Sarah Lally

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Short Term Planner, BP

Lancaster University Management School’s reputation had a great bearing on my choice of university, as did the fact that Lancaster was one of only two universities at the time (I think!) to offer the BBA degree.

Having such a wide range of modules to choose from was a fantastic aspect of the BBA, enabling me to tailor the degree to suit my own preferences and to benefit from taking modules in many different disciplines – I think this results in well-rounded students with a firm grounding in all aspects of business/management. There is also a keen focus throughout the BBA programme on developing soft and transferable skills, which proved invaluable in my 12-month internship and subsequent graduate scheme assessment.

I also really enjoyed the sense of team spirit and friendliness fostered by the course and those running it – the ‘BBAs’ become a really close group of friends and colleagues within LUMS.

I was a member of the Cheerleading Society during my time at Lancaster, training three or four times a week and competing at national competitions, as well as supporting the University’s American Football team. I also took on the role of Secretary for the society for a year, organising membership, meetings, etc. I was a course representative for the BBA programme for two years, representing my colleagues at departmental meetings and ensuring their views were heard.

As part of my degree I undertook a compulsory one-year internship, working for BP Oil plc as a crude oil analyst. I was based in their Canary Wharf office, providing analytical support to traders and asset economists to assist them in making crude oil purchase/refining decisions.

This was an invaluable aspect of the BBA – I can’t really put into words how much learning I derived from this experience, both on an academic and a personal level. I was able to bridge academic theory and practical application on a daily basis, whilst also honing my personal competencies and capabilities and thus improving my future employability and performance.

I returned to BP in September 2010 as a graduate on their Commercial Graduate Scheme – this involved three 12-month roles in a variety of commercial disciplines across the Refining and Marketing and Integrated Supply and Trading divisions. I'm now a Short Term Planner at BP's Rotterdam refinery in the Netherlands.