by Brian DeChesare Comments (147)

How to Break into Investment Banking as an Engineer – If You Enjoy the Punishment

I thought that engineers would stop wanting to move into finance.

After all, companies like Google and Facebook now offer higher pay, better hours, and more interesting work than banks.

And students at top universities and business schools are increasingly interested in technology rather than finance.

But despite all that, some engineers still want to get into finance.

You’ve probably landed on this article because you’re in a similar position.

I’ll explain how to do it here, but you should answer a critical question first: Are you sure you want to do this?

Why Do You Want to Do This?

Most engineers point to one of the following reasons to explain their desire to work in finance:

  • They want to make more money; they’ve hit a “ceiling” in their current role.
  • They want better advancement opportunities.
  • They want more interesting, client-facing work.
  • They want to make a bigger impact on the world at large.

These are valid reasons for wanting to do something besides engineering, but they’re not great reasons for wanting to do investment banking, specifically.

In investment banking, you advise companies on financing deals and mergers and acquisitions.

If you have no interest in advising companies on transactions, which means spending a lot of time in PowerPoint, Excel, and Word as a junior banker, you should consider other options first.

For example, if you’re bored of your current job and want to make more money:

  • Start a side business and make money from an app or simple software product.
  • Learn about the stock market and start making your own investments.
  • Become a contractor and offer coding or product management services to other companies.
  • Take the money you’ve saved up, learn about real estate, and start buying small single-family properties.

If you just want to “work in finance,” think about the other options outside of investment banking as well.

If you have deep industry knowledge (e.g., of the semiconductor industry) and you complete significant self-study, equity research might be an option.

If you want to apply your coding skills to finance, you could work in quant research, at a quant hedge fund, or in another sales & trading role.

Or if you want to invest in tech companies, venture capital is an option, though it’s actually tougher than IB in many cases.

Finally, you could also work at a tech company and move to a business or finance role there over time.

Entry Points into Banking

But if you want to ignore everything above, and you’re convinced that you need to do investment banking, there are four main entry points into the industry:

  1. As an Undergrad – This one is the easiest and cheapest way to get in, but you must decide on IB very early. Recruiting now starts so early that if you haven’t decided on IB by the middle of your second year, you probably won’t get in.
  2. As a Recent Grad – This one can also work, but your chances of moving directly from an engineering role into investment banking are almost 0%. You almost always need something finance-related first, such as a stint at a Big 4 firm or valuation firm or a Master’s in Finance degree.
  3. At the MBA Level – If you’ve been out of university for 2-3+ years, you’ll probably have to use a top MBA program to get in. But, again, your chances of going from “Engineer at Google” to “Investment Banker at Goldman Sachs” with nothing in between are almost 0%. You need a more relevant full-time role and/or a pre-MBA internship.
  4. Beyond the MBA Level – If you’re well beyond the MBA level, you have almost no chance of getting into investment banking as an Analyst, Associate, or VP. But if you reach the senior executive level at a large company, you might be able to enter IB at the top levels or move into a field like venture capital or venture debt.

The key point is simple: If you’re an engineer or technical person, you will not be able to get into IB at the last minute without prior internships or work experience.

You need a sequence of internships or other finance-related experience, regardless of your entry point.

You also need in-depth knowledge of accounting/finance, even if your degree had nothing to do with those subjects.

Bankers will be confident that you can do the math and attend to detail, but they’ll be skeptical of your social skills and ability to burn the midnight oil.

They will also be skeptical of your interest in finance: If you want to do investment banking now, why didn’t you get in earlier? Did you “get interested” a few months ago when you heard about your friend’s bonus? Or did you try to get in earlier and fail?

Telling Your Story

The same 4-point story structure applies; we’ve even made available a full template and example of how to tell your story from an engineering/technical background:

You can use these points:

  • Beginning: Where you’re from, your university, and your internships/activities. Insert a brief mention of some interest in finance at a younger age.
  • Spark: A banker you met, an internship project, or an activity or class that sparked your interest in finance.
  • Growing Interest: Networking with bankers, self-study of the technical side, stock-market investing, case competitions, etc.; also give a short example of how you can handle the hours.
  • The Future and Why You’re Here Today: You want to combine your engineering skill set with finance and advise companies on major transactions, ideally in an industry related to your field of engineering, such as TMT, industrials, or healthcare.

This same template applies for undergrads, recent grads, and MBA students because a degree doesn’t change that muchyou must be able to explain why you want to do IB without referencing your degree at all.


Networking is largely the same for engineers: You still use the alumni database, informational interviews, information sessions, and cold calls/cold emails to win interviews.

Please see the dozens of networking-related articles on this site for the tactics and strategies.

I’ll just add one point here: You should probably not focus exclusively on tech-focused banks or groups (or aerospace/defense ones, healthcare ones, etc.).

As a career changer, you already face an uphill battle to get your foot in the door.

Focusing too much on a specific industry might kill your chances prematurely, especially if you’re at a non-target university or business school.

You also shouldn’t limit yourself to one type of bank, such as regional boutiques or middle market banks.

The recruiting process is random, and even if you think you have no chance at the bulge brackets or elite boutiques, it’s still worth reaching out and speaking with a few bankers there.


We have many resume templates on this site, and you should refer to them to write your own.

The #1 mistake engineers make is focusing too much on the technical details and not enough on the business results. We often see bullet points such as the following:

“Inspected client’s customer support code and led migration from Linux 4.11 to Linux 4.12 by implementing support for 64-bit multi-core processors in assembly code and support for threaded processes in operating system kernel.”

You should focus on revenue generated, money saved, or time saved instead:

“Reviewed client’s customer support system and optimized processes by 20%; saved client $10,000 and 10 hours of labor per week over first year.”

And if you start writing your resume and realize that you have nothing even remotely related to investment banking, you need to re-think your plans.

You can spin technical experience all you want, but it only does so much; bankers mostly care about:

  • The reputation of your university or business school.
  • Your grades and test scores.
  • The reputations of the companies you worked at and what you did there.

If you have a 3.0 GPA from an unknown state school and all technical internships, no amount of resume spinning will get you interviews at banks.


We have dozens of articles on interviews, including ones on “fit” questions, technical questions, telling your story, and more.

Not that much is different for engineers, but you should be aware of a few points:

1) Yes, you need in-depth knowledge of accounting, valuation, and financial modeling. IB roles are still highly competitive, and if you don’t know the technical side, bankers will assume you’re not serious about the job.

Majoring in something different is not an excuse. If you can’t learn the material independently, you don’t have the discipline and drive required to get in.

2) Yes, you still need good grades (2:1 or above in the U.K., or 3.5 or above in the U.S. – and probably closer to 4.0 if you’re at a non-target school).

“Engineering classes are harder” is a weak excuse, and bankers won’t care about your explanations. If your GPA is low, they can select from thousands of other candidates.

3) They will probe you heavily on your ability to work long hours, your social skills, and your interest in finance.

It’s best to answer these questions by citing examples of when you used these skills over extended time frames in the past.

For example, to prove that you can work long hours, tell a story about how you woke up at 5 AM, went to sports practice, attended classes, and then worked until 10 PM every day for a year.

Anyone can pull all-nighters for a week, but killing yourself for an entire year is a worthy accomplishment.

It’s tough to “prove” that you have social skills, but you can come across as sociable by talking about your hobbies and interests.

Even if you’re awkward or you get nervous speaking with people, you might be able to convey the opposite image if you talk up your activities.

What Does a Successful Engineer to Financier Look Like?

Here are two examples:

Example #1: The Undergrad

He started out majoring in aerospace engineering and did a first-year internship at Lockheed Martin.

He realized it wasn’t for him, so in his second year, he switched to an accounting/finance degree and made aerospace engineering his minor.

He also interned at a local private equity firm and began networking months in advance of third-year summer internship recruiting.

In the summer after his second year, he interned at an independent valuation firm, and he kept networking on the side to win an IB summer offer at a bulge-bracket bank for the next year.

In the summer after his third year, he completed that internship and converted it into a full-time return offer.

Example #2: The MBA

She completed an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering and worked in R&D at an orphan drug company after graduation.

After a year, she switched into a business development/sales role, and after another year, she moved to a Big 4 firm to conduct due diligence on pharmaceutical clients.

Then, she applied and won admission to a top MBA program. Before attending, she completed a pre-MBA internship at a healthcare-focused private equity firm.

She also began networking with business school alumni months before the school term began.

When recruiting kicked off, she won interviews with the major banks and ended up accepting a summer internship offer at an elite boutique, which she later converted into a full-time return offer.

Plan B Options

If you do everything above but do not get into investment banking, the worst strategy is to give up and go back to a pure engineering role.

If you’re about to graduate, your best Plan B options are finance-related roles outside of investment banking.

For example, think about corporate finance rotational programs at tech companies, corporate banking, equity research, or a coding role at a hedge fund or trading firm.

Plan to work there for a year or two and then move into IB, perhaps using a Master’s in Finance degree along the way.

If you’re at the MBA level and did not win an investment banking offer, you could consider similar options, but it will be much harder to move into IB later on.

You might be able to take finance experience elsewhere and go to a tech-focused boutique or a small venture capital firm, but you will probably not be able to move to a large bank directly.

Finally, if you’re well beyond the MBA level, more realistic options might be joining a VC/PE firm as an operational partner or “entrepreneur in residence” or joining an equity research team that needs deep subject matter expertise in a highly technical area.

Engineer to Financier?

I made this move – computer science to tech companies to investment banking – a long time ago.

But you would not be able to follow that same path today.

You need finance-related experience and solid accounting/finance knowledge before applying for IB roles, or you won’t have a chance.

So, decide on your career change early on, or skip it altogether.

It might be “boring” to work at a big tech company and hit the pay ceiling, but you’ll have a pretty good life, and you’ll still earn more than 99% of the population.

And if you want to make more money, you can always build an app.

For Further Learning

If you liked this article, you might also be interested in reading:

If you want help navigating the recruiting process as an engineer, our friends at Wall Street Mastermind might be able to help you out.

They’ve worked with over 1,000 students to help them secure high-paying investment banking jobs out of school (and internships while in school), and their coaches include a former Global Head of Recruiting at three different large banks.

They provide personalized, hands-on guidance through the entire networking and interview process – and they have a great track record of results for their clients.

You can book a free consultation with them to learn more.

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys lifting weights, running, traveling, obsessively watching TV shows, and defeating Sauron.

Break Into Investment Banking

Free Exclusive Report: 57-page guide with the action plan you need to break into investment banking - how to tell your story, network, craft a winning resume, and dominate your interviews

We respect your privacy. Please refer to our full privacy policy.


Read below or Add a comment

  1. Hey Brian,

    I am currently professional engineer in civil engineering with 5.5 years experience, and I want to change my career to infrastructure finance position, selling factories, buildings, plant, etc.

    1. What career path can I expect to work on infrastructure finance position?

    2. I was thinking to do MBA or get CFA certificate. Do you think either of plan is good for moving my career to infrastructure finance position?

    1. You will probably need an MBA to make this transition. Please do a search for the coverage of infrastructure and project finance on this site to get some ideas. The CFA won’t be too helpful here because it doesn’t give you access to recruiters and an alumni network. You’ll probably have the most luck targeting roles at large banks initially, gaining some experience there, and then considering buy-side (investing) roles in either equity or debt.

      1. Thanks for the response, Brian
        In March, I had a potential opportunity working as transaction advisory position in Korea. I think I am getting close to what I want, such as dealing with the finance on infrastructures, building, and commercials. Do you think this is a good opportunity to enter in finance position for me instead of doing MBA? I think once I have experience in transaction advisory I may move to investment banking, consultant, or developer.

        Also as transaction advisory position, would you please recommend what certificates required?

        1. Yes.

          Certificates do not help much for any deal advisory-based role. Bankers / advisers don’t take them seriously, and your time is better spent learning the actual skills required for the job. The CFA is the only certificate that means anything, and even that is marginally useful at best for IB roles.

  2. Samriddhi

    Hi Brian!
    I really appreciate the piece. Idk if you’re still asnwering questions. I’m in 11th grade, and going to be in 12th this year. Im prepping to get into a decent IIT on completon of school. I’m majoring in science subs. I have ample interest in finance but couldnt manage to get it as a major. Im willing to break into IB rather than taking up a software eng / eng job after college. Is there anything I can do right now i.e. on school level to enhance my opportunities for an IB job in future? Like an internship or something which doesnt demand a lot of of time due to my constant studies?
    Thank you for ur time.

    1. They don’t really care about pre-university activities, so focus on getting into the best university you can and then completing internships early (in your first year or the summer after). There is not much to do until then unless you want to start learning about accounting, finance, Excel, etc.

  3. Hi Brian and Nicole,
    I m a mechanical engineer, I’m in the last year but I don’t know how to get into finance. I’m an average student please suggest me what course should I do after that?
    I will be glad if you will help me .

    1. If you’re in your last year already, you don’t have many options because finance recruiting starts so early. I would recommend looking at the articles on Last-Minute Recruiting, Lateral Hires, and Master’s in Finance programs on this site (do a search) to get some ideas. Also, if you’re in India, you should probably move elsewhere because the Indian IB market is incredibly difficult, and your chances are low unless you’ve gone to one of the top IIMs.

  4. Hey Brian! This is a cool article, thanks for writing this. I’m an engineer from Carnegie Mellon, currently working as a senior engineer in one of the large top tech company. I’m 31. I grew my own business by 10x in about 7 years. In addition to being an engineer, now I also work as a Fractional COO for some companies. I love business, and I want to get into investment banking. I am deeply passionate about creating, learning about, working on everything related to business. Do you think the best path to do this would be to get an MBA? Is there any other way?

    1. If you grew your own business by 10x, you’re currently a senior engineer, and you’re also a part-time COO, bankers will seriously question your motivation for going into banking and taking a pay cut just so you can work 80 hours per week on fixing PowerPoint slides. So I don’t think you have a good plan, I don’t think someone at your seniority level should ever go into IB, and unless you have an amazing reason for making this change, I think bankers will be quite skeptical of your plans.

      You could theoretically do an MBA to get in, but, again, I’m not sure why you’d ever want to enter the industry at your experience level.

  5. I’m about 50 years old. I’ve been working in as an engineer for 25 years mainly with software modeling of math equations of some sort. An=m I too old for this ?

    1. Yes. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but no bank is going to hire you for an entry-level Analyst role if you have 25 years of experience. If you really want to do finance, you might be able to find a quant fund or trading firm that needs good engineering talent and doesn’t care about age or experience level. But traditional Analyst roles at banks are not really an option.

  6. shiwani

    HELLO BRIAN, I am from india and currently applying for colleges. I am looking for economics major for dual degree but i am quite confuse what should i dual it with in order to work in investment banking ,will
    bioinformatics be good combination with economics or should i look for some other majors combination.

    1. I think you should look at all our coverage of India on this site because it’s a completely different market with strange dynamics and a very small market for IB hires, and if you don’t go to one of the top few IIMs, you don’t have a great chance. Your choice of major matters very little next to getting into one of the top IIMs… at least if you want to stay in India.

  7. Adam W.

    Hello Brian,
    Thanks for the great article. I am 28 years old, planning for a career change to finance. I graduated with a bachelor degree in mechanical engineering in 2020 and I have worked in textile industry and supply chain operations since then, however I totally lacked passion, therefore am looking for a career switch into Equity Research, especially after reading about the role and that it requires a very good report writing, which is my best skill. Is it really true that equity research is the best entry point in finance if I am coming from a different background, and have deep experience in specific industry ? Is management consulting in finance would be easier to break into than equity research?
    I am planning on getting a masters degree in finance this September in the UK.
    Is a masters degree in finance enough for that career switch or CFA level 1 at least?

    1. I’m not sure I would say that equity research is the “best entry point in finance” if you’re coming in from a different background and you have deep experience in some other industry. Sometimes that is true for certain verticals, such as biotech, but it’s more accurate to say that equity research offers advantages and disadvantages over other paths, such as traditional investment banking roles (less of a structured recruiting process, but also many fewer roles and more networking is required to get in).

      You would probably have an easier time getting into consulting simply because they hire entire classes each year, and people are always moving around and leaving when they find something new.

      A Master’s in Finance degree can definitely help (much more so than the CFA), at least if you go to a top school to do it. See our previous coverage of Master’s degrees on this site for a few examples.

      The biggest point with all of this is that you need to get relevant work experience ASAP because even with a Master’s degree, you’ll need some type of internship to leverage the degree to win bigger/better roles.

  8. Hi
    You suggest in your article making the switch from eng to IB using a 2 year MBA with a summer IB internship is difficult, and requires relevant exp before doing that MBA. That is not what Ive heard or read from my research. It seems an established route, in the states, to do the above whilst not needing any finance exp prior to the MBA. Could you expand

    1. It is possible to get into IB via a 2-year MBA without much finance experience beforehand, so you do not “need” a pre-MBA internship necessarily. However, it does increase your chances, and you want every advantage you can get.

      At the MBA level, ~50% of people who apply for IB roles at the top business schools end up winning at least one IB offer. Those are actually not great odds for the amount of time and money you spend on the degree.

      So, would you rather roll the dice, even factoring in interview prep and networking, or would you rather do everything you can to maximize your chances?

      The other issue is that you may not be able to tell recruiters or bankers much of a story if you have literally 0 finance experience before doing the degree. You want to have at least something because recruiting starts the minute you arrive on campus.

  9. Hello Brian, I completed a bachelor in software engineering in Canada 1 year ago and currently work at a FAANG company in tech sales. I completed my CFA level 1 during my undergrad and I’ve always wanted to break into IB or PE and I recently got offered an M&A analyst role at a small firm. It would be a great learning opportunity but I would take a paycut. I was thinking of joining them for a year and then going with the MBA route to join one of the big 5 in Canada.

    1. OK. If you want to do that and understand the trade-offs, it’s fine. I’m not sure what your question is.

  10. Hi Brian!

    I’m currently a first year undergraduate student in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, I cannot change my major to Finance. How should I proceed exactly to land a position in finance upon my graduation? I was thinking about taking the CFA exams as soon I graduate and then start applying to finance positions, but then realized that to become Chartered you need at least 4 years of work experience in finance.

    Thank you

    1. You don’t need to major in finance. Get relevant internships, start early, begin networking with alumni, etc., and follow the steps outlined here:

      Accounting and finance are easy next to EECS. And you don’t need the CFA or other certifications, just a bit of prep work, industry research, and networking to find internships.

  11. Hi Brian, thanks for the great article
    My background is
    2 years of military service in Korea
    Canada top school mechanical Engineering with 3.6 GPA
    5 years of Field engineering experience with GE
    Professional Engineer, CFA level 3

    I am 31 now
    I am thinking about getting into top us MBA next year.

    will there be a good chance for me to get into PE, IB with my background?

    1. Yes, potentially, but you’ll probably need something a bit more finance-related before business school to have the best chance (e.g., pre-MBA internship).

  12. Hi Brian,Am currently pursuing my Btech IT Engineering degree in one of the colleges in India…..How could I enter into Investment banking career….? ant d please give me accurate ways to get into the IB career….
    To mention I am not a coder too
    And Also say how can I transfer By doing MBA in finance/Buisness…Will it be right?
    Am being in confusions……..Please assist me……..And If you could make through the mail…..It would be very usefull.!!!!!
    Thanks In advance!

    1. India is a completely different market, so you have to look at advice specific to India:

      It’s very difficult unless you’re at one of the top IITs or IIMs. If not, you’re better off going for other roles, like the Big 4, or moving to a different country.

  13. Hi Brian, apologies for the lengthy monologue but I would like your opinion on how I should pursue a HF/AM career give my experience: I’ve been working in a Data Science/Engineering role in the Business and Management Consultancy unit of a Financial Services Consultancy for around 9 months in London. I graduated in 2019 with an engineering degree from a top target London university, and completed a research placement where I co-authored a paper. While this is certainly not finance experience, and not exactly management consulting, being in the business/management unit has enabled me to take part in projects involving internal management consulting, development of a new data idea to fit in with industry trends, business writing involving due diligence, and I am having one white paper published by my firm about management with another about a strategic industry development in the pipeline. Recently I’ve become set on the long term goal of an investing role at an AM/HF because I really enjoy reading and writing about industry trends, am enjoying reading books on value investing and beginning creating y own portfolio, and find following the public markets fascinating (I subscribe to the economist and to a couple of investment newsletters). Do you have an opinion on the best way to do that? I looked into masters in finance courses but it is too late to apply for courses beginning 2020. Friends in banking and equity derivatives roles say that I still count as a ‘recent graduate’ and that I should apply to off cycle programs at banks, either to ER or AM divisions. Recently I have thought about trying to use your Premium Modelling package to teach myself modelling in my spare time, then use cold emailing to create an internship opportunity at HF/AM/ER firms and go from there. Should I go all out to secure an off cycle internship in AM/ER (which one?), and do you think your IB interview guide would + keeping up with markets would be good enough to secure one? Would networking at this late stage be a worthwhile use of my time to secure one? If I cannot secure a published off cycle internship would the next best thing be to cold email to create one? Or should I go for the aforementioned approach to create an internship directly in a buy side firm? Or should I prioritise a different approach? Apologies for the super long post and thanks in advanced – a very confused and hungry person.

    1. Off-cycle internships are an option, but I’m not sure how common they are for AM/ER. I think you need to decide on what type of role you want first:

      1) Something technical that leverages your background, such as quantitative trading or quant research or development at a hedge fund?

      2) Or something that is “non-quantitative,” i.e., based on fundamental analysis that does not require programming skills?

      If it’s #1, you could probably apply directly to prop trading firms or quant funds and have some chance at winning offers if you’re good enough with the math/probability questions.

      If it’s #2, you’ll probably have to go for off-cycle IB/PE/VC-type internships at smaller firms and then eventually use those to win a HF or AM offer, maybe after working full-time at a bank for a while. I think you would need more than our guides and courses to pursue #2 if you haven’t had previous finance internships or full-time experiences.

      1. Thanks for the quick reply Brian. I’m definitely attracted to #2, the fundamental analysis side. Sounds like you’re saying I should go for off cycle internships in whichever fundamental analysis role I can get and then work my way from there, which I’m happy with.

        Just to clarify, by smaller firms are you saying I should be resorting to networking and cold emailing to create an unadvertised internship? Also, is it highly unlikely I could win an off cycle internship at a major bank? I ask because there are some openings which I’m currently applying to.

        1. Yes.

          Yes, you can cold email or cold call to create an unadvertised internship. There are examples of how to do so on this site. You could apply to large banks with official openings as well, but sometimes the process for those is very drawn-out.

          1. Hi Brian, again apologies for the long post ahead. I have a question about how to prepare for a possible HF/PE interview 1-2 weeks away.

            It’s been a journey but have since taken part in a successful stock pitch competition, left the data science role, worked at a leadership internship at a 20 person startup with direct management experience, took the GMAT and have been accepted to study at one of the top 3 pre-experience finance masters in the world (at least I like to think so). Since being accepted to the masters a month ago, I have slowly started sending out cold-emails in the hopes of a last minute HF/PE internship. Obviously not a sure proposition but I used your networking guide to get good at emails and have worked on my resume over the last year (it’s crazy how much a resume can improve just by coming back to it every couple months over the course of a year or two). Had an introductory call this morning (thank god I crammed your ib interview + informational interview guides the night before) with one 3-5 person multi-billion dollar, long-term value HF looking to hire away from their typical pe backgrounds. They don’t have a formal internship available, but are interested in doing something informal with an eye towards working full-time after graduation. It went well, and the guy asked me for some work samples which I sent and will talk to his team about scheduling a much more rigorous interview, which would probably take place 1-2 weeks from now.

            My question is I am unsure of how best to use my time to prepare for this. Still cold emailing 1-2 hours a day, but have no commitments other than going to the pub outside of that. I’m unsure if I should heavily prioritise learning technicals, or focus elsewhere? To give an idea of my ability, I understand most but not all of the basic concepts from the ib interview guide, read the economist almost daily, know how to interpret quarterly/annual reports, and for my stock-pitch competition conducted detailed research + created the thesis + thought through and calculated all DCF model assumptions (although it was my team mate who actually adapted an Excel template and then asked me for input assumptions, so I’m not confident I could create a whole DCF from scratch by myself). I have not yet gone through your ib or modelling guides with any rigour, but put ‘began studying towards BIWS financial modelling certification’ on my resume; although that’s at the bottom and did not come up today, I’m worried I could get called out on this point if they ask about it in a more formal interview. Basically they know that I have a programming background and like me for it, and cared most about the ability to do deep and original research, so they may be more lenient about it than others. That said I purchased and have been meaning to go through your guides since quite a while ago, but would love to get your perspective on how to put my best foot forward, given I may have to be ready as quickly as a week from now.

            As for their strategy, they seek to find great but undervalued companies where the market isn’t paying attention and hold for 10-15 years. They only have up to between 8-10 holdings at any one time, invest in both public and private backgrounds are almost always one of the three largest shareholders when they do invest, and all have PE backgrounds so this seems like a ‘Pershing Square’ style of investment fund. Because of this, I’m uncertain as whether to treat it like a HF or PE process, and I’m also uncertain of what to prioritise for possible 1 week time frame given that I probably need to go more in depth than your IB interview guide but don’t have the 2-3 weeks+ needed to go through either the PE or ER/AM/HF action plans in your modelling mastery course. What do you think?

          2. OK, so if you have very detailed questions like these, and you have our courses, you should really leave a comment on the BIWS site. I happened to see your comment here and respond quickly, but I normally only check comments once every 1-2 weeks.

            If you have 1-2 weeks to prepare, I would do the following:

            Week 1: Focus on your story, why this firm/industry, and complete Modules 7-9 on the valuation and DCF analysis in the course because you’ll need to know those if they look for undervalued companies.

            Week 2: Come up with 1 long idea and 1 short idea and do a bit of work for both of them. Maybe just a quick/simple DCF and multiples and some industry research to justify your views. They are almost certainly going to ask you for stock pitches and investment ideas, so this has to be part of the process.

  14. Remain Anonymous

    I am set to start my SWE job at a Major CRA company. My main goal has always been to work in debt markets/structured finance so I don’t think my first job is “too unrelated”.That being said I would like to work in finance (preferably the buy side or banking).My initial plan was to involve myself with tech teams within the company that deal with structured finance and then slowly make the transition into a more finance role than a programming role. Assuming I do make the transition within the company to a more finance role,what options could I be looking into moving outside of the CRA field after a few years?

    1. I think it will be tough to do that unless you transition over to a finance role very quickly (within a year or so). If you do, maybe something related to CRA, such as real estate debt, corporate banking, or DCM at a bank. It would be tough to move from that directly into an IB industry group or M&A team.

      1. Anonymous

        I was thinking of jumping to a more “finance” activity within the firm after two years and then do an MBA post Credit Rating to rebrand myself from the CRA type of work.But it seems you are suggesting me to jump to IB pre MBA?

        1. Yes, it’s always better to get in pre-MBA if possible.

  15. Srilakshmi U

    Hi Brian,
    I am currently pursuing a Bachelors in Electronics Engineering. I will be graduating in 2021. I am interning in a finance firm ( but my work is mostly software-oriented and involves very little finance ). I further want to pursue a Masters in Finance. Is it a good idea to start applying for the Masters, right after I graduate? Or should I network for 2-3 years more and then start applying for Masters?
    Thank you!

    1. It’s usually best to have at least a year of work experience before doing a Master’s in Finance program, but not too much beyond that. 3 years is pushing it, and you might get pushed into the MBA track by that point.

      1. Srilakshmi U

        Thank You for the advice Brian! Will start looking into it

  16. I am pursuing engineering from Chandigarh Group Of Colleges Landran but i have interest in Finance sector also. You have shared very informative article regarding this and i have got many good ideas from your article. Keep sharing such informative articles.

  17. Hi Brian,

    Very insightful article. I’ve read through some of the comments but didn’t exactly get the advice I needed for structuring my future. I graduated with a BS in civil engineering and am almost a year into my first job out of college as a Structural Engineer in NY. I find that I don’t really enjoy my job at all and aspire to make more money than I will in this industry. I am considering a career change and would love to get into finance, accounting, or consulting, but I feel that I have no prior knowledge or skills in those fields.

    I am very motivated and willing to work the long hours. I am very proficient in excel too, which I know will be utilized very often. My main issue is that I have almost no interest in going back to school for an MBA. I have many friends that work for Big 4 firms and IB companies, so I think I can do pretty well in networking. I’m seeking some advice on how to go about switching careers without going back to school. Do you think it will be an extremely difficult transition not really having prior experience? A bunch of my friends have said they think I would be fine given the training programs and learning on the job. Am I setting myself up for failure by not wanting to go back to school?

    Thanks! Appreciate the help.

    1. If you make the move quickly (i.e., right now), and go for something related, such as a Big 4 firm or valuation firm, before moving into IB directly, it’s possible (though still difficult). The main problem is that you’re probably not going to be able to jump directly from civil engineering to IB, so you need something in between… whether it’s an MBA program or another job is up to you. Another option might be to aim for something like infrastructure finance and then use that to get into IB or a related group at a bank.

  18. Hi Brian,
    Thank you a lot for this helpful article.
    I have a question I you can answer me please.
    I am an engineer in Business Intelligence and Data Analysis with 1 year of professional experience. I am interested in working in investment bank as a trader, having some experience and start trading for myself or create a financial company in the long future. I intend next year make a MS in finance in some Swiss universities that I aim. I will also start preparing CFA certificate level 1. Do you think that I can it’s possible to work in a IB as a trader after a short carrer as an IT enginner ? And what would you recommend me to do ?
    Thank’s a lot for your time.

  19. Hi Brian, Great article.

    I am a Structural Engineer with around 5 years experience in infrastructure and Buildings. I am looking at a career switch into Equity Research.

    I am based in Australia and will be taking the Level 1, CFA exam next year. I am also self teaching myself modelling & valuation methods.

    Do you have any insight on research roles for Engineers? Are there any additional steps I can make to improve my applications?

    What sort of entry level jobs are worth applying for to get a foot in the door that will be beneficial to ER down the track?

    Thanks in advance for your time.

    1. I don’t think this is a great idea if you want to stay in Australia because the finance industry is very small there, and ER is probably in even worse shape than it is in the U.S. and Europe currently. A better plan might be to apply to sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) because they actually invest in infrastructure, which you know something about, while equity research has little, if anything, to do with infrastructure in most cases. See some of the comments here:

  20. Vamsi Krishna

    Thanks, Brian for the article!
    I’m a masters student studying engineering management in the US, I have worked for Google in India as a software engineer for 3 years.

    I have taken up Engineering management hoping to be a product manager but after being exposed to the venture capital, investment banking industry here I see my interests shifting to finance. Is there any chance for me to get an internship in a VC firm or a Bulge bracket bank without any previous experience, and what do you think is the best way to break into the industry?

    1. It’s unlikely if you have a pure engineering background. You need to do something closer to business, whether it’s another degree, a different role at your current firm, etc. Please see:

  21. Mohammad Abdelshafy

    Hi Brian!
    I am a 3rd year mechanical engineering student with research experience in applied mathematics. I want to get into financial engineering in Egypt. The financial market in Egypt is very small but it is currently growing very rapidly and financial instruments will be much more common since the real estate market is already dominated by big players. I have almost no knowledge on finance, except for financial accounting since I have founded a company last year and needed to study the basics to understand the documents.
    Side note: I am an avid researcher and love applied mathematics and computation very much. I have used monte carlo simulation in computational fluid dynamics. I am considering doing research in mathematical finance, but don’t know how would that help me if it ever will.

    1. I don’t know enough about the market in Egypt to give you detailed advice, but I think you should narrow down the exact field you want to get into first. Math skills matter a lot in quant-type roles but tend not to be important in deal-based roles where you work with entire properties or companies… so that should be the starting point. Also, even if the market is growing quickly in Egypt, you’ll have more opportunities in all these areas if you go to a major hub such London or NY.

  22. Hi Brian,

    I have completed my civil engineering from India and then moved to Canada to do my post grad diploma in construction management and while in diploma I’ve got to come across financial topics like financial management Ain construction and construction finance 1 & 2. That really developed my interest in financial field and now I want to make it as my main stream career. Many recommended starting from clearing CSC exam and then preparing for CFA levels. Is that the even real career path into cracking financial fields? what can be the best way to step into finance industry?

    1. The CSC and CFA will not help. To move in from this type of background, you’ll almost certainly need a top MBA, at least if you want to work in investment banking. You might be able to get into something like real estate finance if you can network aggressively, learn the basics on your own, and get more relevant experience first. Also, Canada is a very small market with few openings in traditional finance jobs, so you should try for a bigger market if you can… far more openings in the US and UK.

  23. Kushagra Nalwaya

    Hi Brain, it was such a nice article. Can you please help me out with few things?
    Currently I’m in 4th year of my Computer Science & Engineering from India and I’m really very much interested in finance and all (though I’m not sure what in it especially, confusion!!). I read a lot about Finance, Economics, Businesses, Share Markets and all and it fascinates me a lot and I don’t see myself as a coder in the long run, it’s not that I don’t that I hate to code but it don’t delight me at all. But at the same time I don’t know what to do other than that (in financial field obviously). I see myself as a capitalist in the long run but don’t know the path! Can you please help me?

    1. The market is completely different in India, so you should start by reading some of our coverage on it to understand the difficulties it presents and the career options:

  24. Hi Brian!
    Dont know if you are commenting still. Your page is really useful and has changed the way I looked at IB. I am working as a R&D engineer with experience in R&D, little bit of business and product management in Japan. I did my Masters in Electrical from IIT Bombay (CGPA-9.6/10),GMAT-710 and am applying for MBA at LBS, INSEAD, Duke,Darden,Cambridge, I want to make a switch into IB work in BB firms- GS,JPM,MS in London. So after reading your posts I came to realize how much effort I have to pull in given I have no experience in finance work or knowledge. Things to step up the gas on
    1. Self study- Financial modelling, LBO courses
    2. CFA ? or coursera certifications in financial courses (confused here)
    3. Pre-MBA internships
    4. Networking with alumni
    So which one among 1-4 should I focus the most and should i focus on learning financial model etc first or gaining coursera certificates? I will be joining MBA in Sep next year. and currently in the process of applying to R1 in the above schools. Thanks in advance!

    1. The CFA and Coursera will not help you at all, at least not in a way that’s useful relative to the time/effort you put in. Learn the basics via our Interview Guide or Excel & Fundamentals course if you have more time, read everything on this site, and then focus on getting into the best MBA program you can. Once you’ve studied the technicals for 1-2 months so you understand the basics, start networking with alumni to set up a pre-MBA internship first. You should start the networking process ASAP once you decide on your school.

      1. Thanks for the reply.That was really helpful.
        I am concerned if the Interview guide or Excel and Fundamentals will focus on basic concepts to understand for a non finance guy like those on Course era by wharton profs.

        1. We assume that you have no existing knowledge. Obviously it will help if you come in knowing something, but nothing is required. You just need Excel and PowerPoint and some familiarity with Windows programs.

          1. Hi Brian & Nicole!

            Thanks a lot for this website!
            I have started networking with my undergraduate alumnis in IB, other bankers in my region using Linkedin, personal sources etc. but I am bit confused whether to ask for pre-MBA internship now. Currently I am working in a tech job , busy in MBA colg app process. I have fixed my first priority school as LBS (and have also got in touch with some of the school’s alumnis) but I feel i don’t have much leverage to convince for a pre-MBA internship as long as I don’t get confirmed admit at one of the schools. So should I wait till I get an admit ? Please help!

          2. You can’t ask for a pre-MBA internship until you win admission to an MBA program and accept enrollment there.

  25. Hi Brian,

    I dropped out from a BEng program of a top university several years ago due to poor grades. And now I will be starting all over and will be studying for a BEng program in another top university (target) in the UK. I will be doing EEE in this university.
    But I will be 28-29 years old by the time I graduate. Do I still have any chance to get into IB?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Again, it really depends on your years of full-time work experience ( If it doesn’t seem like you have worked full-time for 2-3+ years, yes, you can still do IB. 28-29 is above the normal age range for Analysts, but it happens sometimes.

  26. Hey Brian,

    Thank you writing this article. The information within it was very interesting and helpful. I don’t know if you’re still actively responding to comments here since it’s been a long time but I thought I would try anyways.

    I am a grade 12 student in Canada. I am very fascinated by business (specifically finance) and have been involved in many extra-curricular business clubs and programs. However, I am also interested in the programming and technology. I have just applied to universities last month for Computer Engineering as I thought it would be easier to transition into a finance-oriented job from engineering as opposed to the other way around.

    After reading the article, I understand that the best bet would be to get into a business undergraduate degree and then go from there.

    What do you suggest that I should do, now that I’ve already applied for computer engineering programs and is too late to get into a business-finance program? I mean in terms of things I should be doing outside of university, when I begin in September 2019.

    Thank you for your help through this article. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    1. If you want to keep your options open, I strongly recommend majoring in engineering because, as you said, it’s easier to move from there to finance than to do the reverse. Maybe do a minor in accounting or finance if you want.

      Almost any bank or finance firm on the planet would prefer an engineering major with some business/accounting/finance knowledge to someone who just majored in a business-related field and has limited knowledge of math/science/engineering.

  27. Anthony Jensen

    Hi there,

    I’m currently a student at Upenn doing a dual degree in finance from wharton and either computer science or systems engineering from the engineering school. I’ve been programming for many years but I don’t really like Penn’s CS curriculum and have found the Systems Engineering program to be more similar to my interests. I’ll still be doing programming on the side but I was wondering if not doing Computer Science as an official degree would hurt me in the long run, especially if I’m able to demonstrate high technical proficiency in an interview.

    1. No, it doesn’t matter as long as you can prove your knowledge.

  28. Hi brian im graduating from highschool in Singapore. In school I excell in maths and physics which is why I’m conflicted on whether to pursue an engineerig course in electrical engineering or pursue a degree in banking at finance. Currently im being suggested to take engineerig as I can switch back to finance if i change my mind from engineering. However Im not so sure whether investment banks and other finance related industries are keen on hiring engineers. So my questions are do you think choosing to take the path of electrical engineering and pursue a cfa later is a good idea whilst applying for internships in finance durig university. Or should i major in banking and finance straight away. Lastly I’ve also been intrigued by the idea of taking applied math in university and minoring in finance to maybe work in a quant fund. Appreciate the help.

    1. You can definitely get into finance from engineering/math, but it’s much harder (or impossible) to do the reverse and get into one of those from finance. The only issue is that engineering/math are harder majors, so your GPA will likely be lower, which will make it more difficult to win IB roles. Personally, I would recommend something in engineering and then maybe a minor or classes on the side in accounting/finance to gain the background and hopefully boost your GPA in the process.

      1. Thanks for the fast reply Brian. Will the only disadvantage be the harder curriculumn and GPA. As I’m not sure whether investment banks have a preference for those with finance degrees over engineering hope that the minor in finance and possibly pursuing a cfa will be enough.

        1. That is the main disadvantage. Some banks might prefer candidates with accounting/finance degrees, but from a risk and “total career” perspective, you’re better off majoring in something that will be practical in many markets.

  29. Ankit Agrawal

    Hi Brain,

    I graduated in July with a degree in Computer Science and I am currently working as an Associate Product Manager in a hot Startup in India. I’ve finished Finance and Business Strategy specialization offered by Wharton and the University of Michigan. I am planning to go for an MBA in Europe or USA after 2-3 Years, what should I do before my MBA to get into Investment Banking after MBA?

    Will writing CFA increase my chances?


    1. The CFA will not help much if you already have finance experience and an MBA. You should focus on getting a pre-MBA internship before the MBA begins (, though I’m not sure how the process works if you’re international (maybe find an unpaid role so they don’t have to get a work visa for you?).

  30. Khaled Qayum

    I just followed the path as outlined. I did BS in Mechanical Engineering, MS in Operations Research. Worked for a few years and did MBA. Then I switched to Investment Banking. As an Investment Banker my area of work was in Project Finance, as I worked as Risk Analyst. I became the Country Head of Risk Management or CRO for the Investment Bank, where I was directly reporting to the CEO. My special interest was the financing of Green Field Projects. These were the projects few people had financed before. I must say I have enjoyed my work both as an Industrial Engineer and as an Investment Banker.

    1. Congrats, I’m glad to hear it worked out for you.

    2. Ayooluwa

      Hey. Did you have prior finance work experience before your MBA

  31. First I might want to thank you for the above article, it is exceptionally educational and particularly pertinent for my situation. I am seeking after my B.S. in Computer Engineering and will graduate in May 2018. Over the mid year of 2017 I completed an entry level position in an IB in New York as an innovation expert (IT corporate). Where I discovered that I need to work in the front office jobs. A portion of the representatives there proposed me to seek after CFA. Along these lines, I have been investigating it from that point forward however I am as yet not sure to go for CFA. What’s your opinion about it? Will it be a decent venture?

    1. The CFA is not going to help you that much if you are an engineering major with no finance/business work experience. You need to get that experience first and then use it to win future internships/jobs. Or, go the quant route and use your coding skills for something like quant funds, quant research, or even trading automation roles at banks.

  32. Hi Brian – You mentioned that post MBA, you could enter the industry if you are at a senior executive level.
    Can you please elaborate on that. I work in the energy /infrastructure industry, and am trying to make a transition. Thanks.

    1. I don’t know much about it, unfortunately, and we do not have examples of this transition. But we hope to cover it one day.

  33. Hi Brian and Nicole,
    I m a mechanical engineer, I’m in the last year but I don’t know how to get into finance. I’m an average student please suggest me what course should I do after that?
    I will be glad if you will help me .

    1. IF this is another “I’m an engineer in India, how do I get into finance?” question, then please see our coverage of India for tips (the short answer is you need to get into one of the top IIMs, go for roles outside of IB, or leave the country):

  34. Hey Brian,

    Though I have an engineering(IT) background, I have 5 years experience of working in SME and corporate finance at bank State Bank of India. I have good understanding of financial statements analysis, accounting and project finance. I am planning to go for ex-MBA from one of top IIM’s or NUS. Do you think that would be enough to get into a corporate development M&A role?

    1. Usually they want to see prior IB experience for corporate development roles… so you will probably need more than that. Maybe if you can get into one of the top IIMs and then work at a bank from there.

      1. Thanks for the quick reply Brian. If not IB, would a role in corporate banking as a relationship manager or business developer be a feasible option post MBA. I have only worked in public sector banks so far and though promotions are quick, rise in salary is paltry and I see an MBA as the only ticket out of here.

  35. Wesley Yellin

    I graduated with a BS in Chemical Engineering 13 years ago and have been practicing as an engineer in two fields since then. I am looking to possibly transition to the finance industry because I believe I would enjoy the research aspect (equity research specifically in industrial and tech sector. I plan on talking with professionals in the field as well. I am also considering a masters. I live in NC, and some of the major companies here are Credit Suisse, Citi, and JP Morgan. My question is, since I would need some kind of masters and internship, what masters should I pursue (MBA the only option)? Do you have an opinion on accounting since it’s similar to engineering with attention to detail and numbers/math? Thanks for the reply in advance.

    1. You do not have a great chance of winning an entry-level investment banking role if you have 13+ years of work experience. In fact, I’d say you have almost no chance. Even if you pursue an MBA (a normal Master’s degree would not be worth it at all), it’s not likely because you’ll be over-qualified for Associate roles and the inevitable first question will be: “If you really want to do finance, why did you take over a decade to switch?”

      I would recommend some of the options outlined here instead:

  36. harthik t

    hi brain
    this is harthik . i’m a BE (mechanical engineering ) student 2018 passed out from india. i’m intrested in finance. but i don’t know how to get into finance. i’m an average,the admission for mba (finance) at top bschool in india is very difficult for me. pls suggest me what i want to do.

  37. Nikhil Talokar

    Hello ! My name is Nikhil. I am 22 years old and I have recently done my engineering in electronics and telecommunication.while looking for a job, I get a job in commercial finance company with satisfactory CTC.
    I am fresher and I just want ask that it will be beneficial for me to work with a finance company at the starting of my career. If I get interest in finance, can do MBA in finance. Let me know as soon as possible.

  38. I am a mechanical engineer from India. Currently I am working in my field. But after during my graduation years I came across stock market which i wanna pursue carrer in finance field. Is it possible for me to have carrer in finance. What sould i do futher.

  39. I just started at Wharton for my MBA. Came here from Google, where I was a software engineer and technical program manager. I’m also a former professional ballet dancer. My background, I understand, is bizarre.

    Is there any chance for me to enter finance (VC/PE/IBanking)? How should I approach going for it, given my odd background?

    1. The issue is that you need to start preparing for this transition long before you reach business school. People typically begin networking with alumni the moment they get in, which then gives them an advantage in the process. If you haven’t yet networked with alumni and you haven’t completed any finance-related experience before this, there’s still a chance you could just win an IB role via on-campus recruiting if you learn finance quickly and spin your story very well, but it’s not a great chance. See:

  40. Anshul Kapoor

    Hi Brian,

    Great article, very well written. The first part of the article cleared that I do not want to get in to IB.
    However, I do want to get in Finance.

    I am an Oil Field Engineer and I work on oil rigs. The money is decent, however, the learning has ceased. I would highly appreciate if you could advice on how can I move from where I am towards the following:

    – Equity Research or Security Analysis
    – Business Evaluation


    P.S I like the side business idea by making an app

    1. For equity research, you would probably need another degree or something serious to signal your intent to switch industries along with a lot of self study, possibly the CFA, etc. But if you don’t want to get into IB, are you sure you really want to do equity research? They are different, but they’re still finance roles at banks and a decent amount of the work is actually similar, at least at the junior levels.

  41. Hi Brian,

    I’d appreciate your recommendations on how I should move into IB from engineering. Thank you for your time.

    Summary of my background:
    (1) Engineer for 3 years, so would classify as MBA level per your article; currently 27 years old;
    (2) Over past 5 years, self-studied and trained myself on most of the technical work an analyst/associate would know/do (financial analysis & valuation methods, reading & understanding filings, M&A agreements, research reports, spreading comps, building DCF and merger models). My wife used to be in IB (TMT banking, left at Associate level), so I did my self-study and training on my own, while going through my wife’s interview preps and studying together with her, and through helping her with occasional non-confidential work when she needed it (usually spreading comps or pulling research data). I am also therefore familiar with all the demands of IB;
    (3) Don’t have any finance/business related experience on paper, except an online certified business foundations course;
    (4) B.A. in Physics from Columbia University, GPA 3.8; M.S. in Materials Science from UPenn, GPA 3.6

    I think my main weaknesses is the lack of finance work experience on paper.
    My current thought is to somehow make my way into an internship at a bank, if they won’t accept me as an Analyst right away, and use that to land a full-time position even as an Analyst.
    If this is possible, this seems more worthwhile given my background than the MBA route.

    How do you suggest that I get my foot in the door and get that internship? I’m fairly confident that I will do well once I have the chance to prove myself.
    Is there anything else that you would recommend?

    1. I think it will be nearly impossible to move from that background into investment banking, even at a boutique bank. You are assuming that banks recruit people based on reality, i.e. required skills and experience, but a lot of the recruiting process is based on perception (age, status/prestige, etc.). In reality, yes, you might be better at the job than a 20-year-old with no work experience at a top university, but banks will still perceive that 20-year-old to be a better candidate.

      Your best options are:

      1) Complete a top MBA and use that to move in.

      2) Go for non-IB roles such as quant hedge funds, data science at hedge funds, or something else where your engineering background would make a difference.

      3) You could still look for boutique internships, but I’ve never once seen someone with your profile get one… and I’ve been doing this since the mid-2000s. Maybe think about an MSF degree and use that if you don’t want a full MBA, as it’s sometimes more acceptable to hire interns out of that type of program.

  42. Buyi Biyela

    I’m in Civil Engineering and I want to move to banking, either auditing or investments. Is it possible?

    1. Um… maybe? I don’t really have enough information to answer your question.

  43. Hi Brian. You mention you can’t move from Engineer at Google to IB, but can you move from Technology Analyst/Software Engineer at a bank to IB through an MBA program?

    1. or Technology Consulting Analyst

    2. “Can’t” is too strong; the odds are low with no experience in between, but it does happen. I think it would actually be harder to move from an IT role at a bank to IB through an MBA program – if you want to do IT first, do it at a top tech company.

  44. Samvit Agarwal

    Hey, thanks for the great article. I am currently in high school and have a strong interest in both computer science and finance. Currently, though, I am thinking of majoring in computer science, as I think that there are more opportunities for a computer science degree. After college, however, if I do manage to work for 2-3 years(in tech) and then get an MBA at a(hopefully good) school, will it be possible for me to enter Investment Banking?

    Note: In order to show interest in finance, I do plan on participating in finance-oriented clubs in college and do so now too(in high school).

  45. Mayank Garg

    Dear Brian,

    Thanks for your time and expertise shared through this excellent piece of article.
    I have a MS in EE from University of Southern California graduated in 2016. I was top of my class and did 3 internships during my time, one of them leading to $100k+ in savings to a firm (and a letter of recommendation by CEO). I have similar accomplishments in other internships and my first job. I also founded USC Energy Club and was president with the organization (held similar positions in other organizations). I am currently working with a large EPC company in Southern California. Engineering is not as fast paced as I imagined & I am looking to get into IB to have a more aggressive career. I am planning on getting a MS in Finance- online(as I can’t afford to leave my job) and planning to get CFA in the meanwhile. Getting an MBA is an option, but I am almost sure I won’t get into top 10 with my experience, so would rather get relevant experience and accomplishments.
    Please suggest:
    1) Is MSF- online a good idea? (Targeting univs like Penn State)
    2) Working full time will make it impossible to look for an internship in banking, what can be an alternate?
    3) Any input to further guide me will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for help in advance.

    1. I don’t think an online MSF is a good idea because you need access to recruiters, which online degrees don’t necessarily provide. If you really want to switch to IB, it will be really tough to do so while working full-time because you need to get some type of finance-related experience. Your best options are:

      1) Leave your job and complete a top MSF or MBA degree and use that to get in (but the MBA is only worth it from a top school).

      2) Stay in your current role, but try to transition to the finance/business side internally. You might be able to move over to a business development role like that (maybe at another company) and then eventually move toward a finance role (but probably not one in traditional investment banking).

  46. Hi, I found this article extremely helpful.

    I am from India and I will be appearing for my grade 12 exams in March this year, with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. No commerce background as such.

    I have developed liking for Finance sector because of its direct relation with business or at least that’s what I seem to understand from its mention in newspapers here. And starting my own Luxury Hotel Chain like JWMarriott is one of my dreams.

    For that I was looking at IB as my best bet for in my opinion it is the best way to earn comparatively more money in comparatively less time than an engineering or tech job.

    So, my question is whether I should opt for a career in Finance leading to IB or should I go for engineering? Also, would CFA be a good bet along with a bachelor and master in Finance?

  47. Hi,

    Does Finance have a higher ceiling than Tech? What about higher averages? I would think MDs make more on average than senior Tech people. In addition, only the top companies pay more than Finance I would believe.

    1. The average finance person will earn more than the average tech person, yes. It’s hard to give a definitive answer on ceilings because Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg are worth far more than any MD in banking, but they’re huge exceptions that nevertheless make “the ceiling” higher.

  48. alok mishra

    I’m persuing final year. I really have interest in markets and stocks sector.
    But currently not getting a clear way to be focused on in ebtering in IB line.
    please advice me a best way by which i can achive my goal.
    I really want to become an Investment banker
    My Btech Grades are around 7
    really suggestions required
    Which steps should I follow ?

    please advise me

  49. I’m a graduate of chemical engineering with no experience in the finance sector. I’m planning on starting my own business in d future more likely in agricultural sector. I don’t want to limit myself to this, so I need help with going into the financial sector. If I’m to pursue my masters, what area in finance or business related area would be advisable to go into. Also jobs should I partake in to enable me gain insight into dis if I’m unable to further my studies for the time being. What are the chemical engineering finance roles avalaible. Thank you

  50. Jayhawkins

    I have an MS in engineering, currently working in big data consulting at the Big 4 where I’ve gotten exposure to working within a department that focuses on relationships with start-ups and VC firms. I’m 27, and am very early in my career. This sparked my interest in going into IB-TMT and eventually VC. Plan was to apply to b school next year, but since IB is now a goal of mine, I’m thinking about trying to transition to a boutique bank focused in tech and putting off b school another year. I had a weak ugrad gpa (2.7) froma non-target, my MS (same school) was a 3.83. I haven’t taken the GMAT yet

    Is IB realistic for me or should I stay true to consulting and shoot for MBB for strategy work and shoot for VC later?

    Thanks, this article was extremely helpful

    1. I think you could get into IB, but at this point you might need an MBA depending on your years of work experience. If it’s more than 2-3, you will probably need an MBA if you want to get into banking eventually. The undergrad GPA will also hurt you, though not the end of the world due to your MS GPA. Also, I don’t think IB will necessarily get you better results in the VC world than consulting.

  51. saurabh singh

    Hi Brian,

    Is Ms in finance a good step to get into investment banking

  52. I’m starting a Masters in Software Engineering program in the fall. It’s a 2-year program. Will it be hard to get an IB internship?

    1. Yes because a Master’s in Engineering degree has nothing to do with investment banking. You need a more relevant degree and/or more relevant internships.

  53. I am a chemical engineer having work experience of 3 years in fertilizer industry. I want to switch to a role having exposure to both technical and finance

    1. OK… so what is your question?

  54. I am a graduate in computer science, I’ve 2 years of experience in non-finance related things..
    I want to be a programmer in finance sector…
    But I don’t have knowledge about finance field…where to start ??
    I have no idea what should I do ?


    1. Learn about finance… read up on deals… learn accounting/valuation… see all the articles on this site.

  55. Civil dude

    Hi Brian,

    I’m about to graduate with a Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering in the coming year, but would like to work in investment banking here in Hong Kong.

    I really have no idea what I am doing though, any tips on what I should do to prepare for interviews so I at least have a fighting chance?


    1. Please see all our articles on interviews and interview prep here:

      1. Civil Dude

        Thanks Brian?some good food for thought.

  56. Hi Brian,
    First I would like to thank you for the above article, it is very informative and very much applicable in my case. I am pursuing my B.S. in Computer Engineering and will graduate in May 2018. Over the summer of 2017 I did an internship in an IB in New York as a technology analyst (IT corporate). Where I found out that I want to work in the front office roles. Some of the employees there suggested me to pursue CFA. So, I have been looking into it since then but I am still not certain to go for CFA. What do you think about it? Will it be a good investment?

    1. If you’re graduating in less than a year, no, the CFA will not be useful, at least not if you spend hundreds of hours on it. It’s better to say you’re “studying for it,” put in a bit of time, and leave it at that so you get some of the benefit without hundreds of hours of work. At this point, you’re very late to finance recruiting, so you’ll probably have to do a Master’s in Finance program or MBA program and move into the industry from that.

      1. So what do you think about doing a Master’s in Finance and along with it preparing for CFA?

        1. The CFA is only helpful for some roles. Do a search on this site to see which ones it is useful for.

          1. Thank you Mr. Brian, I appreciate your help.

  57. Hi! I´m from sweden and I´m 16 years old. I´m very intressted in the stock market and have been buying and selling shares for a few years now. But I am aswell very intressted in technology developement. Today i read Sience at the “gymnasium” I belive that is the same thing as “upper secondary” in the US. However, I am not sure if I want to get a degree in engineering or maybe industrial economy or Bussiness.

    What would u recommend me to do?

    1. I have no idea what your question is, sorry. Maybe wait until you’re older.

  58. Hi
    I am a Chemical Engineering graduate from a prestigious university in India. I graduated with a CGPA of 8.2/10 and ranked 10th in my batch. I have had internships in companies like ExxonMobil and Schlumberger and they were not rigidly technical. Besides having technical projects, I was also associated with marketing and sales. Then I joined Reliance industries limited as a process engineer. I worked there for 10 months . On the way I had developed strong interest in finance and I also did MOOC on various areas related to IB. Presently I am working on my family business venture. I want to make a career in IB. I have applied for masters in management in the top schools of France and I am quite positive that I will get selected in one of them. I am also CFA level 1 candidate.I have a track record of working long hours specially in Reliance. How should I work from this point to grab a position in top IB firms.

      1. Thanks.. that cleared a lot of my doubts. Thus in conclusion the internships or the apprenticeship programs in the business school will be of real benefit to me.

      2. Hey
        I have some interviews coming up for the masters in management courses. I am concerned about how to answer the question “why did you leave your last job”? Since my start up is still at a very initial stage, how to justify this along with my interests for finance.

        1. Say that you became more interested in the business side and left to work on your own venture. In this venture, you’re responsible for finance and business development, which are directly relevant to your long-term career goals.

  59. Hi There,

    Let me tell you first my situation is. I have completed my in computer science from India and currently working in TCS (an Indian consultancy company) as a software developer, I am also CFA level-1 candidate right now. As i am interested in working in investment bank ,I have planned to switch after 2 years experience to top investment banks in their tech division and also wanna complete rest of the CFA levels. After this can i get into front office roles? Do you think i am on the right way? Any further suggestion will be helpful for my career.

    P.S. I am also planning to do Executive MBA from top B-schools after 5 year experience.

    Thanks. .

    1. It is really difficult to move into IB in India because of the small size of the industry relative to the population. You might have a better chance if you focus on boutique banks there, go outside the country, or maybe if you can get into one of the top two IIMs and apply from there. Please see:

  60. Hi Brian and Nicole,
    I graduated in May with a mechanical engineering degree. During under grad I did three engineering internships, and a year as an analyst and investment officer with our $3MM real money student investment fund (also my “spark” for IB), and currently am working interim at a law firm doing corporate legal services. On my resume and in my story I play up the analyst position and law firm experience and working with clients. I’ve taken finance/accounting courses and BIWS prep courses and am becoming confident on the technical end. I’m targeting MMs and tech boutiques by brute force cold calling / emailing, and have gotten some interviews but no offers. 1) Should I change my strategy and go for something outside of IB? I am confident and want IB, so I don’t want to give up, but I want to take the best path there. 2) How can I better position myself to get an offer?

    1. If you’ve been winning interviews, I don’t think it’s a problem with your networking approach or resume or anything like that. What has been the feedback from interviews? What’s the main reason why you are not advancing? Can you go back to any of your interviewers and ask what they think about your performance or see if they have any tips?

      It’s hard to say what to do without knowing that. If their main objection is “You’re good, but we need someone with more finance experience,” then you might have to go for something outside of IB first and use that to move in. But if they’re objecting to something else, such as your technical knowledge or interest in the industry, then you might have to change your strategy in interviews.

      In your case, it probably makes sense to focus on smaller banks because it’s incredibly difficult to go from non-finance work experience directly to a role at a large bank.

      Aside from playing up your legal and analyst experience, you can’t do too much more to position yourself more effectively.

    2. Hii Brian , I have completed bachelor in civil Engineering from India because of my parents they forced me to do so even though i was not interested in engineering ,but now i think that i should go for master in Finance as it has good job opportunities here in India please help me i am confused what to do..??

      1. What is your goal? If you want to get into IB, you should read this article first:

        The environment is completely different in India, and it’s easy to get stuck in a role with no upward mobility.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *