What was your undergraduate university and major?

I studied petroleum engineering at the University of Oklahoma.

Why did you decide to apply to HBS via the 2+2 deferred admissions process?

While at OU, I got involved in an organization called the Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth which paired student teams with technologies developed at the University, alongside an experienced industry mentor. The student teams were responsible for developing a commercialization strategy for the inventor and advancing the business plan. It immediately gave me the entrepreneurship bug! I knew I needed to work in industry in order to develop my competence as an engineer, but I also knew that I wanted to transition out of big business after achieving that competency and found a company. The HBS 2+2 process gave me that roadmap to get trained up as an engineer, get exposure to the oil and gas business, but then the ability to step out of big business at an identified point to make my transition.

How long was your deferral (2,3, or 4 years)?

I deferred for three years: I left my job at ExxonMobil at three years on the dot, which was the date that marked the completion of my “Early Career Milestone” (ECM) which designates you as a “competent engineer.”

Did 2+2 change your path or alter your post-undergraduate plans?

I felt that I could really throw myself into my three years of working and learning and figuring out what I was passionate about instead of being stressed about my next move at ExxonMobil or elsewhere. I KNEW what my next step was, so I could focus on learning and not on routing my career. I also felt that I wasn’t betraying my ultimate goal of being an entrepreneur by going to a large company: it was part of a larger strategy instead of being the end point. 2+2 worked out really well for me!

Where are you currently working? Can you describe your role?

I graduated from HBS in 2017 and have since raised ~$100M and co-founded three companies: one battery metals mining company and two oil and gas companies. I serve as President and COO and do a bit of everything – I never know what any given day will bring. I’ve done everything from leading a hostile takeover of an ASX listed company (earning the nickname “Black Widow” – hilarious) to negotiating with Aboriginal groups in the Kimberley to participating in due diligence trips of mines >1,000m below the surface. I absolutely love the variety of my work and the joy I get from knowing that I am adding real, tangible value.

What projects/roles/opportunities did you pursue before HBS?

Prior to HBS, I worked at ExxonMobil as the Lead Engineer in the International Unconventional Resources group, predominantly supporting the Vaca Muerta in Neuquén, Argentina (although also working China, Qatar, Siberia, and Colombia). Due to the exploratory nature of our projects, my group was generally the first group in country and our team was quite lean, so we had more ability to wear multiple hats than you would traditionally get at a large company like ExxonMobil. I learned a tremendous amount, was able to explore the world, and really caught the bug for resources exploration. It was the perfect pre-HBS role because it was a mixture of operations, planning, and international remote execution – plenty of people management, but also systems and financial management. I have also spent literally years of my life on a drilling rig, so that develops some fun stories for your section mates.

What impact has HBS had on your career?

The HBS impact on my career has been immeasurable. So much of what I do is network-based (fundraising, strategic partnerships, new industry development, etc), and there is no better network to have access to than the HBS alumni network. Additionally, having the “Harvard” brand tied to your name is an immediate stamp of approval and a really fun fact - particularly for someone who was the first person in their immediate family to attend a University!

Are you still in touch with your fellow HBS section mates?

I absolutely am! Five of my ten Bridesmaids were section mates from HBS (I graduated in 2017 and got married in 2019), one of whom officiated our wedding. I go between Fort Worth, TX and Perth, Australia and I greatly look forward to our trips to see each other and our calls / texts to stay connected. I am even on an Advisory Board with one of my best friends / section mates. Additionally, it is absolutely amazing to have such great people to call on for advice or insight into literally any industry, sector, or concept.

What is the most exciting project or opportunity you’ve worked on?

Co-founding a battery metals mining company, Black Mountain Metals, has been the most exciting professional opportunity I’ve ever tackled. I developed the company all the way from a thesis of “everything has a battery – how can we make money off of that” to owning nickel mines in Western Australia and having a core seat at the table in battery metals discussions.

What advice do you have for prospects considering the 2+2 program?

Applying to the 2+2 program gave me great optionality to stress less about what the next step in my career was and focus completely on learning as much as I could during the two years in which I worked. I absolutely think you should do it and leverage the ability to use HBS as a further launching point for your career.

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