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6 MBA Programs to Launch Your Career in the Energy Industry

Energy MBA V2

Written by Molly Ellison. Photo courtesy of Jondaar_1 via Flickr.

Do you want to climb to the top of a petroleum giant like Shell? Or, maybe you’re more interested in the large scale distribution of renewable energy? Either way, getting an MBA will set you apart from the crowd in the energy industry. Whether you want to land in the plains of energy-rich Texas or the innovative Bay Area, top programs in the U.S. and Canada offer students strong academic and co-curricular opportunities. Read on to learn more about some of our favorite business schools to launch your career in energy.

The International Energy Agency estimates that the world’s energy consumption will increase by nearly 30% by 2040, compared to rates in 2015. In order to accommodate this extraordinary growth, investments – as well as innovation – will need to continue pumping into the energy industry. If you want to be on the cutting edge of a booming industry, getting an MBA to kickstart your career in energy sector may be a perfect fit.

For years, the oil and gas industry has been one of the most lucrative in the world. Though the sector faced hurdles post-recession, it has seen growth in recent years and offers lots of opportunities for MBA grads. The right MBA experience can also prep you for a career in sustainability and renewables. The new energy sector in the U.S. is booming – it generates an estimated $200 billion annually in revenues and employs nearly 3 million people.

Our list features six schools – five of which are located in the U.S. and one that’s in Canada. When selecting these programs, we took into account employment statistics, academic offerings, research and networking opportunities, and location. Some of the schools on our list sent as many as 16% of their recent grads into the energy sector. Most also offer robust concentrations in cleantech, natural resource management, and other related subjects.

Then, there’s location. Where you study your MBA can play a pivotal role in where you end up post-grad. Three of the programs on our list are located in Texas, the historic hub of America’s energy industry. The state is home to many oil and gas giants, as well as a booming cleantech scene. With low tax rates and cost of living, as well as several major metro areas to choose from, Texas isn’t a bad place to call home both as a student and post-grad.

So, what are you waiting for? Read on below to find the energy-focused MBA program that’s right for you.

The Best Full-Time MBA Programs for a Career in Energy

Rice MBA Logo

Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business (Rice Business)

Houston, Texas, United States

They say don’t mess with Texas – especially when you’re talking about the energy industry. Houston is America’s oil and gas capital, home to 39 of the nation’s 138 publicly traded oil and gas exploration and production firms. Key players like Shell Oil, GE Oil & Gas, BP America Inc., and CITGO Petroleum Corporation all call the city home. So, it’s no surprise that Rice Business’s MBA program offers a robust concentration in energy. It also boasts the second-highest sector employment numbers of any school on our list. And, more than 20% of the b-school’s 6,000 living alumni (MBA and otherwise) work in energy.

Energy in the Classroom

Through the energy concentration, MBA students can choose from an extensive range of electives such as “Geopolitics of Energy” and “Pricing Strategies for the Oil & Gas Industry.” MBAs can even participate in an international study trip to South America where inn the past, the group has visited the headquarters of Repsol YPF and the Petrobras Research center.

Energy Outside the Classroom

The b-school hosts the annual Rice Energy Finance Summit, which brings together students and industry leaders. Chevron and Phillips 66 were among the 2017 event’s sponsors. Rice Business Students can take advantage of offerings from the Center for Energy Studies, an interdisciplinary organization housed at the Baker Institute for Public Policy. Past events have included “The Next Three Decades: Energy in India’s Transformation” and a visit from Ecuador’s Minister of Hydrocarbons.

Where Do Grads End Up?

An impressive 14.8% of the Class of 2016 landed jobs in the sector – that’s the second highest rate of the schools on our list. Of the b-school’s 6,000 living alumni, more than 1,400 work in the petroleum or energy sectors. Chevron, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and Shell are top employers.

Energy in Practice: A Rice Business MBA’s Success Story

Cody Hampshire, MBA ‘12, went straight into the energy industry post-grad and worked for National Oilwell Velco in new product development.

Mays MBA Logo

Texas A&M University, Mays Business School (Mays)

College Station, Texas, United States

What Mays lacks in academic offerings, it makes up for in career placement. Though the MBA program doesn’t offer a concentration or dual-degree in energy, it sent 13% of its recent grads into the sector. The Texas A&M Energy Institute can also be an invaluable resource to b-school students who are interested in an interdisciplinary learning experience. Being located in the heart of Texas puts Mays MBAs in an ideal location to network with oil and gas companies, too.

Energy in the Classroom

The Texas A&M Energy Institute is home to both the Master of Science in Energy and Certificate in Energy programs. Unfortunately, b-school students can’t pursue either degree in tandem with their MBAs. That being said, the institute – which connects more than 20 departments and 240 faculty members across two branch campuses – can be an invaluable resource for MBA candidates.

Energy Outside the Classroom

B-school students can join the Energy Club, which welcomes students from across the Texas A&M campus. Mays hosts an semesterly energy panel, which has featured professionals from Phillips 66, Enterprise, and Southwestern, among others.

The Energy Institute also frequently hosts workshops, events, and guest lectures that MBA candidates can attend.

Where Do Grads End Up?

Thirteen percent of the Class of 2017 landed jobs in the energy sector – that’s one of the highest placement rates among our featured schools.

Energy in Practice: A Mays MBA’s Success Story

Jeff Miller, MBA ‘88, is President and CEO of Halliburton, a nearly century-old oil and gas services company.

Alberta MBA Logo

University of Alberta, Alberta School of Business (Alberta)

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

The University of Alberta sits in the center of Canada’s energy industry and the region recently experienced an upswing in business. It’s anticipated that companies will invest about $30 billion in the province’s industry this year alone. The MBA program offers a concentration in Natural Resources, Energy, and Environment that offers extensive career development and co-curricular opportunities for students. The school also offers a Sustainability concentration for MBAs interested in cleantech and renewables.

Energy in the Classroom

Students in the Natural Resources, Energy, and Environment MBA concentration can work closely with the Centre for Applied Business Research in Energy and the Environment.

The Sustainability concentration offers energy-related courses including “Natural Resource and Environmental Law,” “Environmental Management,” and “Innovation & Sustainability – The Cleantech Revolution.”

Energy Outside the Classroom

Every year, MBA candidates go on an international study tour to learn about the energy industry firsthand. Students have traveled to Brazil, the U.S., Germany, Norway, Colombia, the U.K., and France to visit organizations ranging from Valero to the Nature Conservancy.

Where Do Grads End Up?

Alberta boasts the highest employment rate of any school on our list with 16% of its Class of 2016 working in energy.

Energy in Practice: An Alberta MBA’s Success Story

Mike Hopkins, MBA’ 84, is CEO of Ice Energy, a cleantech company that uses energy from melting ice in air conditioners to generate electricity. Ice Energy is on the forefront of Canada’s renewables sector.

McCombs MBA Logo

The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business (Texas) – Touch MBA Interview

Austin, Texas, United States

Unlike its Lone Star State counterparts on this list, the Texas MBA program focuses more on cleantech than oil and gas. MBAs can study sustainability through the CleanTech concentration and by working on projects through the renowned Clean Energy Incubator. The university conducts more clean energy research than any other school in the world. Despite its reputation in the cleantech sector, the b-school’s industry employment numbers aren’t as strong as some others on our list.

Energy in the Classroom

Through the CleanTech MBA concentration, students can take courses like “Wind Energy” and “Energy Technology & Policy.” The track takes an interdisciplinary approach by offering classes in law, finance, and public policy. The MBA program also offers an Energy Finance concentration.

Students interested in an interdisciplinary learning experience or more research-based approach can participate in the Graduate Portfolio Program in Energy Studies or the Graduate Portfolio Program in Sustainability.

Energy Outside the Classroom

Texas’s robust research centers include the Energy Management and Innovation Center, and the Clean Energy Incubator (CEI), which was founded in 2001. Current projects at the CEI focus on developing new ways to use solar and chemical waste to power communities. Supporters of the incubator include the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Defense Fund.

The university’s Energy Institute is an interdisciplinary center that conducts research and hosts events. It hosts the semesterly, campus-wide UT Energy Symposium, and the annual UT Energy Week, which welcomes public- and private-sector leaders in the field. The Kay Bailey Hutchinson Center for Energy, Law, and Business also offers opportunities to students interested in a career in Latin America.

Where Do Grads End Up?

Five percent of the Class of 2016 landed jobs in petroleum and energy, and more than half stayed in the Southwest.

Energy in Practice: A Texas MBA’s Success Story

Erik Norwood, MBA ‘12, used his cleantech b-school training to found Curb, an energy management company that helps homeowners monitor their power usage and cut their electricity bills.

Duke Fuqua MBA

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business (Fuqua) – Touch MBA Interview

Durham, North Carolina, United States

Fuqua’s MBA program offers academic and co-curricular activities for those interested in both cleantech and petroleum. The b-school has two concentrations in the field and a dual-degree with the Nicholas School of the Environment. Fuqua is also located in North Carolina’s “Research Triangle,” so it neighbors other world-class research universities and organizations.

Energy in the Classroom

Fuqua offers MBA concentrations in Energy and Environment, and Energy Finance. Course offerings range from “Energy, Markets, & Innovation” to “Renewables and the World’s Poor.”

Are you passionate about sustainability? If so, consider pursuing a dual MBA-Master of Environmental Management. The degree is offered through the university’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

Energy Outside the Classroom

Fuqua hosts a number of annual events related to the sector, including the Duke University Energy Conference, Energy in Emerging Markets Case Competition, and Energy Week. The event’s sponsors range from petroleum companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron, to cleantech leaders like the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster and Southern Power.

Where Do Grads End Up?

Four percent of the Class of 2017 landed jobs in energy with top-tier firms across the sector such as ExxonMobil, Pacific Gas & Electric, Tesla, Scott Madden, and Accenture Strategy Energy.

Energy in Practice: A Fuqua MBA’s Success Story

Jose Ceballos, MBA ’15, is a strategy consultant for Accenture’s energy practice in Mexico City. He’s consulted PEMEX, Mexico’s state-owned petroleum company, on financial management and new contracts with private entities as Mexico’s energy market privatizes.

Berkeley Haas Logo

The University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business (Berkeley Haas)

Berkeley, California, United States

With Berkeley Haas’s strong reputation in social impact and sustainability, it’s no surprise that the b-school is a great fit for cleantech-minded students. The program offers a concentration in Energy and Clean Technology. MBAs can also attend events and activities through the Berkeley Energy & Resources Collaborative, as well as the Energy institute at Haas.

Energy in the Classroom

The Energy and Clean Technology concentration preps students for a career in renewables and sustainability through dynamic classes. In the interdisciplinary “Cleantech to Market” course, MBAs work with graduate students from other departments to craft a market research report.

Energy Outside the Classroom

The Berkeley Energy & Resources Collaborative (BERC) brings together students, faculty, industry leaders, and alumni from across the university community through innovative initiatives and events. BERC hosts the Berkeley Innovative Solutions (BIS) Consulting program, through which MBAs tackle business challenges with real-world clients.

The Energy Institute at Haas is an interdisciplinary research center that also offers courses to students from a range of departments. Its Alternative Energy Speaker Series welcomes industry professionals who offer unique perspectives on renewables and the cleantech sector.

Where Do Grads End Up?

Close to 5% of the Class of 2016 scored jobs in energy. Cleantech companies including SunPower, Bloom Energy and SolarCity have hired Berkeley Haas grads in recent years.

Energy in Practice: A Berkeley Haas MBA’s Success Story

Tracy Cheung, MBA ‘08, was involved with BERC and the Net Impact Club while at Berkeley Haas. Post-grad, she landed a job with Pacific Gas and Electric Company in San Francisco. She is currently the organization’s Manager of Strategy and Policy Design for Grid Innovation and Integration.

The MBA Roads Less Traveled: Programs to Consider

Don’t think a full-time MBA is the right fit for you? Or, maybe you’re interested in a more off-beat program? Here are some other b-schools to consider.

  • The University of Oklahoma, Price College of Business: Price offers an Executive MBA in Energy that takes place mostly online. The b-school’s full-time program also offers a certificate in energy and a dual-program with Bachelor’s of Science in Petroleum Engineering. Though Price is located in the middle of America, students can gain valuable international experience by studying abroad at the Institute of French Petroleum.
  • University of Calgary, Haskayne School of Business: Haskayne offers several energy-related degrees, including a Global Energy Executive MBA, a full-time MBA with a specialization in Global Energy Management and Sustainable Development, and a Master’s of Science in Sustainable Energy Development.

Head to Head

Read below for a head-to-head comparison of top energy MBA programs. You can also contact our team to get free b-school selection help.

Rice Business MBA vs. Texas A&M Mays MBA vs. Alberta MBA

Texas MBA vs. Duke Fuqua MBA vs. Berkeley Haas MBA

Last updated January 2017

Rice Business MBA vs. Texas A&M Mays MBA vs. Alberta MBA

Rice BusinessTexas A&M MaysAlberta
% of graduates going into field14.8% - Petroleum/energy

Class of 2016
13% - Energy

Class of 2017
16% - Energy

Class of 2016
Related courseworkElectives:
International Energy Simulation

Managing Energy Transitions

Geopolitics of Energy

Energy Derivatives

Innovation in Energy Tech

International Energy Development

Operations Lab: Energy
Energy E-Lab

Managing in a Carbon Constrained World

Fundamentals of the Energy Industry

Competition, Carbon, and Electricity Policy

Entrepreneurship in the Energy Industry

Business Strategy in the Energy Industry

Pricing Strategies for the Oil & Gas Industry

Marketing in the Energy Industry

Project Management in Energy
Natural Resource and Environmental Law

Environmental Management

Innovation & Sustainability - The Cleantech Revolution

Energy Industries and Markets

Natural Resources and Energy
Related co-curricular opportunitiesRice Energy Finance Summit

International Study Trip to South America

Center for Energy Studies

Global Energy Transitions Summit

Energy Club

Women's Energy Network
Energy Club

Texas A&M Energy Institute
Centre for Applied Business Research in Energy and the Environment

International Study Tours
Dual-degree & specialization offeringsMaster's in Energy EconomicsMaster of Science in Energy

Certificate in Energy
Natural Resources, Energy, and Environment


Texas MBA vs. Duke Fuqua MBA vs. Berkeley Haas MBA

TexasDuke FuquaBerkeley Haas
% of graduates going into field5% - Petroleum & Energy

Class of 2016
3% - Energy
1% - Energy Consulting

Class of 2017
4.4% - Energy

Class of 2016
Related courseworkElectives:
Energy Technology & Policy

Management Sustainability Practicum

Energy Law

Wind Energy

Climate Change Law & Policy

Environmental Law & Policy

Law of Commercial Real Estate Finance & Development

Political Economy of Global Energy

Research in Energy/Earth Resources
Energy, Markets, & Innovation

Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum: Energy and Environment

Special Topics -- Energy Policy

Resource & Environmental Economics

Transportation and Energy

Energy Economics and Policy

Energy Technology and Impact on the Environment

Renewables and the World's Poor

Hydrocarbons: Houston Field Trip

Modeling for Energy Systems

Environmental Life Cycle Analysis and Decision Making

Climate Change Economics and Policy

Markets for Electric Power

Approaches to a Low Carbon Economy

Environmental Law

Energy Law

Climate Change and the Law

Economic Development and Environmental Conservation

Energy & Environment Seminar Series

FCCP Energy (Energy Practicum)

Energy Focused GATE - Energy Policy
Energy and Environmental Markets

Cleantech to Market

Legal and Regulatory Frameworks for Energy and Infrastructure Project Finance

Modeling for Energy and Infrastructure Project Finance

Strategic and Sustainable Business Solutions
Related co-curricular opportunitiesKay Bailey Hutchinson Center for Energy, Law, and Business

Clean Energy Incubator

UT Energy Symposium

UT Energy Week
Duke University Energy Conference

Energy in Emerging Markets Case Competition

Energy Week

Energy Club
Berkeley-Haas Center for Responsible Business

Berkeley Energy & Resources Collaborative (BERC)

BERC Energy Summit

Berkeley Innovative Solutions (BIS) Consulting Program

Energy Institute at Haas
Dual-degree & specialization offeringsGraduate Portfolio Programs: Energy Studies


Concentrations: CleanTech

Energy Finance
Dual MBA-Master of Environmental Management

Energy & Environment

Energy Finance
Areas of emphasis: Energy and Cleantech

 Behind the Rankings for Energy MBAs

TOP MBA – Top Business Schools for Energy and Natural Resources (2017)

Though this isn’t the most scientifically crafted list, it provides a strong overview of some of the top MBA programs both in the U.S. and abroad.

 What Do You Think?

While we’ve highlighted some of our favorite tech industry MBA programs, there are so many other great schools out there. Is there another b-school that you think deserves to be featured? If so, let us know why in the comments below.

Two thoughts on “6 MBA Programs to Launch Your Career in the Energy Industry

  1. Great article Molly! Texas is definitely the heart and soul of energy, but it’s starting to grow in popularity at universities across the country and around the world. For someone looking to make a career change into energy, are there any conferences you recommend they attend or associations they should join?

  2. Pingback: #139 Breaking into Energy & Sustainability (as an MBA) - » Touch MBA

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