Jane graduated from the Jackson School of Geosciences in 2010 with a B.S. in Geophysics. She currently works at Halliburton as a Technical Sales Consultant-Geology & Geophysics.
Tell us about your current job.
I travel to oil companies all over North America and demonstrate our geosciences software. Geoscientists use it to explore the subsurface and search for oil and gas. In a typical day, I might come into work, refresh my thoughts on a presentation and go deliver it to a company that afternoon. I’m always working with other geoscientists. They’re the ones that I give software presentations to, and I have to speak their language and understand what their end goal is.
How did you find your job? Have your job responsibilities changed over time?
I was recruited to Halliburton by my former boss. He called me up one day, out of the blue, to discuss the opportunity. I was participating in on-campus interviews, but he actually had an old version of my resume; I have no idea where he got it!
I started out as a software consultant- more of a mentoring role. I would spend a couple of days up to several months with the same company, helping the users with workflows. I had the opportunity to spend a month in Calgary and 6 weeks in Anchorage over the summer. I just started in my current role recently.
What are the opportunities like at your company for people with a bachelor’s degree?
I find that most new hires in my company just have bachelor’s degrees. Many of them choose to attend a professional geoscientist program at the University of Houston to get their master’s on the weekends over a 14 month period. I don’t feel that not having a master’s is holding me back though.
In an entry level position, what types of projects or tasks could a student expect to work on?
Starting out here, I had several months packed with training classes. You have to learn the software first. But then, I had some low-pressure assignments at oil companies with small groups of more experienced software users.
What traits, skills and experiences do employers in your field look for in candidates?
My former boss was really big on hiring people-people. All day, we talk to clients, and we have to be friendly and easy to work with. We’re the face of the company. Also, there’s a lot more critical thinking required than you might expect. If a client asks how to do something in the software that you have never tried, you need to be able to reason your way through the task.
What publications, professional organizations or events would be helpful to students?
I attended the JSG career fair and one additional one in Houston in the fall. They were both very useful. It can be frustrating when all of the oil companies tell you to go get a master’s and then come back to them, but talk to the oil service companies. Those are the ones that hire undergrads.
What made you decide to start working full-time after graduation (vs. going to graduate school)?
I wasn’t interested in research. I was eager to get my career started.
Were there any classes or specific skills from college that you find especially useful in your current work?
I am glad that I took all of the industry related courses. Seismology, 3D Stratigraphy, and Petroleum Exploration especially.
Any other advice for students at the Jackson School?
Don’t feel obligated to go to grad school, especially for geophysicists. I got 3 job offers right out of school- two from microseismic monitoring companies (geophysics specific) and one from my current job, all based out of Houston. And after a few years of experience, they pay just as well as an oil company would pay someone with a master’s! Just be sure that there is room for advancement wherever you go.
Also, don’t limit yourself to companies only in Austin. Houston really is fantastic. I found that a majority of my college friends moved to Houston after graduation, even those not from JSG.