Preparing leaders internationally for the global energy business

A Pamplin College of Business workshop is helping Indian business executives, who are also master’s students, enhance their global leadership skills.

The week-long workshop, called the Executive Energy Management Program (EEMP), features energy and business seminars.

EEMP, which resulted from an existing institutional partnership between Virginia Tech and the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), was organized specifically for the executives.

   

Wanda Smith (right) leads the group in a leadership exercise during a workshop Wanda Smith (right) leads the group in a leadership exercise during a workshop

The group of 22 executives, comprised of engineers who are also mid-level managers with 15-20 years of experience, all work at India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) — a state-owned exploration and production company. The IIFT also is sponsoring the executives as they earn a master of business administration (MBA).

A team effort

K. Rangarajan, the IIFT management professor who accompanied the engineers on their visit to Blacksburg, said his students are enrolled in a customized and exclusive MBA program designed to prepare them for assuming greater responsibilities in the international energy business. 

EEMP is an integral component of the MBA program. When they return to India, the engineers will be working in teams on course projects directly related to the seminar discussions.

Frank Smith, the director of Pamplin’s Management and Professional Development Center, and Vijay Singal, head of Pamplin’s Department of Finance, worked together to organize EEMP.

The joint effort by Smith and Singal combines the Management and Professional Development Center’s specialization in custom-designed, faculty-led training for organizations with Singal’s international connections.

Singal worked as a joint director of finance for 10 years at ONGC before pursuing an academic career. He taught at IIFT for two summers as a Virginia Tech faculty member.

A learning experience

   

Lea Hamblin (left), Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) continuing education and events coordinator, leads a group tour of VBI. Lea Hamblin (left), Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) continuing education and events coordinator, leads a group tour of VBI.

In addition to the seminars, the group attended presentations on leadership, oil and gas exploration strategies, renewable energies, and future energy scenarios by Virginia Tech faculty members from Pamplin, the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, and the departments of geosciences, engineering science and mechanics, and electrical and computer engineering.

Norris Chamberlain, an executive of Energy Systems Group in Richmond, Va., and a member of the Pamplin Advisory council, led a discussion on the use of landfills as renewable energy sources. The group also met with Pamplin Dean Richard E. Sorensen and Vice Provost for Outreach and International Affairs John Dooley.

Pamplin College of Business Associate Professor of Management Wanda Smith, an experienced workshop conductor and management consultant, led the engineers in interactive exercises that demonstrated various styles of leading, following, coaching, and communicating. Smith’s sessions were designed to enhance global leadership skills.

Additionally, the group was able to tour the Roanoke (Va.) Gas Company’s control center and liquified natural gas plant. They then traveled to the Washington, D.C. area. There, they visited Virginia Tech’s Advanced Research Institute as well as the World Bank, the American Petroleum Institute, and ExxonMobil.  

A successful mission

   

Scott Hill (left), an engineer with energy Systems Group, gives a presentation on the use of landfills as renewable energy sources. Scott Hill (left), an engineer with energy Systems Group, gives a presentation on the use of landfills as renewable energy sources.

Rangarajan said the United States is considered “an important destination” for learning about energy management, and Virginia Tech was chosen because of its strong finance program, as well as its “good track record of research, and excellent academic inputs.”

The Virginia Tech program, ONGC engineer George Varghese said, was aimed at providing the group “exposure to operational and strategic aspects of international business, specific to energy management.”

IIFT administrators are so pleased with the inaugural program that they have indicated their interest in developing similar programs for future cohorts of students.

“We are really grateful to Virginia Tech for making the program highly successful,” Rangarajan said. “In fact, this experience has motivated us to think in terms of having both short-term and medium-term programs for varied groups of participants.”

Smith and Singal are planning to visit the IIFT in fall 2007 to discuss the programs in detail with officials there.

  • For more information on this topic, contact Sookhan Ho at sookhan@vt.edu, or (540) 231-5071.

Photo gallery

    Harish Pandey (right) makes a point while his colleague, Jitesh Dixit, listens

View our EEMP photo gallery.

More programs

The Management and Professional Development Center has also organized other programs for several clients including:

  • Lockheed Martin Information Technology;
  • Goodyear Tire and Rubber;
  • Women's Business Enterprise National Council; and
  • Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation.

Learn more about its

Study business abroad

There are also international opportunities for Pamplin students at Virginia Tech.

For other study abroad opportunities at Virginia Tech, visit the Education Abroad website.

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