Summary of Houston Trek
Thursday night, November 12th, the Wharton MBA students descended on Houston. Everyone arrived in one piece, although one student had to take a rather circuitous route thanks to a canceled flight. Early Friday morning we met in the hotel lobby reviewed our agenda and quickly fortified ourselves on coffee and breakfast.
Armed with one satellite navigation system and one Houston local we set out for our day of meetings. The companies we met with represented many of the diverse aspects of the energy industry. They included: Shell, Cameron, Conoco Phillips and National Oilwell Varco.
We met with the trading group at Shell who explained that aspect of the energy business to us. They also gave us a tour of their trading floors which were certainly different then the trading floors our team had seen at investment banks and hedge funds. From there we were given a plant tour at Cameron where we learned first hand how rig equipment is made. It was truly impressive and our group enjoyed the ‘hands-on’ experience. Next stop, and unfortunately at this point slightly behind schedule (why does Houston have to be so big?), was Conoco. There we met with folks who cover the macro side of the business, downstream and upstream production. They gave us an enlightening presentation that impressed our team and also did a bit of show and tell with some very interesting rock specimens representing the different rock types as well as showed us a collection of different oil grades in their natural form. Finally, we visited NOV where we learned about the equipment business. NOV gave us a wonderful presentation filled with excellent video demonstrations of their various products. It was an eye-opener for many of us.
Meeting completed we moved on to the Wharton Houston Club happy hour near the Galleria. There we met with Club members who graciously organized the event in our honor. Following that, we went on to eat dinner at a good ol’ Texas BBQ joint. This was also an educational opportunity since we had two students who had never been to Texas before! In fact, one of them had never been to the U.S. before coming to Wharton! It was this student who confided in me after the trip that of all the places he’d seen in the U.S. (Philadelphia, New York and Boston) Houston was by far the best. Kudos Houstonites!
It was fantastic trip; we enjoyed all of our visits and left much better informed then we arrived. For this, we would like to thank the Wharton Houston Club for all of their help and support. Without them we would not have had such as successful and interesting (not to mention enjoyable) trip to Houston.