Over spring break a select group of undergraduate Supply Chain Management students embarked on a life-changing journey to Norway to learn about the energy industry. Leading up to the trip, the students spent their time researching and learning about the industry as well as the country’s culture. Students then made the trip to immerse themselves in Norwegian culture and learn from industry experts.
The goal of the trip was to develop students’ knowledge of global supply chain practices, hone professional skills in a new environment, and give students first hand experience seeing how culture can affect business practices. Prior to the trip, the students enrolled in MKT 365: Contemporary Topics in Supply Chain Management, taught by Verda Blythe (MS ‘02). The course material consisted of student led presentations that allowed students to research and teach each other about an applicable topic each week. Some of the topics covered included history, culture, educational systems, politics, economy, and of course, the energy industry. These presentations provided insight to the students and helped them prepare questions for the site visits.
While abroad, students first stayed in Stavanger where they were able to explore the city. During the first couple days of the trip students went on a Fjord cruise, visited the Norwegian Petroleum Museum, and went downhill skiing at Tjørhomfjellet. All three stops were a hit among students as they were able to see the beautiful scenery of the country and get their first taste of the energy industry.
Students kicked off the day Monday at the University of Stavanger (UiS). There students had three lectures to help them gain a better global understanding of the industry they had been learning about. The first lecture was about the economics, technology, and history of the Stavanger Region given by Senior Adviser UiS Business School, Egil Svela. The next lecture was given by Associate Professor, Torfinn Harding, which gave students an introduction to the energy industry in Norway. Finally, Associate Professor Gorm Kipperberg wrapped up the lecture part of the day teaching students about sustainability, renewables, and research partnerships.The second part of the day was filled with two site visits to the Petroleum Safety Authority and Ullrigg Drilling Research Center at the Intl. Research Center.
The next two days were filled with site visits to Nysnø, where they learned about how the Norwegian government invests the profits from oil sales into companies and projects that have a positive impact on the environment/climate. At Vår Energi they received an incredibly informative presentation on oil exploration and production. Var Energi produces 220,000 barrels of oil per day, and set an ambitious 2030 goal to be Net Zero through electrification, portfolio optimization and energy management. (Fun fact: The students randomly met the CEO of Var Energi on the shuttle ride to the airplane. Small world!) Last but not least, the group met with executives from Schlumberger (SLB). Schlumberger is a global leader in providing technology, expertise, and services to the oil and gas industry. Similar to most other companies in Norway, they have a strong focus on the climate and reducing their carbon footprint.
Outside of site visits, students had the opportunity to go on a driving tour to see the Jæren agricultural landscape, Sola Beach, and The Swords in the stone monument as well as have dinner with the Norwegian faculty from University of Stander (UiS).
On Thursday, students traveled to Oslo where they went on a city tour for an afternoon of sightseeing. The rest of the trip was spent exploring Oslo before students made their return to Madison.
Overall, the trip was a massive success in broadening the students’ knowledge of global supply chain practices and allowing them to form new friendships while learning about a new culture. This was an unforgettable experience that has left a lasting impact on the students’ personal and professional lives.