Why a MBA / Leadership Development Program (vs. direct hire)?
A Leadership Development Program allows me to work across many business functions gaining a greater breadth of experiences in a shorter time. It is a foundation for networking with a highly diverse peer group and gives me credibility to tackle world-level challenges.

What are the key advantages / disadvantages of being on a MBA / Leadership Development Program?
The best advantages are building a wider network and having greater credibility by leveraging reputation of the program. A disadvantage is gaining less depth in a specific expertise since you’ll have to change priorities and responsibilities with agility.

How does the MBA / Leadership Development Program fit in your career goals?
I've always wanted to have a global career and live abroad to work with different cultures and customs.

How strongly did you weight the location of the program?
Location was important to me. After spending 5 years moving anywhere for my previous company I wanted to focus on places where I'd enjoy living and for me that was in a metropolitan area close to the water.

What to look for in a MBA / Leadership Development Program?
I looked for career trajectory and retention of past participants, program support from senior leadership and investment made to develop the talent in the program.

Can you summarize the recruiting process you went through and how look it took?
The process was 4 months and started with an application on the employer’s website. After a 20-minute recorded video interview I was invited into the local Chicago office for behavioral interview. Then I came in for a second-round case interview. Next, I went in for the final round interview in London (BP’s headquarters) to do 3-part group assessment with 10 other candidates, some of whom I work with today.

What were the required skillsets and prior experience and how were they evaluated (behavioral interviews, case studies, assessment center, panel interview, etc)?
My program looked for motivation, alignment with values, ability to work well with and promote others and upward mobility to become a senior executive. These were tested through behavioral and case-based interview questions in both an individual and group setting.

What advice and tips can you share with those interested in MBA Development Programs?
Connect with participants currently in the program through searching on LinkedIn or your school’s alumni database. Learn about the company's culture and values and be prepared to talk about why that's important to you.

What does your average workday consist of?
Early in the day I read the news to stay on top of industry events. I'm working on three projects in marketing analytics, product supply and renewable energy. I spend the day working with subject experts and advisers to develop solutions and deliver project milestones.

What are the major challenges or obstacles you have encountered during the program?
BP is a complex matrix organization and getting up to speed quickly on projects is crucial for effective delivery. Many of my colleagues outside of the Future Leaders Program have spent their entire careers in the company and are coming in with deep knowledge and expertise. It’s important to learn from them and leverage their knowledge and relationships. The culture promotes learning and care for each other but it’s up to you to own your learning and development.