August 24, 2010

Internships & Applications

Those of you who followed by blog back in 2009 might have read my blog entry on writing applications for my first internship. Today, I'd like to reflect on some things that I've learned in the scope of my internship because I consider this to be useful information for everyone who is about to apply for an internship.

Originally, I had planned to do the internship after my 4th term in summer 2009 but I didn't get any positive answer to the applications I had sent out. I was really disappointed first but then I licked my wounds and tried to improve not only my skills but also the application itself. Today I understand why I didn't get any positive answer or sometimes no answer at all. Let me tell you why.

When I applied in March 2009, I had just finished my 3rd term. To be honest, with three terms of university studies you don't know much about your field of studies. I knew about the basics like sedimentology and stratigraphy but I didn't know much about geophysics or petroleum exploration. So, I decided to already take some modules of the master's program to get some key skills  During my second application period in November 2009 - even though just eight months later - I had gained first experience in rock physics, seismic processing and basin analysis which I needed in order to be awarded with an internship in the petroleum industry.

Moreover, I completely revised my letter of application and my CV. I also added a sheet with notable and to me very important and highly-valued references at Freie Universitaet Berlin and at the German Research Centre for Geosciences. Special thanks goes to Gerhard Winkler and his wonderful website In some way, he opened my eyes and then his advise really helped a lot. Some people consider him to be too extreme but I've not only found pleasure in reading through his website but also in adapting the style of my application to his way of writing applications. It's a tough market, especially in the petroleum industry, and you have to present yourself in the best way possible. You need to make people feel persuaded of your skills but you also need to make them curious of who you really are so that even the hardest and most experienced human resources manager doesn't want to miss the opportunity to make this future expert become an employee of his company.

In the end, I decided in favour of an internship at RWE Dea, which is an international exploration and production company for oil and gas within the RWE group. I spent two amazing months in spring 2010 in the RWE Dea headquarters in Hamburg, Germany, and I've learned a lot about the petroleum industry and its people...and about myself.

RWE Dea headquarters, Hamburg, Germany
The moral of the story is that you must not lose your goals. Even though you don't get a positive answer this time, it doesn't mean you won't get a positive answer next time. Sometimes you just need to wait and improve in order to make your dreams come true. But, it's of highest importance to be determined all the way...and sometimes even a bit stubborn. ;-)

August 03, 2010

The Sound of Silence

Statistics say that 95 percent of all blogs don't survive their first three months. My blog's (first) life lasted at least eight months. However, it's been more than fourteen months since my last blog entry. I don't want to explain the reasons that brought me into this absence but I'm very glad to revive my blog with this new entry and a brand-new design. I hope you like it.

I took some time to read my old blog entries and reflected on some memories. Comparing my point of view back then with today, I still find myself in those blog entries but a lot has changed. Even though it's been less than two years, I've learned and experienced so much in that time. You may call this change the normal evolution from a freshman over a sophomore to an almost graduate but for me it's something special. This change can be explained best with the following comparison. When people asked me one year ago what I studied, I answered geophysics. When people ask me today what I study, I answer rock physics, earthquake localization, seismic interpretation, numerical modeling,...

I finally feel at home and I'm really looking forward to the future. Why? I'd like to quote Barack Obama who once said: We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. That's pretty much what I believe in, what I want to prove to myself and to others. I'm more determined and more confident than ever and I really want to spread the gospel of taking possession of our own existence. I've found the strength and the will to follow my dreams and make them come true. But, it's still a long way to go which brings me back to the title of my blog.

What's next? Currently, I'm working on my bachelor's thesis which is about magnitude distributions in Pacific subduction zones. Moreover, in mid-October I will face the most exciting but also most important week of my career so far, but that's a story I'm going to tell some other time.