ENERGY S HAPE S CURRICULUM
PERTH’S Curtin University is keen to leverage Western Australia’s links with the oil and gas and mining industries to provide its MBA students with a focused graduate business degree.
“Our MBA oil and gas is becoming very popular,” says Professor Mile Terziovski, the new dean of the Curtin Graduate School of Business. “The oil and gas industries in WA are ramping up,” says Terziovski, a former senior executive with Rio Tinto, who took over as dean earlier this year. “We have people who have come out of the mining industry who want to do an MBA to prepare themselves for the next wave, which is the oil and gas expansion.”
The university also offers a combined MBA and Master of Science (Mineral and Energy Economics). With the business school based in the Perth CBD, most of the MBA students are middle-level executives from companies such as Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Woodside and Shell with an average age between 36 and 38.
Former Woodside executive, Peter Moore, is chairman of the board of advisers of the school which aims to provide a direct link between the school and senior levels of business and government in WA.
Moore, who has more than 30 years’ experience with big companies including Woodside Petroleum and ExxonMobil, is a professor at the school and its executive director of strategic engagement. The advisory board includes Kevin Gallagher, CEO of engineering and construction company Clough, which provides services to the resources sector, and Reg Howard-Smith, CEO of the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy.
Terziovski says the 12-unit Curtin MBA, which costs around $45,000, is usually done over two or three years by students working full time.
The school’s expertise in the oil and gas sector is accentuated by its links with Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland, the centre of the UK’s oil and gas industry.
“Our students can do their courses online and their students can do our courses online,” says Terziovksi who has just joined Curtin after four years as head of the International Graduate School of Business at the University of South Australia.
He says the school is keen to ramp up the role of its MBA specialising in the oil and gas industry.“We have about 60 students doing the course at the moment,” he says.“But, over the next 12 to 18 months I would like to double the number of students. There are a number of capital intensive programs underway in the industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Those projects will require qualified people – not just MBAs. But our MBA will be popular for middle to upper management who will be involved with those projects.”
Terziovski says most of the subjects in the Curtin MBA can be done online except for the final “capstone” two-unit course which requires attendance at the university. However he is considering whether that can also be offered online as a way of attracting students based offshore.
The school also offers an MBA specialising in strategic procurement, another area of interest to executives working in the oil and gas and resources industry.