Rachel Court

What did you do prior to starting at Heriot-Watt?

BSc Environmental Geoscience at St Andrews University.

What have you done since graduating from Heriot-Watt?

Initially I worked as an administrator and recruiter in an Oil and Gas Recruitment Agency while applying for Geology jobs. Then I started at Centrica in Windsor on their 2 year Geoscience Graduate Scheme in which I rotated around different departments in the business. I 'graduated' from the scheme in September 2010 and have taken a full time post as a geologist with Centrica in their Upstream Headquarters in Aberdeen.

What made you choose your course?

I felt I needed to have an extra degree to make myself more employable. I had enjoyed my petroleum geology module in my first degree and the course at HWU looked interesting, the Institute seemed to have a good reputation within the Industry and it was in Scotland which is where I wanted to stay. The Institute was also very proactive in helping me gain sponsorship for the course which I really appreciated and I got on well with the lecturers I met at my interview. In all, it seemed like the right course for me.

What has been the most useful or enjoyable aspect of your course?

I think the entire course was useful. I can't say I enjoyed every moment, it was very hard work, but I have used almost everything I learnt on the course since working in the industry – either directly, or by just being able to understand concepts when talking to geophysicists, and reservoir engineers in meetings. I still have all my course notes on my desk that I reference from time to time, and I know that I am not alone in that!

How has the course helped your career and professional development?

These days it is pretty much impossible to get onto a geoscience graduate scheme within the oil industry without a Masters. A few people do it, but you do hear of a lot of them having to go back to university later in their careers to be able to progress in their jobs. I particularly think that the breadth of the course was a tremendous help to me in two ways. Firstly, it was a geoscience course that also made us complete full modules in Engineering and subjects such a well testing. Although I will never be an engineer, understanding the basics of these topics has helped me greatly in my job and impressed a few managers! Secondly, although primarily Exploration based, there was an element of appraisal and development that was taught. This is key as at such an early stage no one should have to specialise - especially as in smaller independent companies you will be expected to do a bit of everything.

What have you enjoyed the most about studying here?

The Institute is completely focused on the oil and gas industry - you get completely immersed – I think that is great. It means you are exposed to so many interesting projects that are going on that is directly relevant to your future job, and it attracts interest from all of the major companies.

What do or did you enjoy the most about living in Edinburgh?

It's a beautiful city with lots of things to see and do.

The Institute was also very proactive in helping me gain sponsorship for the course which I really appreciated.