Relevance of A-Levels for U.K. London recruiting

I am set to start a target masters in the U.K. (LSE/Oxford/LBS), however I read that U.K. summer analyst and off-cycle applications have a strict requirement of AAB for A-levels. Whilst I got a first-class degree and over 700 on my GMAT, my A-levels, because of personal circumstances, are well below that requirement. I also have roughly 1 year of working experience prior to starting my masters. I really am stressed about this requirement, because I expected that with a target masters,first class degree, and 700+ GMAT score, my A-levels shoudl be of little-to-no relevance.
I want to know if this is a strict filter (i.e. if you do not meet AAB UCAS tarrif equivalent you are automatically rejected) or if it is utilised to build a historical background of your academics.
Thank you in advanced for your inputs.


Lmao if you don't believe me go check the application page of all the banks and report back


No one really cares about A Levels unless you put BBC and below on your CV. Only Moelis has a requirement of AAB. You don’t even need to put them on your CV. Not sure where people got the AAB requirement for other banks? However, Dartmouth are super strict though especially given how they ask during TI if not disclosed on CV. 


Thank you - I saw that while most banks may not put an explicit requirement, nearly all online applications have a "pre-university" education, meaning that it must play at least some relevance in the application process. Have you personally recruited with poor A-level grades?


Yes I’ve recruited, put my shit a levels on the application form (not on CV!) and still received interviews and offers. I know others who have similar experience to me. 


Officially, yes some firms put those out but mainly to discourage candidates from the screening stage (it’s easier for HR to sift through 1000 apps rather than 3000).

Internally, no one gives af as they will see your CV/profile holistically.

If you’re holding a GS IBD London return offer and you’re applying to HL/Evercore you mostdef get interviews even if you put your shit grades out there.

Once you get the interview, and you’re a perfect fit, no one cares about your A level grades anymore.

In London, recruiting is much much less structured and more random than you think.

Just don’t think about it and apply


I thought the whole point of doing a target masters was to boost your CV from a recruiting perspective, which has worked for some people. Don’t think ppl will look at the jump as oh shit he must’ve got shit A levels!  I do see your point. 

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I don't get involved in intern/graduate hiring as this is done, pretty much solely, by HR at my bank so I unfortunately can't comment on this specific circumstance.

I am however responsible for hiring experienced analysts and junior associates. If we receive a CV with no A-levels, a non-target undergrad and then a target masters, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the candidate did not do well in their A levels. This happens a lot btw. 

The question is, whether people actually care or not. I do not care in the slightest. As long as people have semi-interesting experience, perform well in interviews/case studies I'm not fussed in the slightest about their A levels/undergrad. I actually like hiring people without great CVs because they're grateful for the opportunity and tend to be more loyal.

My staffer on the other hand hates the so-called 'masters glitch' and dings candidates for not having target/semi-target undergrads (hes an old school British guy who went to a public school and then oxbridge...)

So it really depends. 

FWIW I've worked with people who got 4 A*s in their A levels and double firsts in physics at cambridge who were truly awful at their jobs. I have also worked with juniors from very much non-target schools (and even school leavers) who have turned into absolutely epic analysts/associates


I think people are sending you inaccurate information.

The AAB or whatever grade requirement is only for some firms - people seem to think all firms still have a strict requirement but has changed a lot the past few years.

You have to search up which firms don’t have an A Level requirement and just apply to them.

For example, Goldman Sachs does not have a cut off point. You just have to shine in other areas. Bad A Levels should mean you have amazing extracurriculars (or at the very least, impressive and unique).

Few firms don’t have requirements but you should shine in other parts of your application.

Don’t stress. You’ve got this!

I will say that majority of accepted applicants will have A*/A grades so that’s why you’ve got to stand out in other ways. It will be hard.


There's no industry standard for A-level grades set in stone (I don't know where the AAB thing came from but that isn't strictly true). Yes, some banks have requirements and you will be competing with people who have straight A*s. But honestly, as long as you pass screening, no one cares. It's all about fit, technicals, and if you're bearable enough that I'd want to spend 13+ hours of my day with you. Personally know people who got Cs at places like PJT and EVR now. Just grind other parts of your application, perfect your CV, and you are on the same boat as the rest of the masses. Good luck.


The ABB comes from a question that is or was on several bank's applications asking if the applicant got above X UCAS points (which converted to ABB A-Levels or equivalent). One can conclude they're asking this question for a reason, so the "as long as you get past the screening" is kind of glossing over the main issue here - getting past the screening. Sites like EFC report this grade req too and honestly I feel like I've seen it on applications explicitly before but might be a Mandela effect.


Santander's application explicitly stated 128 UCAS ppts in the last few cycles. 


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