Reflections on the Case Study Competition: Arthur Masion

Master of Engineering (Chemical with Business) student Arthur Masion was part of the team that won the 2018 Case Study Competition, after successfully pitching their solution to a real-life challenge posed by ExxonMobil. Arthur spoke to MSE about the experience and how it set him on a path to a graduate position with the company.

Arthur Masion presenting at Case Study Competition

The company that hosted the competition, ExxonMobil, came to us with an actual business obstacle that they’re experiencing and it felt great knowing that we were working on a real problem.

The task was how to avoid the costly decommissioning of their offshore oil platforms. They suggested a few ideas – for example, instead of taking the structure down you could put solar panels on it, or wind farms.

What was great about my group of four was that everybody came from a different engineering background: I study chemical engineering with business, and we had an electrical, a mechanical and a mechatronics student.

Everybody had something interesting or  creative to offer.

We spent a lot of time brainstorming a creative idea, because we really wanted to stand out from the other teams.

We ended up settling on an idea that was quite unusual, which was to use these platforms as hubs for aqua-culture for sustainable fishing.  Huge diverse ecosystems start living around these platforms, so we thought: keep the rigs there as miniature reefs but also use cages for farming in the area.

We put in a lot of work and research to prove that it was feasible. Our solution was environmentally friendly and means you don’t have to disassemble the platforms.

We looked at whether it was both technically possible but also economically feasible, and which companies would potentially purchase this idea off ExxonMobil. There’s a lot of thought that goes into the case study – you have to consider everything.

Our team rehearsed considerably, so our presentation was quite polished. But I remember I couldn’t help but feel a little bit anxious at the time, because it was such a unique experience.

What I enjoyed the most about the final was actually being a member of the audience and hearing the other teams speak.

This university is full of really bright and creative people. Some of the ideas were so brilliant and so outside of the box – it really encourages a different style of thinking. You go home and wonder: how does someone come up with an idea like that?

After the competition, I applied for the internship at ExxonMobil and got through to their summer program.

I spent 12 weeks working for them, based in their Docklands office but also had the opportunity to travel. For the first time in my life I saw Western Australia and Tasmania and got to spend time offshore.

Then maybe a month after the internship finished, I got a call offering me a position with the company next year after I graduated.

The Case Competition has been a life-changing experience for me.

Even if you didn’t enter the competition, attending the final is a good opportunity to learn about something real in the industry and it might even encourage you to try the competition yourself in the following year.

As told to Bess Keaney