Houston Energy (Oil & Gas) Consulting

I'm an engineer in oil and gas, and I'm considering switching to consulting (strategy, not IT). I'd like to stay in Houston as it appears most consulting firms here focus on energy (I want to stay in oil & gas industry). I've got a few questions:

-How often do Houston energy consultants travel? Seems like most of their clients are located in Houston; unless consultants go to job sites.

-Are part-time MBA graduates like UT and Rice well represented at MBB? I know they are at Tier 2s like Accenture and Deloitte, but I'm not sure about MBB.

-What type of skills/background do consulting firms want from engineers who aren't in finance/marketing roles? Cost optimization, project planning/implementation and leadership are what I think they want to see.

Thanks, I appreciate the help!

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Comments (8)

Best Response
Sep 19, 2016 - 9:14pm

Didn't recruit directly there but had a few buddies who did so hopefully I can answer your questions:

  1. Travel is a bit firm dependent, though keep in mind all firms staff with the Dallas office, even Bain which generally staffs locally in most cities. Therefore at minimum expect some Dallas travel and if you are doing energy work expect a decent amount of travel- I'd say 50%-75%. Some of that will be short trips to New Orleans, Dallas, or Texas Oilfields, other travel will be farther, sometimes much farther. The oil and gas is global so travel can be global.

  2. Lot of UT folks for sure. Not sure about Rice. Think just about everyone came from full time. Would probably be best to check with part timers on recruiting. Keep in mind with a part time program that you do have access to the recruiting calendar, info sessions, etc, but it may be challenging to attend those events in a part-time program.

  3. Lots of engineers get MBAs and do energy consulting. My buddies who recruited successfully were both engineers, so I'd say that its generally a good thing in the energy space. Being an engineer, firms know you can do math and therefore will most want to see people skills in applicants (similar, if you're an English major who worked in non-profit they'll want to see quant skills). Sounds silly, but they assume you have all the optimization, project planning, etc skills already and want to make sure you can pass an airport test.

Sep 20, 2016 - 1:44am

Sorry but there are not very many full-time McCombs or Jones MBA represented in MBB's Energy practice much less part-timers. We cherry pick a few out of McCombs every year but almost every Rice MBA was given offers because they are already PhDs (i.e. joint degrees) so they come in as advanced degree candidates.

Additionally, I would not assume that part-timers are well represented in tier 2 firms either. I know a good number of people at Deloitte and Accenture and they are all from full-time top 10-15 MBA programs. If you are seriously considering a career switch, I'd advise that you attend a full-time target.

Nov 2, 2016 - 6:11pm

There are definitely McCombs people at MBB and a pretty good number (maybe we are splitting hairs on numbers here) in the Houston and Dallas offices. I can't speak to the energy practices specifically as most of these people were generalists, but I was only referring to specific offices, not practices. OP will most likely be a generalist to start anyway. I worked with a mccombs guy this summer out of Dallas and met a few other people at various company functions who were McCombs and in the Texas offices.

Oct 31, 2016 - 8:42pm

Most people I know working in MBB in Houston/Dallas tend to get MBAs from M7 or similar target schools. That said, I think UT and Rice are still semi-target, but I won't expect any success with the part-time program.

The amount of travel will depend on the company. McKinsey has global staffing, BCG regional and Bain local. Expect to travel much less in Bain / BCG compared to McKinsey, specially in O&G (70-80% of time). I have met people who have moved to 2nd-tier consulting companies at the Principal level just to avoid travelling that much.

Finally, a thing to be mindful is that the core of the energy projects is usually ops. Don't expect to work in a lot of pure strategy projects. Most engineers actually enjoy operations!

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