Career Advice [Do I need an MBA to change career from geology to finance?]

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dfitz247
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Career Advice [Do I need an MBA to change career from geology to finance?]

Post by dfitz247 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:49 pm

I have a BS in Geology minor in Petroleum Engineering and an MS in Geology. Not currently worried about the energy industry and am currently employed by a small consulting firm that I do very well at. I very much understand the volatility of the oil and gas buisness as I have worked almost ten years in.

Financially wife and I are well on track to retiring early, but I absolutely love working. Our firm puts together oil and gas prospects and gets upsteam oil and gas companies to drill and participate in the development. I also do a good amount of financial work such as calculating IRR internal to projects, discounted cash flows to help determine NPV, advise on acquisitions, financial modeling for development, present to private equity, and appraisals of oil and gas properties.

I also help a local investor analyze real Estate deals and participate in syndications.

If the oil industry is ever obsolete in my lifetime or more major layoffs happen I would go into a finance discipline. Banking, real estate deveopment, underwriting, investment banking, financial analysist would be my second choice careers.

My question is should I get an MBA or is my experience good enough to get me into that industry if need be. I have a certificate in finance which means almost nothing. I feel like I am getting a hard knocks buisness degree on a daily basis.

Thanks in advance, just trying to be prepared as possible as what I currently do is extremely specialized.
Last edited by dfitz247 on Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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LadyGeek
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Re: Petroleum Geologist needing advice

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:37 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) (career advice).
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Ethelred
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Re: Petroleum Geologist needing advice

Post by Ethelred » Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:21 pm

I think you might want to change your thread title. I just read through thinking I could help you with some aspect of geology, then at the end realized your question is actually "Do I need an MBA to change to a finance career, or is my current experience enough?" And I don't know the answer to that question.

I do wonder if you'd do better to ask this to some of the investment bankers you've met through your consulting work.

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Re: Career Advice [Do I need an MBA to change career from geology to finance?]

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:59 am

Thanks for the suggestion, I took a stab at it.

dfitz247 - If you want to change the thread title further, just edit the Subject: line in Post #1.

========

Why don't you give finance a test run? Volunteer your time at an organization that could use your skills in finance. It's legitimate experience that can be used on your resume - what counts when you start looking for a job.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

hookemhorns
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Re: Career Advice [Do I need an MBA to change career from geology to finance?]

Post by hookemhorns » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:19 am

You've wrapped up several questions into one. I would try to break it down between:

1) What do you want to do long term? Focus on this question first. If you're not in love with energy, maybe it's time to plan to transition to something else.

2) If you want to switch career fields, when should you do it? The answer here is almost always ASAP. As with almost every field, it becomes more difficult to change careers into finance over time, especially into a profession with a highly structured career ladder such as investment banking. It's easy to do in your 20s, especially if you're coming out of a top MBA program, but you don't find people in their 40s "getting into investment banking." Switching to real estate or corporate finance would be easier, but again time is working against you.

3) Should you get a MBA? There have been many threads about this in the past. The answer I give everyone is figure you what you want to do long term (point #1 above) and evaluate whether a MBA is an important part of that plan. I recommend against getting a MBA just for its own sake, or because you don't know what you want to do in life. MBAs are very expensive, time consuming, and do not help you find yourself.

Just my thoughts, I work in financial services and attended a top MBA program.

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whodidntante
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Re: Career Advice [Do I need an MBA to change career from geology to finance?]

Post by whodidntante » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:21 am

I wouldn't get an MBA in your spot unless it's free and you are very interested in the subject matter. I completed a part-time MBA and it's a ton of work. You are financially independent and could just as easily do it later if it's your money.

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Re: Career Advice [Do I need an MBA to change career from geology to finance?]

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:38 am

The career value of an MBA starts to fall pretty linearly post age 25.

Op appears to be mature. Above 45 I would say MBA has zero career value. Unless to "boost" a management career in a field. Even then the right golf club membership is probably more valuable.

Rather, I would suggest doing the CFA, and networking towards jobs in the finance field. Focusing on corporate finance firms working in energy and or PE firms and firms specialising in investing in energy assets.

Op does not mention the geographic angle but a big fraction of finance jobs are in NYC. However the energy groups have strong presences in Houston and may run the teams out of there. That's both buy and sell side.

Given the hours worked and the intensity and competition finance is very much a young person's game. Except for areas like Private Wealth Management or if you are top dog at your firm.

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Re: Career Advice [Do I need an MBA to change career from geology to finance?]

Post by ny_knicks » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:28 am

Is banking what you truly want to do? Have you spoken with people in the industry? It isn't all models/bottles and Exxon Mobil mergers.

If it's truly what you want from a career then it has to be the priority not a backup plan. Its not an industry you can just fall back on, it's something that you need to work towards aggressively.

Lateral hires from industry into banking are few and far between. You'll need to network like crazy and will be competing with people from top consulting firms/corp dev/boutique banks for any spots that open up. To even be considered they'll expect a top undergrad program with high GPA/test scores and a well known firm on your resume with significant finance experience.

Easiest route is an MBA. With your background and a top full-time program you'll be able to land a spot in IB.

Waiting is not to your advantage. IB at the junior levels has age discrimination and anything over 30 will raise an eyebrow and over 33 you won't get a look.

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Watty
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Re: Career Advice [Do I need an MBA to change career from geology to finance?]

Post by Watty » Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:34 pm

dfitz247 wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:49 pm
Thanks in advance, just trying to be prepared as possible as what I currently do is extremely specialized.
I would suspect that it is also well paid while the work lasts which would make taking time off to study for an MBA full time very expensive.

Part time MBA programs may not have the same clout as a full time MBA from a top school and spending lots of time on one of those might require you to cut back on the side work which you are doing with is not only giving you great experience but it is also helping you make contacts.

You would be older but if you do find yourself out of a job someday then you could take so time to get an MBA then. As others have said your age might prevent you from getting some plum jobs but it could be a ticket you need to get into management somewhere.

The oil and gas industry is very cyclic but one way to work around that is to position yourself in your current field to be a bit of a "vulture" that will be in high demand if there are lots of companies that are in distress in that field. An analogy would be that in the house bust in 2008 lots of people in real estate had their careers badly hurt, but there were also lots of people that made lots of money as foreclosures and forced mergers happened. I know little about it but you might look at what happens when an oil company goes bankrupt and the assets are auction off, and who makes money out of that process. As a consultant you may be able to position yourself to have the skills ready to take that role during the next oil and gas slump.

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