Section Image: Third place team from SMU display their trophy and award check alongside Jason Maloy and TCU President Daniel Pullin

TCU Neeley Partners with NAPE for Fourth Annual Energy Innovation Case Competition

The top four teams were invited to present live at the NAPE Summit in Houston. A team of TCU Neeley students won fourth place in the highly competitive contest and received a $4,000 prize.

February 13, 2023

By Jennifer Floyd Engel

The annual NAPE Expo brings together a variety of energy disciplines under one roof in Houston. The NAPE/TCU Energy Innovation Case Competition, now in its fourth year, challenges students to bridge these disciplines to solve real-world issues in industry.

And while teams from the TCU Neeley School of Business, Southern Methodist University and The University of Texas at Austin made compelling arguments, another team won the top honor.  The University of Chicago team of Albert Cao, Maxwell McDonnell, Prabhat Shrestha and Zoey Wang won the 2023 NAPE/TCU case competition and the $20,000 prize.

The winning team from the University of Chicago pose with Dean Pullin and an award check and trophy

“The NAPE/TCU Energy Innovation Case Competition was one of the highlights of my MBA experience,” Wang said. “My teammates and I had the opportunity to research and recommend strategies to help energy companies grow, evolve, and thrive in the energy transition. In order to meet domestic and global energy needs, a diverse energy portfolio of both traditional and renewable energies is crucial. 

“We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to deepen our sector knowledge, meet fellow energy enthusiasts from around the country, and grow our technical toolkits to become future energy leaders,” Wang said. “We have zero doubts that right now is one of the most exciting times to be a part of the energy industry.”

The Ralph Lowe Energy Institute (RLEI) shares the belief that energy is and will, for the foreseeable future, be one of the fastest growing industries. The energy institute is committed to powering the future of energy through people including partnering with NAPE for the case competition. 

Second place team from the University of Texas display trophy and check

“It was great to see the level of interest amongst the universities this year,” said RLEI assistant director Meredith O’Brien, who heads up the NAPE competition for the Institute. “The top four finalists are accomplished young professionals with extensive knowledge to help us solve pressing energy challenges.”

Second prize and $10,000 went to the UT-Austin team of Tanmay Anand, Thomas Green and Zach Pearson. Third prize and $6,000 was awarded to the SMU team of Blake Dieterlen, Thomas Reedy, Matthew Stolper and Neil van der Merwe. They also made history by being the first team of undergraduates to reach the finals. TCU’s team - Cole Chapman, Lori Cox, Kim Keyser and Jordan Robinson - took home fourth place and $4,000.

Third place team from SMU with Jason Maloy and TCU President Pullin

“For me, this competition was a great opportunity to learn and think about how producers could evaluate investment opportunities moving forward,” McDonnell said. “What I liked most about the case competition was that it was tied to the NAPE Expo. This gave us the opportunity to share our ideas with actual exhibitors and compare their projections on the energy landscape with our own. 

“Though our worldview differed from some of the oil and gas experts we spoke with, the Expo provided the forum to have a dialogue and learn from each other’s viewpoint,” said McDonnell.