Alric Van graduated from USC in May 2010 and now works as a business analyst for BP. Van, who studied chemical engineering at USC, sat down with the Daily Trojan to talk about his experiences.
Daily Trojan: What does your position at BP entail?
Alric Van: I forecast gasoline and diesel demands, and I ensure smooth operations at our field distribution terminals on the West Coast. I also work with the refineries to help them change their output to meet the demand in their region.
DT: Did you always know you wanted to work in the oil industry?
Van: It was kind of by chance. I was a sophomore and looking at internship opportunities and Valero popped up. I interned with Valero as an engineer and I really liked learning about the oil industry. BP has given me the opportunity to check out the business side of the oil business.
DT: What about the oil industry interests you?
Van: I find the oil industry really interesting because it’s an essential commodity and it affects the every day consumer. You have the drivers, but it also affects the state and even the government at the national level. [Gasoline is] important on almost any level of society.
DT: Have you found it difficult to work for BP after the oil spill?
Van: I am proud to work for BP. I think we did the right thing after the spill happened, but I have noticed a lot of changes in the organization. There’s a noticeable emphasis on safety now. When our CEO says we are even more focused on safety, he’s not just giving lip service.
DT: How has your USC education prepared you for your job?
Van: It taught me how to learn and that’s helped me pick things up along the way in my current job. The USC experience overall taught me how to network with people, and that’s a pretty big part of my job.
DT: What did you enjoy most about USC?
Van: Definitely being a part of the USC Dragon Boat Team was an amazing time. We became like a family. I loved being at USC, and it’s definitely more fun than working. I love my job, but I think my time at USC was much more fun.
DT: What advice would you give fellow Trojans?
Van: You have to believe in yourself. Once you start working you have to really know what you want and follow your own career path. Don’t let someone else write your life.