The oil and gas industry experienced a sharp decline in activity as a result of low commodity prices. Many people employed in the industry are worried about keeping their jobs or, if they have already been let go, what to do next. From land mangers to engineers, to rig hands to project managers; everyone continues to hope for a turnaround. There are ways however, people can be proactive and set themselves apart to have a better understanding of the entire energy industry and thus increase their value in the labor market. Dr. Tim Coburn and his associates at the University of Tulsa have established a Masters program that is setting individuals up for career success in the dynamic energy industry.
The University of Tulsa’s Masters of Energy Business (MEB) program offers typical MBA style courses such as finance and accounting but focuses each discipline on the energy industry. The MEB offers Financial Management in the Energy Enterprise, and Energy Accounting and Financial Reporting as just a few of the courses in the program. The program is designed for those looking to move into leadership oriented roles with an increased breadth of responsibility in the energy industry.
Dr. Tim Coburn, Director of the School of Energy Economics, Policy, and Commerce at the University of Tulsa gave further insight on the program. “The practical, boots on the ground program teaches students how to run their energy company more efficiently and effectively,” notes Dr. Coburn. “The program started out mainly composed of land managers, wanting a tract into upper management, but has transformed to include engineers, entrepreneurs, and an even a handful of international students.”
Dr. Coburn also notes the energy industry has changed over the past 10 years with respect to what skill sets energy companies look for when hiring. “Instead of wanting highly specialized candidates, [energy companies] want to hire people with a more diverse background, with a more blended knowledge base,” says Dr. Coburn. “Another strength of the MEB is the diversity of both students and courses offered throughout the program. The students get to network with their peers from all areas of the energy industry, from renewables, coal, electricity, upstream, midstream, and downstream.”
The most innovative aspect of the program is where the classes take place. The MEB is the first of its kind to be fully online. Taylor Hines, Division Order Manager for the QEP Resources’ Southern Region is a current MEB student. With a full time job and family of five, Ms. Hines is extremely grateful for the opportunities the online MEB program has offered her. “Finding efficiency is key. I always tried to work smarter, not harder. The MEB has given me the opportunity to get all my work done due to its online delivery when everyone in my family goes to sleep,” Ms. Hines says.
“The MEB program has a strong interdisciplinary curriculum that reflects the most recent industry recommendations about professional competencies for the future,” says Dr. Coburn. “The MEB is designed for working professionals and is delivered completely online. The goal of the program is to rapidly advance the students’ career trajectory within the energy industry, and to position individuals with backgrounds in engineering, geosciences, law and business disciplines for managerial and leadership oriented jobs.”