Did my GPA screw up my application?

Hello monkeys,

Just an anxious monkey with a personal question. I am currently a rising junior at a southern semi-target (think Vandy, GT, Emory) and have a 3.31 GPA. I know most firms have a 3.3 GPA cut-off. Can I round that up to a 3.4?

Also, this coming fall, I plan on applying to various internships at consulting firms (big3, big 4, other elite boutique consulting firms like LEK, OW, BAH). What are my chances? Am I screwed?

Also how are 3.3/3.4 GPA candidates looked as? Am I at a huge disadvantage against a say 3.8/3.9 candidate? I have pretty average extra-curriculars and average internship experiences compared to other students at my school.

I apologize in advance for shooting so many questions...

Most Helpful

You do know how rounding up works right? A 0.1 doesn't round up to a 1. A 0.5 can, a 0.49 can't. You want to round up a 0.01 to a 0.1 you are crazy. Don't do it, both are low anyways might as well be honest to avoid offer being pulled and being blacklisted. And well you say extra-curriculars and internships are average the lower GPA is a disadvantage. Only field you can make up is in networking.


Rounding to a 3.4 is flagrantly wrong. Does a 3.3 GPA mean you're dead in the water? Absolutely not. I know people with that GPA who got an interview with an MBB and an offer from a big4. That said, you are at a disadvantage and need to work hard to come up with a case for why they should hire or interview you. Basically, if your GPA is at or below average, and your extra curriculars and internships are average, you're going to need to make a compelling case for why they should consider you as above average.

A few things I'd be doing if I were you:

  1. Network now - plenty of resources about this online. Basically, you want to have somebody going to bat for you so that you aren't discredited by a computer. One tip I'd have is to not focus on people at your dream company first, just because you need to learn the skill of networking first in order to have the best conversations.

  2. Build your resume - you might be ready for some consulting firms right now, but even if it doesn't work out that's okay. Plenty of people aren't ready for internship recruiting but kill it when it comes to FT recruiting. Get a 4.0 these upcoming 2 semesters and load with a few extra joke-class credit hours to pad GPA a bit. Build out your extracurriculars to have something interesting and worth talking about. Get a decent internship where you can do something interesting you can be proud of. Right now I would not focus on the MBB/T2 firms unless you've got good relationships with people there, I'd focus on big4 and other firms that recruit at your school. I'd still go to on-campus events and submit an application for MBB/T2 though.

  3. Refine your company search - non-target recruiting is particularly brutal for internships, so focus your efforts on the companies that do come to campus. Contact your career center to get a calendar for any upcoming events/deadlines.

  4. Start prepping for interviews now. It's no good to just get an interview, you need to be ready to case and actually get the internship.

Also, for terminology, it's super confusing and kind of arbitrary, but it's helpful to know how people tend to group consulting firms when reading these forums, because reading past questions can help you learn a lot. The top tier are referred to as "MBB" as opposed to big3, and that's McK, Bain, and BCG. The next tier are referred to as "Tier 2" or T2 firms and include OW, ATK, LEK, and usually strategy groups within big4 firms that operate on their own such as Deloitte's Strategy & Operations practice (S&O), EY's EY-Parthenon, and PwC's Strategy&. The Big4 are the Big4 audit firms. Boutiques refer to small/specialized firms. Some firms that are big but not necessarily boutiques (e.g. FTI, Navigant) are sometimes called T3 firms, but there's usually no grouping everyone agrees on.


Like everyone else here says, don't round your 3.31 to 3.4. That's outright lying. your 3.31 isn't bad, just be confident about it.

I hate GPA because the system is so easily manipulated. When I reflect on my college experience I see how the fear of GPA damage caused me to become so risk averse that I missed some good opportunities. For example, I wanted to take a class in Mandarin, but was afraid getting a bad grade in that would hurt my overall GPA. I scheduled my elective classes in a way to balance the workload so that it was easier to maintain A's in the tough classes. So in the end, GPA in many ways is a measure of how well a student gamed the system and avoided risk to come out ahead.

Really nobody cares about your GPA after your first job. It only matters when you are recruiting through the university system. My suggestion is that if you network effectively by reaching out directly to people working at your target companies, get to know them, ask good questions, and be likeable... you'll find a job in a setting where GPA doesn't matter. At the end of the day hiring decisions are about people.


Your GPA will definitely hold you back. I don't think I've ever heard of a 3.3 getting into a top firm unless they have serious pull from the inside / are related to a politician. The boutiques aren't going to be any easier - in many cases, they're more stringent on these requirements.

I think realistically, you could maybe get into big 4 advisory IF you network a lot. They need SOME reason to give you an interview because on paper, there will be way too many people who look better than you. Show them that you're a good fit and target a specific office if possible.

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