Whitesides Jake

Fueling Careers in Oil and Gas: TCU MBA for Energy Professionals

The MBA for Energy Professionals provides in-depth knowledge strategies for managing the risks and opportunities in a dynamic and growing field. 

February 23,  2015

By Elaine Cole

Jake Whitesides moved from San Francisco to take TCU’s 48-credit-hour MBA for Energy Professionals program, so he could pursue a career in the oil and gas industry in Texas.

While most of his classmates already have careers in oil and gas, Jake began his career as a draft pick for the Houston Astros, and then moved to Expensify in San Francisco to use his undergraduate degree in international affairs to advise oil and gas companies. In his new remote position with Expensify, as he pursues his Energy MBA at TCU, Jake trains and manages the company’s new hires.

Jake said he is impressed with the caliber of professors and guest speakers who share their knowledge and experience in oil and gas.

“They give us outstanding business perspectives on how to run both small independent and large multinational oil and gas companies, the day-to-day operations, how to keep the board happy, and the types of lessons they have gained from experience. It is impressive to be in a program that makes that kind of learning part of the curriculum.”

Tom Bates, chairman of the board for Hercules Offshore Inc., helped design the TCU Energy MBA program with Steffen Palko, co-founder of XTO Energy, and others. Bates said he is pleased with the quantity and quality of students the program has attracted.

“The hallmark of a great program that speaks to the community is when you attract a lot of interest and a lot of high-quality students in the energy industry who want to further their career,” Bates said.

The program draws heavily on the input and direction of the Energy MBA Advisory board, co-chaired by Bates and Palko.

“These six high-level execs ensure that we are teaching what energy employers want to see in students who graduate with this advanced degree,” Ann Bluntzer, director of the Neeley School’s specialized graduate programs, said. “They influence the program directly.”

Utilizing their worldwide networks in the energy industry, the advisory board helped Bluntzer coordinate visits to France, Belgium and Scotland for the program’s global experience this spring, including visits to the International Energy Agency in Paris and the world’s first carbon capture and storage project in Scotland. The advisory board also suggested new courses that have been added to the program, including Reservoir Engineering Management, GIS Mapping and Energy in the 21st Century.

“We are dedicated to creating curricula that are relevant and vital to the DFW business community,” Bill Cron, senior associate dean for graduate programs, said. “While the tried-and-true full-time and part-time TCU MBA programs continue to command interest and respect based on rankings, starting salaries and career results, specialized programs such as the MBA for Energy Professionals provide an exceptional opportunity for people who are laser-focused on a specific career path to obtain a deeper and broader understanding of their particular area or industry.”

Applications are being accepted for the next class, beginning summer 2015. For more information, visit www.neeley.tcu.edu/energymba.