The energy industry is experiencing growing pains. The increased deployment of renewable energy is juxtaposed by the growth of shale oil and gas, and the threat of climate change looms over the entire industry. This shifting landscape demands that energy companies proceed with caution and carefully consider every outcome when conducting business. To do so, they need the assistance of a professional with a mind for business: someone familiar with the capabilities and limitations of companies in the energy sector. In other words, they need an analyst.
Let’s look at three analyst careers and the important role these professionals play in energy-related fields.
Business analysts define the capabilities of an organization to understand how it can better deliver products and services. To accomplish this, an analyst will interview leaders, team members, and subject matter experts: anyone who can provide a unique perspective. They take an objective approach to solving problems and in doing so help companies overcome challenges and meet their objectives.
Business analysts are critical in the energy sector, where their business and technical knowledge allow them to consider multiple perspectives when problem-solving and articulating solutions to stakeholders of varying skill sets. For example, a professional with a Master of Business Administration with Certificate in Energy Business could help a power or utility company transition to renewable energy while taking into account the legal, financial, and organizational aspects unique to the energy industry.
Think of financial analysts as fortune tellers who, rather than gaze into a crystal ball, pore over financial data to predict market trends. Industry insights allow financial analysts to help organizations make strategic decisions and turn a profit. Before developing a strategy, however, an analyst must meet with leaders to assess a company’s prospects and financial health. Only by considering factors that affect a specific industry (microeconomics) and the economy as a whole (macroeconomics) can a financial analyst recommend an appropriate course of action, usually in the form of an investment.
Financial analysts do their best work when turning their attention to a particular industry, such as the energy sector. In energy-related fields, where energy prices can fluctuate wildly, a financial analyst can mitigate risk by helping companies invest in energy commodities. Known as hedging, this process allows energy companies to lock in the price of a commodity, such as natural gas, and meet their financial goals.
Energy risk management is invaluable in the energy industry, but it’s only one area a financial analyst must be familiar with. Energy Finance, for example, explores value chain analysis, oil and gas financial statement analysis, and financing energy companies and projects. Available to students pursuing an MBA with Certificate in Energy Business or a Graduate Certificate in Energy Business, this online course can help professionals adopt a skill set sought after by energy companies in need of financial guidance.
Budget analysts, more so than financial analysts, oversee a company’s financial health. These professionals help public and private companies plan their finances, developing budgets an organization can follow to meet their future financial needs. Budget analysts do far more than develop budgets, however. They are gatekeepers who evaluate budget proposals, financial requests, and funding methods. If an initiative isn’t deemed cost-effective, a budget analyst may recommend making changes or nixing it altogether. Final budget decisions are left to leadership, but without the expertise of budget analysts, a company could find itself in the red.
The price of an energy commodity is incredibly volatile, as it’s susceptible to changes in weather, storage, and regulations. In a sector where the future is uncertain, budget analysts must be on top of their game. They must account for not only previous and future expenditures but also actual expenditures. Ensuring compliance with budgetary allocations, maintaining spending records, and establishing budgetary control processes are all responsibilities of a budget analyst in the energy industry.
Gain the Mindset of an Analyst at UT Permian Basin
The University of Texas Permian Basin offers two online programs with an emphasis on energy business:
- Master of Business Administration with Certificate in Energy Business: This 36- to 45-credit online program provides operational knowledge and leadership skills highly sought after in energy-related fields. In as little as four semesters, students can graduate prepared to excel in various levels of the energy industry.
- Graduate Certificate in Energy Business: This 12-credit online program will help professionals translate their accounting, finance, management, and business knowledge to the rapidly growing energy industry. This certificate is ideal for professionals in energy-related fields who want to advance their careers.
Entirely online and featuring asynchronous elements, our programs will allow you to pursue graduate credentials on your own time, at your own pace. Through Canvas, you’ll be able to connect with your professors and peers on 24-hour discussion boards. Online tools like these will facilitate your learning and help you develop the soft skills analysts need to interact with stakeholders and articulate their findings. Finally, our programs are taught by the same experienced professionals who teach on campus. Every measure has been taken to help ensure that you receive the highest quality education possible, comparable to anything found on UT Permian Basin’s campus.
Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, our programs will provide you with the skills needed to thrive as an analyst or any number of other careers in energy-related fields. Apply now to your program of choice if you’re interested in putting your analytical mind to work in the energy industry.