13.09.2021 | Trainee at Axpo: Annina Mehlisch

“The world of energy really fascinates me”

Annina Mehlisch studied her master’s degree in Physics at ETH Zurich and joined Axpo as a trainee in the field of quantitative analysis in April 2020. Annina knew she would enjoy working in the constantly evolving energy field, and for a well-established energy trader like Axpo. The energy transition is currently a much-discussed topic, and Axpo is the biggest provider of renewable energy in Switzerland and one of the leading power traders worldwide. That’s why Annina was happy to take a quant analyst traineeship position at Axpo following her graduation.

Annina Mehlisch

Function: Trainee Quant Analysis

Background: MSc in Physik an der ETH

Assignments: Load prediction model for the trading and sales department, AI model for prediction of short term inflow pattern for hydro power plants for the models & optimization department, project management in the strategy & transformation department 

Why did you start your traineeship at Axpo?

The variety of projects and constantly changing challenges ensure that there is never a dull moment. Furthermore, the world of energy really fascinates me and I am happy to be part of a dynamic company. I am very interested in the huge challenges facing the energy sector, which makes it an exciting time to work at Axpo and contribute to shaping a sustainable future. Axpo is very established in European energy trading, offering interesting projects in the field of artificial intelligence and forecast modelling in which I can build up and apply my knowledge.

What are the benefits of a traineeship from your perspective?

I came across the trainee position on the Axpo website and it immediately caught my interest. The advantage of a trainee programme is that I can gain insights into Axpo’s diverse business areas and build up a group-wide network within a short period of time.

Can you tell us more about the different rotations and projects during your traineeship?

During the trainee programme at Axpo, trainees rotate through three different projects in 18 months. Within that time period, I implemented a load prediction model for various European countries, an inflow prediction tool for a range of hydro power plants and supported the company-wide strategy project.

The load prediction model project was conducted in the Market Analysis division and besides gaining interesting insights into what parameters most impact the load on the grid, I also learned a lot about power markets and power price drivers, along with improving my machine learning skills. These skills were also crucial when working on my project in the Models and Optimization division dealing with inflow forecasting. Supporting the company-wide strategy project from a project management point of view gave me a very good overview of Axpo Group.

What impact will your traineeship have on Axpo?

​​I worked on an AI model to predict the short term inflow pattern for a range of hydro power plants. It was interesting to develop and test the algorithm and integrate it into the daily optimization workflow.

What is a typical day at work as a trainee at Axpo, and what are the highlights?

During my assignment in the Strategy and Transformation department, I was able to further develop my project management skills and build up my energy knowledge by working on ‘deep dives’ into different topics. Through actively supporting the strategy development, I gained a good overview of Axpo. During my first rotation in the Trading and Sales division, I developed, implemented and tested load forecasting models. Because I have been working from home for most of the last few months, regular check-ins with the team and coffee calls are part of a ‘normal’ working day.

What was something you didn’t know before you started working at Axpo?

My traineeship gave me deep insights into various aspects of the power market and taught me how diverse and complex they are. This further sparked my curiosity to deepen my knowledge in this field.

What do you apply in your daily work, that you learned at university?

The most useful tools I learned are my analytical problem solving skills and my coding skills.

What would you recommend graduates do at the start of their career?

During my time at ETH, I visited job fairs to talk to employees from different companies about their daily work, entry opportunities and company cultures. This definitely influenced and facilitated my career opportunities after graduation.

Did Annina’s experience with her traineeship at Axpo spark your curiosity? You can find more information about it here. We look forward to hopefully meeting you during the recruitment process!

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