Posts Tagged ‘Tulane Energy Institute’

CityBusiness: Tulane energy research calls for downstream focus

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014


From New Orleans CityBusiness, March 25, 2014:

The report, authored by Tulane Energy Institute president Eric Smith and sponsored by Chevron, posits that relying on one technology, industry or energy feedstock such as natural gas is economically risky. Therefore the creation of “downstream value added opportunities” will be the key to extending the energy and manufacturing boom beyond the immediate commodity conversion stage.

To read the article in its entirety, visit

Freeman receives $25K donation from Phillips 66

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

The A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University has received a $25,000 gift from Phillips 66. The gift will be used to enhance student programs, including courses in energy finance and trading.

Sherri B. Thomas, Phillips 66’s director of early career facilitation, presented the gift to Freeman School Dean Ira Solomon during a meeting at the school on June 10.

Sherri B. Thomas, right, director of early career facilitation at Phillips 66, presented Dean Ira Solomon with a $25,000 gift to support the Freeman School's energy programs.

Sherri B. Thomas, right, director of early career facilitation at Phillips 66, presented Dean Ira Solomon with a gift of $25,000 to support the Freeman School’s energy programs.

“Thanks to our relationship with Tulane and the Freeman School, we’ve been able to add a number of outstanding individuals to our organization over the last several years,” said Thomas. “We have 13,500 exemplary employees who share a vision for providing energy and improving lives. It’s our hope that this gift will inspire even more students to explore career options in energy.”

Phillips 66 is an energy manufacturing and logistics company with segment leading businesses in midstream, chemicals, refining and marketing and specialties. Since 2012, Phillips 66 has donated more than $55,000 to the Freeman School to support student and faculty development programs. The company has also been an active recruiter at the Freeman School and a participant in many career development programs. In April, the company hosted a special panel at the Freeman School, Tulane Women in Energy, to encourage more female students to consider careers in energy.

“Energy is one of our top strategic priorities at the Freeman School, so we’re especially grateful for this generous gift to enhance our programs,” said Dean Ira Solomon.  “It’s only through the support of exceptional partners like Phillips 66 that we can realize our goal to become one of the world’s leading business schools for the study of energy finance, management and trading.”



Business student named Department of Energy ambassador

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Alexis Vrotsos of Aspen, Colo., a graduate student in the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University, has been selected to serve as a Department of Energy Student Ambassador for the 2012-13 academic year.

Alexis Vrotsos

As an Energy Student Ambassador, Alexis Vrotsos conducts presentations and workshops at Tulane and collaborates with career services representatives and faculty members. (Photo by Ryan Rivet)

Vrotsos, who is pursuing a master of business administration and master of management in energy, serves as an on-campus resource for DOE job and internship information, providing “insider” tips on where to find and how to land DOE positions. Vrotsos is hard at work, conducting presentations and workshops at Tulane and collaborating with career services representatives and faculty members.

The Energy Student Ambassadors program is part of the Department of Energy’s efforts to expand its presence on U.S. college and university campuses and connect student job seekers with DOE job and internship opportunities. This year, seven students representing schools nationwide were selected from a competitive group of applicants.

The DOE is looking to fill jobs in a wide range of mission-critical occupations including engineers, mathematicians, statisticians, economists, accountants, physical scientists and analysts.

Despite the array of opportunities, many federal agencies have trouble attracting students because of a lack of knowledge about job opportunities and how to apply for them.

“The Energy Student Ambassadors program is a win-win for DOE and student job seekers looking to make a difference,” said Tim McManus, vice president for education and outreach at the Partnership for Public Service.

To be eligible for the program, students must complete an internship at DOE or in an energy-related field. This year’s ambassadors interned at the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, among others.

The Energy Student Ambassadors program is conducted in collaboration with the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. It is part of the Federal Student Ambassadors program within the Partnership for Public Service.

Tulane University, CME Group and Energy Management Institute Launch Simulated Energy Trading Initiative

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

This fall, energy and trading professionals will be able to immerse themselves in the latest electronic trading tools and test their skills using the most realistic trading simulations available as three of the leading names in energy markets and education—Tulane University, CME Group and Energy Management Institute (EMI)—team up for a new series of professional training courses.

This fall, Tulane will partner with CME Group, EMI, Thomson Reuters and Trading Technologies to offer a series of training courses for energy professionals in Chicago, Houston and New Orleans.

Targeted at working professionals involved in the oil and gas trading infrastructures and trading in general, these two-day courses will cover everything from industry fundamentals to the latest electronic trading tools to advanced trading strategies businesses can use to maximize value while managing their risk.

Teaching the courses will be professors from Tulane University’s acclaimed A. B. Freeman School of Business, professionals with CME Group, and energy experts from EMI.

The Freeman School is one of the nation’s premier business schools for the study of energy finance, risk management and trading. CME Group is the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace. EMI is the world’s leading provider of educational programs, market data and advisory services for energy professionals.

“Over the last decade, we’ve put together an innovative curriculum designed to help our graduates start contributing immediately at energy, banking and trading firms,” said James W. McFarland, executive director of the Tulane Energy Institute. “This new collaboration with CME Group and EMI will enable us to bring the one-of-a-kind electronic trading simulations we’ve developed at Tulane to energy professionals across the country.”

Every student will use the latest, real-world commercial trading software from Thomson Reuters and Trading Technologies International, Inc. featuring the industry’s most sophisticated and real-world trading simulation platforms. Using these platforms, students will be able to trade from more than 22 live exchange feeds, including  CME Group exchanges and NYSE.

These state-of-the-art simulators are the result of years of technology development and integration by Tulane Energy Institute faculty and industry professionals that create the flexibility to design new markets, test market liquidity challenges, and allow students to experience an unlimited series of real-world experiences that challenge the most senior trading executives.

“Our courses will give attendees a level of hands-on, active exposure to trading and trading technologies not available to them anywhere else,” commented Dominick A. Chirichella, EMI Senior Partner. “This is energy training taken to the next level, and we’re excited to be working with Tulane University and CME Group to bring this type of training experience to energy professionals.”

Initial course offerings include “Natural Gas Trading Strategies and Simulations,” “Oil Trading Strategies and Simulations” and “The North American Wholesale Electric Marketplace: Strategies and Simulations.” Interested energy professionals can find a listing of upcoming courses, request course agendas and register online at

About the Freeman School of Business
The Freeman School of Business at Tulane University is a leading, internationally recognized business school with more than 2,000 students in programs spanning four continents. The Freeman School is consistently listed among the nation’s best business schools by publications including U.S. News & World Report, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, Financial Times and AmericaEconomia.

About Energy Management Institute
New York-based EMI ( provides specialized education services to major oil companies, utilities, Fortune 500 end-users and top transportation fleets throughout the world. As a division of Advanced Energy Commerce, Inc., it also provides critical business information services and thought leadership in the energy segments of oil, alternatives, gas, and power. Additionally EMI uses its market expertise to publish a number of industry reports including: Alternative Fuels Index, The Daily Hedger, Future Rack, Biofuel Age, Dominick Chirichella’s Energy Market Analysis and Power Market Analysis.



Freeman launches new master’s program in energy

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

This summer, the A. B. Freeman School of Business will launch a unique new master’s degree program focused on the advanced skills demanded by recruiters for positions in energy finance, risk management and trading.

The Master of Management in Energy (MNRG) is an intensive one-year program focused exclusively on the business of energy. Launching in July 2011, this timely and differentiated program is targeted at new or recent college graduates who wish to extend their knowledge and skills for jobs in energy finance, sell-side and buy-side analysis, risk management, consulting, and trading.

Master of Management in Energy

The new Master of Management in Energy is an intensive one-year program designed to provide students with the skills needed for positions in energy finance, analysis, risk management, consulting, and trading.

With a unique curriculum that combines rigorous academic training with real-world applications and sophisticated simulations, the program will offer students a systematic approach to understanding energy finance while providing them with extensive hands-on experience using the industry’s most advanced professional trading tools. Graduates of the program will be qualified for positions with energy companies, specialist securities firms, banks and trading organizations.

“We started with the question, ‘What end product does the industry want?’” says James W. McFarland, Lawrence Distinguished Chair in Finance and executive director of the Tulane Energy Institute. “We asked them, they told us, and we built this program from the ground up to deliver that product.”

The MNRG program comprises 13 courses and 34 credit hours. Designed by faculty members from the Tulane Energy Institute in collaboration with industry professionals, the curriculum includes courses on energy fundamentals, finance, modeling, data analysis, economics, trading, accounting, risk management, strategy and portfolio management. Each course was created or completely redesigned for the program, and each focuses exclusively on energy. The curriculum also prepares students to take the Energy Risk Professional (ERP) examination and other certification examinations required by many firms in the industry. Classes will be taught in the Freeman School’s Trading Center, a $3 million simulated trading floor featuring commercial products and data from Thomson Reuters, Trading Technologies, Logical Information Machines, and the CME Group. Teaching the program will be tenured and tenure-track research professors, full-time clinical professors with extensive industry experience, and executive instructors from energy, accounting, banking and trading firms.

Master of Management in Energy

The program was developed with extensive input from industry professionals, many of whom serve as executive professors in the program or judges for the annual Tulane Energy Trading Competition (above).

“We’re going to put students in different risk-taking situations to give them what amounts to an on-the-job training program while they’re still in school,” says Parker Drew, former managing director of commodity sales at RBS Sempra Energy and an executive professor in the program. “When they walk in the door as a new hire, they won’t need a long training program. They’ll be able to adapt and start adding to the bottom line much more quickly than other new recruits.”

“There’s no other program like this one,” concludes McFarland. “We’ve put together an innovative curriculum, we have an outstanding group of faculty and executive professors, and we have leading-edge technology that exceeds the capacity of many commercial energy firms. This program is where employers will find the next generation of energy professionals.”

To learn more about the program, visit For questions about the curriculum or information on how to apply, contact the Freeman School’s Office of Graduate Admissions at or 800-223-5402.

Top traders converge on Tulane for Energy Trading Competition

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Student traders from Rutgers, the University of Texas at Austin, Tulane and Northwestern took the top honors at the 2010 Tulane Energy Trading Competition, but according to some participants, the biggest reward for taking part in the competition wasn’t the cash prizes or professional trading products awarded to the winners. It was the chance to rub shoulders with an all-star lineup of industry professionals.

Twenty-eight of the nation’s top student traders faced off in this year’s Tulane Energy Trading Competition, which in just two years has become one of the leading events for both students and industry recruiters.

“You got to meet the people who actually do this for a living, and they got to see how you perform in real-world situations,” says Tulane MBA student Michael Grubbs, who placed fourth in the competition. “I met everybody from natural gas traders to industry executives to a scheduler at a refinery and got good-quality one-on-one contact with dozens of industry professionals. Hopefully, in the next few weeks, I’ll start getting some phone calls and we’ll see if we can turn this into a job offer.”

In just two years, the Tulane Energy Trading Competition has grown into one of the leading annual events for both students seeking careers in trading and energy executives seeking the best young talent. This year, 174 students from 33 universities took part in the remote round of the competition—more than twice the number of last year’s participants—and more than 40 industry executives attended the live final round and served as guest judges.

Freeman School student Michael Grubbs (MBA ’11) won fourth place in this year's competition.

“The growth of the competition, both in terms of student interest and industry participation, speaks volumes about its quality,” says Joe LeBlanc, professor of practice at Tulane’s Freeman School of Business and organizer of the competition. “Students are eager to demonstrate their skills in a real-world trading environment, and industry executives are interested in seeing firsthand how potential recruits handle the pressures and manage risk.”

The final round of the competition took place on Saturday (Oct. 23) in the Freeman School’s Trading Center, a state-of-the-art simulated trading floor equipped with industry-leading software, hardware and analytical tools from the CME Group, Trading Technologies, Thomson Reuters and LIM. Over the course of one extraordinarily intense day, the top 28 students from the remote round put their skills to the test trading live natural gas futures and refinery crack spreads using a proprietary simulation that industry professionals call the most realistic energy-trading exercise available in a university setting.

Tulane’s energy trading competition is unique for its strong emphasis on risk management and responsible trading. While other competitions determine prize winners solely on the basis of profits and losses, Tulane ranks participants according to risk-adjusted PnL and puts the ultimate decision in the hands of a panel of judges, industry experts charged with critically assessing the quality of the students’ strategies and how they handle the pressure.

For the first time, the competition's judges participated in the refinery crack spread session, adding volatility to the market and testing the traders' skills.

“I wasn’t necessarily looking for the person who made the most money,” explains Berney Aucoin, a vice president with Sequent Energy Management, who served as one of this year’s judges. “I was looking for someone who made money but also managed risk accordingly and demonstrated the ability to critically think through situations they weren’t prepared for. Getting into the students’ heads and understanding their critical thinking process was really enlightening.”

“It was one of the best, most realistic simulations I’ve ever seen,” adds competition judge Mike Henson, manager of infrastructure strategy with Chevron Products Co. “It was intense and focused, and that’s exactly the way life is out on the trading desk. Seeing how the students dealt with the pressure was just incredibly dynamic.”

This year, the competition added a new wrinkle to its trading sessions with the judges taking on the position of heating oil buyers in the refinery crack spread session and actively participating in the market.

“Having the judges trade with the students added more volatility to the market, and volatility is a trader’s best friend,” says Steve Landry, senior vice president at Marathon Oil, another of this year’s judges.  “Volatility creates opportunities for the students, and we as judges were able to see how they responded to that volatility, so I think it was a great idea.”

Rodrigo Polezel, a student from Rutgers University, won first place and a prize package of nearly $100,000.

Rutgers University student Rodrigo Polezel, who won first place in this year’s event, says the competition’s use of the Tulane Energy Risk Index—which penalized students who took on excessive risk—helped to make the trading sessions more representative of the real world.

“In real life, if you lose more than 5 percent of your capital, you’re going to get fired, and that’s what this competition showed you,” Polezel says. “The index definitely made me be more aware of my risks.”

In addition to Polezel, the top three finishers also included Robert Ettinger of the University of Texas at Austin, who earned second-place honors, and Alex Santos of Rutgers, who won third place.

Each of the three top finishers received a prize package valued at nearly $100,0000, including cash prizes ranging from $500 to $1,500, a one-year license for Thomson Reuters Eikon, a one-year license for LIM’s MIMIC and XMIM software, and a one-year license for the Imagine Trading System.

For finishing fourth and fifth in the competition, Grubbs and Northwestern University student Rory Sandstrom each received a one-year license for Thomson Reuters Eikon and LIM’s MIMIC and XMIM software.

The 2010 Tulane Energy Trading Competition was underwritten by the CME Group and sponsored by Trading Technologies, Thomson Reuters, LIM, Imagine Software, Entergy, Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP), Mirant, Sequent Energy and Accenture.

Tulane Energy Trading Competition sponsors

Competition organizer Joe LeBlanc, seated, with some of the 40 energy and trading professionals who attended this year’s competition as judges or event sponsors.

For more information about the competition and the complete list of winners, visit

To see more photos from the competition, visit the Freeman School’s Flickr page.

Reuters: BP disaster will slow Gulf states’ recovery

Friday, July 16th, 2010

From Reuters, July 16, 2010

In Louisiana, the Gulf state most reliant on energy businesses, the economic costs of the federal moratorium on deepwater oil drilling, in place through November 30, will be severe and long lasting, according to Eric Smith, associate director of Tulane University’s Energy Institute.

To read the entire article, visit

Forbes: Bad Policy Fallout From BP Spill

Friday, June 25th, 2010

From, June 25, 2010:

In a commentary written for, Eric Smith, associate director of the Tulane Energy Institute, says the Obama administration’s current Gulf policy will lead to the departure of drilling companies, increasing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and dealing the U.S. Gulf Coast a dire economic blow.

To read the entire commentary, visit

NPR: Examining the effects of drilling moratorium

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

From NPR’s All Things Considered, June 21, 2010:

NPR’s Michele Norris spoke with Eric Smith, associate director of the Tulane Energy Institute, about the drilling moratorium’s potential impact on the Gulf Coast economy and what the government can do to improve safety on rigs drilling in deep water.

To listen to the entire segment, visit

Energy summit aims to spur mutidisciplinary research

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Since 2008, the Freeman School and the School of Science & Engineering have been collaborating on research into the production and utilization of next generation fuels for clean power, including butanol from sugar cane waste products, but according to Geoff Parker, more research is needed.

Geoff Parker, director of the Tulane Energy Institute, hopes the inaugural Tulane Energy Day will help promote collaboration among researchers.

“A lot of times when we apply for grants or funding, we have some pieces of the puzzle, but we might have to scramble to identify all capabilities we need,” says Parker, associate professor of economic sciences and director of the Tulane Energy Institute. “Many of the challenges are really multidisciplinary now and require coordination across units.”

Promoting coordination across units is the goal of this Friday’s Tulane Energy Day. Sponsored by the Provost’s Office and organized by Parker and Doug Meffert, deputy director of the Center for Bioenvironmental Research, the one-day summit represents the first attempt to bring together researchers interested in energy from across the university. Faculty members from chemical and biomedical engineering, economics, business, environmental studies, public health, law and other disciplines will make brief presentations about their current research.

“This is one way to prepare to take advantage of some of the multidisciplinary opportunities that have been coming up as part of the stimulus funding,” Parker says. “It’s really about knowing what Tulane’s capabilities are.”

Much of Tulane’s recent energy research has been coordinated through the Clean Power and Energy Research Consortium, a collaboration between Tulane and five other universities in Louisiana established to addresses critical scientific, engineering and economic issues associated with power and energy generation. Given the complexity of the subject, Parker says a multidisciplinary approach makes sense.

“There are economic issues, there are scientific issues, there are cultural issues,” Parker says. “In order to make progress, you really need a multidisciplinary approach to understand the problems and then help fashion improvements.”

For more information about Tulane Energy Day and to see the complete schedule, visit

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