Traveling and exploring opportunities in the global oil industry
Kate Harrison, MBA '03: Decision Analysis Advisor, Chevron Corporation
“I work on both Exploration projects – drilling wells to look for new oil and gas reservoirs – as well as developing reservoirs that have been discovered but are not yet producing,” Harrison said.
Before moving to Houston, Harrison spent several years in Atyrau, Kazakhstan as part of Chevron's Eurasia Business Unit – an experience Harrison says was both challenging and enlightening.
“Living there was truly a cultural experience,” Harrison said. “The main thing is that it is very remote and traveling to and from Atyrau requires a lot of patience. Goods and services are somewhat limited, so you either need to bring items with you or become creative with materials available locally.”
Harrison's diverse global work has given her a broad-scale perspective of the demand and potential of oil. Though the oil business is currently under heightened scrutiny, Harrison encourages her peers to look at the industry's benefits as a whole.
“I think the energy industry is not well understood. Yes, the profit numbers are very large, but the capital investment requirements are equally as large, so I encourage everyone to look at the entire balance sheet and ROCE metrics, not just revenue and earnings. Consider the entire scale of the investment, not just the large profit numbers,” said Harrison.
In addition to living in Kazakhstan, Harrison has also taken trips to Nigeria, Indonesia, Venezuela, Singapore, Canada and Australia. Harrisons' enthusiasm for exploring different cultures extends beyond her career at Chevron. She lived in Europe for three years as a child, as well as studying abroad in college – experiences that she says began her “global wanderlust.”
“I hope that my career continues to be a combination of domestic and international assignments over the next 25-plus years,” Harrison said.
Harrison also has suggestions for others looking to visit or live in foreign cultures.
“When living outside your home country, and especially when living in a remote location, try to immerse yourself into the local culture as much as you can and you will be rewarded with a much richer experience,” Harrison said. “Keep an open mind and try not to bring too many preconceived notions about your new location and the local customs. And bring lots of patience.”
Harrison worked as a consultant and in the financial services industry before attending Johnson, where she says she received her job offer from Chevron during an on-campus recruiting event. Similar to her travels, says her Johnson education was a chance to immerse herself in an exciting new environment, and also to collaborate with “an immensely talented group of classmates.”
“The Johnson education has enabled me to be prepared for various business opportunities that I have come across. Whether it is getting into the technical details of a project, or helping decision makers understand the strategic implications of their decisions, the Johnson MBA has provided the confidence to set far-reaching goals and provided the foundation necessary to achieve them,” Harrison said.
Brendan Doyle '12 is an intern in Marketing and Communications at Johnson.