Introducing Mayra! She’s from La Paz in Bolivia and studied as a Total International Scholar at the French Petroleum Institute (IFP) in Rueil-Malmaison. After two years, she has just obtained her Masters in Petroleum Engineering and Product Development.


“Before coming to France, I did an undergraduate degree in Petroleum Engineering at the University Privada Boliviana de la Paz. Thanks to my excellent results, I had the opportunity to study for a semester abroad at the University of Oklahoma in the United States. Here the great university laboratories, equipped with the latest technology inspired me to expand my horizons. I also developed a taste for living and working internationally, so I did not hesitate to consider a Masters degree in Europe. The energy sector is truly global, so I believe that an international qualification is a real advantage for a career.


Also, who wouldn’t dream of studying in Paris? Beyond the professional opportunities, this achievement was a personal dream come true. When a friend told me about the Total International Scholarships program, I immediately applied on the Total web site in Bolivia.


The selection process was difficult, with several tests and interviews, but I finally was accepted! At first I did not think myself capable of learning French, but I accepted the challenge by taking intensive French courses before leaving. I studied four hours a day for three months.


When I started my studies, I was immediately welcomed, especially by other French students with whom I could practice the language. The Petroleum Engineering and Product Development Masters course focuses on three fundamental areas of expertise in the oil sector: reservoir, drilling and production. The course is very intense with lectures, a six-month internship and study tours too. These included trips to Houston and Qatar where I visited oil companies, which was absolutely fascinating. I also had the opportunity to conduct a six-month internship at Total in Pau in the Geo-Mechanics department.


Looking back, I realize how far I have come – the hard work of my two-year Masters and of course the fact drilling is a still a predominantly male environment: we were 4 girls to 45 men. However, the Total International Scholarship program is really diverse (26 nationalities represented among the class of 2015), with an impact beyond the countries where Total operates.


Today I am about to return to Bolivia, holding an internationally recognized Masters degree. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity that Total Bolivia has given me. I look forward to meeting the Group HR teams in Bolivia to share my experience.”