“I met the president of Total Trading & Shipping, at a reception held at my home institution, MIT, where I am a 3rd-year PhD student in astrophysics, with a background in statistical analysis. I introduced myself and submitted a copy of my resume, and luckily Total had a position that matched my skills and interests perfectly. About a month later, I was offered a position in the Digital Team.
I spent most of my time working on a program looking at the movement of ships. I’ve also collaborated with another member of the Digital Team to create an interactive visualization, and I wrote a prototype of a new program to help automate one aspect of our traders’ work – I loved the enthusiasm they showed for this project. I was honored that my team had allowed me to work as an intern on such an important project and it was incredible to see how much confidence they had in me.
I enjoyed constantly learning about programming and machine learning, both through my own work and from my colleagues. I’ve had very little formal training in computer science, and I was glad to see my knowledge of the field improve tremendously over the three months of my internship. I’m also lucky to be part of a team with talented and motivated data scientists and programmers. Working with them was not only rewarding but also a lot of fun.
I’ve been thinking about working in data science after my graduation. Through my internship I have acquired many relevant skills in programming and machine learning that will surely help me in the future. After this experience, I’m quite sure that I belong in industry rather than academia, and that I will be happy working as a data scientist.
I found good communication and collaboration skills very useful in this role. While working on my main project, I spent a lot of time talking to traders to better understand their needs. Frequent communication with my ‘clients’ was essential to the success of my project. To anyone who wants to be an intern at Total in Geneva, I suggest that you ensure that you have a solid grasp of the French language, as most meetings and social conversations are carried out in French. Other than that, just bring your natural curiosity and prepare to learn a lot!
The atmosphere at Total is great. My supervisor often had friendly conversations with us about anything from our projects to sports and French culture. My coworkers were always sure to include me when they went for lunch or played games together during lunch breaks. In the brief three months I spent here, I truly felt like part of the company.”