Energy Markets and Applied Business Economics Courses Offer Enhanced Industry Opportunities
By: Trevor Bell
While land negotiations and analysis remain key components in the Energy Commerce Program, there is now an increasing opportunity for students to gain an understanding of the midstream and downstream areas of the oil and gas industry. In Energy Markets (ENCO 3365) taught by Nikki Kantelis, students obtain a deeper understanding of how other segments of the energy industry impact the overall industry - and in Applied Business Economics (BECO 4310), students learn how economics plays a vital role in good management decision making.
In the Energy Markets course, students are provided with real-world insights and case studies of current industry trends. This includes an overview of how midstream and downstream sectors work, how supply and demand fundamentals influence crude oil and refined product prices, the various types of risk faced by industry players, and what tools are available to manage those risks. Students also gain insight into trading and risk management activities through a 10-week commodity trading simulation project. After taking this course, Kantelis believes students will not only be well-versed on the issues facing midstream and downstream players and have an understanding of the underlying fundamentals affecting oil markets, but will also have a well-rounded background.
"Traditionally, a degree in energy commerce was built around a career in land, but with Energy Markets, students see another facet of the business. Another class, Energy Analytics and Strategies, will be offered beginning in fall 2016 that will build on the foundations of Energy Markets to help students develop more analytical skills for many different roles in areas beyond land, including new business development, commercial analysts, risk management analysis and the like. After taking these courses, students will still be qualified to have jobs as landmen, but they will also have an important foundation of midstream and downstream knowledge," she said. "What we are essentially doing is giving students more options, and, we hope, helping them become more marketable after graduation."
Kantelis, who joined the Rawls College in spring 2014, has over a decade of experience in the oil industry, both in the U.S. and overseas, working with British Petroleum. She uses this experience in the Energy Commerce Program, as well as in the Applied Business Economics course, to help students understand how businesses use economic analysis to make business decisions while effectively managing prices, costs and risks.
"With my background in both economics and the energy industry, I can give students a full breakdown of how economics are used to make sound business decisions. Because of the increased knowledge and skills acquired through these courses, industry professionals have positively remarked how the curriculum is creating the next generation of industry leaders.
"You look at our program, especially with this addition of Energy Markets and Energy Analytics and Strategies (fall 2016), we are doing things that other programs aren't doing, and the industry is noticing," Kantelis said. "Of the industry contacts we've been in contact with, they are impressed with the preparation our students are gaining and how we are tailoring our education to meet the industry's needs."
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