Montana Tech hosts Petroleum Engineering Symposium


Montana Tech hosts Petroleum Engineering Symposium

BUTTE, Mont. - Organizers point to a packed symposium at Montana Tech as proof the school's oil engineering program is one of the best in the country.

This is Montana Tech's 19th year hosting the event. More than 200 people are attending. The conference features speakers, gatherings with students, alumni and recruiters.

A recruiter for BP, Les Kincaid, said it's easy to find talented prospects at Montana Tech.

"We've been very successful with our recruitment at Montana Tech," said Kincaid. "Over the last several years we've literally gotten more and more students going all over the globe."

Montana Tech was ranked No. 1 by Affordable Colleges Online, for Best Lifetime Return on Investment.

Tech student Mac Alexander studies petroleum engineering and recently lined up a summer internship in engineering in Wyoming. He says he wouldn't have gotten it without the help of school symposiums and the petroleum department.

"All the professors, they've all had field experience, they've all done their time there and then come back and they know what industry wants," said Alexander.

Students like him are having a similar experience. According to Tech, they've had a 93 percent placement rate for the past 10 years. That number was most recently calculated at 97 percent for the petroleum department.

"Everybody graduates with a job, and if they don't it's such a rare occurrence," said Alexander.

One reason Alexander says this happens is the connections the school works to make between students and the companies they hope to work for.

He said he had the chance to have dinner with Montana Tech's Petroleum Industry Advisory Board, which is made up of engineers from energy service, oil and gas businesses. It oversees Tech's petroleum department curriculum.

"We get to sit in and actually hear what they're doing and what the plans are for the petroleum department here at Tech and what Tech's doing," said Alexander.

Jeff Pitura is on the board and tells us 100 companies attended last year's career fair looking to recruit Tech students.

"That's a very large number of companies seeking these graduates and they also seek students for internships," said Pitura.

Head of the Petroleum Department Burt Todd said companies are offering jobs all over the world. The reason they come to Tech comes down to students getting the right education and hands-on experience.

"We've got greatly expanded laboratory capabilities over there. We can do research, we can do classroom lab activities, and we have room to do it safely," said Todd.

It's an education that Alexander said isn't just about finding a job, but making an impact in the community.

"We actually care about his meeting about the Montana Tech name," said Alexander. "And making sure it looks good in the community as well as in the industry."

This year, around 70 students will graduate from the petroleum engineering department. According to Montana Tech, the average starting salary for a petroleum engineer is right around $82,000.

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