Monthly eNewsletter from the IADC

DuBose: IADC Student Chapters Provide Indispensable Opportunities for Connection

Article written by Mike DuBose, IADC Senior Vice President - International Development

The Great Crew Change is an often-discussed topic within the oil and gas industry. Underlying the overall topic is a theme of the industry’s long-term viability and potential loss of institutional wisdom. Misinformation and misunderstanding of our industry make employee recruitment, retention, and development even more challenging. Within this context, finding new ways to encourage and cultivate meaningful connections with individuals who express interest in and passion for the industry becomes paramount for everyone involved.

IADC’s Student Chapter program was started in 2017 when the need for a formal vehicle for engaging with the next generation of young professionals was identified. At that time, students were also expressing a desire for opportunities to engage with the drilling industry while still in university or vocational school. These opportunities provide a small view into the real-world application of their academic studies.

IADC has no doubt that these students are gaining a first-class pure academic education, but we also wanted to give them access to practical experience and exposure to our industry. We felt it was critically important to give them the opportunity to interact with IADC’s members to gain some insight. The students are yearning to better understand the inner workings of the industry and to begin to build their professional network. Philip Emden, President of IADC LSU Student Chapter, explains,

“I think it is critical for students to get a look at how the industry operates outside the classroom. There are so many things you just learn by being exposed to them, and IADC is a great tool for that. It gives students opportunities for further learning and a place to meet and network with industry professionals to help prepare them for future careers in ways that might be missed by the university outlined program.”

Whether it’s arranging a working rig tour or factory tour, attending an industry conference, or simply visiting the various schools, IADC and our members have a wealth of knowledge and experience to help motivate and inspire these young professionals. Through the Student Chapter program, IADC has been able to offer leadership experience for the students, as well as offer some guidance as they embark on their career path.

IADC’s Student Chapters provide students with the opportunity to start building their network of relationships, a resource that will be available to them far beyond their graduation date. These relationships are available in the form of mentorship and harvesting the wisdom of experts in the field, and important connections are also forming amongst the students themselves. Cameron Kinsella, President of IADC Curtin University Student Chapter, explains,

“It is important to acknowledge that the oil and gas industry does not consist only of operators; that there are, in fact, many talented individuals working across the board to make these technical projects possible. Not only do we as a club wish to raise awareness of such career pathways, but also maximize each student’s potential to join said fields by providing as many connections and tangible experiences as possible. The sense of community the club provides to student engineers, geologists and the like is fantastic. Though this club is an opportunity for students to learn and grow, it is also one to form life-long friends.”

I have been most fortunate in my career to have been on some very high-profile projects. Some of the industry leaders who helped me along the way were very generous with imparting their knowledge and coaching me along the way. I am very pleased to be able to urge these young professionals to get engaged. One of the finest compliments a mentor can receive is when an intern or new industry entrant asks, “Can you explain how ______ works?” I always try to impart to the students,

“You are in the relationship business. Whether you are in our industry or selling apples, the relationships you build along your way now will assist you for a lifetime.”