After the MBA: Alumni Careers in the Energy Sector

Interviews with b-school alumni working in this constantly evolving industry.

The energy-focused MBA is designed for those who want to develop analytical expertise within the wide gamut of resource and energy industries, from conventional oil and gas resources to the development of clean and renewable energy systems.

These programs train students to address key strategic questions about the relationship between energy resources and environmental issues, which are crucial to both business leaders and policymakers.

We spoke to a few business school alumni about how an MBA helped further their career in the energy sector. You can also see a list of the top 10 MBA programs for a career in energy here.

Roslyn McMann

Sales Manager, Western Canada, GE Energy, Power & Water
Alumni, University of Calgary - Haskayne School of Business

"I found the MBA was very time-consuming and the volume of work very high. One of the things I learned was how to prioritize my reading and assignments to be more efficient about what I could and could not complete within a certain time. This has been useful for my job at GE Energy. There is always more work to do than you can fit in a day or week. So you need to ask yourself: what has the most impact on the results I am trying to achieve?

At GE Energy, my responsibility is to grow our renewables business in Western Canada. I spend most of my time working with customers who are developing large-scale (50MW +) wind projects. The MBA taught me how to prioritize and also helped me get through the door at GE. The GEMS (Global Energy Management & Sustainable Development) program provided a good perspective on the Energy industry that helped me move into that field."

Bruce Stol

Manager, Financial Planning & Analysis, Trican Well Service
Alumni, University of Alberta School of Business

"I was really just looking for a different direction in my career. I didn't want to be an engineer, so a friend of mine who was a professor at the University of Alberta, said they were starting the Natural Resources and Energy specialization there.

Graduating in 2001 was bad timing. I was looking for work in power marketing, which is what most of my classmates did in the deregulated energy sector here in the United States. But 9/11 really put an end to that, and when Enron went out of business, that really flooded the market with analysts. So I went back into the construction sector as a project manager. When that contract ended in 2002, I started with the Trican operations group in central Alberta. I worked there for about a year then moved to Calgary and started up our bid-assessment and bid-modeling department.

Because of my MBA I have a different perspective on the industry and how it works, what to look for, and how to come up with the answers to questions. It's given me an advantage in a lot of areas. At the moment, I'm hiring to rebuild Trican's planning and analysis group for budgeting. I'm interviewing a number of people with MBAs, and my view is that if you're going to do an MBA, you've got to focus what you're intending on doing. If you just get a general MBA, it gives you too broad of a view.

When I was doing the NRE (Natural Resources Energy & Environment specialization) at the University of Alberta, we were a lot more finance-focused. I took a few courses to deal with the modeling and contract negotiating, but it was very much focused on the energy industry policies that are being considered and the direction it's going. So that was very helpful to my career."

Sabine Fleischmann
Independent Management Consultant
Alumni, WU Executive Academy, The Vienna University of Economics and Business

I had nearly 20 years of experience in the IT industry, of which I had worked in management and leadership positions for more than 15 years. So I had quite extensive experience in management and leadership tasks, such as organizational and people management, business and operations management, and negotiations. I had no experience at all in energy related topics, so I chose this MBA because I planned to transition my career path from the IT industry to the energy industry.

I am working as managing director for a startup company that plans to develop and offer smart energy management solutions for consumers and small businesses in Austria. I have been asked to work in this role because of my experience in and deep knowledge of the software and IT solutions industry, as well as my recently acquired insight into the energy business.

The MBA program complemented my previous industry experience with new knowledge and definitely helped me both to find an interesting area within the energy industry, and to properly educate me on this sector."

"After the MBA" is a series on FIND MBA that talks to alumni in different fields to find out how an MBA helped them.

Image: Diliff / Creative Commons

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