How my GMBA helped me become an Oil Operator at Trafigura

I was raised in a family of merchant navy captains, and the importance of hard work was always drilled into me, even as a child. Through my education and an earlier career as a merchant navy officer, the importance of being detail-oriented and process-driven was imbibed in me, and I follow it to the day.

As part of the Global MBA curriculum, I chose to specialise in logistics and supply chain, and this, combined with my previous work experience and the industry projects I worked on, helped me become uniquely qualified to secure a job as an oil operator at Trafigura, the third largest commodities trading company in the world. A huge thank you to the SP Jain Global Corporate Relations team for the placement opportunities and their continued support through the entire process, which, at times, was nerve-wracking.

The Global MBA program equipped me with essential tools, featuring industry leaders in the classroom and a well-structured curriculum. Transitioning from diverse real-world experiences to the daily routine of classes, projects, and exams was initially challenging. The diverse cohort, leveraging our strengths, provided crucial support during overwhelming moments. Starting from orientation week, the intense schedule gradually became more manageable. Interacting with like-minded peers was refreshing, and the faculty, with rich industry experience, taught us by applying real-world problem-solving approaches.

Group assignments provided a glimpse into what the next year held, offering a new perspective on myself and my peers. I vividly remember Dr Balakrishna Grandhi explaining our first-ever simulation to us, and everyone, including me, was left confused and anxious yet eager to learn and excel.

In my early days as an officer on the ship, it was exceptionally challenging; you will be responsible for a $100-million vessel, its cargo, and its crew. I faced a crucial test when our ship ran aground in Ecuadorian waters, emphasising the importance of maintaining composure in high-stress situations. During a ten-month stint at sea amid the COVID-19 pandemic, I honed conflict resolution skills, boosted team morale, and avoided burnout. Key projects at Bhandarkar Publications highlight my expertise in shipping operations and project management. This includes spearheading the development of a shipping e-learning platform, creating innovative shipping-related apps, and collaborating on a web-based system with the DG of Shipping for vessel identification. These experiences have shaped my decision to transition into operations and supply chain management fully.

The Global MBA program and my previous work experience on ships and ports made me a global citizen, making my work managing LNG and LPG operations in Europe and Africa much more seamless. Looking back at those days, I have realised the importance of constantly pushing yourself daily and looking at professional and personal growth. Don’t let the stress take over. Enjoy the ride.

About Author-

Krishna Bhandarkar (GMBA 2023), currently employed at Trafigura Global Services Pte. Ltd., plays a pivotal role in commodities trading. As part of Trafigura, a Fortune 500 company and the third largest in its field globally, he holds the position of LNG/LPG Global Trading Operations.

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