Carrie Hackenberger is a rising star in the petroleum industry. Actually, if we’re going to use a metaphor from astronomy, it might be more accurate to call her rise “meteoric.”

After completing her bachelor’s degree in 2013, Carrie worked in sales operations for an industrial automation firm for about three years before switching industries and joining the Colorado Petroleum Council (part of the American Petroleum Institute [API]). Now, roughly two and a half years after jumping into the petroleum industry, Carrie has been named Associate Director of the Colorado Petroleum Council.

Carrie’s rise has been an upward spiral of intertwining personal attributes, timing, and actions. She is a hard worker with an intellectual curiosity and a willingness to take on challenges: qualities noticed by managers and executives which have made her successful in her professional and academic lives. These qualities also guided her to pursue a Master’s degree from the Global Energy Management (GEM) program at the University of Colorado Denver Business School.

Unsurprisingly, Carrie’s hard work, intellectual curiosity, and desire to challenge herself led to success with the CU Denver GEM program as well. When she graduated, Carrie also possessed an industry-specific Master’s degree from a top-flight university and the invaluable knowledge that came with it, in addition to the qualities that had already led her to success.

“Beyond the education from the classes themselves, I was able to connect with peers in the energy sector,” says Carrie of her time in the GEM program. “Now when I run into a difficult problem, or just have a question about something I’m working on, I can reach out to my connections who might have already gone through something similar. I’m able to learn from others’ experiences, and perhaps avoid some of the pitfalls they may have encountered, and hopefully do the same for my peers when I can.”

Indeed, the time Carrie spent earning her MS in Global Energy Management was well spent. Aside from the knowledge and connections that she gained—the value of which should not be understated—Carrie directly benefitted from completing her degree. Her promotion at the Colorado Petroleum Council was “a reward for having finished my MS in Global Energy Management,” says Carrie. “My degree, along with all of the hard work I have put in, led to my promotion to Associate Director.”

Carrie’s promotion has been well-deserved. And it seems likely that it is the first of what will be many high-profile promotions for her. She will, no doubt, continue pushing to succeed as the qualities that have already brought her so far continue to fuel—no pun intended—her steep ascent up the career arc. In fact, Carrie has already enrolled in an MBA program at the Business School. “I had such a great experience earning my MS, it made sense to go back for my MBA,” she says. “I think having the broader education from the MBA program will really help me have a better view of our business and the industry, which will be really valuable.”

And so, Carrie’s upward spiral continues.

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