Energy MBA Students Get a Glimpse of Europe's Energy Industry

Group Eiffel Tower2
Group at the Eiffel Tower
Tetra Port Tour
Tetra Port Tour
Group Dinner
At Dinner
European Commission History
European Commission History
Group Eiffel Tower
At the Eiffel Tower

Earlier in the spring semester, while MS Supply Chain Management students were probing the business landscape in Asia, students in the Energy MBA program traveled to Europe, where they visited the International Energy Agency, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, European Union Council, EU Energy Commission, port sites, Oil and Gas UK and Tetra.

On this trip, led by Dr. Tom Bates and Dr. Ann Bluntzer, students were able to experience the unique issues facing energy businesses in the European Union while exploring the culture in Paris, France; Brussels, Belgium; and Aberdeen, Scotland. The trip ended with a farewell dinner in Scotland, complete with traditional Scottish bagpipes, kilts and food.

Taylor New, solutions analyst at Bosque Systems, says the trip made him more aware of how easy it is to operate businesses in the United States. “The European Union countries are faced with a myriad of regulations and policies that businesses must comply with before operations. On top of that, the EU has a tough time implementing given efficiencies across all countries due to the drastically different agendas for each country.”

New says the insights he picked up on the trip will push him to think outside the box while searching for best practices across the board.

“Not only did I gain a much broader perspective of the industry from a global perspective, but I also gained a huge appreciation for this industry I’m so passionate about,” New says. “This trip pulled together everything we’ve learned thus far in the program and molded it into a real-world application in an environment none of us were very well-versed in.”

Harry Fuqua, MBA ’16, associate lease analyst at XTO Energy, was also among the group of students traveling to Europe. He says the highlight of the trip was the visit to the International Energy Agency. “In light of the current commodity price downturn, it was very interesting to hear how the agency’s outlook on energy demand growth has been expanded due to the relatively lower price of crude oil and natural gas.”

Fuqua says visiting the various European businesses and organizations broadened his perspective on the energy industry. “Europe is desperate to find an alternative source of energy from Russian gas. Forty percent of natural gas used in the EU comes from Russia,” he sys. “This gives Putin a large revenue stream and a prominent negotiating position. The need for alternative energy became more desperate after the annexation of Crimea and Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict.”

Additionally, Fuqua was interested in learning how Europe's energy priorities vary from other countries around the world, particularly the United States. “Europe is more concerned with decreasing demand for energy rather than increasing supply,” he says. “For example, France has banned hydraulic fracturing entirely and begun to decommission nuclear power generation while increasing investment in solar and wind energy.”

In all, the trip brought classroom instruction to life for the students. “Classroom instruction can only go so far. First-hand interaction with an assortment of government bureaucrats provided valuable insight into the reasoning behind European energy policy initiatives,” Fuqua says. 

Interested in getting an Energy MBA from TCU? Request more info about the Neeley School of Business graduate program.  

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