MBA at 35 - Career Options?

jgrisham's picture
Rank: Monkey | 51

Got into a top 5 MBA school recently. All my work-ex has been in the Energy sector in Houston as an engineer. Applied to b-school after realizing that even smart engineers don't make squat and can never get above maybe a 150K comp package. The problem is that by the time I graduate from b-school school, I will be 35. I was brainstorming about potential career options:

  1. consulting in a BB firm's petroleum practice.
  2. try to break into energy investment banking
  3. work for an energy major in a corporate strategy role
  4. try hard to enter into one of the boutique energy PE shops
  5. work at a business role in a green energy startup
  6. (..edit..) energy trading

Am I too old to get any benefit from a full-time MBA or being able to break into any of the above? Several people I spoke with recommended that I should consider a part-time from UT-Austin instead, which carries far less risk and opportunity cost.

What else in terms of a financially rewarding career path should I be looking at?

Comments (33)

Jun 12, 2011

Hey man. Work in E&P banking for a BB. Realy familiar w/ space, think could offer some good advice (noted am an analyst). PM me if interested.

Jun 12, 2011
Stringer Bell:

Hey man. Work in E&P banking for a BB. Realy familiar w/ space, think could offer some good advice (noted am an analyst). PM me if interested.

Great, would appreciate the advice. Sent PM.

Jun 12, 2011
jgrisham:
Stringer Bell:

Hey man. Work in E&P banking for a BB. Realy familiar w/ space, think could offer some good advice (noted am an analyst). PM me if interested.

Great, would appreciate the advice. Sent PM.

Stick w/ Monty, he'll point you in the right direction.

Jun 12, 2011

Really? Don't want to do energy research or energy trading? Coming from an engineering background, I would assume that you could handle the quantitative aspect. Coming from a quantitative background, I always find IB (and sometimes consulting) not to quench my thirst for mathematics/statistics. That's just me.

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I have deleted this account (or tried). If there is somehow posts still occuring, it is not from the original account holder.

Jun 12, 2011

Oh, yes I really want to do energy trading. Research is good too. But I talked to a few people and they seemed to suggest that most of the traders start fairly early in their career and maybe it might be difficult for me to break in at this late stage. I traded my own options account fairly actively (20-50 trades a month) for several years with real money and hence have some grasp of derivative pricing and strategies (and a P&L track record). If I can break into trading at this point that would be my first choice.

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Jun 12, 2011

There is a multitude of possible options. I would go to the top 5 business school and reevaluate my future. Going to a top bschool can lead you to any path, the choice is up to you. You don't have to work in finance to make bank.

Jun 12, 2011

As far as energy trading at a BB, there is somewhat of an age bias. I was in talks with the BP's trading arm for a while, however. If you really want to look into trading, look at something like that. Still follow the previous poster's advice though, as I haven't been around long enough to know.

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I have deleted this account (or tried). If there is somehow posts still occuring, it is not from the original account holder.

Jun 12, 2011

PM me and lets have dinner. I am in Houston

Jun 12, 2011
monty09:

PM me and lets have dinner. I am in Houston

Thanks monty09. Sent PM.

Jun 12, 2011

Don't worry about age. Find what you really want to do and pursue it. The only thing that might prove difficult is PE but that has nothing to do with age. However, considering your age and industry you should have looked at McCombs and Rice for full-time. Also, the in-state tuition would have a faster payback. You can get into energy from a top 5, I'm assuming not HSW because you would have said top 3 but the face-time with energy would have been easier and less expensive.

Honestly, what's done is done go with the top 5 and worry about your career path once your in school

Jun 12, 2011

I am headed to MIT Sloan (ranked 3 by US News, for whatever that's worth). Since full-time carries a significant opportunity cost, the approach I used to decide upon a program is: If I get into a top program then I will quit my job to pursue a full-time else I will do a part-time from McCombs. I did apply and I have also been admitted to McCombs part-time program.

Jun 12, 2011

Too late to pitch and moan about school. Heading to MIT and whats done is done. I offer this... start to network now with the MIT alumni in the Houston area as well has in the energy space(Boston comes to mind as a small energy hub) AND use MIT once on campus to further network with all non energy options.

You will lev MIT and what comes to campus while also lev what you have networked on your own. I offer this advice to all once they fine out what school they are going to. I took it a step further and started to network with people at the schools I was considering as it offered a huge leg up on info. HUGE

good luck and PM me any questions

Jun 12, 2011

Actually the school isn't totally final just yet. I have a late acceptance deal going on whereby I still have to give a final acceptance, so even though I said I am going to MIT, it is really something I still have to confirm. At this point I am free to choose (within the next 2 weeks) between Sloan (full-time) and McCombs (part-time).

Does anyone think that McCombs part-time would be a better decision than Sloan full-time?

Jun 12, 2011
jgrisham:

Actually the school isn't totally final just yet. I have a late acceptance deal going on whereby I still have to give a final acceptance, so even though I said I am going to MIT, it is really something I still have to confirm. At this point I am free to choose (within the next 2 weeks) between Sloan (full-time) and McCombs (part-time).

Does anyone think that McCombs part-time would be a better decision than Sloan full-time?

no UT part time is not even in the same ball park as MIT full time

Jun 13, 2011
jgrisham:

Actually the school isn't totally final just yet. I have a late acceptance deal going on whereby I still have to give a final acceptance, so even though I said I am going to MIT, it is really something I still have to confirm. At this point I am free to choose (within the next 2 weeks) between Sloan (full-time) and McCombs (part-time).

Does anyone think that McCombs part-time would be a better decision than Sloan full-time?

How can you even compare?

I'd give my left nut for Sloan.

Jun 12, 2011

Cool as hell, you're an inspiration!

Jun 12, 2011
UFOinsider:

Cool as hell, you're an inspiration!

?

Jun 14, 2011
monty09:
UFOinsider:

Cool as hell, you're an inspiration!

?

I'll be 34 by the time I finish bschool....this guy gives me hope. Age is a factor, but my understanding is that if you can do the work and don't mind the hours, then it's not that big a deal.

Jun 12, 2011

I've seen guys with an engineering background in the E&P space go into VC/PE E&P. I saw a couple profiles on some VC/PE websites that had guys with Engineering degree + engineering E&P exp + MBA . I can't remember on the top of my head but you should be able to find a couple in the Houston/Austin area with simple google/linkedin search, if that helps.

Jun 12, 2011

Great....a slew of helpful posts here. Thanks to all the posters who made helpful suggestions. Special kudos to monty09 and Stringer Bell for personally offering assistance.

Jun 13, 2011

Number 3 is probably your best bet...

Jun 13, 2011

I would do Sloan or just make a career move to business w/o any b-school. Just take some finance and accounting classes, read some marketing books, and hustle. If you're an engineer you should be able to pick up business pretty easily. I say this as a Wharton grad: the opportunity cost of b-school is not justified by what you learn but the network you get (although I learned a lot, I probably could have learned most of it on my own if I had been sufficiently motivated). I don't know McCombs at all, but I suspect that the strength of its network is multiple orders of magnitude less than at a top-5 school.

Don't take my word for it though; use LinkedIn to see where McCombs vs Sloan grads are working, and/or search for people in your ideal job(s) that went to McCombs vs Sloan. That should be an important data point in your decision.

If the Sloan student body resembles Wharton's, you will be upper quartile for age but not an outlier. They wouldn't have accepted you if they didn't think it was good for your career.

PM me if you want to hear more..

Jun 13, 2011

MIT. It's a great school You should take advantage of the summer internship if you are a career switcher.

Jun 13, 2011

@jman1234 I agree that the strength of the MIT alum would be far greater, but UT still might offer some advantages if one is shooting for Energy.

Jun 13, 2011

The advantage is full time recruiting versus part time recruiting. Also, I don't remember seeing it anywhere, but are you wanting to stay in Texas?

Jun 13, 2011

No not necessarily, but since my experience has been in energy it is more likely I will end up here. But of course Sloan would offer many more options across the country.

Jun 14, 2011

Come on up to Calgary aha

Jun 15, 2011

The other thing is this - worse case scenario you don't get a job in finance, you will be a very strong candidate to manage the type of workers you used to be.....

Jun 15, 2011

Except that in the Energy sector in Houston, MBA really has little value for operational management. Even most of the top executives have risen through the ranks because they have spent time in the trenches. Hardly any of the top or middle management have MBAs. Though of course an MBA would help if one were aiming for the Corp Finance side of the company.

Jun 15, 2011

When you get to b-school it will open your eyes to a lot of other options out there that are not even on your radar rigt now. If I were you I would go to school, be open minded and sort it out as you go. You may not end up wanting to do what you initially thought you would want to do.

Jun 15, 2011

I would never ever give up my left nut for anything, but I would definitely choose MIT over McCombs. You shouldn't really sweat your options right now. I think once you start at MIT your options will open up pretty quickly. I think even if you want to stay or come back to Houston, I think an MIT MBA would be more valuable than a Rice MBA or UT MBA. You probably won't be able to make the same energy business connections at MIT that you would here in Houston, but I think the "WOW" factor of MIT would overcome that....

Good luck..you seem like a smart person you should be able to do whatever you choose.

Jun 22, 2011
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Dec 15, 2017