Houston trip offers up-close look at energy sector

From the Spring 2012 edition of Vanderbilt Business

energy-300This past November, a group of 18 students in the Owen Energy Club took a first-of-its-kind trip to Houston to learn more about the energy sector and to network with potential employers. The Energy Trek, as it was called, was planned by Tracey Gilliland, an MBA candidate for 2013, in conjunction with Peter Veruki, Director of Corporate Relations, and Sylvia Boyd, Assistant Director of Employer Relations.

“Energy is a huge sector. In some ways it’s even bigger and more complex than the health care industry as far as job opportunities,” says the Houston-based Veruki, who hosted a wine-tasting mixer at his home for the students and local alumni. “Energy’s not just about finance or operations or engineering. It’s also about marketing and HR and many other areas. And all of those opportunities are spread around the globe.”

The first stop on the Energy Trek was Macquarie Group, an international financial services company where Vikas Dwivedi, MBA’00, Global Oil and Gas Economist, and Charles Fenner, MBA’01, Senior Vice President of Power and Gas Fundamentals, gave a presentation. The student group next visited Baker Hughes, a leading oil field services company, whose President and CEO is Martin Craighead, IEMBA’98. Then it was on to global financial services firm JPMorgan Chase, where Robert Traband, MBA’93, Managing Director of Credit Risk Management, spoke.

The following morning, the group toured the world’s largest publicly traded oil and gas company, Exxon Mobil, which included a visit to its 3-D visualization room used for training employees in drilling operations. The group then toured the trading floor of Chevron, another of the world’s leading oil and gas companies. The final stop was international financial services firm Credit Suisse, where Managing Director Tim Perry, MBA’81, gave a presentation.

Houston-native Gilliland, who previously worked for Macquarie before enrolling at Owen, anticipates that the Energy Club will continue to grow and broaden its appeal. She sees potential in networking with more utility and energy companies in the Southeast, as well as renewable energy businesses.

“Our goal is to bring more value to club members and expand our offerings, whether it’s new networking opportunities, guest speakers or internships,” she says. “That means we have to get the word out to alumni that there’s an interest in energy at the school. We want them to know that we’re building something here and that they can play a hand in it.”

To find out how you can help the Owen Energy Club, please email owenenergy@owen.vanderbilt.edu.