Innovation and real-world experience bring IT talent to ConocoPhillips

At ConocoPhillips, Information Technology (IT) drives innovative solutions that enhance business processes and help the company maintain its competitive edge. But it’s the people behind the technology that make it all possible, and it begins by recruiting the best and brightest talent.

The Robotics team, tasked with creating a prototype to navigate and remotely detect simulated health, safety and environment conditions, gives their presentation to judges at the Innovation Challenge.

ConocoPhillips’ two flagship programs give students a unique way to experience the company. Each fall, the Student Leader Forum and the Innovation Challenge bring college students to ConocoPhillips’ offices to interact with recruiters, leaders and employees, while giving students a chance to showcase their skills.

“These programs let students experience ConocoPhillips up close to see if we are the kind of company they’d like to work for,” said Chris Ramsey, advisor, IT Recruiting & Training. “They also give our recruiting team a chance to interact with students for more than one day instead of just short on-campus visits, so we can really get to know them.”

Student Leader Forum

The Student Leader Forum targets college students with an interest in the oil and gas industry who want to learn more about opportunities at ConocoPhillips. The program takes place at the company’s Bartlesville, Okla. office and offers hands-on, practical experience, including developing a business case in support of a chosen topic related to ConocoPhillips' current initiatives and major oil and gas issues. For the business case, students are put in groups and given prompts that describe ConocoPhillips’ current status related to various IT-related topics, such as analytics, cloud computing and cyber security. The students are challenged to arrive at their position on that topic, then tasked with presenting it in front of the other groups.  

A team at the Student Leader Forum prepares a creative business case presentation in hopes of winning first place.

“Developing the business case allows the students to demonstrate their ability to work together in teams, apply IT project management methodology, and show off their communication and presentation skills,” said Ramsey.  

During their visit, participants interact with many of the company’s newly hired employees, which allows them to build a network of peers and hear first-hand what it’s like to work at ConocoPhillips. Participants can shadow early-career employees for a day, giving them a taste of work life and the variety of roles the company offers.  

One of the greatest values of the program is exposure to IT leaders. Participants hear from supervisors, managers and the chief information officer and are encouraged to ask questions to better understand the IT opportunities and challenges facing the industry. Students also participate in mock interviews with IT leaders, who provide immediate feedback.  

“In these interviews, we learn even more about the students and their potential fit for ConocoPhillips, and they gain important interview experience with professionals who can give them substantive, constructive feedback,” said Amy Rude, supervisor, IT Recruiting, Training & Functional Development. “It’s a win-win.”  

“In addition to career and development, the event emphasizes community involvement, which is something we value highly at ConocoPhillips,” said Ramsey. “Whether it's through our employee network groups such as the New Hire Network or one of the many nonprofits around town, students are exposed to service opportunities and leave knowing that our values and priorities extend well beyond the office and into our communities.”  

Watch a video on the Student Leadership Forum. Interested? Learn more and apply online.

Why should I apply?
• All-expenses paid trip
• Chance to interact with ConocoPhillips IT Leaders
• Showcase your leadership and teamwork skills
• Interview on-site for career opportunities
Who should apply?
Minimum qualifications: 
• Pursuing undergraduate degree related to IT
• Interest in learning about the energy industry
• Enjoys team-building and developing leadership skills
• Enrolled as a full-time student: minimum of 12 hours
• Interested in career opportunities at ConocoPhillips
Apply for the ConocoPhillips Student Leader Forum
Sept. 3–6, 2019 Bartlesville, Okla.
Apply online by May 17, 2019


Innovation Challenge

Showcasing the importance of technology and innovation at ConocoPhillips, the Innovation Challenge attracts top students from some of the nation’s most competitive universities.  

Up to 20 students are chosen from hundreds of applicants based on technical skills, academic performance and other criteria. Students travel to the company’s Bartlesville Okla. office to compete for cash and prizes while applying their passion and creative thinking skills to solve real-life technology challenges.    

The Augmented Reality team, tasked with creating a prototype application to simulate improved working environments, poses after their presentation at the Innovation Challenge.

Mingling is serious business at the Innovation Challenge, where collaboration and the ability to work together under pressure are keys to success.  

“We plan social time for the participants,” said Ramsey. “It’s important for them to get to know each other and be comfortable working together so they are optimally effective during the challenge.”   

The competition evolves on a yearly basis to reflect new challenges and allow students to utilize the latest technologies. The 2017 event challenged teams to use robotics, virtual reality, augmented reality and blockchain technology.  

Working in groups, students have 30 hours to create innovative, practical solutions using their assigned technology. This gives students an opportunity to show off their programming skills and their ability to integrate multiple technologies and platforms to solve real issues in the oil and gas industry.   

The Virtual Reality team, tasked with creating a prototype application to visualize mock drilling data with a virtual reality headset in a creative way, works against the clock at the Innovation Challenge.

After a weekend of brainstorming, troubleshooting and strategizing creative solutions, the students present their completed work to a panel of ConocoPhillips IT supervisors and managers.  

“The presentations allow the teams to shine. They talk through their process, discuss challenges and explain how they used technology and innovation to overcome them,” said Rude. “This is where we really learn what these students are made of.”  

Following the presentations, the panelists deliberate, and winners are announced and awarded prizes.   

“Having judged this event for several years, I can honestly say that each year I am more impressed by the quality of the presentations and the effort and thought that the students put into the solutions,” said Dan Chisum, manager, IT Security, Strategy & Planning. “It’s amazing how much the participants accomplish in such a short amount of time.”  

“This program offers the students a truly unique experience and gives them exposure and hands-on experience with leading technologies,” said Rude. “It’s also a great relationship-building platform for our recruiting team and partner universities. The word is getting out that ConocoPhillips offers one of the most competitive, exciting programs out there.”  

Watch a video on the Innovation Challenge. Interested? Learn more and apply online.

Why should I apply?
• All-expenses paid trip
• Cash and prizes awarded
• Compete to show off your technical skills
• Option to interview with us for career opportunities!
Who should apply?
Minimum qualifications: 
• Pursuing undergraduate degree related to IT
• Interest in emerging technologies
• Interest in learning more about the energy industry
• Enjoys competition and solving problems
• Interested in career opportunities at ConocoPhillips  
Apply for the ConocoPhillips Innovation Challenge
Sept. 6–9, 2019 Bartlesville, Okla.
Apply online by May 17, 2019


A team at the Student Leader Forum explains the benefits of their business case proposal to judges and peers.