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Energy Institute: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Energy Institute: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

The University of Oklahoma has been a leader in energy education for more than a century, granting the world’s first petroleum geology degree in 1904. The University went on to establish the world’s first school of petroleum engineering that celebrates its centennial this year, as well as the world’s first school of petroleum landmen, which celebrated its 60th anniversary last year as the Robert M. Zinke Energy Management Program within Price College. Today, OU is an international destination for current and future energy leaders who are equipped to overcome every industry cycle in partnership with the Price College of Business Energy Institute.

The Energy Institute at Price College was established in 2010 as a community of practitioners and academics who advance innovative and sustainable solutions to the critical energy challenges facing our nation and, more broadly, the global community. Since its inception, the Institute carries out its mission of advancing education, research and outreach under the leadership of Professor Dipankar Ghosh, who serves as the Institute’s executive director and holds the David Ross Boyd Professorship and David C. Steed Chair in Accounting.


“The Energy Institute was formed to bring together great thinkers from the energy sector as well as from academia who provide insights and judgments on topics which are consequential to our economic growth and prosperity,” Ghosh said.


Education is at the forefront of the Energy Institute’s operations. The Institute is home to Price College’s energy programs at every level, from undergraduate and graduate degree programs, to executive development and certificate programs tailor-made for energy corporations and organizations.

An undergraduate Price student majoring in energy management benefits from multidisciplinary courses from the University’s Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences and the College of Law. A professional MBA student has the option to specialize in energy through eight elective courses, and a full-time MBA student has the unique privilege to study at the Institute of French Petroleum (IFP) in Paris, France, and earn a Master’s of Petroleum Economics from IFP through a collaborative exchange program.


The premier program offered through the Energy Institute is the Executive MBA in Energy. Although it only launched in 2014, the 15-month, primarily-online OU EMBA in Energy is already ranked 23rd in the world among all EMBA programs by CEO Magazine (PDF 686KB), and is the only energy program to appear in Ivy Exec’s international list of Best EMBA Programs in 2019. The accolades are no surprise, given the academic rigor and the high quality of students who graduate from the program. All courses and assignments relate directly to key issues in the energy industry and are taught by world-renowned energy scholars and corporate leaders who have served extensively in the C-suite. The average student age is 36 with an average work experience of 15 years. More than 70% of each cohort’s students live outside Oklahoma, and others earn their Price EMBA from distant locations like Abu Dhabi, Brazil, Kazakhstan, the Philippines and Singapore. Only students who have significant energy-related experience are admitted into the program, with the expectation to both contribute to and learn from their class’s strong representation from every corner of the industry.

Cathy Lebsack graduated with an EMBA in Energy degree in 2017 and serves as vice president of Land & Regulatory at Devon Energy. “My cohort was full of very intelligent, confident and empowering people,” she said. “This cohort and the program challenged me to think more broadly and dig into the program, which ultimately increased my confidence at work.”


In addition to its degree programs, the Energy Institute offers week-long certificate programs for companies, organizations and individuals. The five-day Energy Executive Management Program caters to professionals with a technical background in energy who are looking to advance their careers by acquiring energy-specific business acumen. The Institute also hosts bespoke programs for corporations based on the organization’s needs. For example, the South Korean company SK E&S, which began in 1999 as a holding company for its city gas business, has quickly expanded overseas to include liquid natural gas (LNG), electricity and new and renewable energy sources. To keep up with the ever-changing industry of LNG, the company sought the resources and expertise of Price’s Energy Institute to develop a 10-day program on the business of natural gas in North America that brought 25 of the company’s employees and their global partners to Oklahoma City and Norman to learn directly from the Institute’s faculty and adjuncts.


The rich educational offerings are made possible through the second pillar of the Energy Institute: research. The Institute’s research is led by Finance Professor Scott Linn, who holds the John and Donnie Brock Chair. Since 2010, the Energy Institute has published 27 energy-related research papers and secured six major grants from the U.S. Department of Energy. In September 2019, the Energy Institute and the Division of Finance will host Price College’s bi-annual Energy and Commodities Finance Research Conference, in partnership with the Review of Financial Studies (one of the top three journals in the field). The bi-annual research conference brings together hundreds of global leaders, and this year’s keynote will be delivered by Dr. Robert Engle, who won the 2003 Nobel Prize in Economics.


The third pillar of the Energy Institute is outreach, which allows the people, educational programs and research efforts of the Institute to physically coalesce and advance the energy industry. There’s no better example of the Institute’s outreach efforts than the annual Energy Symposium. Since 2013, the symposium has brought nearly 70 global thought leaders to the Oklahoma stage to address strategically procured topics that lend to forward-thinking discussions and ideas on the current issues facing the energy industry today, and ways to strengthen the market and provide greater opportunities for the future. As a university-hosted event, the symposium provides an unbiased platform for professionals and scholars alike to carry out honest and meaningful dialogue about these pressing energy issues.


Ghosh said the 2019 symposium, held April 25, focused on energy disruptions.

“This year’s symposium is both timely and visionary given the significant energy disruptions we are experiencing,” said Ghosh. “There is a convergence of forces influencing the industry, such as different forms of energy, rapid technological advancements and changing consumer preferences to reduce environmental impact. Global energy demand will keep on increasing, and as energy companies plan for their future, understanding the confluence of these forces will facilitate their strategies to ensure long-term economic growth.”

Contact the Energy Institute office to learn more about how our resources can assist your professional development in the energy industry.

Energy Institute

OU Price College of Business

1003 Asp Ave. | Price Hall 1036

Norman, OK 73019

(405) 325-4386