A Conversation with Jonathan Edet
Updated: Aug 31, 2019
December 13, 2017
Following International Men’s Day and our ‘A Man’s World’ we continued the theme and caught up with spoke to Jonathan Edet, a Reservoir Engineer with BP. Jonathan spoke about what drives him, his approach to developing his career and with the birth of his first child approaching, his thoughts for the future. Jonathan started his career in Nigeria, he has undertaken student committee roles in Aberdeen with SPE and the Energy Institute, and he recently completed, with distinction, an MBA in Oil and Gas Management.
Jonathan has kindly agreed to answer any further questions you would like to put to him. Please email these to email@example.com by 31st December 2017. We will publish his answers 20th January 2018.
Q: What prompted you to become an engineer and what drives you to succeed in your career?
My journey to engineering started as a passion for fiddling with all sorts of electronics and computers. I was the go-to person when these items developed any faults and growing up, my grandmother would insist her ‘engineer’ assess any faulty equipment before inviting any technicians. It was little wonder that I applied to study computer and electronic engineering at the university. However, I was offered admission to study Petroleum engineering and while this was disappointing at first, I soon discovered that there is a lot of computing involved in reservoir engineering and my fiddling days were not over. This ultimately led to my current role with BP.
I come from a humble background and have gotten to where I am today due to a strong desire for excellence, big expectations and faith that with God’s help, I can achieve anything. I never let not having enough stop me from dreaming and this tendency to dream big and a strong drive for excellence have been the bedrock of my career to date.
Q: How would you describe the way your career has developed to date; has it evolved in incremental steps or did you have specific goals at the outset?
A bit of both. My first role was with ExxonMobil Nigeria as a trainee reservoir engineer for a year. I had the opportunity to stay on but I had a goal to study for an MSc degree. This influenced my decision to come to the UK for a Masters in Petroleum engineering which in turn helped me secure a graduate trainee position with BP.
One of my future goals is to serve in the top management of an organization as I am passionate and fascinated by the intricacies of business strategy and development. This influenced my decision to pursue an MBA in 2014, kindly sponsored by BP to enable me develop business acumen.
Q: What role has networking played in how your career has developed to date?
Over the course of my studies and career, I have learned that no single person or organisation has a monopoly over knowledge so networking is vital for growth and staying informed.
Networking via SPE played a big role in preparing me to secure the job with BP.
I was able to build an extensive and varied network of professionals during the course of my MBA. Therefore, I leveraged their knowledge and experiences to add value at work beyond my current job description. This has given me visibility with members of top management.
I should also add that when an opportunity arises, people can only think of you or refer you if they know you.
Q: You are about to become a father for the first time; what impact, if any, do you think this will have on how you approach developing your career in the future?
I am determined to be a father that is present and part of my child’s life. As such, maintaining work-life balance is high on my priority list (My wife, my child, and work; in that order). This will determine the kind of company I work for and career choices I make. Fortunately, BP as a company has a culture that promotes work-life balance.
Q: Based on your own experiences, do you have any tips or advice for others about how best to make and capitalise on opportunities and develop your career successfully?
It is helpful to have a picture of where you want to be or get to. This will set the tone for who you become at work; particularly the habits you embrace, the skills you choose to acquire and work ethic you develop. Further, it will help guide your day-to-day career decisions and in the long term, determine your career moves. Also, if you want excellent career opportunities then be excellent at what you do. Set a high bar and work at reaching or exceeding it. Know that people are watching; a lot of opportunities that have come my way have been through referrals. You want to be visible for the right reasons.
Finally, remain humble and never stop learning. Nobody wants a liability.