2.6 GPA into strategy consulting?

Currently in my final year of university at a semi-target school studying economics. I'm extremely interested in strategy consulting but my GPA is shit. I almost failed out my first and second year but since then have maintained a GPA of around 3.5 which has let to a CGPA of 2.64.

Despite my GPA I have relatively solid work experience (1 year as a market research analyst at a reputable company + some other internships) and have always held a side job throughout university to support myself.

I've been networking like crazy and have secured two referrals from senior consultants at EY and Accenture. I didn't mention my GPA to either..

Realistically, is it possible to break in with such a shit GPA? Has anybody done it successfully who is willing to share their approach? Any advice is welcome.

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Comments (22)

  • Associate 3 in Consulting
Oct 11, 2021 - 9:48pm

All major firms require you to disclose GPA on applications, and not having it would be a red flag for entry-level recruiting out of undergrad

  • Associate 2 in ER
Oct 8, 2021 - 6:40pm

Yes you can absolutely break in. Network hard, learn sought after skills (data science, financial modeling etc). You can also take the side-door: rotation or lateral into a corporate strategy role at a less sexy company and then leverage that for a full-time consulting gig at a consulting firm. 

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Oct 8, 2021 - 7:04pm

Had an absolute shit GPA and still recruited well (albeit for finance), PM me

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  • Associate 3 in Consulting
Oct 11, 2021 - 9:47pm

I'm sorry, but at a cumulative GPA of 2.64, especially not from a top target, you will almost certainly not be looked at from any major strategy firm (which are MBB and the T2s, that's pretty much it for strategy) coming directly out of undergrad. Even if you had a referral from a senior partner you will not make it through resume screening, as there are just too many other good candidates that can be hard to pick from

Also worth pointing out that applications have closed or are closing very soon

If you really want to work in consulting, I would focus on telling a great story and getting high-level referrals from boutiques or regional firms, which can sometimes be more flexible in application processes if you can get a good referral

Oct 11, 2021 - 10:13pm

Thanks for sharing your take. I hope to god you're wrong but unfortunately what you're saying makes good sense.

That being said, I'm still going to give it my best shot because my CGPA (cliche as it may be) doesn't represent my potential. My GPA in first and second year were destroyed for reasons that are now behind me.

If I do only make it to a regional or boutique firm, how would suggest I set myself up for a successful lateral to a T2 or even an MBB?

Most Helpful
  • Associate 3 in Consulting
Oct 11, 2021 - 10:37pm

I believe you that your GPA does not represent you. After all, you seem to have worked harder than many others during college in terms of jobs

My biggest piece of advice would be to think longer term than most people. While getting a job at a top firm is probably off the table right now, that doesn't mean your career is doomed

IF you are dead-set on working for a top strategy consulting firm, what I would do is focus on (1) getting some sort of decent job with a decent company after graduating even if not consulting, (2) getting an unbelievable GMAT score, (3) doing a ton of extracurriculars outside of work in order to get into a T10 MBA 3-4 years after undergrad. People are suggesting lateraling, which while sure don't throw the option away, it's really not common and your GPA will still follow you at top firms for a few years

If you aren't dead-set on working for a top strategy consulting firm, focus on just getting a decent job where you feel there is career growth opportunity, do well, and don't overindex on the rat race for a year or two. Truthfully people care a lot less about what you do for a living than you think, and 'office job' is about as much as most people will really care/track. Not getting into consulting is not the end of the world, even if it might feel like it to you right now

Oct 12, 2021 - 12:20pm

Network like crazy, get a couple interviews, and the rest of that stuff won't matter. GPA gets you in the door, but I've seen plenty of 3.9s get passed over for kids with much lower grade-points that rocked the interview

Oct 13, 2021 - 12:39am

You're good brother. Intern at a start up or boutique (almost guaranteed to get past screening - not many applicants) and lateral. I've known dozens of kids who ended up at BB that had low gpa UG. All it means is that you won't get BB as first gig. If you perform exceptionally at an internship at a smaller firm then they'll overlook your academic performance. GPA isn't a very good indicator of intelligence anyway. Banks like JPM and GS like 3.8+ because they know they're the type of kids willing to push 90+ hours a week for average hourly

Oct 13, 2021 - 12:53am

Thanks for the vote of confidence! I'm down to do it if my T2 recruiting doesn't pan out. Do you know of any firms that would be a good starting place? Mainly searching in NYC and Boston. Could I shoot you a PM?

Oct 13, 2021 - 12:59am

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