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Doing a PE MSc at 41 having worked in Investment Banking IT for 15 years?

Doing a PE MSc at 41 having worked in Investment Banking IT for 15 years?

Doing a PE MSc at 41 having worked in Investment Banking IT for 15 years?

(OP)
Hi,

Looking for some advice here.

I graduated in 1997 with a first class honours degree in Chemistry. I have since between working in IT and am currently writing electronic pricing systems for Bond Traders. I am looking for a change and want to persue a career as a Drilling Engineer, as deep down this is what I wish I had done when I graduated, but never did as I was told I needed an MSc and at the time my personal circumstances meant it was not a viable option.

I am a very hands on person and very practically minded so I am confident that a career as a Drilling Engineer would suit me. I am just concerned about my age and whether I can get a compant to take me on.

Through out my career in Finance IT I have gained some very useful skills

1. Solving problems using analytical skills
2. Working in a high pressure environment and to tight deadlines
3. Very good IT programming skills
4. Teamwork and prioritisation skills

I would appreciate any pointers here as whilst I am very fired up to do the MSc, I don't want to take the time if at the end of it I cannot secure a suitable role in the sector. Please do not suggest a role in IT as I am retraining to get away from it!

Thanks

RE: Doing a PE MSc at 41 having worked in Investment Banking IT for 15 years?

In 1997 the Oil & Gas industry was in the midst of a 20 year depression, and that year was especially bad. Many companies had lay-offs in late 1996 and all of 1997. The advice that you needed an MS was probably just to gently discourage you from asking for a job that didn't exist.

With a non-engineering undergraduate degree, and not currently being in the industry you are in a challenging position. I would go to a school with a Petroleum Engineering Program (the best are in North America, Colorado School of Mines, Texas A&M, University of Tulsa, University of Edmonton, but there are great schools in other places) and ask them. When I did something similar in ME the faculty told me that I could get an MSME in less time than getting a second BS, so I went that way. I don't know what the PE faculty will tell you, but go the way that takes the least time (the MS is not required to be a driller and it is not inherently more valuable to a prospective employer). Once you have a PE degree, you are probably looking at starting out with the new hires in an intern program. Then you can go in the direction you want.

You didn't say where you are, I'm assuming from the terminology you used ("First Class honours degree") you are in the UK. The industry is struggling a bit in the UK right now because of environmental regulations that just get sillier every year. If you are open to relocate, there is work in most of the US (drilling is most active in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Dakota, and the NE US), Australia (everywhere except NSW, again the greenies are messing things up), or Canada.

With your Chemistry degree you could probably move right into the industry without further education. The chemistry of drilling mud, frac fluids, and corrosion inhibition is a very active research area and people like Haliburton and Baker are always looking for folks that can aid that effort.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

"Belief" is the acceptance of an hypotheses in the absence of data.
"Prejudice" is having an opinion not supported by the preponderance of the data.
"Knowledge" is only found through the accumulation and analysis of data.
The plural of anecdote is not "data"

RE: Doing a PE MSc at 41 having worked in Investment Banking IT for 15 years?

(OP)
I apologise for not mentioning the fact, but yes I am based in the UK. It is the Drilling side that appeals to me, and I don't think I will be much use for my Chemistry knowledge as I have not touched the subject in 16 years so have forgotten virtually all of it surprised

Relocation is definately an option and one of the reasons why the industry appeals to me.

I am hoping to speak with the MSc PE Course Director shortly as I am keen to understand what links the university has with the industry and whether there are options to maybe do a summer internship during the 2 year part time MSc.

I think the industry in the UK is going to take off as fracking is going to happen regardless. The UK has a shortage of gas and we have to import a great deal. With no viable alternative energy solutions to tap into there is no real alternative. Plus the UK Governement will generate a great deal of taxation from opening this up.

RE: Doing a PE MSc at 41 having worked in Investment Banking IT for 15 years?

I hope you are right about the UK government reversing a decades long trend and finally acting in their own best interests. I'm not holding my breath.

Good luck with the school. Which school are you talking to?

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

"Belief" is the acceptance of an hypotheses in the absence of data.
"Prejudice" is having an opinion not supported by the preponderance of the data.
"Knowledge" is only found through the accumulation and analysis of data.
The plural of anecdote is not "data"

RE: Doing a PE MSc at 41 having worked in Investment Banking IT for 15 years?

(OP)
"Which school are you talking to? " - I am currently speaking with South Bank University in London, but from what I can gather they don't feature when it comes to reputation. Which is a real shame as they are the only University who run a 2 year part time course for individuals who are not in a position to study full time.

I am still a little unsure what to do in that regard as I am unsure just how much it actually matters

RE: Doing a PE MSc at 41 having worked in Investment Banking IT for 15 years?

I don't know about that, but you certainly wouldn't want to waste any more time. Get everything set up right on this one. I don't think it will be easy, but you seem committed. Go for it.

Independent events are seldomly independent.

RE: Doing a PE MSc at 41 having worked in Investment Banking IT for 15 years?

One of the ways that choice of school matters is who is going to recruit on campus. In one of the "name" PE programs all of the majors and most of the first tier operators and many of the second tier operators will be there for on-campus recruiting. They get virtually all of their Engineering Interns that way (but not all). Smaller schools will generally only have production companies whose CEO went to that school recruiting on campus. Exxon/Mobil can afford to send people to Texas A&M, Edmonton, University of Tulsa, Tulane, and University of Texas. They are less excited about spending money to go to the University of Colorado at Denver (where I got my MS) or South Bank University of London, as fine a school as that may be. For someone without connections to the industry that might be important.

When you visit, ask them who recruits there.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

"Belief" is the acceptance of an hypotheses in the absence of data.
"Prejudice" is having an opinion not supported by the preponderance of the data.
"Knowledge" is only found through the accumulation and analysis of data.
The plural of anecdote is not "data"

RE: Doing a PE MSc at 41 having worked in Investment Banking IT for 15 years?

(OP)
zdas04 - You have raised the question that I too think is the most important one given my age and situation. I have posed the question to the course director, but am still waiting to hear back. Unless they have good links with the drilling companies then I may have to review my options.

Initial thoughts are that as the course is the only one in the UK that still has places for September 2013 I maybe wasting my time.

RE: Doing a PE MSc at 41 having worked in Investment Banking IT for 15 years?

Well the bad news is that if I was hiring, I would probably reject your resume without further consideration. Unfair ?? Perhaps, but anyone who thinks life should be fair is in for a lot of disapointment in life. The good news is that as a Brit who emigrated to Canada 35 years ago and presently lives in Calgary which is the centre of the Canadian oil patch perhaps I can bring additional perspective to this.

You state that the course in London is your prefferred route as it is the only one available to be completed on a part time basis. This implies you presently live and work in the London area. Ill gurantee that if you sucessfully complete the course and manage to emigrate to Canada, your natural destination would be Calgary and Ill guarantee your quality of life will improve 1000%. However, I dont know for sure, but I would imagine that most entry level positions as Drilling Engineer, are basaed in the field rather than corporate office. I could be wrong , but I'd have to think there a lot of similarities between mining and oil patch. I have spent the majority of my life and career in the field. It worked fine for me ( if you exclude one divorce) but I have to ask, What are your personal circumstances?. Does your wife look forward to living in a small northern community with less than 10,000 people. Or is she willing to live somewhere like Calgary on her own while you spend 4 weeks at a time working 24/7 in the bush?? Do you have young children and are you willing to wait for a medivac plane to take your ill child to a major centre when the small northern community does not have the facilities for treatment??

Take the part time course, continue to evaluate options and postpone the major decisions for two years. Who knows what the price of oil and gas will be in 24 months. If its high, people will be in demand and you might appear less than optimum to a hiring manager but hey , if thats all hes got to chose from , youll at least get an interview. after that its 100% what you make of it.

RE: Doing a PE MSc at 41 having worked in Investment Banking IT for 15 years?

(OP)
I think given my age and my experience in the field of drilling I am contemplating applying for the MSc at South Bank to see whether they will accept me. If they do, then I am going to give it a shot as I think a nothing ventured nothing gained approach is the only one open to me. On the plus side I will get to learn something new, and if I can secure a role in the industry then that will be the icing on the cake.

What ever happens I need to do something as working in IT in Banking is making me feel dead from the neck up!

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