How to break into Investment Banking from as an engineering student?

I will be soon finishing my engineering degree at a good european uni. It is definetly not a target for investment banking, but considered a very good uni with a technical focus in my home country. My grades are good, but not excellent.

As I want to do a gapyear before my masters degree in finance, I started to apply to internships about 6-4 months prior to the wished upon start date. I did not apply to any large banks but rather transaction advisory and corporate M&A roles, but got rejected each time. I did prior internships in consulting and startups, but really want to look into Investment Banking.

Banking or should I rather try to get the best possible consulting internship and then apply to a bank with a good brand on my resume?

I am quite unsure how to do break into banking as an engineer, as I feel like most of the other applicants are econ/business students with tons of prior internships, which obviosly seem to be better suited for banking.

I do not care whether to start in Paris, Frankfurt, or London, as I am proficient in each respective language. 

Most Helpful

Is your Masters going to be at a target university? Will it be one or two years? These matter.

If it's a two year course at a solid university, you should be in a good position. Apply for internships ASAP at the broadest range of banks possible once they open for your targeted summer. Try to get some internship experience (off-cycle?) in the meantime during your gap year (this applies irrespective).

But look, the rest of your message suggests to me this is not the case. You're right that the majority of applicants to most front office IB positions are from target universities with outstanding grades and past internships. So it's going to be tough, but there are options.

Honestly, I don't think consulting will help if your only goal is to land in banking. I'd suggest:

1) Apply to the audit practice of a Big 4 firm, get your CPA / ACA, be the best in your class, and rotate into Transaction Services / FDD / CDD / etc., then jump to banking (or PE)

2) Apply to the broadest range of banks possible. That includes (in fact, is probably best) local lower market boutiques. Cold call them. Apply to them. Message them on LinkedIn

3) I don't recommend this, but you could take start in consulting at a great shop and then do an MBA and then move to banking. But this will take a lot of time and isn't any guarantee

Hope this helps - at least you have time (the market right now is dreadful, so your recent rejections might be more a reflection of that than anything else)


There are engineers in IB, but they either do something with quant, have previous banking SAs, or a finance focused career track (engineers are quite numerical, so it is a fit somehow).

With your background and the current market dynamic it might be a while until you land a few interviews - especially since you are in Europe. I am guessing you know all the bank names and have applied already.

Maybe Fintech would work for you? Or consulting with a aim to lateral towards financial consulting.


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