Kerisha Burke | Global Strategy and Freight Trading Analyst
Department: Commercial Organization, Marine
Education: B.S. Mathematics, Minor in Economics, 2013, Howard University
Career stage: Early—4 years post Bachelor’s
What She Does
Phillips 66 is an energy manufacturing and logistics company. Kerisha is primarily responsible for analyzing global trade flows, monitoring seaborne imports/exports trends and providing freight market forecasts. Within her group, they use a combination of analytical, technical, and networking skills. Each work day on the trade floor is unique due to the constant changes in market conditions, seasonal trends, and current global activities. The commercial trade floor is an extremely fast paced environment. Within the Marine Department, the objective is to use marine knowledge and experience to manage the safe, reliable, and cost effective seaborne transportation needs of the corporation. We’re constantly working on new and exciting projects.
Necessary Job Skills
Kerisha uses mathematics and business skills to resolve real-world problems or to improve existing processes. By using her analytical and logical skill set that she gained from studying applied mathematics, she has the ability to approach problems with a unique perspective and to find a solution in a quick and accurate manner.
Pros and Cons of Her Job
It’s rewarding when a trader, charterer, or manager expresses that they are pleased with a project that you’ve completed or report that you’ve created. Kerisha gets to work collaboratively with various people each day. By working with others, she learns something new or teaches something new. The constant flow of knowledge keeps her engaged. She also enjoys attending various industry-related networking events.
One of Kerisha’s favorite benefits is that employees can get a “19/30” day—a day off each month for working an extra 30 minutes each day! Other perks: an on-site gym, dental office, mailroom, Starbucks, putting green recreational area, a soccer field on the rooftop of the parking garage, and multiple picturesque views of the city—it’s truly an exciting work environment.
Kerisha was recruited by Phillips 66 during her senior year at Howard University. Phillips 66 values training and mentorship and truly cares about developing new employees, making sure they establish a solid foundational knowledge of the oil and gas industry. Kerisha’s first role after completing the three-month training program was a Trade System Configuration (TSC) Analyst. She learned how the company uses various trade systems to capture its daily business transactions.
Her second role was a Risk Analyst, responsible for the risk assessment, reporting, and position control of physical and financial portfolios within the Heavy Fuel Oil Group. Mathematics has been used daily in each of her roles—whether providing a simple historical analysis that requires percentage calculations and short-term trend analysis, or creating automated models, using probability for forecasting analysis, working with large data sets to analyze market trends, creating/publishing reports, or preparing presentations.
Global events and activities can have a huge impact on market trends that influence daily decisions within many industries. If you work in such an industry it’s important that you follow the news closely.
Career Expectations and Advice
“Have an open mind and coachable attitude.”
For students who are pursuing a math degree, it’s vital to participate in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) or internship before graduation; by doing so you’ll be able to enhance your mathematical skill set while gaining experience. Also, learn as much as you can about various industries and have an understanding about the value of mathematics within those industries because there are so many opportunities out there.
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