TCU Energy MBAs Abroad: Journal entries from our time in Europe

Europe C level
Europe Lloyds
Europe Eiffel
Europe Building
Europe LCE

TCU’s Energy MBA offers its students many special opportunities to foster their growth as business leaders in one of the most vital sectors of the global economy.

Among the most unique of these opportunities is the program’s intensive study-abroad course, MANA 70663, “Global Energy Experience: Geopolitics and the International Energy Markets.” Students travel to energy-rich regions and work alongside senior executives in the energy industry, gaining invaluable professional experience and first-hand knowledge of what it means to do business in an international setting.

In March of 2017, faculty leaders Dr. Ann Bluntzer and Dr. Ed Ireland accompanied 17 MBA candidates on a trip that took them to three major European economic centers: Paris, Brussels and London. In addition to working as a Senior Lab Technician and Quality Control Coordinator for Oncor Energy, Diana Mingboupha (Energy MBA, '18) also journals regularly about her experiences at Neeley. The following excerpts from Diana's travel diaries provide a strong sense of what made her time outside the classroom so exciting and rewarding.

Monday, March 13, 2017: Paris

We hit the ground running, meeting with representatives of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). These interactions impressed on us just how much international policy influences the energy industry back home.

Later, we enjoyed lunch in the fascinating company of William Coates, president of the Schlumberger Company’s European and African division. In addition to introducing us to Schlumberger's priorities and core values, we also offered a few C-level tips on “how to do more with less.”

The day's activities next took us to the offices of the International Energy Authority (IEA), where we were invited to a presentation about the latest trends in renewable energy.

Finally, we visited the historic American Embassy in Paris’ Place de la Concorde to discuss The Paris Agreement and collaborative efforts between French and American energy companies. What an honor to walk the same hallways as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and so many other world dignitaries!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017: Brussels

Following a quick brunch (waffles, naturally), we met with members of the European Union’s Directorate-General of Energy. We reviewed existing trade relationships and examined the prospects for broader energy partnerships that have the potential to link more nations across the globe.

The rest of the day we spent packing and preparing for our next destination: London.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017: London

A free day. We rested, rejuvenated and took in the sights.

Thursday, March 16, 2017: London

This morning got off to a fast start with a full round of meetings. First up: Wood Mackenzie, an oil, gas, coal and metals analysis and consulting company. We were incredibly inspired by their collaborative culture and strong client-service focus. They really gave new meaning to "going beyond the call of duty."

Our tour of London’s energy industry continued at Shell Oil’s trading division. After lunch, we met with ministers from the UK government’s Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Thanks to their willingness to share their expertise, we learned a great deal about British energy regulations and the progress being made with shale gas.

The last stop of the day gave us a chance to reconnect with our Texas roots. We met with Adam Hall of Fort Worth’s Alliant Insurance Services as well as several employees of Ed Broking, an energy insurance specialist with headquarters in London. Adam also joined us on a tour of Lloyds of London, where we had a chance to “talk shop” with several underwriters from companies doing business with the world-famous insurer of world-famous celebrities and priceless objects.

Friday, March 17, 2017: London

The last day of class kicked off with a visit to Ergerton Capital. Investment Analyst Michael Blank shared his outlook on electric vehicles and provided some international perspective on how companies are using renewable energy sources to generate the electricity they deliver to customers in Texas.

Finally, we enjoyed a great reception hosted by officials from multinational oil and gas giant BP (formerly, British Petroleum). The discussion we had here was as profound as it was candid. Company representatives welcomed our questions about the 2010 Deep Horizon tragedy and talked openly about how that incident necessitated major changes in BP’s culture. In addition to a forcing a reprioritization of BP’s core values, the Deep Horizon spill prompted the company to reallocate resources away from exploration and towards improvements to their current processes and procedures.

All in all, these 5 days have been an amazing experience for us. And it would not have been possible if not for our the support of our professors. Thank you to the TCU community for making this trip an unforgettable and unbelievably worthwhile experience!

Are you ready to help shape the future of the energy industry? Learn more about the innovative experiential learning opportunities available to TCU’s Energy MBAs by visiting the Neeley School of Business website.

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