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How hard is it to go from engineering to finance with the help of an MBA?

Collegesurfer093Collegesurfer093 46 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Hi everyone,

I am thinking about making a career change from engineering to finance. I have applied to different MBA programs and been accepted into some, but recently I have been rethinking getting an MBA because of something a friend told me about it being difficult to get a job in finance after graduation coming from an engineering background, even though I will have an MBA specialized in finance.

How true is this?

Is it worth going through all the trouble of perusing an MBA if I am not sure I will land a decent job afterwards?

Any comment is appreciated.

Thank you.
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Replies to: How hard is it to go from engineering to finance with the help of an MBA?

  • PublisherPublisher 8047 replies82 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Do not base your decision regarding whether or not to earn an MBA degree on a friend's comment. Contact the MBA programs to which you have been accepted and ask them about their job placements.

    I have no idea why it would be difficult for an engineer with an MBA--finance concentration to get into the finance field. In fact, an engineering background could be a plus depending upon the specific job & employer.

    I have several relatives with engineering degrees (EEs) who thrived after earning their MBAs, although none are in finance.
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  • RoaringMiceRoaringMice 684 replies2 threadsRegistered User Member
    Some financial firms hire right out of engineering programs. They want your quant skills. It's absolutely not the case that engineering plus a finance MBA would be an issue. Do an internship in finance while you get your MBA.
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  • perazzimanperazziman 2357 replies63 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think you should be able to move quite easily into corporate Finance with an MBA from a top school such as BU. What might be difficult is moving into high finance IB, VC, HF and AM
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  • Collegesurfer093Collegesurfer093 46 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @perazziman
    Why exactly is that? Is it because of the engineering background or the school?
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2288 replies30 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I agree with @Publisher, and generally think engineering plus MBA is a strong combo which will not prevent you from getting a job in any area of finance. Have you spoken with BU career placement office and looked at the jobs grads have gone into? As in your last thread though, if you want a really competitive area like IB et al, it will be very helpful to secure a summer internship in a relevant job.
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  • perazzimanperazziman 2357 replies63 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited February 7
    @Collegesufer093

    The IB recruitment process begins during sophomore year in college. Consequently, those who get hired in IB have a couple of summer internships under their belts, even before they finish college. After college, they usually work as Analysts for a couple of years prior to going for an MBA. After completing their MBA they are hired back as Associates. However, some of them don’t return to IB and move into HF, VC etc. So banks go hunting to elite schools to hire a few new MBAs to replace them. The banks train them during the summer at the end of first year, then hire them after they graduate with an MBA.

    The banks usually target schools such as Wharton, Columbia, Harvard, Northwestern, NYU, MIT Princeton Chicago and Cornell etc. They will usually hire candidates who may have interned at an IB before joining the MBA or may have earned a level or two of a CFA or worked in a smaller / foreign bank etc. After all they are trying to replace someone who has worked and interned with them for nearly 4 years

    It is very unlikely that they will hire an engineer at a non target MBA Program after the first year when he hasn’t even taken any specific MBA Finance electives. Nothing is impossible.

    edited February 7
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  • Darcy123Darcy123 291 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I could name a couple dozen people in finance with engineering degrees including all the top banks, vcs and hedge funds. It's an utter non-issue. Take a look at who comes to MIT to recruit.
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  • BurgermeisterBurgermeister 364 replies7 threadsRegistered User Member
    IBs recruit MBAs. The short term issue is that the MBA grad had to pay for an MBA and will make less than 24 year olds who graduated with a finance BS two years ago. But, it does not matter in the long run. So yes, do it, but go to a top school! Careful what you wish for ... 16 hour days and 30 day months take a toll on the the body and psychological well-being. 38 years ago I had a ticket to Wharton but chose to stick with engineering and have no regrets.
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  • PublisherPublisher 8047 replies82 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Some IBs may pay for the second year of MBA tuition for returning interns (interns who have accepted an offer of full time employment after finishing MBA school).
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  • cbreezecbreeze 4682 replies88 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited February 7
    16 hour days and 30 day months take a toll on the the body and psychological well-being. 38 years ago I had a ticket to Wharton but chose to stick with engineering and have no regrets.

    The ambitious ones see IB as just a stepping stones to bigger things. My son graduated from undergrad Wharton and he has no regrets as he didn't mind long hours when he was starting out. He's at a hedge fund after 3 years of IB and is home everyday by 5:30PM. No MBA needed as well.

    As for the OP, it is very common for engineers to get MBA. If you want to work in high finance, make sure you go to targeted programs where the big firms go to recruit. Check out their career offices.
    edited February 7
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  • PublisherPublisher 8047 replies82 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited February 7
    OP has a full tuition scholarship to a non-target school in a major US city.

    OP is focused on a career in finance, but not necessarily IB.

    OP is highly concerned about COA & student loans.
    edited February 7
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  • cbreezecbreeze 4682 replies88 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Why exactly is that? Is it because of the engineering background or the school?

    It's the school.
    MBA programs are like law schools, the more prestigious programs will give you more options and higher starting pay.
    Even though you may not have to pay tuition, you still have opportunity costs and 2 years of living expenses to pay so it looks like you have to do further research as to your ROI after MBA.
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  • cbreezecbreeze 4682 replies88 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I read your thread in Graduate School section which I don't usually read because I have no experience in that area. I think you know which b schools offer you better opportunities and it's up to you to decide whether it's worth it based on your current salary and advancement opportunities. Your stats are OK even in the top tanked 15-25 B schools. Did you apply to higher ranked schools? It's still early to hear back for 2019 admissions cycle.
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  • perazzimanperazziman 2357 replies63 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @cbreeze

    I have also informed OP of some MBA programs such as McCombs and Jones at Rice that place regionally into local boutiques and smaller Investment banks etc.

    I have also suggested that he consider taking CFA Level 1 in June to show Fall recruiters he has some interest in the field.

    There is no guarantee of landing an IB job but you cannot get one if you aren’t willing to walk the extra mile and try

    It is the same with my son. He attended a non target UG school and studied Econ & Math rather than Finance. So chances of getting a position as an IB Analyst after graduating were zip.

    So he decided to get CFA Level 1 and 2 then attend UT (target in TX). It still doesn’t mean he will get IB, but at least he will have a fighting chance. If he doesn’t get IB, it isn’t a big deal, the program has 100% placement, so he can find some other good job.

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  • perazzimanperazziman 2357 replies63 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited February 8
    @Burgermeister
    I don’t believe MBAs are hired as Analysts who are 22-24 yo. They are hired as Associates. This is why OP needs to realize that as an MBA he will be interviewing for jobs for people with two years of IB work experience and a couple of internships. So it is unrealistic to expect banks will select him over those MBA students who have IB internships, work experience and possibly a level or 2 of CFA, if not a BBA from Wharton and studying at HBS

    Generally it is said that banks are reluctant to place MBAs with Analysts who would be 4 years younger. if Analyst is the goal then OP should target a 10 month MS in Finance program that is usually considered the equivalent of a 5 year UG dual degree
    edited February 8
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  • BurgermeisterBurgermeister 364 replies7 threadsRegistered User Member
    Collegesurfer093 is getting a variety of great opinions here! One last anecdote for you. Told all my kids to reach. I was happy as an engineer but all of them chose financial paths. We all climb our ladders differently.
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  • PublisherPublisher 8047 replies82 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @monydad : The fifth paragraph of your above post is right on target.
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  • monydadmonydad 7832 replies158 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Please note that in #17 I am describing a front-office position in an investment bank.
    The details would be quite different for a trading floor position. But still you would have to fit those different needs from an interpersonal perspective, and not all engineers do fit.

    I cannot comment much on the myriad other types of jobs and firms that are also part of "finance".
    On Monday I plan to go into my local bank branch, where I will encounter tellers, and the branch manager and assistant manager. They are also part of "finance", and I can't comment much on their jobs. But I'm guessing an engineering background is not a key prerequisite for those either.
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  • PublisherPublisher 8047 replies82 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited February 9
    OP does have an advantage of being in Boston at BU-Questrom on a full tuition scholarship. Although not an IB target school, OP can get great interviews with sustained, directed hard work with respect to job hunting.

    Additionally, management consulting firms should value an engineer with an MBA & significant work experience.
    edited February 9
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