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What Can You Do With an Energy MBA?

An offshore wind farm.

Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs serve students pursuing a vast range of career opportunities. They span all business functions – including general management, strategy, marketing, finance, operations – across every business and business-adjacent sector, from aerospace to wholesale.

No single MBA curriculum can effectively prepare students for all these options. That’s why business schools offer specialization areas: to enable MBA students to concentrate their elective work in whatever career path they choose. Popular concentrations, such as marketing and business analytics, are widely available. More specialized concentrations can be a bit more challenging to find. Relatively few US MBA programs offer an energy management specialization, for example.

If you’re interested in a career in the energy sector, consider the online MBA program at The University of Tulsa, which offers an energy specialization. In addition to the 25-credit-hours of core courses covering essential competencies – finance, accounting, marketing, operations, ethics, leadership, strategy and analytics – you’ll complete specialized coursework focused on sustainable energy, energy economics, energy law and renewables. The online learning platform enables you to attend without relocating and continue working at your full-time job while you complete the degree program.

The city of Tulsa has many energy related companies. Proximity to this literal power center enables TU to draw faculty from professionals whose work experience includes stints with Amaco, Marathon Oil, the Oklahoma state government, Saudi Aramco, Williams Companies and WPX Energy. Tulsa graduates enter an alumni network that includes managers and executives employed throughout the regional and international energy sector.

Do you need an MBA to succeed in the energy industry?

If you’ve set your sights on an upper management or executive energy position, a graduate business degree can undoubtedly help you achieve your goals. The MBA is an excellent degree for prospective leaders because it exposes them to all aspects of running a successful business.

That said, you can get started on your energy sector career with a bachelor’s degree. Indeed, many professionals take their first energy jobs immediately after earning a bachelor’s degree. However, at some point, they realize that they need to upgrade their skills and knowledge to advance further. The energy industry’s complexities require a range of knowledge and skills that few can amass independently or on the job. They demand the special training provided by an MBA.

A recent survey of job postings for top energy employers found many that required or preferred candidates with MBA degrees for jobs in finance, risk management, logistics, operations, taxation, commodities, financial data modeling, strategy, account management and development management. Why do energy employers prefer MBAs for leadership and management jobs? An MBA provides the big-picture perspective required to lead and plan for the future. It trains you in essential general principles and critical reasoning skills, providing the knowledge and ability to solve a broad range of problems.

Income data support the conclusion that the job market more highly values candidates with MBAs. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council’s 2021 annual survey, the median MBA salary is $115,000. In contrast, the median salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree is $65,000. An MBA salary, on average, is 77 percent higher, generating an additional $3 million in income over a 35-year career.

Who hires TU MBAs?

Each year, The University of Tulsa publishes a list of employers hiring its graduates. The list of energy and energy-related industries hiring TU MBAs in 2017–18, 2018–19 and 2019–20 include the following:

What can you do with an energy MBA?

First, you don’t have to work for an energy company. All businesses use energy. Many need MBAs with specialized knowledge to manage their energy procurement and consumption. Transportation companies, for example, may employ energy traders and pricing analysts to manage their fuel strategies.

Still, most opportunities will be with energy businesses and energy-related industries and institutions, such as the United States Department of Energy. These are complex businesses requiring professionals with specialized skills. What might an MBA do at an energy company?

Energy trading

As an energy trader, you’ll apply data analytics to evaluate energy markets and predict future trends. You’ll value trades by assessing current and projected energy and related costs, such as transportation and storage. Transactions may involve complex financial instruments and negotiation with international concerns. Energy traders earn an average salary of $102,113, according to PayScale, with opportunities for significant incentive pay.

Finance

Finance professionals in the energy business typically hold titles such as financial analyst, financial manager, asset manager and investment analyst. They manage energy company portfolios, modeling markets to time loans, refinancing and purchases. They arrange financing for significant investments when necessary and assess the creditworthiness of potential partners. According to Glassdoor, senior financial analysts earn an average salary of $91,365, according to Salary.com.

Human resources

Human resource professionals manage employee hiring, onboarding, compensation, benefits and termination of employees. They promote employee training, monitor regulatory compliance, and enforce nondiscrimination and fairness policies. The work calls for specialized knowledge of the energy industry to optimize HR efficacy. Job titles include human resources director, human resources manager, and compensation and benefits manager. According to Salary.com, human resources managers earn an average salary of $106,930.

Marketing

Marketing managers in the energy industry analyze current and potential energy markets for opportunities, formulate strategies to increase sales and expand markets, and develop approaches to improve the marketability of products and services. They devise pricing strategies and employ analytics to forecast consumer demand. Payscale reports an average salary for senior marketing managers of $99,979.

Operations

Energy operations include the management of construction, maintenance and repair of machinery and other operating systems; oversight of daily activities of operations divisions, setting targets and developing strategies for optimization; monitoring and analyzing production and other performance metrics for potential areas of improvement’ budget management; and safety enforcement. Upper-level operations managers oversee large industrial sites and processes, a job requiring hard and soft skills. According to Salary.com, operations managers in Oklahoma earn an average of $100,517 annually.

Real estate

Energy production and transportation often require the procurement of commercial and industrial real estate. Such deals require a high level of skill and expertise. Professionals with titles like real estate analyst and global real estate strategic planning manager oversee property acquisitions, including site scouting and contract negotiations; manage leases and other rental agreements; analyze the risk associated with prospective and current properties; and review real estate-related legal documents. According to Payscale, real estate planning managers earn salaries of $112,458, plus incentives.

Supply chain management

Energy industry supply chain managers forecast material needs of various physical operations within the company and procure and arrange delivery of materials. They also monitor the progress of supplies as they travel through the supply chain, oversee development projects and direct delivery of necessary materials for their completion. They seek opportunities to reduce costs at all junctures along the supply chain and optimize storage processes, warehouse capacity and delivery times. These high-level operations professionals typically earn $113,685 in salary, plus additional incentives.

Where should you earn your energy MBA?

You want to earn your MBA with an energy specialization from a school with solid connections to the energy industry, like the University of Tulsa Online MBA. Tulsa sits at the heart of the West South Central states, home to America’s energy industry; the city hosts numerous major energy company headquarters. Regardless of whether you study on-campus or online, you’ll benefit from the robust professional network created by faculty, visiting instructors, alumni and classmates.

An online MBA from TU offers early and mid-career professionals the chance to advance farther and faster in their professional lives while continuing to work and earn. Flexible program design enables students to finish in as few as 12 months. Taking two classes per semester, part-time students can complete the degree in just 24 months. Full-time or part-time, the program is designed to meet the needs of busy professionals, offering maximum flexibility through a combination of asynchronous and synchronous content.

The University of Tulsa is a nationally recognized leader in energy studies. CEOWORLD named the McDougall School of Petroleum Engineering the world’s best university for oil, gas and petroleum engineering. The College of Law is renowned for its excellence in energy law, and the Collins College of Business – home to the Online MBA – enjoys strong ties to the energy industry that impact faculty, curriculum and alumni networking.

All applicants are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships; there’s no need to submit a separate application. Qualified military veterans can receive up to 100 percent paid tuition through the Yellow Ribbon Program. You can apply online today, so why wait?

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