Total at Work


We’ve been talking to Narjis, a Project Engineer in the Industrial Projects team within the Exploration and Production Division.


For Narjis, several different factors motivated her choice of career, starting with her bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the McGill University in Canada. “My mother worked in HR back home and gave me the practical advice to go into process engineering, since that was what was we needed locally. I deliberately chose a degree that was not available back home, so I could study abroad! I also wanted an international career in the energy business and after an internship with Total in 2007, I knew that Total was the company I should apply to. My Master’s degree in Petroleum Engineering & Project Development from the Institut Français du Petrole (IFP School) in Paris was a stepping stone to joining Total.”


A decade later, Narjis is a project engineer, calculating development costs for Total, and part of a diverse team. “The team is made up of a mix of different competences, experiences and cultures. The Cost Estimations team in my Product Line alone is made up of 4 engineers from 4 different countries!” The most surprising thing about the job? “Definitely how varied and completely different it is compared to what we learned in class.”


Narjis has two main goals – one for herself and one for other students. “For my community, I would like to promote and support more girls coming into the energy workforce. The percentage of high school student going into engineering is dwindling and the number going into operational positions in the energy industry after university is even lower. Personally, I would also like to fulfil my ambition of becoming an entrepreneur; I come up with ideas but it’s hard to put them into action while working full-time!”


Although she’s keen to see even more women working in this field, Narjis sees things changing already at Total. “There are some positions in the industry which have been predominantly masculine, but on my last project, our critical and heavy lifts engineer was a woman! I believe this kind of situation helps encourage and empower others. The more examples we have, the more the younger generation will be drawn to this industry.”


If you enjoyed this article, find out more about being an engineer at Total in Charlotte’s profile here.