New MBA program to serve Montgomery County energy industry

A robust energy industry in Montgomery County has prompted the University of Houston to develop an executive MBA program that will open in The Woodlands in January.

The program will cater to energy employees who live and work in the area and want to upgrade their skills without the hassle of traveling to a higher education institution in Houston or out of state.

 The university expects to open the program at Lone Star College’s University Center, a site where universities provide upper-level courses for students to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

“We want to bring industry to the classroom,” said Latha Ramchand, dean of the C.T. Bauer College of Business. “We’re trying to be a bridge if there is a demand for energy-based instruction.”

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The 18-month program will offer night and weekend courses, a mix of classroom and online instruction.

The curriculum is being developed in partnership with the university’s Global Energy Management Institute.

A recent analysis conducted by the university and the South Montgomery County Economic Partnership identified demand for the program, said the partnership’s president, Gil Staley.

Several oil and gas exploration companies have headquarters operations in Montgomery County, including Anadarko, Newfield Exploration and Talisman Energy. Energy is the county’s leading industry, Staley said.

“That is the key reason why we’re excited to see (the executive MBA program) come into play,” he said.

The new Exxon-Mobil campus now under construction at the Harris County/Montgomery County line will likely boost demand for continuing education programs when it opens in 2015.

The UH program will help the partnership recruit new businesses to the area while helping existing companies grow and retain employees, Staley said.

Having access to a nearby executive MBA program is good for business, said Jay Hawkins, director of human resources for Anadarko Petroleum.

The programs often require employees to spend time away from the office. The proximity of the UH program will make it easier for employees to work and pursue their degree.

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The company sponsors five to seven employees to enroll in an executive program of their choice, Hawkins said.

Anadarko recruits many UH graduates, so the new program would be a natural fit, he said.

Lone Star College System officials said they were excited to work with the business school.

“This partnership provides (Lone Star College) students a competitive advantage along with a new perspective on today’s global business world,” said spokesman Jed Young.


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