Author Topic: Advice For Recent Grad Trying to get into the Oil Industry  (Read 2106 times)

AK_Mustache

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Advice For Recent Grad Trying to get into the Oil Industry
« on: July 13, 2016, 05:18:14 PM »
Hello all!
Here is my current situation. I am 21 years old and just graduated this past May with a bachelors in mechanical engineering. As of right now I am currently living with my parents and am unemployed with a  savings of about 20k. My original plan was to get out of school and try to get hired on with an oil company to become a trained petroleum engineer. However, due to the relatively recent turn of events there are not too many jobs in the industry. As of now I see that I have three paths I can choose from.

Option 1: Go back to school to pursue a B.S. / M.S. in petroleum engineering. My parents recently told me that they would subsidize the cost of me going back to school. Then hopefully when I finish the industry will have recovered and jobs will be more plentiful.

Option 2: Find a job that is not petroleum engineering and start working my way to FI with the hope that I could switch over within a few years if the industry recovers.

Option 3: Hangout and travel while I wait for the industry to recover. (People keep telling me this is the best time of your life to go and travel.)

I am looking for advice on what I should do given these 3 options that I have, or any others you guys can come up with. Thanks for your time!

PFHC

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Re: Advice For Recent Grad Trying to get into the Oil Industry
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2016, 05:37:09 PM »
The most practical advice would be to take a job with any industry and get to work. Build your resume so that when oil comes back, you are ready to make the transition. But, I would not recommend that route.

Instead, I would suggest travel! And work! Search the internet for topics like "summer jobs in Europe" or "summer jobs in National Parks" or whatever suits your fancy. A very Mustachian job would be to work on a tallship in the US. You don't get paid much, but you live and eat for free and get to have an amazing adventure. I did it at age 21 and it was the defining moment of the my life. Loved it. There's a million and ten other options out there. You just have to go get 'em!

biffwhipster

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Re: Advice For Recent Grad Trying to get into the Oil Industry
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2016, 05:57:45 PM »
I have some industry advice for when you do get in... specialize in something. My uncle started out as a petroleum engineer, but his mentor pushed him to find a specialty so he could avoid the huge layoffs during the downturns. Companies hold on to the engineers that are unique when they start the layoffs. Without any additional schooling he specialized in petrophysics... don't ask me how. At the end of his career as a senior reservoir consultant he was making between $450K - $1mill+ a year... depending how his recommendations played out.

Cottonswab

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Re: Advice For Recent Grad Trying to get into the Oil Industry
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2016, 07:56:17 PM »
What are your reasons for wanting to work as a petroleum engineer and/or not wanting to work as a mechanical engineer?

Regarding Options 1 and 2.  I would suggest contacting a few petroleum engineering programs and ask them for their graduate placement rates since 1980 and recent starting salaries.  Look at the placement rates during both the boom and bust periods.   If your primary concern is financial, you can use that information to calculate and compare your expected return on investment for both options.

Regarding Option 3, you could be waiting a long time before a cyclical industry significantly increases hiring.  When they do start hiring, chances are that experienced petroleum engineers and top petroleum engineering graduates will be hired first.  Unless you have a spectacular resume, interview very well, and are willing to accept any petroleum engineering job / any where.  I would expect your chances of success to be low. 

whodidntante

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Re: Advice For Recent Grad Trying to get into the Oil Industry
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2016, 10:44:58 PM »
The sustained low oil prices have resulted in extensive job losses in the industry.  It went beyond trimming the fat.  You are competing for jobs with good, experienced people who have recently been humbled.  You might want to draft plan B. 

afuera

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Re: Advice For Recent Grad Trying to get into the Oil Industry
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2016, 11:13:45 AM »
My husband is a Mechanical Engineer who got a job in oil right out of college.  He worked for his company for about 3 years and right when oil dropped to ~$30/bbl, they laid off half his company, including him.  He is doing everything he can NOT to get another job in oil and I would suggest you do the same.

mozar

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Re: Advice For Recent Grad Trying to get into the Oil Industry
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2016, 12:32:28 PM »
I would give up on the whole petroleum engineering thing. Even if petroleum recovers in the short term, it's going to be a rocky road as the world economy gradually moves to other resources.  I would do extensive research on other kinds of mechanical engineering jobs. Go on job interviews. If you don't get a job by the fall, apply for masters degrees in an engineering specialty. Once you get in, take off and travel until your program  starts.

Emg03063

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Re: Advice For Recent Grad Trying to get into the Oil Industry
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2016, 08:35:02 PM »
I'm a mechanical engineer.  My financial/career advice is to get yourself a job as a mechanical engineer ASAP (option 2).  Preferably in an industry that is stable and/or growing.  Oil certainly isn't.  What makes you want to work as a petroleum engineer anyway?  Also, FWIW, my company is hiring (I'm in the glass industry in the Midwest).  Message me if interested.

Joel

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Re: Advice For Recent Grad Trying to get into the Oil Industry
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2016, 08:39:29 PM »
What's wrong with getting a job as a mechanical engineer?

Lanthiriel

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Re: Advice For Recent Grad Trying to get into the Oil Industry
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2016, 09:25:39 PM »
I'm a mechanical engineer.  My financial/career advice is to get yourself a job as a mechanical engineer ASAP (option 2).  Preferably in an industry that is stable and/or growing.  Oil certainly isn't.  What makes you want to work as a petroleum engineer anyway?  Also, FWIW, my company is hiring (I'm in the glass industry in the Midwest).  Message me if interested.

Yep. I work in Alaska (making assumptions based on your user name) for a civil engineering firm. Even the firms that aren't directly involved in oil are hurting. Mechanical engineering is versatile and will help you get a job if/when all the state and federal subsidies move toward renewables.