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Career advice - I really need it

Career Advising career progression oil & gas
New answer on Mar 12, 2024
4 Answers
225 Views
Anonymous A asked on Mar 08, 2024

Hi everyone,

I hope you're all having a great week.

A quick background about me: I'm a petroleum engineer who completed my studies in the UK, holding an MSc in Petroleum Engineering. I have no MBAs or economics background of any sort. Upon graduation, I joined Schlumberger, an O&G firm providing technical services for industry giants like BP, Shell, and Total. While I enjoyed the job and the compensation, I disliked the uncertainty and remote locations, often situated in the middle of the sea or desert. With every fluctuation in oil prices or conflict, job security became a concern.

Having always been interested in consulting, I decided to pursue it two years into my O&G career. However, I didn't join a strategy firm; instead, I joined PwC in London as an Associate Management Consultant. I opted not to join at the Senior Associate level, believing I lacked consulting skills and preferring to undergo associate-level training. In hindsight, I wish I had applied directly to a strategy firm. While at PwC, I supported a couple of Strategy& projects and found myself in love with them. However, I didn't enjoy the regular management consulting projects as they lacked strategic challenges. Despite intense case preparation, I realised it wasn't necessary for PwC.

Now, 1.5 years into my PwC job, I'm on track to become a Senior Associate in a couple of months. I'm a British national and an Arabic speaker, and I've always wanted to work in the Middle East (I want to leave europe for good), either as a strategy consultant or a petroleum engineer (not anymore as a Pet. Eng.). At 27, I feel like my career change has set me back compared to my peers. I'm considering reapplying to strategy firms, but I'm hesitant due to setting myself to start from scratch, again. I'm unsure if my application would be considered given my age and lack of experience.

My question is, what advice would you offer me at this point? What could be the best path I could jump on right now? I'm currently studying on weekends and in my free time to prepare for potential applications to MBBs in the Middle East, particularly Strategy&. However, I'm unsure if they consider applicants without MBAs or from non-target schools. 

Note: when I say ME, I mean in terms of preference, Dubai / UAE, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi, or Lebanon. 

Thank you all in advance for your input, I truly appreciate it. 

Overview of answers

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Best answer
Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 09, 2024
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

My advice would be to get a career coach!

You have $ earned from all these well-compensated roles.

Sounds like a great time to invest it in someone who can help you chart the right path.

Two reasons:

  1. Free advice will never be as good as paid advice
  2. Written advice on a quick Q&A cannot possibly do your complex situation + LIFE justice - an actual discussion would be required to give you an optimal outcome

It's like asking a forum “where should I move” or “should I marry this woman” or “how should I create my financial portfolio” - you're going to get an short/quick/skim the surface answer for a life-changing situation!

 

But, alas, you want advice. So, from what I've read, my quick advice is to try for consulting like S& first while simultaneously applying to MBAs. If consulting doesn't work, then you can accept one of your MBA offers.

^Again, this is quick advice that could easily be wrong, because there's so much more to unpack/unpick here

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Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on Mar 09, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: What could be the best path I could jump on right now? I'm currently studying on weekends and in my free time to prepare for potential applications to MBBs in the Middle East, particularly Strategy&. However, I'm unsure if they consider applicants without MBAs or from non-target schools. 

Your background seems fine. I have helped candidates coming from Schlumberger to apply to strategy consulting in the past, and they managed the transition. The fact that you also have consulting experience should help to strengthen your profile.

I would highly recommend looking for a referral before you apply. You can find some tips on that below:

How to Get an MBB Invitation 

If you have additional questions please feel free to PM me.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 09, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Interesting case. 

I actually have another candidate with a strong O&G background at the moment and had a couple of others in the past as well. It's a great value prop that would be particularly attractive in the ME.

From my point of view, you can just apply directly to firms in the ME. I would apply broadly, targeting all of the top 10 ones. This guide might help you in terms of how to build an application strategy:

Aside from this, I'd recommend you reach out to the recruiters from each firm (and specifically from the ME offices) to align on what role would suit you best. Plus, you'll need to decide whether you want to go in as a generalist or an O&G specialist. 

And 27 is not old. You're barely at the start of your career, and exploring is exactly what you should be doing before settling. 

Best,
Cristian

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Mar 12, 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

Honestly, I don't think you are too old for that. To know if you have a real chance, would need to have a look into your CV. The other way - the one I suggest - requires you doing some networking, finding people in the region to look at your CV, give you their opinion and hopefully providing a referral.

Easier route for you (and a good intermediary step) would be to move within your own company - from PwC to Strategy&, and possibly even directly to the Middle East.

 

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Ian gave the best answer

Ian

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