heavily involved in BBA programming such as: Career Week Sneak Peek, BBA Women’s Council, McCombs Diversity Council, Target Your Future, and more!

I was immediately attracted to the benefits ConocoPhillips has to offer: a job rotation philosophy that allows employees to develop broad oil and gas expertise and exposes them to the global operations of ConocoPhillips, a highly-competitive retirement benefits program, and a top-down commitment to work-life balance and the company’s people.  I eventually completed a summer Finance (Domestic Tax Compliance) internship, which gave me the opportunity to network within the company, get exposure to ConocoPhillips and experience first-hand what it would be like to start my career at the company.  From experience I can say that the ConocoPhillips internship program is top notch—ConocoPhillips staff are dedicated to creating a beneficial learning experience (through mentorship, Lunch and Learns, field trips, etc.) for summer interns.  At the end of my internship, I had the opportunity to give an internship overview presentation to management, provide internship feedback and identify starting jobs that were of interest to me.

What do you like about working for ConocoPhillips?
As an Internal Auditor, I’ve had exposure to the global operations of ConocoPhillips. This role has provided me with invaluable learning opportunities.  At the same time, I’m working for a company that values its people highly and makes their safety priority number one.  In addition, new hires at ConocoPhillips are immediately put in a position to help shape the organization, through leading committees, projects, becoming involved in recruiting, etc.  Again, salary and benefits at the company are very competitive and work-life balance is emphasized.  The company recently implemented a program that allows employees to take up to two work days off a month!  Management is also very involved in creating career paths for employees that serve both the needs of the company and of the employee, ensuring that ConocoPhillips careers are unique and dynamic!

What does Internal Audit entail?
In my current role, I work on Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance and assurance engagements. Engagements range from consultation-like limited reviews to full-blown audits of interconnected processes and departments.  Engagements are typically three weeks, but this year I had the opportunity to work on a three-month audit project.  The nature of an Audit assignment at ConocoPhillips ensures constant learning and exposure to new aspects of the business, while at the same time providing the chance to build overall oil and gas knowledge and company insight.  I travel frequently in my role—in the past two years, I have been to Australia, Canada, Scotland, England and Indonesia.  I also constantly work with different teams (sometimes consisting of guest auditors who temporarily join Audit for an engagement to lend their expertise in a particular area) and get to meet personnel worldwide while participating on engagements.

What skills make a person successful in this position?
As I mentioned, working as an auditor means you are constantly exposed to different areas of the company. The benefit of working as an Internal Auditor is that the individual engagements you work on help you to develop a broad sense of how the oil and gas industry and company operate, and what company processes generally look like.  At the same time, you have to be prepared to ask questions and understand that as an auditor you often have to navigate unfamiliar waters—you will not be doing the same thing day in and day out and, as a result, often don’t know in advance what your day/week/month will look like.  I think this job is perfect for those who are tenacious and want variety a job.

Please share your general career advice.
Once you graduate, work becomes a very big part of your life. It is important to take the time (while you have it) to think about what you want out of a career and to find a company and job that fits that vision.  And once you start your job, don’t hesitate to dig in and ask questions—I’ve found that such a mentality has provided me with key learning opportunities.

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