11:49 AM

UHD Students Named Finalists for Halliburton Contest

During Spring Semester 2012, the University of Houston - Downtown (UHD) competed against four public and private universities in a social media challenge for Halliburton, a leading global provider of products and services to the energy industry.

"Recognizing the growth and excitement around social media," says Matt Oehler, Integration Manager for Halliburton's Completion and Production Division, "our team wanted to have a complete picture of this opportunity so we could provide Halliburton management, with greater certainty, a recommended strategy on how to expand our participation. Therefore, we contacted for assistance several universities where we have established relationships."

The objective was to gather creative ideas from those who could offer a fresh, non-industry perspective and were likely to be social media savvy. The finalists and the winning team were selected based on content, conviction, originality, presentation and excitement around the topic. Assessment of the research effort, the approach to the topic, and the written communication skills also influenced the decision-making process. In return, Halliburton awarded an Apple iPad to each member on the winning team.

In March, Halliburton received 20 student-group submissions from Rice University, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, University of Houston-Downtown, and University of Wisconsin (UW) at EauClaire. Then in April, five finalist groups were chosen to continue with the second phase of the contest. Finally, the winning group from UW-EauClaire was announced in May.

All students in UHD's senior-level Consumer Behavior marketing class participated in the contest. The UHD finalists included Lisa Graham, Kenneth Hawkins, Joseph Murphey, Mariana Quijada, and Veronica Rollandi. "The projects gave each student the opportunity to explore online social networks, exercise creativity, and develop team skills," says Michelle Wicmandy, Marketing Lecturer. "In addition, all students were given the chance to demonstrate competencies while building a relationship with one of the world's largest energy services companies."

Both parties learned lessons from this experience. The UHD finalist group recognized that social media can be used to enhance a company's image, monitor its reputation, learn of business opportunities, plus create and build relationships. "Companies should experiment with different social media channels, adding and/or modifying them, to determine which networks provide value for them and their customers," comments finalist Rollandi.

"Based on the student group findings, we recognize that expanding our presence in the digital media space can add value to our business when sharing Company information and positive stories," concludes Oehler.

About Halliburton

Founded in 1919, Halliburton is one of the world's largest providers of products and services to the energy industry. With nearly 70,000 employees in approximately 80 countries, the company serves the upstream oil and gas industry throughout the lifecycle of the reservoir - from locating hydrocarbons and managing geological data, to drilling and formation evaluation, well construction and completion, and optimizing production through the life of the field.

About UHD

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) celebrates student success, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, integrity and service. UHD faculty and staff members are committed to providing students with quality educational opportunities and helping them achieve their educational goals.