The idea of BEST was born in May 1987 in Stockholm (Sweden) during a European conference for students of physics and mathematics. The outcome of the conference was a decision to organise an International Week every six months in a different country during which the interaction between European students would be developed.

The second International Week was held in Grenoble (France, March 1988). This meeting involved students not only from physics and mathematics but also from other areas of competence. The meeting in Grenoble was followed by an International Week held in Eindhoven (the Netherlands). However, the first meeting held exclusively for BEST was in Berlin (Germany) in April 1989. There it was decided that BEST would consist of a Board, a General Assembly and members. Taking part in this meeting were delegates from all over Europe: Barcelona, Berlin, Bologna, Budapest, Eindhoven, Grenoble, Helsinki, Lisbon, Ljubljana, London, Louvain-la-Neuve, Paris, Stockholm, Trondheim, Turin, Vienna, Warsaw and Zurich.

At this meeting, BEST was officially founded with the aim to promote exchanges and communication between European Students of Technology. In November 1990, during the meeting in Budapest, the Summer Programme appeared a set of two-week courses all over Europe. In the summer of 1991, 13 summer courses were launched. During the first three years, the Summer Programme was supported by the TEMPUS programme of the European Union.

The association kept growing, new members joined and new projects arose. During the XIV General Assembly in Tallinn (Estonia) it was decided that BEST should apply, together with CESAER and SEFI, to set up the H3E Thematic Network under the European Community's SOCRATES-programme. This Thematic Network was officially established in September 1996 to work for the future of Engineering Education. This made H3E the first Thematic Network where students participate as equal partners.

During the XV General Assembly in Belgium, BEST started a partnership with the German student-association bonding Studenteninitiative e.V, thus recognising each other's activities and setting up a framework for co-operation. Since 2002 BEST also cooperates with the Canadian Federation of Engineering Students (CFES).

Cooperation with bonding and CFES blossomed and facilitated the building of two important parts of BEST: along with bonding we developed our internal training system, and thanks to CFES we developed the concept of Engineering Competitions. This cooperation has continued until now and the latest project is to organise a joint International Engineering Competition between our three organisations.

In 2005, after a long process, the international structure of BEST was completely changed in order to bring more efficiency and to better serve the organisation and the Local BEST Groups. A lot of work was done since then to ensure the sustainability of the association; internally (IT platform, training system, common promotion strategy), externally (applications to BEST events, educational involvement), and financially (partnerships with companies). Finally in 2007, in Presidents' Meeting Valladolid, Local BEST Groups decided to have a common Corporate Image for BEST.

Since 2009, the European BEST Engineering Competition (EBEC) is organised as a competitions pyramidal system gathering the winners of the different national and regional rounds.

In 2013 in Valladolid, one of the dreams of the founders of BEST was achieved: an international job fair was created that would get together technology students and international companies. It was called BEST Career Day (BCD) and, at first, it was part of the General Assembly as the Official Opening Day. Since 2015 it was transformed into an independent event organised every year in Brussels, Belgium, by a team comprised of members coming from different Local BEST Groups.

During the XXXIV General Assembly in Chania, Greece, BEST decided to adjust its structure in order to optimise the working methods of the organisation making it more efficient and flatter. The 6 Committees were dissolved during the next mandate and 10 Departments were created in order to take care of the operational work of BEST. In order to be able to develop the organisation and its services projects were launched incorporating as their members people coming from both Departments and Local BEST Groups.