Deciding Between Summer Business Minor or Internship - Freshman

I am a freshman Computer Engineering major at UT Austin with hopes of entering management consulting at MBB or a NY boutique. My current situation is this: Finished out the first semester with an abysmal 2.7 GPA due to poor prioritization and mental health struggles, and I have two options for how I should spend my summer. I've figured things out now, got medication and some therapy, and I'm determined to get a 4.0 this semester, and I'm well aware of the importance of GPA when it comes to applying for these roles.

Option 1: Trading Internship (Prop Firm) - I'll be doing quant analysis of certain pitches with the opportunity to make algos that may be used by traders. It is paid, won't be too much, but I don't know exactly how much.

Pros: Great Experience, Access to lots of trading courses/resources/mentorship. Paid
Cons: No opportunity to raise GPA over the summer. Best case 3.4 by the beginning of my sophomore year

Option 2: McCombs Summer Institute - I'll be able to take 15 hours of business courses, giving me a business minor within the summer. This will help greatly in offsetting my GPA, placing me (best-case) at about a 3.6 by the beginning of my sophomore year.

Pros: Helps boost GPA, Teaches business fundamentals which I won't be able to gain in my engineering coursework.

Cons: Cost (Parents are happy to pay), Opportunity Cost of no internship

I'd like some help on how I should decide between my options. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Comments (6)

Most Helpful
Jan 12, 2022 - 11:31pm

I haven't met/interviewed with anybody that cared that I have a minor (math), so I don't think having a minor is much of a value add.

As far as the gpa, if the summer institute is 15 hours, wouldn't you also be able to get a 3.6 after the next fall semester if you take 15 hours there and forgo the summer minor? This would raise your gpa up in time before any meaningful recruiting imo. Also, taking 15 hours over the summer doesn't sound like a light load, so I wouldn't act like a 4.0/other high gpa is guaranteed.

I'd probably do the internship and leave the gpa off the resume until you get the 3.6. If you expect to be doing a lot of recruiting/networking in the fall semester/want to guarantee the 3.6 by the start of the semester (and really believe you'll do well in the summer classes), it's fine to do the summer thing.

Also, If you think there's a decent chance you'll tank another semester, it might be best to do the summer minor if you think you'll fare better in those classes. There's not really a bad decision here, it's more about your expectations of future semesters and your comfort level of going into sophomore fall with a subpar gpa.

Jan 12, 2022 - 11:56pm

Definitely don't think it's too much of a setback. If you network, know the technicals/know how to case studies for consulting/whatever, you can break in wherever, but it'll just take more work. 3.4 isn't bad, but it's below the arbitrary 3.5 that a lot of competitive roles put in place.

I think the general thought about omitting gpa from your resume is that if you do it, people are going to assume it's not good. Can't imagine anyone feels very strongly about leaving it off, but I'd be prepared for questions about it and you should have a good reason for it.

All my knowledge is from my own processes (which were not with a low gpa/targeting for consulting) and I haven't been on the interviewer side of things, so my best advice to you is to reach out to alumni in the places you want to work and get their thoughts.

Jan 13, 2022 - 9:49am

This is not very good advice for MBB consulting unfortunately. I've helped with CV screening for my MBB. Bar is slightly lower now due to hiring surge but can't say this will be the case in 2 years. 3.5/ 3.6 is more the GPA cutoff for IB not MBB consulting or top strategy consulting in general. Particularly considering the school is UT. To get into MBB from UT you should aim for a 3.8 - maybe a 3.7 considering you're an engineering major. I'm not saying don't do the internship but def do not assume there is a GPA cutoff at 3.6 that once you cross it it's all the same. For consulting stats are very important and the closer you are to a 4.0 the better. 

  • Senior Consultant in Consulting
Jan 13, 2022 - 9:36am

I agree with some of monkeyforbrains, disagree with some

Major consulting firms don't typically even offer internships to non-diversity candidates until junior year, so the idea to jack up your GPA during next school year is a good one. You'll just want to make sure you secure some sort of decent internship for sophomore summer, which I think you can do given you've already got something that seems decent for your freshman year

Minors don't matter very much, but as an engineering major it could help with your story by showing an interest in business - however I think you'll already be able to demonstrate this through your work experience

In terms of GPA, do not leave it off your resume next semester. As an interviewer / screener, that's an automatic red flag that makes me think you're trying to trick me and hide poor performance. If you leave it off I'm assuming it's in the 2's, vs the ~3.3 you can get if you get straight A's this semester. Fortunately, as an engineer you'll probably get more leeway vs business majors (e.g. I'd usually interpret a 3.5 business major as weak at most schools, but a 3.5 engineering major could look okay to me)

All-in-all, I'd suggest taking the internship because getting your first real professional experience makes it a whole lot easier to get more in the future, and then jack up GPA in the future. One bad semester is not a death sentence, and it's better that you've got a 2.7 after one semester vs asking how to recruit with like a 3.1 after four semesters

Last thing, I think you can still get more creative and raise your GPA. Ask everybody you know what the easiest and lowest effort gen eds are to get A's in, and see if you can (a) take a couple online this summer, (b) add some to your regular schedule next year both semesters, and/or (c) figure out if there are any community college classes you can take to avoid one or two hard classes at UT

Jan 13, 2022 - 10:05am

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