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Do You Need an Energy MBA? The Four Questions You Should Ask to Find Out

A wind farm at sunset.

So, you’ve set your sights on a career in the energy business. From exploration to extraction to refinement to transport to marketing, the entire enterprise fascinates and inspires you. And why wouldn’t it? As an energy professional, you’ll improve people’s lives and, likely, earn a comfortable living in the process (an average salary of $110,000 for energy MBA graduates, according to a Relish Careers study).

Many upper-level jobs in business require a graduate degree, and for good reason: Graduate degrees help people acquire the knowledge and skills they need to tackle today’s complex business problems. But which graduate degree is right for you and your energy career? There are so many options.

If your interests tend toward the business and management side of the energy industry – if managing an energy company’s finances, overseeing regulatory compliance, supervising contract negotiations, trading energy commodities or working as an analyst or consultant appeals to you – a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with an energy concentration may be the perfect fit.

So, how do you know whether an MBA with an energy concentration is right for you? Here are the questions to ask yourself to decide.

Do you want to be an energy industry manager or executive?

You can get your start in the energy industry with a bachelor’s degree and, for some jobs, with no more than a high school diploma or an associate’s degree. You can even start advancing up the corporate ladder. At some point, however, you may find your progress is slowed – or halted – by a lack of expertise and/or credentials. That’s when it’s time to look into graduate degree programs.

Many prospective energy managers earn bachelor’s degrees, then work for several years before going to business school. Eventually, they hit a wall or, perhaps, grow dissatisfied with the speed at which they are ascending the ranks. Typically, they become very good at one aspect of the business. They may be analysts with a solid understanding of energy markets, or product managers adept at ushering new energy industry apps through development to implementation. However, they lack the broader knowledge and theoretical frameworks required to contribute to big-picture, long-term planning, business strategy and decision-making. They need deeper, more comprehensive core business skills and knowledge.

An MBA delivers both and more. In the online MBA program at The University of Tulsa, you’ll study across all business functions so you can understand and contribute to every facet of an energy company. The TU core curriculum includes coursework in business ethics, management and leadership, business computing, marketing, economics, operations, financial management and strategy. That’s expertise you can apply to any business, energy included. In addition, you’ll complete four specialized courses examining various aspects of the energy business: sustainable energy, energy economics, energy law and renewables. You’ll get the best of both worlds: a broad-based graduate-level business education supplemented by invaluable specialized study in energy-sector business.

Do you want to increase your income?

An MBA can help you advance to jobs with greater impact and responsibility. It can make you a more appealing candidate to a greater number of potential employers. All that typically translates into increased income.

The University of Tulsa data indicate that its MBA graduates see a pay hike of 24%, on average. And, a TU MBA continues to help you throughout your career. When it’s time for your job search – whether that’s immediately after graduation or later on, when you’re looking for new career opportunities – a personal career advisor from CaneCareers will assist in the process. Your faculty contacts will include government and business executives with valuable connections in the Tulsa area and beyond.

And because TU’s MBA program is delivered in a flexible online format, you won’t need to quit working or earning to pursue your graduate degree. While you can attend full time and complete the program in as few as 12 months, part-time options are also available. In fact, the online program is designed to accommodate working professionals’ busy schedules. Online live sessions, held via videoconference, convene in the evenings, and students engage with much of the course content asynchronously at their own convenience.

Are you interested in entering the emerging fields of renewable and sustainable energy?

Renewable and sustainable energy is on the rise. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the world’s renewable energy capacity grew 45% in 2020, the fastest annual rate since 1999. The IEA predicts similar increases for 2021 and 2022, with wind power growth particularly robust.

The University of Tulsa has a proud 90-year history in oil and gas research, establishing it as a national leader in the traditional energy sector. The school’s North Campus “has been a beacon of technical research, hands-on learning opportunities and cutting-edge innovation for more than 50 years.” Today’s cutting-edge innovation includes clean energy, and TU is quickly establishing itself as a center of excellence for all energy sources, including solar, wind, nanobatteries and biofuels.

That’s not just talk. The school has received grants from ARPA-E and the U.S. Department of Energy to fund research into solar and other alternative energy technologies, conferring its promise in these areas. The university is implementing green policies on campus as well, powering its Case Tennis Center through rooftop solar panels. In fact, it was named the greenest university in the state by The Princeton Review.

TU’s online MBA in Energy includes two specialized courses addressing this frontier in energy production. Energy Policy and Sustainability explores government initiatives to promote sustainable energy production, while The Business of Renewable Energy and Alternative Fuels dives into the fundamentals of the alternative energy business.

Do you want to join a powerful network of energy professionals?

An online MBA program provides a broad-ranging business education, but that’s not all it delivers. A graduate business degree also facilitates entry to a university’s alumni network and access to its many professional contacts.

The University of Tulsa is located at the heart of the nation’s energy production industry. Its location, coupled with its long history of involvement in energy research and production, means that TU graduates join a potent professional network of energy managers and executives. Their classmates, faculty and alumni include many industry leaders in oil, gas and future energy sources. TU’s professional networks result in one of the highest job placement ratings among the state’s MBA programs.

Where should you earn your energy MBA?

Even if you’re learning online, it makes sense to choose an MBA program located near an energy center if you aspire to a career in the energy sector. You want a school that draws faculty from energy companies and that produces alumni who populate those same companies. You want a school like the University of Tulsa.

Students in the TU online MBA benefit from the university-at-large focus on energy. TU participates in numerous energy industry-related consortia and holds numerous patents related to its research. US News & News Report ranks TU’s McDougall School of Petroleum Engineering the nation’s sixth-best for petroleum engineering in 2021. The TU College of Law is renowned for its excellence in energy law. And the Collins College of Business enjoys strong ties to the energy industry.

With its online MBA in Energy specialization (either as a part-time and full-time MBA), The University of Tulsa offers early- and mid-career professionals the opportunity to become change agents and leaders. Part-time students can accomplish that while continuing to work and advance their careers.

Students can complete the program in as few as 12 months. Taking two classes per semester, part-time students can finish in 18 to 24 months. Through its combination of anywhere, anytime asynchronous content and live online evening classes, the TU online MBA meets the needs of busy professionals by providing maximum flexibility. That’s true even in its admissions policies; TU does not require GMAT scores with student applications, nor do applicants need to provide a separate application to qualify for merit-based scholarships. Veterans can receive up to 100% tuition coverage through the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Learn about the energy business from a school located in the heart of America’s energy industry and plugged into its professional network. An MBA from TU can bolster your credentials and enhance your skills, helping you ascend the energy management ladder. There’s no need to wait; you can apply today.

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