Meteorology degree and an MBA to help get you a job?

16   Jul ,  2012 | 12
comments

Sorry haven’t written in a while, folks.  It’s been quite busy as I’m trying to set up something on my own which I’ll share with you all soon!

Given the lack of entry level meteorology jobs out there, many entry level folks are looking for any and all ways to make themselves stand out.   In the last few weeks, I’ve received numerous emails from folks asking whether an MBA in addition to a meteorology degree will help them.  They’re trying to do whatever they can to break in…these kids are hungry and very passionate!

But will an MBA help?   Here’s my take:  It depends on what you want to do in meteorology.

If your goal is to be an operational forecaster…in my opinion, an MBA won’t help too much.  I think it’s better to have relevant hands on forecasting experience rather than a masters in business for this particular role.   My advice is (while you are looking for jobs), start your own website/blog and begin forecasting for your region.  Put your performance metrics on the website and show your skill level.  Anything just to keep you in the game!

Now, if your goal is to start your own weather consulting company or have a career in weather risk/derivatives….then yes I think an MBA will help.  It will give you the necessary skills to manage your business and/or understand finance/modeling.   I think these particular employers in weather risk/derivatives will value that you have an additional finance/business degree outside of meteorology.

And if you’re in going for broadcasting weather on TV or Radio….then I do not think an MBA will help at all.   In TV, I feel it’s all about whether you can drive ratings,  walk, talk and chew gum at the same time.

If you are mid career as a forecaster (at say a large weather company) and you want to break into upper management….then I think an MBA will help considerably on your resume.   And hopefully the company will help pay for it, too!

Also, if you feel like you ever would want to pivot outside of meteorology, I believe an MBA is the way to make that happen.  You will make many contacts at these schools and have access to a very large alumni database of which should help you gain more connections in other fields outside of meteorology.

I also feel where you get your MBA matters significantly.  Some of you may or may not agree with this…but my opinion is if one does not get into a Top 50 MBA program (and I am being quite conservative here), then it’s not worth pursuing it in today’s competitive climate (pun intended) nor worth the expensive cost!

Bottom line, consider what your goal is in meteorology and evaluate whether the expensive costs of an MBA are worth the opportunity cost.   Good luck in whatever decision you make and of course if you have any questions or comments…feel free to use the comment box!  Thanks! (Photo credit: Bestcolleges.com)

Posted by AJ on July 16, 2012

  • The Weatherman

    Hi AJ, I was wondering if someone could double major in Finance and Meteorology at the same time to avoid paying too much and save time.

    1 Would the University allow it

    2 Would you advise it

    I just saw a 20/20 piece John Stossel did and One of the people featured was a meteorology student who was unemployed and $77,000 in debt.

    Good to see you’re back AJ.
    -The Weatherman

  • Alina

    I was just looking into possibly going to grad school and came across the Professional Science Masters degree, which I hadn’t been aware of previously. From what I can find, only a few schools offer the degree in meteorology right now. Rather than completing research for a thesis, the PSM degrees are more business oriented, and you would complete an internship or final report instead. It’s supposed to be more industry oriented for those who aren’t interested in getting a PhD or teaching. I was wondering if you or anyone else have heard of this degree/have opinions on it?
    http://www.sciencemasters.com/ScienceMastersHome/Students/tabid/53/Default.aspx
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/27/education/27iht-educLede.html?pagewanted=all

  • Anonomously Frustrated

    I LOVE Meteorology. I love it. But, I’m seriously considering jumping off the Meteorology ship! I graduated with a B.S. in 2008, and was actually lucky enough to get an entry level job with a small private firm. I thought it would give me the experience necessary to advance in the field. After 4 years, ~30 applications for various positions, and still not making $50K, I am discouraged and frustrated. I’ve been VERY close with a couple of government jobs (NWS, Dept. of Army) and even close on a few other private sector jobs (aviation meteorology jobs) and NOTHING! My advice to anyone still in school or considering Meteorology is to seriously consider another field. I LOVE weather (Like most of us do). I have wanted to do this since I was 6! I worked very very hard and earned a Meteorology degree from a large and reputable university out west. Now I am considering going back to school to get a Masters in Accounting or something else. I wish I had a realistic perspective of the field before I devoted so much time, money and effort. But I am a father and a husband now, and my friends that didn’t go to college have more job prospects than I do! There is currently an opening for a janitor at a local school district that advertises a higher starting salary than I currently make. :( It absolutely breaks my heart that I am even considering leaving the field, but I am. I’ve gained very valuable forecasting experience over the last 4 years, I’ve co-authored papers and presented them at national weather conferences, I’ve participated in field studies conducted by my company, I’ve written daily forecasts products for clients that love the products and have extended our contracts, and the list goes on and on and on. I even left the FAA where I was an air traffic controller trainee (hired immediately after graduation but left during training to pursue dream career as Meteorololgist). Can you tell I’m frustrated? :)

    • freshAJ

      Thanks for sharing your story! Have you thought about going back to becoming an Air Traffic Controller? From what I hear and am seeing…there is a lot more scope in that field. It might not be meteorology…but weather is always a big factor as you know. And because you did train already…perhaps you have some contacts there?

      I know it’s tough out there and frustrating….I hear stories of many emailing that are in the same position as you. It’s definitely not fun looking for work as a meteorologist right now.

      Best of luck!

      AJ

      • Anonomously Frustrated

        AJ,

        I’m now 32 years old, and the FAA will not hire controllers after age 31. So, that ship has sailed, unfortunately.

        With my 4 years of experience in operational forecasting and consulting I should be able to move on in the field. But so far, no-go. I’ve been runner-up for a NWS CWSU job, Delta Air Lines, and a couple of other aviation related jobs. But being close doesn’t really do much without receiving an offer. I’m really in a tough spot right now in deciding how to best proceed for a bright future. On one hand, I’m feel very lucky to have been able to find a job in the first place and work here for 4 years…..but on the other hand, I’ve yet to be successful in finding the “2nd job” in the field. I keep praying and looking for that opportunity to present itself. I sure love this field! But at the end of the day, if I can’t support my little family, I’ll have to return to school.

  • curtis

    Anonomously Frustrated, I am in the same boat as you, only without the experience you have. I’ve been close for several forecasting jobs, but no avail. I agree completely with everything you’ve said and feel the same way you do wholeheartedly! I hope one day I can forecast for some company, but its a big if right now with the low amount of jobs and the competition. If you find something, let me know, cause I’d love to follow you!!!!!!!!

  • wxforecaster

    Hi AJ,
    I’m currently a junior majoring in meteorology so I don’t have time to add a finance degree unfortunately. I really like forecasting operationally, but forecasting for utilities companies would be awesome also. Do you think waiting until further in my career is best for getting an MBA?
    It would be a huge upfront cost to take especially before I make better money. However, I’m worried I’ll be limited on my job opportunities without it in the beginning. I am planning on adding a business minor during undergrad though.

    • freshAJ

      Hey there, that’s a tough call, to be honest. I can assure you it will be pretty tough to get a job forecasting for utilities right out of school. I think your best bet would be to test out the job market…see if you can land a forecasting gig. Do it for a couple of years…and see if your company will help fund your MBA. That would be the ideal way to go, in my opinion.

      AJ

  • Joe

    I received my meteorology degree in 2010. At my school I received it from (Penn State) we had options within our major. For example, we could choose a path to take courses that focus more on operational forecasting and broadcasting meteorology. Another one was Weather Risk. A lot of people chose the latter but I was not one of them and I do regret it. After I graduated, I don’t want to say that my passion for operational meteorology started to dry up… but the lack of jobs (I do have one right now but it has been part time for 2 years) is certainly not helping me. I’ve tried to find work that could suit my needs but I’m lacking in my resume because it is heavily operational based. I know a lot of jobs like programming backgrounds (which all I have is a C++ & FORTRAN class in college). But also, I recently found a job I thought was PERFECT for me. It wanted a 4 year degree in meteorology & background in sales. Now my background in “sales/marketing” is I’ve been working retail as a side job for the past 2.5 years alongside my part time meteorology job. But it wasn’t enough as an email I received just yesterday told me I was not going to be invited for a face-to-face interview because they felt I am more of a forecaster than involved in sales/marketing.

    Based on this quick summary, do you think an MBA would be a good idea? (Even if I was to try and do computer science, I could even do it on the side to get beginner’s knowledge on that subject and not need a full degree in that as well I would think.)

    - Joe

    • freshAJ

      Hey Joe, sorry for the late response. I can understand your frustration. I believe a lot of mets around the country are frustrated. I think an MBA is a great idea because I believe it will broaden your expertise and give you contacts to perhaps get you going in a different direction in case meteorology does not work out.

      In fact, I’m following my own advice. I recently was accepted into a top 10 executive MBA program. And I’ll be attending in the fall. I’m going to be blogging about this very soon…so stay tuned!

      Best,

      AJ