AMA: Non-Target Engineer to BB IBD

DalaiLama's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,257

There are usually a few threads on this every now & then, but I figured my story is unique enough that it may be useful for others that may find themselves in a similar position to themselves, or are just in search of a success story to give themselves confidence. I'm a senior who just accepted my BB IB offer, happy to answer any questions you guys might have.


Top 50 US non-target with decent IB alumni, 3.7 GPA, engineering/economics double major, 2 boutique IB internships, SA at an upper middle market PE fund

Cold calling/emailing to land offers:

I was an engineer who didn't know what IB was until the middle of my junior year, when I was able to get me an internship at a regional boutique over my winter break to get myself some experience (I had basically nothing significant on my resume). From there, got myself a boutique IB internship back at school via cold-emailing which I did part-time during the spring semester, and then cold-called my way into an upper MM PE shop.

I ended up interviewing with 10+ firms across the entire spectrum (from regional boutique up to BB), which resulted in 3 superdays and 1 offer.

Feel free to ask me whatever you'd like, or PM me if you're more comfortable doing that instead.

EDIT: Some of you have asked me about how I prepared for my interviews, taught myself finance, etc. The WSO guides were incredibly helpful to me in my recruiting process, so if you are interested, I believe they are available via this link:

Comments (23)

Oct 18, 2017

I'd love to hear how you went about the full time process

Best Response
Oct 18, 2017

Scorched earth policy, didn't leave a single stone unturned.

OCR was useless, there was 2 postings: one for a 10 man local boutique and one for a satellite office at a BB that didn't have any traditional coverage groups. Luckily for me, I recognized this all the way back in winter.

I initially started with reaching out to alumni. We had decent alumni representation on the street, and the nucleus of kids looking to go into IB from my school is small, so I did get a pretty good response rate.

Once I did my SA stint at the PE firm, I started leveraging the people who I worked with to see if they could put me in touch with people at all the various prestigious banks they previously were at. This was only possible because my fund specifically had a policy against hiring analysts, so they were more than willing to help me out. I got to know some very helpful guys higher up through this, and got a couple interviews via this.

The rest of the interviews came through my own sheer effort and a brute force cold-emailing campaign. I'd aim to send at least 25+ emails a day (relatively personalized) and targeted guys in the industry my fund specialized in. This was also helpful, as we were basically the leading name in terms of PE funds focused exclusively on that sector, and it helped build credibility on my end. I would essentially try to get in touch with anybody possible at various banks, and this provided the majority of my opportunities. You'd be surprised how much people are willing to help out people they don't know but are well-qualified.

Can certainly elaborate if I missed anything you were looking to hear about.

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Oct 21, 2017

OCR is always useless. I also came from STEM background. You say you didn't know f*ck about IBD? I had a friend in commerce who once told me "you should look into ibanking" and I replied "why would I want to do internet banking"?

I didn't know f***ck about IBD. Good to hear things worked out for you. Congrats!

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Dec 19, 2017

An impressive display of grit an determination! Significant on-campus recruiting at Harvard gave me an easier pivot from my undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology to job offers in both Finance and Consulting, but I'm wondering if we had a common challenge: migrating from my campus wardrobe to showing up at my new job dressed like a member of the team.

Was that easy for you, or a time-consuming pain in the ass?

Oct 18, 2017

Hey, thanks for sharing your expertise.

What was your "story" that you used for engineering --> Finance?

Oct 18, 2017

Pretty easy for me, I said initially at the start of junior year I wanted to do consulting, had 0 serious experience so I took the IB internship over my winter break to develop my resume, realized it was something I actually wanted to do + enjoyed the work, and from there it was full steam ahead.

Oct 23, 2017

Damn, a 3.7 in engineering is very impressive. I'm considering an engineering school rn that has an average gpa of close to 3.0.

EDIT: 3.7 in an engineering double major? Even more impressive. Well done, dude.

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Oct 23, 2017

Thanks @Thunderfin!

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Oct 22, 2017

Coming from a STEM background how did you gain the finance/accounting knowledge to pass interviews?

Oct 22, 2017

3 ways:

1 - my first IB internship I received a lot of training in terms of learning about finance/accounting/technical aspects of IB

2- Despite being an engineering major, my curriculum still did include a principles of finance class and a principles of accounting class, so this contributed in a small manner.

3- The various guides floating out there on the internet (WSO, BIWS, Vault).

Oct 22, 2017

Hey man, I'm a Sophomore with a similar background: (non-target petroleum engineering / finance minor, will be interning this summer in Engineering at a large oil company), I definitely have a few questions.

What are expectations like for GPA with a non-target Engineering background? (I'll probably have a 3.55-3.65 when Junior recruitment rolls around, but I've heard that it gets hard with a sub 3.7)

What was your go to for spinning Engineering -> banking? This is one that I think I'm going to struggle with, even with an industry internship (I'm planning on applying for Energy IB)

Congrats on the full time offer man!

Oct 22, 2017

Thanks @Shants!

I think you're right, sub 3.7 might get a little tough especially from a non-target. That being said, even a 3.6 with engineering does look good compared to a 3.6 finance or even 3.7 finance, because of the implied difficulty of the major. I wouldn't say there's any GPA expectations - only that they are probably expecting a little lower than a business major on account of the tougher curriculum. It's more important to actually be able to demonstrate in-depth knowledge of finance given you are an engineer.

I had an easy time pitching the engineering -> banking thing because I had done two previous IB internships, and so my rationale was "The best way to know if you like doing something is to actually do it; I've done a couple of banking internships before and I really enjoyed the work, etc". Other talking points are how you feel more in-line with the highly professional culture of IB, how you enjoy working on deals & being part of that milestone moment in a company's history, enjoy pitching to clients, things move much faster. I incorporated all of those into my answers in some manner. I would suggest talking about how your finance minor got you interested in IB, and from there as a petroleum engineer it was a natural progression to look for energy banking jobs.

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Oct 22, 2017

was this DB jacksonville?

Nov 2, 2017

bump. was it?

Nov 2, 2017

It was not DB Jacksonville

Nov 21, 2017

lol DB Jacksonville is all back office

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Oct 31, 2017

Do you think your engineering background helped you get into ib, or do you think would it been easier for you if you studied finanace instead of engineering.

Nov 2, 2017

I think it was definitely a help. If you have an engineering background + good GPA + finance internships, IMO you get a big leg up because you show you understand finance but have the high IQ/quantitative skills needed to excel academically in a difficult major.

Nov 2, 2017

Congrats! Also non-target here so super exciting to hear about this. Is this for NYC? and do you have a strong alum who helped with FT recruiting?

Dec 4, 2017

From here


Does anyone have an idea of the difficulty of getting a FT spot vs getting an internship at the bigger banks?

to here


I'm a senior who just accepted my BB IB offer, happy to answer any questions you guys might have.

in just 7 months

Congrats on your success and your story definitely will inspire others like me. I wish you luck in your future endeavors.

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Dec 18, 2017
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Jun 29, 2018