My Proud Moment as a Mentor

By Ganteng Boy

I am proud to be a mentor to a close friend of mine, Danh Tran. He recently received an offer letter for a full time sales representative role at one of the world’s largest oilfield service company. I once interned and worked full-time at the same company.

This was a token of all the fun memories that I had there.

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The one and a half month all expenses paid “sales” training in Dubai rocked – literally.

CONGRATULATIONS DANH! BIG BLUE IS LUCKY TO HAVE YOU.

Danh ‘The Man’ Tran and I had several things in common – we both studied Geology, were both part of the Program for Excellence in Selling at the University of Houston and we both enjoyed working out. However, Danh is a bit a more hardcore than I am. Geophysics was Danh’s major concentration; I only minored in general Geosciences. Also, Danh dead lifts like no other, in fact there was a point in college where he competed in a few dead lifting competitions; I merely lift weights to maintain my physique and mostly run. Side by side, it would look like Danh ate my lunch.

And though I know Danh well, I thought that the following questions might give you a better idea about Danh:

What made you want to study Geophysics?

Danh: Initially, I was looking for a major where I could transfer most of my credits that I accumulated during my mechanical engineering studies. Switching to geophysics made the most sense – 95% of my credits transferred. At the time, oil was still trading at over $100 per barrel, and so I wanted to seek an industry where jobs were abundant and the earning potential was high. I wanted to make a lot of money.

Tell me a funny story that happened during a geophysics class.

Danh: There was that one time where we traveled to Big Bend National Park during Spring Break, in one of our field mapping courses. You look like the type that likes to shower, so this trip might not be for you. Just kidding. But seriously, we would camp out in tents for a week without a shower. Anyways, we bonded with other classmates and got to know the TA’s and the professors quiet well. I can’t believe it, but one of the professors got so drunk that he literally deep throated an unopened bottle of Jameson while trying to drink it. To this day, the students on the trip still mess with him and would gladly tell the Big Bend story.

What piqued your interest about the sales program at UH?

Danh: Honestly, sales, as a career choice, was something that I always loved but I didn’t realize that it could be a respected. That changed when I came across some successful salespeople. I always wanted to make a lot of money, and I loved the customer relationship element. So I connected with a few sharp folks, and one thing led to another. It seemed like a program that would allow me to build connections to jobs that I could potentially make the most money.

What was your biggest takeaway from the sales program?

Danh: three things…

  1. People buy from people that they know, like and trust
  2. Always be resilient
  3. You are going to have to go through a bunch of bullsh*t sometimes for a sale

a-bunch-of-bullshit

How many students applied for the Schlumberger internship? How many got selected?

Danh: About 20 students applied to the internship program, and that was a mix of engineering, business, geology, etc. Only 8 got an offer letter. Out of 8, only 7 took the offer.

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What did you like the most about the Schlumberger internship?

Danh: My most favorite part about the internship would have to be meeting people that were very open to making sure that you succeeded and gaining new mentors to help you along the road.

What was the most valuable piece of advice that you received from your mentors?

Danh: Never give up when times are rough and to always have a plan A, B, C, D …. Z.

What advice would you give to STEM majors who have a possible interest in sales?

Danh: The problem-solving skills that you developed in your major will help you go far in sales. People buy based on emotions, and then they justify with facts. Be ready to appeal to people’s emotions. Find yourself a mentor that knows sales like the back of their hand. They will help you develop the soft skills that are crucial in sales.

 

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