Perhaps a review -- and awareness -- of the past may
make us better geologists in the future.
The best guide to the
future is history.
ago I reviewed the criteria being used by Shell Oil to hire its
new geologists. Shell's hiring emphasized graduate students with
top grades from selected universities.
the outcome of its hiring practices, I found that having outstanding
grades and attending Ivy League schools made no difference to success
at Shell; indeed, the "best" recruits were as likely to end up at
the bottom of the Shell value order list as the top.
to find new criteria for hiring that provided us with a higher proportion
of outstanding people.
the parameters that did seem to correlate to future outstanding
performance was the quality and originality displayed in the graduate
thesis of the prospective new hire.
outstanding masters thesis by a then-young geologist was published
in the January 1955 AAPG BULLETIN, titled "Pennsylvanian Conglomerates,
Structure and Orogenic History of Lake Classen Area, Arbuckle Mountains,
combines excellent field observations with thoughtful analysis;
was clearly written and well documented; and after 50 years is still
early history of performance, R.J. (Bob) Dunham went on to an outstanding
career as a carbonate researcher at Shell and influenced thousands
of petroleum geologists with his innovative ideas.
to suggest that a careful thesis review may be a fine way to hire
your next great geologist.