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My growth at Neste: “My main driver is to get out of my comfort zone”

Passion for developing innovative solutions led Prateek Agarwal to work for Neste in 2017. Joining a new company, moving to another country and starting new studies gave interesting learning and development opportunities for Prateek. Now he is taking on new challenges in the Neste’s Supply Chain Development team leading several motivating and challenging projects.

In 2017, Prateek started as Simulation Engineer in the NAPCON* business unit in Neste Jacobs (now known as Engineering Solutions) leading Rotterdam and Singapore simulation projects. 

“I have a Master’s in Refinery Petrochemical and Gas from the French Institute of Petroleum (IFP) in Paris. Before Neste, I was actually working in an energy company in Qatar. I have always been interested in developing innovative solutions that bring efficiency and support sustainability. Neste was already known for having one of the most efficient refineries in Europe and being a forerunner in renewable diesel development and production,” Prateek explains.

After two years, Prateek continued his career as Product Manager of NAPCON training simulator. The work entailed managing development projects to make the simulations more realistic and working with complex technologies and demanding deadlines. 

“One of the highlights of my career was a simulation project for the Singapore expansion project. I travelled to Singapore for three months to finish the project. At the time, I had very little experience with the Singapore expansion project and the deadlines were closing in, so we worked long hours. Eventually we were able to solve the problem together and then train the operators with the simulation which was really rewarding,” he describes.

 

 

Looking back: balancing new studies, work and country

Before Neste, Prateek worked in the energy industry in France, Qatar and India. 

“Finland was outside of my comfort zone but I have always liked to challenge and develop myself which is why I decided to give it a try,” he says.

Moving to Finland and starting a new job at Neste was not the only new challenge Prateek decided to embark on.

“In 2017, I also started my Master of Business Administration studies in Aalto University Executive Education. So it was a year of big changes. There were a lot of late evenings and full weekends but I think you need to put in a little bit of hard work to get results. Luckily the environment at Neste is supportive and encouraging which made my studies easier,” he describes his first years in Finland.

Prateek has found many benefits of his studies, even though it wasn't always easy. 

“It was great to meet people from diverse backgrounds and focus areas which helped me to develop my knowledge, also outside my field of expertise. I think the knowledge and experience I gained from my studies have helped me to move forward and deepen my understanding,” he describes.

 

Motivating challenges for professional development 

Now Prateek works as Manager in the Supply Chain Development team in the Oil Products business unit at Neste. He noticed the job listing in Neste’s intranet, applied and started in his new role in September 2021.

“When I joined Neste I wanted first to deepen my understanding of the technology side behind Porvoo, Singapore, and Rotterdam refineries. Once I had a good understanding, I knew I wanted to pursue a bigger picture role. I was looking around what I wanted to do and where my skills, knowledge and experience would actually help me. Supply chain development felt like the perfect next step,” he describes.

Now Prateek works with different projects that offer rewarding interactions with different colleagues from all around the organization. 

 

Working with different important projects is challenging and motivating at the same time. My main driver is to get out of my comfort zone, take on challenges and develop myself, Prateek tells.

Prateek continuously takes on steps for his professional development: “I want to gain more understanding in Supply Chain Management. To improve our processes, I am currently doing the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Project at Neste. Also, I have had the opportunity to participate in a two-day leadership training at Neste which has helped me in the way I look at things and how I perform in my current role.”

He finds the supporting environment and colleagues at Neste best for development.

“Everyday there is something new to learn. It is motivating to work, develop and collaborate with different teams in a great environment. The best part is that colleagues are always ready to help when you approach them and you don’t have to solve anything alone. They are also caring about your work-life balance beyond the current work tasks and projects,” Prateek praises.
Work-life balance is important for Prateek to stay motivated.

“I like travelling with my wife, spending time with friends, walking in the forest, playing badminton and I also recently tried padel. All of these things help to relax and gain energy to learn new things,” he concludes.
 

* NAPCON creates, delivers and maintains a wide range of innovative solutions for optimization and learning for the process industry.