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Major investment bank for energy A&D activities.
July 12, 2014 6:58 AM   Subscribe

I've been with my company (a major Oil and Gas E&P company) for seven years now, and I've moved domestically three times with them. My major is in Petroleum Engineering with an emphasis on Reservoir Engineering and I'm currently getting my MBA. I am considering getting into investment banking for energy A&D (acquisition and divestiture) advisory activities. What is the career path (I was told I would start at associate level II) and what doors could this open for me? Say I do this for 2-3 years ... what makes sense from a career standpoint next?? I got into my industry to move oversees eventually. Is this an option with an A&D advisory position? Similarly, does this open doors to live places where oil is not, such as NYC or London or Chicago? Any general advice on a position like this? Has anyone made a move like this and are you happy or do you regret this move?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (1 answer total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I am a 20 yr. recruiter in a field related to investment banking. I will do my best to answer your questions and/or contribute some perspective.

What is the career path (I was told I would start at associate level II)

The traditional career path in IB is to put in a couple years of work following an undergrad degree in finance, go back grad school (typically MBA), then return to IB as an Associate. It's hard to say what this might mean for you without the pre-MBA work experience in IB (or the financial industry more generally). It could put you at a disadvantage compared to other MBAs who DO have the work experience. If you were able to get your foot in the door, yes you would probably be hired with an "Associate" job title. "Associate Level II"? That's splitting hairs.

what doors could this open for me?

You could continue to climb through the ranks at the IB. You could eventually return to the O&G industry itself in an A&D function instead of PE. You could go off in any one of a hundred different directions. It could open enough different doors that this may not be a question to focus on at this point. Focus on getting into the job and the doors will show up.

Say I do this for 2-3 years ... what makes sense from a career standpoint next??

If you're thinking you're only going to go the IB route for 2-3 years, you're probably wasting your time even thinking about IB at all. IB is a tough world. In that 2-3 years you will just begin to gain career momentum. Why would you give that up?

I got into my industry to move oversees eventually. Is this an option with an A&D advisory position?

You can't rule anything out. The odds of moving overseas are so small, however, that you should not be motivated by that expectation. Frankly, you stand a better chance of an overseas move by staying the O&G industry itself.

does this open doors to live places where oil is not, such as NYC or London or Chicago?

Possibly ... but only if you are able to hire on at the largest, most prestigious IB firms. And, by definition, those firms are able to attract graduates with top grades from the top MBA programs in the country. Only you know how you stack up against them.

Any general advice on a position like this?

- Be prepared to work your ass off. It's not uncommon for IB Associates to put in 60 to 70 hour weeks (sometimes 80).
- Start researching which IB firms have a significant enough activity in O&G that they would be your targets when it comes time to apply. (Ask your Finance professor how to do this research.) You may find that many (most?) of them are smaller, with names you don't necessarily recognize, and aren't necessarily in those big attractive cities that you named.
- Don't rule out commercial banking. Large banks in cities like Houston and Dallas provide financing to O&G companies and typically have PE/MBAs to help do the analysis (which is similar to what you'd be doing as an IB Associate, anyway).

Investment banking can be a great career. And you may have what it takes to do it successfully. It's just that how it really is on the inside is often quite different from how it looks from the outside.
posted by John Borrowman at 2:11 PM on July 14


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