When Christina Gao joined the Shell Graduate Programme 7 years ago, she was empowered to reach her full potential by exploring varied career opportunities. Her journey eventually led her to become the Global Product Manager for Shell Digital Businesses.

Christina’s story began with an unusual email from Shell while attending business school in Singapore. It had Albert Einstein’s iconic photo of him sticking his tongue out and a simple yet unexpected message: “Great minds DO NOT think alike”.

Christina had thought of Shell as nothing more than a petrol company, but the email sparked her curiosity. She submitted her CV and joined Shell on an internship. She was given the opportunity to learn from senior leaders and collaborate with seasoned employees.

With the support and guidance of her mentor, Koon Way, she even presented her own insights and recommendations at a major Regional Sales Conference in Penang, Malaysia. 

“Junior as I was, all the sales managers paid close attention to what I had to say. That was when I experienced how Shell values every employee’s contribution, regardless of seniority, gender and background.”

It was also why she returned to Shell after graduation through the Shell Graduate Programme, where her first stint was in marketing.

The Shell Graduate Programme enabled Christina to transition from a marketing role to becoming a business analyst for the Downstream LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) team. 

In her new role, her proposal aimed at addressing the gas reserve and air pollution issues in Manila made it to the Philippines’ Country Chairperson, and was eventually presented to the country’s Department of Energy.

Shell then gave Christina a stretch assignment --- she was assigned to China as the Project Manager to help Shell pioneer LNG refueling stations for trucks.

Her year and a half-long stint culminated in her being the youngest and only female keynote speaker at the 5th China Energy and Logistics conference.

After her successful stint in the China LNG team, she further honed her project management skills by establishing a joint-venture between Shell and Keppel (Singapore’s largest conglomerate) for small-scale LNG operations in Singapore. Upon completion, it marked a fulfilling and well-rounded 4.5 years in Downstream LNG where she developed highly-transferable skill sets from business case creation until implementation.

Just as Christina thought it was time to take on another steep learning curve in another business within Shell, a timely opportunity knocked on her door when Shell announced the setting up of the New Energies organisation in end 2016. With her credibility and suite of commercial skill sets, Christina joined the Digitalisation bandwagon within Shell and became the Global Product Manager for one of the Shell-incubated digital ventures, Connected Freight. In just 6 months, she led a team to develop a set of digital products that aims to solve the inefficiencies in the logistics ecosystems in developing cities.

The Shell Graduate Programme helped Christina to realise the opportunity to build an international career. Through proactively seeking new development opportunities, Christina has been to over 10 countries and worked with people from different nationalities and backgrounds, gaining experiences that helped her grow both professionally and personally.

After 7 years, Christina Gao is now Shell’s Global Product Manager for Digital Businesses. She finds fulfillment in being able to do her part in helping meet the world’s growing need for more and cleaner energy solutions through her work at Shell, and in doing so, helping make a better future. She credits the Shell Graduate Programme for her varied roles and diverse work experiences that have led to this once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity.

“In addition to the cultural and geographical exposure through work that helped with shaping my view of the world where the new generation of global citizens play a part in, my career in Shell has also contributed to my adopted way of thinking and living, that is entrepreneurial, innovative, and empathising with the shared societal and environmental issues that are faced by our planet.” 

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