Lou Soileau has some advice for more mature people returning to graduate studies. “Whatever experience you have had in life, it will be valuable to you in your studies,” he says. “You have a tremendous perspective and experience to share. Your children may not understand your enrolling for school at your age. Tell them to get over it and watch out for the competition!”
At 60 years old, Soileau knows what he’s talking about. It has been almost 40 years since he first earned his Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering. “While in the Air Force, I had begun work on an MBA, but events precluded me from completing the degree,” says Soileau. “As an independent businessman, I control my own time now and am in a position to pursue my education in earnest.” Once he had more say in his schedule, he decided to finish his graduate studies, and began looking for the right online degree program.
“Of the many universities that I contacted, University of the Rockies responded first, with the most information and the most interest in me.” That kind of attention and action appealed to Soileau. “I have always sought to hire and to work with people who are high-energy and who act more than they talk.” So he enrolled right away, and began working toward his Master of Arts in Psychology, Organizational Leadership specialization.
“I have been pleasantly surprised that the curriculum is as challenging as I had hoped,” says Soileau. “University of the Rockies has assembled an interesting faculty, and has made the process very accommodating to students and their schedules. My advisers have been great. They have each taken a sincere interest in me and my progress and they have always been available to help when I needed information or assistance. Thank you, Shawn and Danica!
“My classes are filled with students with a wide array of backgrounds and experience. They come from around the nation. All of these factors contribute to stimulating discussion and many and varied points of view.
“I am pursuing Organizational Leadership,” he says, “because I believe that there can be more creativity in corporate organization and in personnel management.” Soileau sees himself as a business leader, a consultant, and possibly a teacher. “My goal is to enable corporations to hold onto their experienced workforce while maintaining healthy profits during economic downturns. I want to target medium-sized energy companies, which often suffer greatly during economic downturns in the US, and must compete with bigger companies for skilled employees. These companies employ a lot of Americans, either directly or through contractors. The health of this segment of the energy industry is very important to the growth of our country.”
And for younger people considering whether University of the Rockies is right for them, Soileau has this advice: “Go for it! Mid-career is a tough time to pursue advanced education. So, if you are young, now is the time to pursue that next degree or that new discipline. How could you do better than to earn a degree while managing your valuable time?”
Update: Lou, 62, is now the proud recipient of his Master’s degree, having passed the final exam in November 2010. Since then, he has relocated from Houston, Texas to Rayne, Louisiana, and has continued to pursue his interests in oil, gas, and green energy. He says he’s not quite ready to pursue a doctorate degree, but he does miss being in school. “I miss the reading, the investigation, and the overall challenge of online learning. Thank you, University of the Rockies, for making this opportunity real!”