HELPING PREPARE THE NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS
(July 2020) - A group of Rice University MBA Program students recently gained practical experience in a hands-on project management course. M&H Consulting’s Business Development Director Paul Jacobs was part of the effort, serving as a sponsor and contributing real-world knowledge and direction to enhance their learning experience.
The students were participating in a project management course led by Valerie Walker, Lecturer in Management – Operations Management for the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University. Teams of five students each were tasked with managing a complex, mock development project and presenting their findings to the class at the end of the semester. This was Jacob's second year to serve as a volunteer sponsor for one of the groups.
Jacobs created a scope for the project, challenging his group to develop a new “Acme Energy” oil production facility offshore Brazil. Although the project is fictitious, details are based on his prior work in engineering offshore platforms and more than 12 years of consulting and E&P company experience.
Communication is Key
In addition to building practical project management skills for the students, Jacobs emphasized one key principle contributing to the student's effectiveness as leaders. “Communication is the single most important driver for success,” said Jacobs. “A project manager’s job is not only to communicate with his or her team, but also to facilitate communication between members of the team.”
Jacobs led status meetings with the team in bi-weekly video conferences. “This is a talented group of individuals and they typically did a good job of asking for the proper information. When they needed it, I questioned them until they were headed in the right direction.”