Penn State Smeal MBA student drills into oil and gas industry as summer intern

Penn State Smeal MBA Program student Donald Roenigk is using his summer internship experience to shift gears from logistics officer in the United States Marine Corps to business professional in the oil and gas industry. He has spent the last two months conducting bidding analyses related to the drilling of exploratory wells on the Projects, Drilling, and Exploration team at ExxonMobil in Houston, Texas.

Roenigk, who earned an undergraduate degree in Russian studies from Washington and Jefferson College before becoming an officer in the Marine Corps, says that this internship with ExxonMobil allows him to combine the things he’s learning as a master of business administration (MBA) student with his background in international language and experience in overseas logistics.

“My service in the Marine Corps provided me with a lot of valuable experience, but what I didn’t have was a frame of reference for industry expectations. Through working with MBA Career Services, I was able to learn more about the career search process as well as jobs available in the oil and gas field."

-- Don Roenigk, Penn State Smeal MBA student

Roenigk connected with his internship through the Smeal Supply Chain Career Fair last fall. Prior to receiving his offer, he utilized college resources to help him understand the expectations in his target industry of oil and gas.

“My service in the Marine Corps provided me with a lot of valuable experience, but what I didn’t have was a frame of reference for industry expectations,” said Roenigk. “Through working with MBA Career Services, I was able to learn more about the career search process as well as jobs available in the oil and gas field. In addition, they were able to connect me with Smeal alumni who were able to provide insight and advice.”

Roenigk says that, over the course of the summer, he’s been able to apply many of the things he learned in the first year of the MBA program -- but one class that really stands out is the supply chain management course he took with Robert Novack, associate professor of business logistics.

“Dr. Novack was able to teach us how to analyze data to turn numbers on a computer screen into real answers,” he said.

This kind of critical thinking has served him well through his internship, he says, where his supervisor expects analysis, not just number-crunching.

He compares it to an experience he had in Officer Candidate School for the Marine Corps: “There was a challenge in which we were tasked with getting a 55-gallon drum over an 8-foot wall. You’re probably not going to be able to do it; they’re looking at how you approach and analyze the problem.”

About the Penn State Smeal MBA Program
The internationally ranked residential Penn State Smeal MBA Program positions students from around the world for their future careers. The two-year program, based on the University Park campus, begins with a focus on business fundamentals. Through summer internships with top companies and concentration opportunities in areas such as finance, marketing, and supply chain management, students then personalize their Smeal MBA experiences to align with their career aspirations. Learn more at www.smeal.psu.edu/mba.

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Last Updated August 19, 2014