I am planning a career change from Mechanical Engineering to Banking. Although in some countries this seems to be a relatively common movement, mainly for junior or post-MBA positions, it is really, really uncommon where I live (a region in Europe with a large proportion of industrial firms). In fact, my professors at university know of nobody who has taken this decision, and nobody else I have asked does.
How can I explain this decision in an interview with the bank staff? I think I could be asked why I want to work in the bank if I have a good engineering job, being myself an engineer.
You might be answering: "it depends on what position you applied for, so you can answer that your skills are of great value to this position because whatever". Well, this is a recruitment process that was announced on press for many positions (30-50) and asked explicitly for engineers, mathematicians, lawyers, economists... So I don't know what job I would be doing: Investments? Project valuation? IT or big data stuff? No idea. I haven't been told.
So, more exactly, the question could be: How can I explain my willness to switch careers without knowing what the prospective future job is?
(Some background info that applies to my case only, in case you need a bit more information for context.)
A few months ago, I applied to a recruitment process in a local bank that explicitly asked for engineers and mathematicians, as well as lawyers, economists... The bank works in both retail banking (mortgages, loans...) and investing stuff (funds...). Since then, I have passed psychotechnical tests and a group dynamic test, and next week I have an interview with the bank staff, which is the last test of the recruitment process, i.e. there are no further stages or interviews. I don't who I will be talking to: Human Resources, a banker...
Titles and previous experience: I studied Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (BSc+MSc), graduated with excellent marks have been working for 3 years in a large engineering firm (no other previous experience), with interesting projects but some disadvantages I would like to avoid from now on. The actual reasons that explain my willness to change, which obviously cannot be mentioned in an interview when asked the previous bolded question, are:
- The technical engineering work is rather undervalued, and furthermore I, as a junior engineer, bear all the responsibility for this part. I don't mind at all giving up the engineering part.
- Projects take place in developing or non-developed countries, and therefore there is a big chance I would have to go there for a while (6-18 months is a likely range). However, I neither want nor can travel for so long to those countries due to mental health issues.
- My current working hours are not horrible, but do exceed a 40-hour week, with fortunately a lot of flex time. This bank is known to have excellent working hours, though flex time would be lost. The better working hours would be a major benefit for me and I really look forward to them. The working hours in the bank depend on the position, so they are "just a bit better than now" in the better-paying positions and "really awesome" in the worse-paying positions: remember I don't know the job I could be doing. Please note that in my country there is a huge problems with schedules and working hours: in most firms it is customary to work until late.
- As far as money is concerned: I may be taking a pay cut for the change, losing up to 1/3 of my wage, but I know that in future years this would be less of an issue, since the wages in both places are public up to certain point. The wage loss would depend on the position in the bank. This is not a matter of concern for me - of course I would rather not lose anything, but I still prefer the "really awesome" working hours.
- The security of the jobs in this bank is high, while in my current form is just OK. This is also of major importance to me. However, in case of being fired from the bank, I would have a great problem due to my strange mixed engineering-banking profile and the horribly high unemployment rate in my country.
If I successfully pass the interview, I wouldn't take any job the bank offers me. For example, I wouldn't fit in a commercial position, let's say, selling mortgages or life insurances.
Some related links I have read, but which don't address the question I am trying to raise: