Jan 06, 2021

Tuck Team Takes 2nd at University of Texas’s National Energy Finance Competition

By Jacob Holzhauser T’22


I chose Tuck in large part to widen my skillset by venturing into renewable energy and power distribution through activities with the Revers Center for Energy. I had worked in Texas and Saudi Arabia as a chemical engineer and was exposed to “traditional energy and chemicals.” I wanted to build upon this background and become a well-rounded professional within Energy.

As part of Tuck’s team at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business National Energy Finance Challenge, I was able to do just that. Thirteen peer schools competed in the competition, which included Booth, Kellogg, and Duke. The competition challenges teams of MBAs to address real world financial and strategic issues confronting a hypothetical company in today’s dynamic energy landscape. Each team has a long weekend to work on their analysis before presenting their plan the following week to a panel of senior executives from a variety of leading companies in the energy and financial sectors.

Rishab Bansal T’22, Philip Munyao T’22, Umut Asikoglu T22, and Caleb Dorfman T’21 joined me in leading the hypothetical post-COVID19 energy major “Libertas Energy” through its transition from a traditional oil major, to a holistic energy company with reasonable investments within renewables, a major chemicals project in China, and a joint venture natural gas operation. We even came up with a plan to increase Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and for Libertas to transition to a hybrid “work from home” model to ensure maximum employee safety, convenience, and productivity in the COVID era.

In typical Tuck fashion, we were a team of five who came from four different countries. We wanted to acknowledge this diversity in our team name, so Philip suggested “Nishati,” the Swahili word for Energy as our name, thus we became “Nishati Energy.” This diversity was what fueled our success. All of us were interested in careers in the broader energy sector post-Tuck, but that meant something different to each of us. From banking, to consulting, to investing we each contributed in our own way to Nishati Energy’s success.

I will always remember the night we submitted our slide deck. We were each locked away in study rooms in Whittemore Hall. Umut’s consulting experience helped him produce beautiful slides and create an innovative HR program for Libertas. Rishab drew from his refining background to produce a strategy for managing Libertas Energy’s difficult natural gas joint venture. Philip’s experience in power generation helped him produce a strategic analysis for selection of renewables projects. Caleb blasted Romanian house music as he produced the financial model that was widely acknowledged as the most thorough in the competition. We capped off the night with a round of my favorite Texas beer, Shiner Bock, as we celebrated hitting the “submit” button seconds before the clock ran out.

Ultimately, we took second place in the competition. Perhaps if our presentation skills were a bit stronger we’d have taken first, but we felt like we won it all anyway. And we had fun! The competition was held virtually this year so we were unable to spend the weekend in Austin, Texas as we would have otherwise, but we all enjoyed the experience and built lasting relationships. My time at Tuck is about growing professionally and building lasting relationships; through Nishati Energy I did both.

Jacob Holzhauser T’22, is an engineer with a Bachelors of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Houston. Prior to Tuck, he worked in the chemicals industry for Chevron Phillips Chemical in Texas and in Saudi Arabia. He worked as a process engineer, a safety systems specialist, and an optimization/economics analyst.

The Revers Center for Energy

The Revers Center for Energy supports annual attendance at the UT Austin McCombs Energy Finance Case Competition by selecting students with diverse skills to attend on behalf of Tuck. The Center usually aims to combine attendance at the case competition with company visits to Houston-based firms to ensure that students with energy career goals have an opportunity to meet our amazing group of Houston alumni!