Dave McLellan, recently Senior Economist and Business Strategist at Packers Plus Energy Services Inc. harbored a similar sentiment several years ago. Sitting in his Calgary office, McLellan wondered how he could advance his career in the energy industry by simultaneously expanding his academic credentials and a professional network outside of Alberta. While working as Manager of Intellectual Property at the time for Petrobank Energy & Resources, Dave’s pursuit of an energy focused master’s program led him to discover the University of Tulsa’s Master of Energy Business (MEB) program.
“I was searching for a graduate level program that focused on energy,” says McLellan, “and Tulsa had brand value, credibility and a delivery mechanism [online] that allowed me to remain in the workforce and still travel which was frequent part of my role.” McLellan also was pleased to find that the program was reasonably priced. “I am fond of saying ‘Tulsa’s MEB program is the best value for dollar in graduate level education for an energy professional,” says McLellan.
The program itself gave McLellan plenty of professional exposure to the United States. “From the professors and instructors to industry participants who advise and support the program through to my many classmates, I was able to establish a rapport and build a reputation in the US market,” notes McLellan. “When I entered the program I thought I would remain in Calgary and the exposure and knowledge of the US markets would make me more marketable to companies that had affiliates south of the border. The intent was that I would stand out as having a breadth of knowledge on the North American market. The MEB delivered and more.”
As Petrobank wound down prior to a sale McLellan approached the CEO of Calgary based Packers Plus. The connections he had made through the MEB program played a significant role in the decision to send him to their US Corporate office in Houston. “It was a major move to sell our home and uproot the family down to Texas after 16 years in Calgary, but I knew I had a solid network from which I could expand and build strong relationships,” says McLellan.
The McLellan family has now lived in the Houston area for two and half years, and the family couldn’t be happier with how things worked out. “I have been able to expand my network by a magnitude. Houston, like Calgary, is a city where everyone seems to be from somewhere else so they are open to outsiders,” McLellan says with a laugh.
For Dr. Tim Coburn, Program Director for the Master of Energy Business, Dave McLellan’s story is exactly the kind of story that exemplifies the value that the degree provides students. “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.”
In recognizing how the Canadian dollar has recently weakened to its American counterpart, the University of Tulsa has also recently made available to prospective Canadian students the ability to pay tuition for the MEB program as if the currencies were on par. “We are now able to offer Canadian residents a reduction in tuition equal to the US-Canadian dollar par value, which makes the program even more competitive and attractive in Canada,” says Dr. Coburn. Doing so illustrates just one more example of the University of Tulsa’s nimbleness and ability to respond to market forces outside of the post-secondary school’s control.
For McLellan there are three main things that matter about the MEB program. “What you learn, who you meet – there are some high caliber people in the program and working for or with the University of Tulsa – and the perception industry has of the program,” says McLellan. “I would recommend the MEB to someone seeking graduate level education in the energy field, and one who wants US contacts and exposure.”
Those interested are encouraged to check out the program and talk to Dr. Coburn, or reach out to past students such as Dave McLellan.