Each year Aberdeen Business School run a student placement award. This award is open to all students that undertake a 48 week placement at ABS. The main prize is the opportunity to spend sometime shadowing the Chief Executive of Wood Group, (Allister Langlands). Last year’s winner, Katie Robertson, describes her experience.

I began the shadowing experience by spending a day at the Wood Group office in Aberdeen. The first part of the day was spent in a meeting between the Investor relation and legal departments where the corporate governance section of the annual report was the point of discussion.

I particularly enjoyed attending this meeting as I could see how the theories I had learned on corporate governance and corporate social reporting were applied in practice. I then spent the remainder of the morning in the HR and treasury departments where I was given a brief overview of some of the tasks that these departments complete at a senior level.

During the afternoon I attended the monthly group board meeting where the financial performance and results were discussed in preparation for their release to the market and the investor road show that was to take place the following week. The board meeting then continued over an evening meal where discussion turned to safety performance within each of the divisions of the group followed by a presentation on the renewable market.

The following week I completed my shadowing experience by attending the investor road show in London for three days. After the release of the financial results to the markets, Allister and Alan Semple (Chief Finance Officer) handled calls with the newswires - Bloomberg, Reuters and Dow Jones - where they gave each an overview of the financial results and answered their questions. Analysts were then given a presentation outlining the financial performance for the year ended 31 December 2009 and an indication of the areas where Wood Group aimed to develop over the next 12 months; this was then followed by a question and answer session. The remainder of the road show was spent dealing with phone calls with the print media as well as going to the offices of various investors for further presentations and questions. As part of the shadowing experience, I attended the Goldman Sachs resource realignment dinner where the speakers discussed the role of emerging market demand and the commodity outlook.

This experience with Wood Group has allowed me to relate some of the theories that I have learned at university to the work environment. The road show in London demonstrated how tough questions asked by investors, media and analysts are handled, and the Chief Executive and Directors demonstrated great knowledge and skill in answering these questions convincingly. This as been a great opportunity at such an early stage in my career and has provided me with an insight into how hard these directors of a global business work in order to keep on top of their relentless schedule.