3.5 GPA Cut-off? in 2022

Sophomore looking into recruiting for Junior Summer Analyst roles in IBD next semester.

I was curious what the current expected GPA is to be somewhat competitive? I've noticed the cut-off seems to be roughly 3.5 at the minimum. Is meeting this minimum enough for other aspects of your resume (experience, extracurriculars, networking) to be considered? 

For instance - would a 3.5/3.6 w/ relevant work experience that networks hard still have a chance in this market with so many 3.8+ students?

Seems like 3.5 was cut off in the past years, but was wondering if this is still the case in 2022. Thanks!

Comments (21)

Most Helpful
  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Jan 2, 2022 - 4:39pm

If everything else on your resume is great (solid work experience, involved in extracurriculars, networks well) you have a solid chance. Focus more on BB/MM than EB, the EBs anecdotally have higher GPA cutoffs

Best way to put it is that when I'm sorting through 100 resumes for first round interviews, the 3.8s will typically always make the first cut. With a 3.5 you have to have something else to stand out (previous IB/PE internships, varsity sport, really cool interests line, etc) having just an average resume and a 3.5 won't get you many interviews.

I've seen 3.2-3.3s get into IB from networking - rare, but can be done

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jan 2, 2022 - 4:49pm

Thanks so much for your response! I am sure there is an answer somewhere out there, but in your experience and opinion on the recruiting side ... would you have a preference for a 3.8 (limited extracurricular, no relevant finance experience) vs a 3.5/3.6 with strong extracurriculars and work experience? I am sure this is a rather broad question, but it sounds like you have a great amount of expertise and experience in this area. Additionally, are 3.5/6 viewed as not competent for the job as opposed to a 3.8+ or is the resume screening more holistic?

  • 1
  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Jan 2, 2022 - 5:07pm

There was a thread on this a few weeks ago and the answer was basically a tossup. The best advice I can give you is to do the best you can, get all the internships and involvement available to you. You can't change your GPA at this point so no use comparing to the 3.8s out there, but landing a relevant sophomore summer internship to put on your resume would really beef up your application for example. Networking is going to be key, and the next 3-4 weeks is the best time to do it so start firing off emails before winter break ends.

I don't look at a 3.5 and think they can't do the job. Even a 2.8 GPA could probably do the job, it's literally basic middle school math. It's more a function of IB being so competitive to get into that banks have the luxury of choosing from a group of very high achieving candidates.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jan 2, 2022 - 5:04pm

"In 2022"

why would competition ever go down?

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jan 2, 2022 - 5:06pm

I actually believe the competition is becoming more fierce, as more and more students want to do IB right out of UG. This is why I am curious if the GPA standards (3.5+ min). still remain the same as that was the general benchmark set in posts prior/cerca to 2015 on WSO.

Jan 2, 2022 - 5:18pm
GoodwinMog, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It's just a cutoff to pare the number of applicants. If you get the first round interview you're fine

  • 1
Jan 2, 2022 - 11:47pm
Redhottie, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The GPA requirement is just to thin out resumes. Before the housing crash the GPA requirement was around 3.2, but there was less opportunity after the housing crash so the GPA was raised. Being that there is a labor shortage, I am surprised that the GPA requirement was not lowered again. In theory there is no difference between the 3.5 and the 4.0 GPA. They both meet the threshold. Hiring at a bank or any other type of company is not the same as college admissions. The sad reality is that after your resume is reviewed by recruiting, it will be reviewed by first year analysts who are very inexperienced in reviewing resumes and investment banking itself. These junior analysts will have a lot of biases. Some will be strict GPA Nazis (Every resume must have a 3.8 or higher), some actually will be put off of GPAs that are too high because it indicates that the candidate did not do anything else but study or did not challenge themselves. (I have seen preferences to 3.0 from a non-target over a 4.0 from a target because the candidate had interesting experience and took challenging classes). Some analysts prefer targets some non-targets. It is a crapshoot. Whether you go to Harvard with a 4.0  or Wyoming State with a 3.2, you must network with Senior Associates and up to overcome these biases. I also recommend doing local internships. Weather it would be at a local investment bank, commercial bank, wealth management, corp dev, M&A heavy corporate finance, corporate treasury. You want to showcase your skillset and that you know what you are getting yourself into. Get the best GPA you can while networking and getting the proper skills for Investment Banking. I hope this helps. 

  • 2
Jan 5, 2022 - 12:17pm
greyarea23, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I was firmly in the "GPA isn't that important" camp when reviewing resumes / recommending candidates, and anecdotally I always felt like the candidates I pushed for had a much greater hire rate within the firm than others. When reading 100 resumes, 75+ of them will be the classic Brad or Chad with a 4.0, investment club member, etc. I always had a preference for the odd man in the stack

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jan 4, 2022 - 9:47pm

Disclaimer: I never recruited for a SA gig, my bank has an unstructured recruiting process and this reflects my own personal biases. That being said, I will be leading recruiting at some schools for the 2023 cycle so it's a data point.

If you have relevant experience, seem put together and come from a semi-target or better, I wouldn't hesitate to give an interview even if you have a 3.3. If you're from a non-target, 3.5 would be my cutoff unless there are extraordinary factors (think MD rec, great internships, d1 athlete)

Generally, I'd curve those GPA targets based on major. If you majored in some liberal arts crap where I'd be worried you suck at math, I'd raise them to like 3.5/3.8. If you majored in a difficult STEM subject (Engineering/CS/Math/Physics/Chem), I'd drop it to 3.0/3.3 as long as you can speak well and don't seem super weird. I think anyone with a 3.0/3.3 in those majors could get a 3.3/3.5 in econ, so I'd look at them the same way.

Long story short, I'll only look at GPA to make sure you aren't lazy and you aren't too stupid to do the job. That's not a very high bar. I didn't hit a 3.5 until my senior year so maybe other people care more about GPA. I think it has almost no bearing on your ability to do the job. The stereotypical 4.0 student personality is a terrible fit for IB imo even though I'd be impressed by the resume.

Jan 5, 2022 - 3:57pm
akdbs17, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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