Business students explore utility career opportunities

QU students outside the UI operations center in Orange, Conn.
Quinnipiac students visited United Illuminating Company's operations center in Orange, Conn., for a career development program.

April 9, 2013 - Twenty-five business and engineering students visited The United Illuminating Company's operations center in Orange, Conn., on April 2 for a career Utility Exchange Program.

The half-day program was designed to provide insights into the academic requirements necessary for the development of career paths with electric and natural gas utilities beyond the traditional engineering curriculum.

"Electric and natural gas companies require a blend of talent in engineering, administration, finance, supply chain, business analytics, communications, logistics, technology and other support services," UIL President and Chief Executive Officer James P. Torgerson told students in attendance. "The energy sector is a very dynamic place to work."

In addition to presentations on electric operations, safety, electric and natural gas engineering, supply chain, construction operations, students had the opportunity to visit the UI control room to witness how electricity moves throughout the company's service area, and to tour the operations facility to view the logistics requirements and support services necessary to keep the electricity flowing to customers around the clock.

"United Illuminating's interest in developing students through internships and recruiting Quinnipiac University's graduates provided a welcome counterpoint to the economic uncertainty of the time," said John Reap, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. Reap and three engineering students in his class attended the event.

"And, UI's interest in students with strong problem-solving, analytical and mathematical skills underscored the value of the education offered by Quinnipiac University's engineering program," he added. 

"What I found really beneficial was UIL's application of business management, my area of discipline, to the role of metrics in business," said Ike Umeugo '13, a business major.  

"I was really impressed to find out that UI recycles 95 percent of their product," added Matt Modelson '13. "Doing that plays a huge role in sustainability."

Mary Meixell, associate professor of management, says the trip was a great experience for students. "They heard and saw the principles of management in context, and at the same time, put the executives to task with incisive questions about strategy in this highly constrained industry," said Meixell, who attended the event. 
 
Students also learned about UIL's work recruitment process. "Twice a year, we visit college job fairs to recruit new talent for internships and for employment at our electric and gas companies," explained Ron Robert, manager, organizational talent. "We've been very successful attracting quality talent through this process. The program we conducted with Quinnipiac University provides us with another way to partner with local colleges and universities to not only provide academic value for the schools and students, but also to attract the next generation of electric and gas industry employees." 

This program is just one of the ways that the University fosters collaboration and engagement between its students and employers. To learn more about partnerships with the School of Business + Engineering, please contact Grace Peiffer, director of employer relations in the School of Business + Engineering, at grace.peiffer@quinnipiac.edu