Preparing today’s graduates to contribute on day one at the job

The first year of a unique new energy program at SMU Cox School of Business recently ended.  It is designed to prepare students to face the challenges of today’s global energy industry beginning with their first day on the job.  The first year of a unique new energy program at SMU Cox School of Business recently ended. It is designed to prepare students to face the challenges of today’s global energy industry beginning with their first day on the job.

The new undergraduate energy program supplements the student’s major – accounting, finance, engineering, geology, economics, marketing – and other disciplines of interest to the industry with specific energy industry coursework. This is meant to build the student’s industry acumen “from the drill tip to the burner tip.” The concentration provides a real- world foundation across a broad range of energy related industry segments, including oil and gas, energy finance, power generation, and renewables.

The concentration consists of four courses covering the energy value chain, energy and environmental law, business planning and analysis in energy, and global markets and policy in energy. The program is intended to speed knowledge transfer from the current generation of energy executives to the next generation in light of the ongoing “great crew change.” Courses are taught by adjunct professors with significant energy background and make extensive use of outside speakers, modern case studies and examples. Classes have examined such subjects as the price and strategic rationale of the purchase of XTO by ExxonMobil, and the advantages of structuring midstream entities as master limited partnerships. The objective is to make graduates strong contributors to their company and the industry as rapidly as possible, without sacrificing the rigor of traditional coursework in accounting, finance, engineering, economics and other disciplines. The program also provides enrichment opportunities through the Maguire Institute’s student energy clubs, which offer company visits, rig tours, field trips and other learning opportunities.

The program appears to be paying off for SMU Cox students. Two students in the program have landed premier internships this summer. Megan Hendricks is a finance and economics major who will enter her senior year at Cox in the fall. This summer, Megan works in the commercial division of a major refining and marketing company based in Houston. Her division is responsible for trading, scheduling, analyzing risk and other aspects of their commercial operations. She is working within the crude products area, developing economic models and bidding templates. Upon graduation, she hopes to land a permanent job in an energy finance-related role.

Kyle Lemons will also enter his senior year at Cox in the fall as a double major in real estate finance and economics with financial applications. He is spending this summer with a major international oilfield service company in Midland, Texas, as a finance intern developing models for the company’s consolidation efforts around its operations yards and facilities. Kyle grew up in the Permian Basin and worked for his father’s oilfield service company, so he is continuing in the family tradition. Kyle was offered multiple internships in the oilfield service, midstream, and upstream segments of the industry this summer.

The first graduating class won’t complete this program until the spring of 2014. Upon graduation, it’s anticipated that approximately 100 to 120 students will have completed the program. Initial feedback from industry leaders has been favorable. This year’s courses hosted more than 20 industry speakers, including several CEOs, providing students not only a real-world look at current industry operations, but a built-in network to begin their job search upon graduation.

About Bruce Bullock

Bruce Bullock has served as director of the Maguire Energy Institute since May 2007. Since his arrival, Mr. Bullock has steered the Institute’s programs energy education, energy policy and economics, and preparing students for careers in energy.

Mr. Bullock has authored numerous articles on energy issues, technology, and economics. His work has appeared in the Society of Petroleum Engineer’s Talent and Technology, American Oil and Gas Reporter, and other industry publications. He authors the Barrels and BTU’s Blog which appears on the Houston Chronicle website. Bullock is frequently quoted in such publications as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Business Week, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle.

Mr. Bullock holds an MPA in public affairs from the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs and a BA in economics and political science from SMU.

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