After graduating from HEC Montreal in September of 2004, I felt prepared to make the career switch that I had carefully planned -- from private banking to the energy sector. I secured a position at Enbridge Gas Distribution as a risk-management analysis supervisor.
First, a bit of background on my job: All petroleum-based products are traded at a variety of North American locations, and their prices vary with respect to factors such as transportation cost, storage costs, weather, and supply and demand. The main energy trading exchange in North America is NYMEX, which operates just like any other stock exchange, except that it trades commodities instead of financial instruments or stocks. Most companies associated with the energy industry buy and sell energy products at a price referenced to NYMEX.
Risk analysis in the energy sector revolves around the changes in price, volume, supply, and demand of a particular energy product like crude oil, natural gas, or electricity. It's my job as an analyst to monitor and interpret the variations in all these characteristics of natural gas that Enbridge will purchase and distribute to its consumers.
All of my activities are focused on the risk-management model that I run on a daily basis, which provides a concrete method to determine the financial viability of energy transactions on any given day. I then prepare a report to present to the top executives at the bi-monthly meetings of Enbridge's Risk Management Committee.
I found my current job by applying for another job at the same company. After interviewing me for the position, the management at Enbridge found me more suitable for a risk-management position because I had taken courses specifically dealing with the subject while at B-school. After 40 days of endless interviews and assessments, I finally received my coveted offer letter.
Starting my professional life again after spending a year as a student was exciting. Initially, I was skeptical about the responsibilities and the work environment. However, I soon learned to enjoy the freedom (and minimal reporting) that goes along with my position. I feel like I'm my own boss much of the time. Other benefits include flexible work hours and a great employee-benefits program.
Here's a snapshot of a typical day for me:
6:15 a.m.: I start the day by offering my obligatory morning prayers and thanking God for all the blessings He has bestowed upon me. My morning ritual is roughly an hour-and-a-half episode, during which I have to maintain utmost silence so as not to disturb my two sleeping toddler sons.
7:15 a.m.: This is the earliest I have left for my office, which is 27 miles from my home. The traveling time ranges from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the weather, traffic, and road repairs. Cleaning the snow or ice from my car is undoubtedly the most horrible task. Driving during winters in eastern Canada is no less than a nightmare.
8:15 a.m.: Log in to Lotus Notes and check for any meeting invitations. All the meetings are scheduled in the afternoon so that managers from Western time zones can join conference calls. As a first daily task, I read a couple of energy sector reports and bulletins generated by various publishers.
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