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Ivana Vukovic, a Research Chemist

"The international character of the company was also attractive. I was looking for a working environment where I could gain experience, learn and develop."

We asked recent hire Ivana Vukovic, a Research Chemist, what her expectations of working at Shell were like before joining, and how her first few months have been.

Ivana attended the University of Belgrade to study Chemical Engineering, but, soon after receiving her Master’s degree in 2009, she left for the Netherlands. “One of my professors had good contacts at the University of Groningen,” she says. “That’s how I came to do my doctorate in Groningen.”

Although she really enjoyed living and studying in a city as beautiful as Belgrade, the difference between the Netherlands and her previous home was considerable. “Here you meet many students from other countries who have received a scholarship to do their doctorate,” she says. “In Belgrade it is much more difficult to obtain funding for your PhD research. That’s why it was more logical to do a PhD abroad.”

“I wanted to continue studying abroad, especially somewhere in Europe,” she says. “When Groningen turned out to be a real option, I didn’t hesitate for a moment.” Although she had never been to the Netherlands, she was aware of the country’s appeals.

“I knew that it was a tolerant country that was liberal, open minded, and where foreigners are welcome. I found that attractive.” After moving to Groningen, she quickly found herself at home in her new surroundings. “It’s a small city where students form a tight-knit community, which creates a great atmosphere,” she says.

Ample opportunity

As the end of her doctorate came in sight, Ivana decided to apply to Shell for a job. “Shell was at the top of my shopping list,” she admits. “My profile as a Chemical Engineer matched well with Shell, but the international character of the company was also attractive. I was looking for a working environment where I could gain experience, learn and develop. The graduate programme provides ample opportunity for that.”

Asked to describe herself, she says she is ambitious, someone who likes challenges, and is dedicated and persevering. “If I start something then I want to do it well, and reach my goal. I don’t find it difficult to make contact with new people, I’m communicative and a team player. These qualities have enabled me to feel quite at home here.”

‘The international character of the company was also attractive. I was looking for a working environment where I could gain experience, learn and develop.’

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