Aberdeen Team Offers Winning Tips

Applications have been received from over 30 universities in AAPG Sections and Regions around the globe for this year’s Imperial Barrel Award program.

Data sets will be sent to participating universities in early January, allowing student teams eight-to-10 weeks to analyze the data and prepare for their local IBA competitions.

Each Section and Region will hold its local competition in March, and the first place team from each Section and Region competition will advance to the global competition, to be held in San Antonio during April’s AAPG Annual Convention.

The stakes are high for the global competition, with the winning first, second and third place teams vying for large cash prizes to benefit their geoscience departments and trophies for the winning students.

Just what does it take to win the Imperial Barrel Award competition?

Students from the University of Aberdeen, last year’s IBA winning team, offered some tips for the 2008 contestants:

  •  Go the IBA Web site to get an idea of what is expected from the group. View the “Introduction to Imperial Barrel Award” slides.
  •  Teams are provided with a sample judging form – so think about what the judges are seeking. Work out your objectives.
  •  Ensure you know what software you will be using and how to use it.
  •  Check all the data before you start.
  •  Select a project manager (who may not be the obvious leader). While they should be just as involved in the technical work as everyone else, the PM’s main function is to keep the group on a schedule and to recognize where group members may be going into excessive detail. The whole group should be involved in creating the time schedule, but it will be the PM who ensures it is enforced.

Don’t try to manage as a group – it does not work.

  •  Plan your workflow and set minideadlines – and set them much sooner than they need to be. Aim to finish your presentation at least a week before the competition.
  •  Distribute the workload evenly and give each person a different specialty, i.e. seismic, petrophysics, etc.
  •  Make sure everyone is aware of what others in the group are working on, so there is no overlap and you know who to go to with questions.
  •  Don’t spend too long on the literature search and regional background. Key events and knowledge of potential play components should be sufficient.
  •  Do the easy stuff early, i.e., slide layout.
  •  Know when you have done enough and concentrate on making what you have done better rather than trying to do extras that you will not have time to finish.
  •  Prepare for potential questions.
  •  Your image should not detract from the presentation. This is a business dress code event (wear a suit). If possible, bring more than one business-dress outfit (the Aberdeen group said they were unprepared for the subsequent business functions that arouse during the AAPG conference).
  •  Don’t try to do too much in the presentation, i.e. don’t try to explain the 15 prospects you found; focus on the biggest/most interesting/innovative prospect.
  •  Don’t overlook the handout. It may be what differentiates you from another team.

The IBA instruction packet requires two deliverables; a 25-minute presentation and a double-sided A4 handout. It is easy to concentrate primarily on the presentation, but judges were influenced mostly by the information Aberdeen had chosen to include in the handout.

  •  Keep backups of EVERYTHING!
  •  Be prepared for internal team arguments. Try to stay calm.
  •  Present a part of the presentation that you did not work on – this will help you stick to the five-minute time limit, as your knowledge will be limited to what is important.
  •  The most important thing is time management! Aberdeen’s last few weeks involved very few hours of sleep and absolutely zero social life.

So don’t put things off, just get things done and move on.

  •  Finally: Practice! Practice! Practice! Do not try to wing it.

Good luck!

Carol Cain McGowen
Carol Cain McGowen
Regions and Sections is a regular column in the EXPLORER offering news for and about AAPG's six international Regions and six U.S. Sections.

News items, press releases and other information should be submitted to the EXPLORER/Regions and Sections, P.O. Box 979, Tulsa, Okla. 74101.

Contact: Carol Cain McGowen , at  1-918-560-9403.

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