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Undergraduate Students Have New Opportunity to Explore Energy Careers at The University of Texas at Austin

An increased interest in energy careers has sparked the development of a specialized undergraduate energy path for students at The University of Texas at Austin.

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An increased interest in energy careers has sparked the development of a specialized undergraduate energy path for students at The University of Texas at Austin.

The undergraduate Energy Management Program (EMP), established by the McCombs School of Business, offers students from all majors the opportunity to supplement their primary degrees with 18 credit hours of energy-specific studies, preparing students for careers in land management, business development, accounting, finance, supply chain management, midstream asset management, entrepreneurship and property administration.

“Careers in the energy industry are vital to the future of the state, nation and world. This program will prepare our students for those careers,” said Bill Powers, president of The University of Texas at Austin. “We have an unmatched ability at this university to bring together students and faculty from many disciplines from business and law to geology, petroleum operations and renewable technologies to address a need that is truly world changing.”

Co-curricular activities, such as guest speakers and site visits, complement the coursework and provide technical expertise and hands-on knowledge required for a career in the energy business. The majority of the courses are delivered in a unique nine-week summer program, supplemented with field trips and industry engagement. Students are also encouraged to join a campus-wide energy interest group to maintain contact with the energy sector as they matriculate through UT.

Dean Thomas W. Gilligan of the McCombs Business School said that the EMP is part of a strategic push to offer energy-specific business curriculum for UT Austin students. Demand for the program is expected to increase significantly in the coming years, with additional curricular development expected.

Several industry alumni comprise an advisory committee that has governed development of the program and continues to provide advice on curriculum and other matters: Bill Phillips, chairman (Hunt Oil Company), David Amend (Houston Energy), Harold Carter (HDC Energy Company), Jim Devlin (Suemaur Exploration and Production), Dan Dinges (Cabot Oil and Gas), Bobby Floyd (CrownQuest Operating), Erik Hanson (Abaco Operating), David Kalish (Statoil), Larry Svab (BHP Billiton), Greg Wilson (Western Land Services) and Brooks Yates (Ventex Oil and Gas). Corporate partners include BHP Billiton and ConocoPhillips.

“The energy industry is looking for the next generation of leadership, and this is a significant resource for all of us, as students gain a well-rounded education on managing energy resources that they will take into their chosen career fields,” said Phillips.

John C. Butler, director of the EMP, explained the link with the EMP to other programs around campus when he said, “This program will build on UT’s energy competence by exposing a wide array of nontechnical students interested in studying energy to the expertise of the Cockrell School of Engineering, the Jackson School of Geosciences, and the Business Government and Society Department in the McCombs School of Business. We’re proud to add to the strong energy culture around campus.”

The McCombs School of Business seeks to raise a $4 million endowment plus grants to help fund the new program and ensure its long-term sustainability. Earnings from the endowment and grant resources will be used to hire faculty members, promote the program to industry, provide experiential learning activities for the participants, and attract, retain and place top students.