Many online professional masters degree programs require students to fulfill some type of residency requirement, and the Master of Energy Business is no different. Since participants in online programs have little or no other on-campus contact with faculty and staff, residency programs provide an opportunity for students to engage one another and their university contacts in a face-to-face setting that facilitates more effective communication and problem solving throughout the educational experience. Participants develop closer ties to the campus and its physical presence, get to know their professors on a personal basis, and become more familiar with the various staff and support services they provide.
While universities use various models for residency programs, the Master of Energy Business degree requires students to participate in two separate sessions referred to as Residency Seminar I and Residency Seminar II. The two seminars are each roughly three days in length, generally scheduled over a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday timeframe. They are executive-style continuing education forums held at signature venues that provide a relaxing, yet thought-provoking and career-enhancing, educational environment. Both seminars encompass current topics of a co-curricular nature that are not ordinarily addressed in the regular course curriculum, and energy related site visits or field trips may also be included.
Residency Seminar I occurs in mid-August every year, right before the start of the fall semester. Doubling as orientation to graduate school at The University of Tulsa, Residency Seminar I always takes place on the campus and at various other venues in and around the Tulsa community. The agenda often includes a focus on teamwork, collaboration, and communication from an energy industry perspective and provides an introduction to the online/virtual learning environment.
Residency Seminar II occurs in mid-April every year, with the location rotating around the country. Recent sessions have been held in Houston and Dallas. This rotation of venues provides an exceptional energy industry networking opportunity and a broader understanding of the role energy plays in various communities.
Leadership development is the overall focus of Residency Seminar II, which often includes additional sessions on business strategy, entrepreneurship, deal making, negotiations and career planning. In addition, Residency Seminar II may involve a formal business simulation activity designed as a capstone experience.
Both Residency Seminar I and Residency Seminar II are required zero-credit Master of Energy Business courses. There is no tuition charge, but all students must enroll in and complete both courses in order to graduate. Participants pay their own travel and lodging expenses, but where possible, arrangements are always made for special hotel rates and services. In addition, most meals are provided.
While the notion of a residency requirement is not uncommon among online graduate programs, Residency Seminars I and II enhance the distinctiveness of the Master of Energy Business due to their industry focus and professional format. Most participants report them to be among the most memorable and beneficial aspects of their educational experience and point to them as a truly differentiating feature of their training among competing energy MBAs and related degrees.