Petroleum engineering at Adelaide: creating global career options

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  Last updated August 20, 2018 at 8:55 am

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University of Adelaide graduate Steve Tsiolis has used a degree in petroleum engineering to gain experience across the world.


After graduating from a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Petroleum) from the University of Adelaide, Steve Tsiolis has had the opportunity to explore a range of life-changing experiences. From working with big data analytics in Northern Ireland and with a major investment bank in London, to traveling to 24 different countries and gaining valuable life experience, Steve has achieved so much already, with a very bright future still ahead.


We caught up with him to learn how a petroleum engineering degree from the University of Adelaide has helped him pave the way for his own future.


Steve, tell us about the path your career has taken since graduating from the University of Adelaide?


Since graduating from petroleum engineering at the University of Adelaide, I have been programming as a developer in big data analytics. I spent one month of my career working in a small town in Northern Ireland after which I moved to London to work as a contractor for a major investment bank for 14 months. I have travelled to 24 countries since moving overseas, 21 of those being in the European Union and I have a goal to complete all 28 countries in the EU by the end of 2018. I am currently working on a project for the world’s leading and most diverse marketplace developing FX products. The company provides opportunity for work around the globe, including New York, Canada, UK, Sydney, Singapore, and many other countries.


An amazing journey so far, can you tell us why you chose to study in the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences at Adelaide?


Firstly, the degree itself, for example the reputation of the degree, the specific course content and topics, and the potential career opportunities.


The Australian School of Petroleum is one of the most recognized and respected schools for petroleum engineering worldwide. Being a subset of the University of Adelaide, there was no other choice to undertake the degree. The Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Petroleum) is one that is less known amongst the “popular” engineering degrees. It is a degree which is a pathway to working in almost every part of the world, facing new challenges and forcing you to grow into a better engineer every day.


It is a common assumption that a degree in petroleum engineering only focuses on oil and gas and allows you to work only in the energy sector. The course’s underlying lesson is how to approach problems and solve them effectively and efficiently whilst also providing emphasis on economics and finance, which has helped me tremendously throughout my career. It is conclusive from this and the fact that I am not currently working as a petroleum engineer that those assumptions can be neglected.


Secondly, the University itself, including the facilities and buildings, location, support services, social or professional events, and the overall reputation of the university.


From my four years at the University of Adelaide, I have always believed that it is one of the top universities Australia-wide in terms of academics and student life. Academically and specifically speaking, the Australian School of Petroleum has world-class research teams, professors and facilities, constantly producing research papers used and presented worldwide. In terms of student life, the Adelaide University Engineering Society (AUES) has broken records for hosting the largest pub crawls in the southern hemisphere for many years in a row. This extends way beyond the gates of the university and makes headlines nation-wide.


Finally, the city of Adelaide, which includes great festivals, has an energetic CBD where the university is based, it’s easy to get around, and affordable,


Looking at Adelaide after living in London creates a whole new perspective of the city. Adelaide is a complete contrast in comparison to its neighbouring city, Melbourne. Adelaide is something special and often overlooked, you have the city centre, the beach, the countryside and world-class wineries all within casual driving distance. During the summer months, Adelaide comes to life, the city lights up, the beaches are glorious, and when mad March comes around the fringe festival transforms the city into something entirely different. The transport in Adelaide is in the shadows of its neighbour Melbourne, I have never needed to catch a train or tram in Adelaide as the buses cover the vast majority of it, but just like any Australian city, a car is a necessity as there is so much more to explore than just the city.


Tell us a little about your most outstanding experience while at university, and what you learnt from it.


The Australian School of Petroleum sent us to study in Indonesia in their typical intensive 9-to-5 type course. It was without doubt the greatest and most educational part of the degree. We were merged into a single class with the Indonesian students from the Institut Teknologi Bandung where we spent a good portion of our time interacting and collaborating through real-life petroleum engineering problems and quizzes. The highlight of the study tour was the cultural experience and knowledge of Indonesia’s geothermal development that we developed through our field trips, camps and from the culture shock that a lot of the class experienced.


So there is a great deal of field work in petroleum engineering, but what was the most enjoyable part about your on-campus studies?


Without a doubt the people I met along the way, 15 months after leaving Adelaide and some of my classmates are still considered some of my closest friends. It has been a bumpy road with the decline in the oil price and it has been interesting to see how different people have adapted to the situation.


Tell us about a specific scenario where you received support from the staff at the university and what the benefit or result of that was?


I do not know of anyone in the university more inspiring than my honours mentor, Professor Pavel Bedrikovetsky. He challenged my group of three to perform an honours project with a PhD style methodology including experimental, analytical and numerical simulation – all with a stern warning of its difficulty at the beginning of it. At the start it was overwhelming and frustrating, countless all-nighters and moments where our experiments just weren’t working. Together we had only one common goal in mind, to create research we could publish and share to the world. So thank you to Pavel, Abbas and Alex B.


Lastly, could you describe how your time at the university has positively impacted on your life or how it has impacted others?


The University of Adelaide provided me with the knowledge and confidence to take on the world and it is firmly the foundation which I am building every step on.




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