What can I do with my degree?

The art of accuracy

As a financial analyst, Francesco Paolo Forina is responsible for the figures and information that Equinor provides to its investors – affecting their will to buy or sell shares.

Francesco Paolo Forina

Position: Financial Analyst, Equinor

Employer: QTEM Masters Network

QTEM Masters Network

After graduating from BI, Francesco was able to land a position as a financial analyst at Equinor, responsible for financial reporting. The company is listed on two exchanges - Oslo and New York.

“The market wants to know how Equinor performs financially, so every quarter we send out information about the company. How much do we earn in each project? What are our expenses? This informs how investors think about how we will perform in the future and whether they will buy or sell Equinor shares,” says Francesco.

Satisfying international requirements
It is important that the numbers are correct and meet international standards. Otherwise, there is a risk of disseminating misleading information and creating an incorrect picture of the company.

“We must adhere to the IFRS, or International Financial Reporting Standard, which is an international accounting metric. All listed companies must provide information publicly about the development of their own finances, so that all potential investors receive the same information. This way, the stock market functions better than if the information were secret and only some investors were aware of the figures. The price of the stock is set more fairly when important information about the companies is publicly known.”

Using the IFRS makes it easier for investors to understand the financial situation of the company, to compare companies or benchmark a company against the rest of its industry.

A good cultural fit

“I got a permanent job one year after I finished my master's at BI. First, I had a period of internship. Then, I went on to a graduate programme at Equinor. In the recruitment process, I felt at home and that I could be myself. Equinor has a nice internal culture where it is normal to collaborate or help each other, and it matched well with my personal values. I simply felt welcome.”

Francesco says that many employees can imagine their entire working life in Equinor because it is such a good environment, and because the company has plans that go far into the future.

There are many reasons why people work for many years in Equinor, he explains. One of the reasons may be that if you want to help shape the energy industry for the next generations, you have to participate for a long time. However, the most important reason for staying is probably the good culture.

Change as a new constant

Equinor is a large company with many departments in over 30 countries, so there are plenty of opportunities to make a career in the company, or switch between different tasks.

“The department I work in also provides support to other departments when it comes to reporting and analysis. Should I ever want a change, for example, I can go into specific projects and work with numbers there. Or I can work with cash management, or maybe with investment questions.”

Equinor employees often follow one of two main tracks: professional or leadership. Some alternate between these two several times to evolve. In the longer term, you usually specialise in one of them.

“It is a great responsibility to work in Equinor, because the company has historically helped shape Norway as a country. The company also intends to spread to even more countries, and is happy to share its internal work culture. Equinor is concerned about security and collaboration, for example, and is also good at reducing costs in large projects.”

One of the trends in the energy sector now, according to Francesco, is that companies are getting a greater breadth in what supplies energy, such as wind or solar. Equinor is positioned for this change, and they want to be in the driver’s seat of the development.

“We want to use our expertise from offshore oil operations to create new energy solutions, which is why we work a lot with, for example, offshore wind power. It is important to reduce costs so profits can be created, and so that many countries can invest in the same. The change of name from Statoil to Equinor shows that we are moving from being an oil company to becoming an energy company.”

Well prepared for the workplace

“BI was a great preparation for the job I have now. There I was introduced to the Norwegian culture in which you collaborate more, and I was not used to this before. I often participated in group-work, and this is quite common in Equinor as well.

Norwegian culture is far from the only culture Francesco has explored beyond the surface of. In total, the young Italian has lived in five different countries.

“At BI, I studied something called QTEM, which led to a period abroad where I became acquainted with students from many countries. As a result, I was used to thinking internationally and understood that there are different cultures and ways of working. This has been useful to me in Equinor, as I often work with people from other countries.”

Francesco explains that theoretical knowledge can be obtained in many companies, but what is unique about BI is the emphasis on commercial mind-set.

“BI gave me professional knowledge, first and foremost a strong theoretical basis. Nevertheless, one of the most important lessons from BI was commercial thinking. This means that you always have to consider the business aspect before making decisions, you cannot just think about the theory. It is important to be commercially oriented if you want to be successful in the real world and in the workplace.”